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Calendula

What is it?

Calendula is a plant. The flower is used to make medicine.

Calendula flower is commonly used for wounds, rashes, infection, inflammation, and many other conditions. However, there is no strong evidence to support calendula for any use.

Don't confuse calendula with ornamental marigolds of the Tagetes genus, which are commonly grown in vegetable gardens.

How effective is it?

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

The effectiveness ratings for CALENDULA are as follows:

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...

  • Overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina. Early research suggests that applying vaginal cream containing calendula might improve burning, odor, and pain in women with bacterial vaginosis.
  • Foot sores in people with diabetes. Early research shows that using a calendula spray in addition to standard care and hygiene might prevent infection and decrease odor in people with a long-term foot ulcer from diabetes.
  • Diaper rash. Some early research suggests that applying a calendula ointment to the skin for 10 days improves diaper rash compared to aloe gel. But other early research shows that applying calendula cream does not improve diaper rash as effectively as bentonite solution.
  • A mild form of gum disease (gingivitis). Early research shows that rinsing the mouth with a specific calendula tincture for 6 months might decrease plaque, gum inflammation, and bleeding more than rinsing with water.
  • Mosquito repellent. Applying calendula essential oil to the skin does not seem to repel mosquitoes as effectively as applying DEET.
  • White patches inside the mouth that are usually caused by smoking (oral leukoplakia). Using tobacco can cause white patches to develop inside the mouth. Early research suggests that applying calendula gel inside the mouth might reduce the size of these white patches.
  • Bed sores (pressure ulcers). Early research shows that using a specific calendula product might improve the healing of long-term pressure ulcers.
  • Skin damage caused by radiation therapy (radiation dermatitis). Early research suggests that applying calendula ointment on the skin might reduce skin damage in people receiving radiation therapy for breast cancer. But other early research shows that using a calendula cream is no better than petroleum jelly.
  • Vaginal yeast infections. Early research shows that applying calendula cream inside the vagina for 7 days does not treat yeast infections as effectively as using clotrimazole cream.
  • Leg sores caused by weak blood circulation (venous leg ulcer). Early research shows that applying a calendula ointment to the skin speeds up the healing of leg ulcers caused by poor blood circulation.
  • Wound healing. Early research shows that applying calendula ointment to an episiotomy wound for 5 days after childbirth reduces redness, bruising, swelling, and discharge. The calendula ointment might improve these symptoms better than betadine solution.
  • Cancer.
  • A lung disease that makes it harder to breathe (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD).
  • A condition that causes persistent pelvic pain, urinary problems, and sexual problems (Chronic prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain syndrome).
  • Ear infections (otitis media).
  • Fever.
  • Hemorrhoids.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Nosebleeds.
  • Promoting menstruation.
  • Swelling (inflammation) and sores inside the mouth (oral mucositis).
  • Thinning of vaginal tissue (vaginal atrophy).
  • Treating mouth and throat soreness.
  • Varicose veins.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of calendula for these uses.

How does it work?

It is thought that the chemicals in calendula help new tissue grow in wounds and decrease swelling in the mouth and throat.

Are there safety concerns?

When taken by mouth: Preparations of calendula flower are LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth.

When applied to the skin: Preparations of calendula flower are LIKELY SAFE for most people when applied to the skin.

Special precautions & warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Don't take calendula by mouth if you are pregnant. It is LIKELY UNSAFE. There is a concern that it might cause a miscarriage. It's best to avoid topical use as well until more is known.

There isn't enough reliable information to know if calendula is safe to use when breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Calendula may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking calendula.

Surgery: Calendula might cause too much drowsiness if combined with medications used during and after surgery. Stop taking calendula at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Are there interactions with medications?

Moderate
Be cautious with this combination.
Sedative medications (CNS depressants)
Calendula might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking calendula along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.

Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.

Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?

Herbs and supplements with sedative properties
Calendula might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Taking it with other herbs and supplements that have this same effect might cause too much sleepiness. Some of these include 5-HTP, calamus, California poppy, catnip, hops, Jamaican dogwood, kava, St. John's wort, skullcap, valerian, yerba mansa, and others.

Are there interactions with foods?

There are no known interactions with foods.

What dose is used?

The appropriate dose of calendula depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for calendula. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Other names

Caléndula, Calendula officinalis, Calendule, English Garden Marigold, Fleur de Calendule, Fleur de Tous les Mois, Garden Marigold, Gold-Bloom, Holligold, Marigold, Marybud, Pot Marigold, Souci des Champs, Souci des Jardins, Souci des Vignes, Souci Officinal, Zergul.

Methodology

To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.

References

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Last reviewed - 01/11/2021