I love the word calendula. It just seems to roll off the tongue so easily. It’s just so … flowery. Which is fitting, because this annual bloomer has been used medicinally since ancient times. It has antiviral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties, helping people ease everything from ulcers to ear infections to menstrual cramps to vaginal yeast infections. It’s why I included it in my feminine spray, that’s for sure!
What is Calendula?
Fun fact: Calendula actually comes from the marigold family. Sometimes known as pot marigold, or Calendula officinalis, it’s different from the ornamental marigolds you’ll see in a flower garden, which are known as taget marigolds. The calendula I’m talking about is a versatile flower that can be made into tea, cream, or oil. It can be mixed with mouthwash or toothpaste for fresher breath. It can be added to salads or stews for a tasty kick. The list goes on!
What Does Calendula Heal?
The powerhouse calendula flower has been studied for years as an antiseptic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiviral agent. Studies have shown that it can help protect against certain cancers, treat gum disease, ease muscle spasms and menstrual symptoms, promote the healing of wounds, and stop yeast overgrowth. So how does it actually work?
Similar to so many other beneficial flowers and plants, it’s all in the oil. The acids present within calendula oil have natural antiviral and antimicrobial properties, which can help decrease swelling and helping new tissue grow in wounds. This makes it ideal for treating minor cuts, burns, and skin conditions like dermatitis and eczema.
Along with palmarosa oil, tea tree oil, and Echinacea – three other powerhouse ingredients I use in my feminine spray – calendula can also help prevent yeast overgrowth because of its antifungal and anti-yeast properties. It has been shown in early research to reduce vaginal itching, burning, dryness, and pain. And according to this NIH study, it worked just as effectively and in some cases more effectively than a prescription medication for treating yeast infections. Calendula also naturally contains linoleic acid and flavonoids, which are both well-known antioxidants and anti-inflammatory aids.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for a natural alternative to what your doctor will prescribe or what you’ll find over the counter, consider calendula. While it’s generally deemed safe for topical and internal use, though, it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re not allergic to any flowers within the Asteracea and Compositae family. Test an area of the skin to make sure there’s no negative reaction. Don’t take it if you’re on a sedative-type drug because it can cause drowsiness. And if you’re pregnant or nursing, check with your doctor first (calendula has actually been known to induce menstruation). Most importantly, make sure any products you buy that contain calendula are free from preservatives and chemicals.