Early on in my search for botanical substances that inspired the body to vital health was this. Any plant that has long been used to heal injured skin, reported to stimulate fast and miraculous skin healing, was a good candidate for investigation. If the plant, say Calendula, had the ability to make broken skin heal super fast, it probably had the ability to stimulate the body to heal super fast.
This could not be a less dramatic herb. Its common, its cheap, and its widely used to treat diaper rash. But, my studies revealed that this is an excellent full body health stimulant, and one that should be used for more than the diaper bag. It is, by the by, a close relation to chamomile and echinacea, two fantastic health stimulants.
Chapter from Backyard Medicine Chest
Chapter from My PhD Thesis
Notes from the Eclectic Physicians
Part Used: Flowers
In a Word: Skin Healer
Reasonable Uses: minor wounds, burns, abrasions, pressure sores, bed sores, diaper rash, jock itch, athletes foot fungus, thrush, oral and genital herpes, sore throat, mouth ulcers, infected gums.
History and Traditional Uses
The ancient healers Dioscorides and Pliny called calendula an excellent skin healer. During the Dark Ages, medieval healers felt it was so healing it had to be magical. Plants with powerful healing powers have always been associated with magic- it was a way for the people to explain the inexplicable healing touch contained in the plant. Calendula’s ability to heal up damaged skin was so incredible people thought it would lend power to love charms or charms of protection. A classic European skin healer, Calendula was a primary ingredient in ointments, balms, salves, and creams.
Scientific Back Up
Calendula is related to burdock and chamomile, herbs that are also used for their skin-soothing properties. Skin healing is a family business. Calendula’s chemical ingredients include compounds that reduce inflammation and combat infection from bacterial, fungal, and viral sources. In addition, compounds in calendula actually help the skin knit itself back together after a tear has occurred. In Germany, calendula is specifically recommended for treating hard-to-heal leg ulcers and mouth and throat irritations.
Russian research indicates that tincture of calendula may have promise as a treatment for herpes simplex outbreaks and certain flu viruses. It may even have promise as a cancer fighter—specifically, against skin cancer. Research suggests that the plant stimulates the immune system which in turn is better able to attack abnormal cells and microbial invaders.
Herbalists Use It To…
Dampen Diaper Rash
There is nothing more pathetic than a child suffering with diaper rash. Since the earliest day mothers have use Calendula to take the red and the pain out of a bad case of diaper rash. Calendula cream should be applied with every change of diaper to get the problem under control and keep it gone.
Calendula tincture or cream can be used to keep a herpes outbreak from happening and or limit an attack once it has started. This includes oral and genital herpes. The tea or tincture should be taken internally and the cream applied externally.
Athletes foot, jock itch, and nail fungus are all caused by `parasitic fungi feed on the human body. Calendula comes packing with anti-fungal compounds that keep these unpleasant infestations under control. The cream should be applied four times a day until the problem clears.
Upgrade Gum Health
Calendula is used as a gargle to improve problem gums, especially those inclined to bleeding and infection. The tea or tincture should be gargled with morning and night after brushing the teeth.
A small bottle of Calendula tincture can be kept in the medicine chest for those moments when disaster strikes. It can be used in lieu of antibiotic creams to treat minor cuts, burns, abrasions, and the like. Unlike antibiotic creams which only kill bacteria, Calendula will speed the healing process.
Most of the Calendula creams are calendula cream in name only. They contain very little calendula. For this reason, it is best to buy calendula tincture and make your own cream.
Calendula is regarded as safe.
Chamomile (Chamomila recutita), Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia), Yarrow(Achillea millefolium).
Chapter from “Backyard Medicine Chest”
You may have noticed that skin is big business, what is the first item one sees when one walks into a department store? Skin products and lots of them. Different companies offering exotic cremes crafted out of everything from somebodies left over placenta to the food of some poor old bees plate. French and Swiss companies purveying little tubes with huge price tags sell us a variety of salves, lotions, cremes, ointments, and pomades to pour over our bodies delicate covering-our skin. And we just buy, buy, buy, shelling out millions of dollars each year for the privilege of dabbing fine ointments onto it. Skin is a big deal and as such no medicine cabinet would be complete without something product designed just for the skin.
Unbeknownst to you, the all time best substance for the skin can be had by planting a single plant out in the backyard. A creme made of the plant will make the most expensive skin creme look like nothing. The miracle worker of the skin is a plant called calendula, known in herbalist circles as “mother of the skin”. The extra-good news is that for one quarter the price of the a tube of fancy skin creme you can plant an acre of the plant that will make your skin as smooth and clear as a babies behind. And unlike many of the expensive cremes, calendula creme will actually make a big difference in the way your skin feels and looks.
Calendula, the dermatologists, cosmetic surgeons, and fancy cosmetic companies worst enemy, is a common garden plant that is as attractive as it is easy to grow. Its scientific name, Calendula officinalis gives us a hint of what ancient physicians felt about its powers to heal and maintain skin in perfect health. The word calendula refers to month, as the plant blooms every month of the year. The second word, officinalis, refers to the workshop of an alchemists, a place where lead was said to be converted into gold. Turning lead into gold is no small feat, and the ancients felt calendula could turn the worst skin into fabulous skin, an equally amazing feat, and hence the attachment of the word to the name of this plant.
If you are twisted enough to spend you days plodding through medieval physicians manuals you will find an interesting phenomena. Plants with extra ordinary powers to cure were frequently said to have magical powers as well healing powers. Calendula is no exception. People were so amazed with what it could do for the skin they thought it might help a person out with some other obstinate problems. In this case witches of the day used calendula to add some electricity to love potions and charms. Being single is clearly an obstinate condition! The fact that old medical herbals tend to contain certain magical uses tends to put many people off to herbalism. It shouldn’t. People have always sought to explain the inexplicable. In the 1600′s calendulas power to heal was put down to magic, today we say that chemicals contained in the plant stimulate health in the skin. In both time periods rationalizations are sought for a process that cannot be seen. You apply calendula creme to crappy skin and several weeks later it looks and feels better. How you choose to explain this phenomena doesn’t really matter, as long as you note what calendula can do for the skin.
Calendula is truly the miracle worker of the skin, whether a person has lumps or bumps, scabs that wont heal, eczema, athletes foot, acne, or even herpes sores.Perusing old herbals the reader quickly discovers that calendula has been used to treat every skin condition every dreamed up, it is an all purpose skin healing agent. Not surprisingly, wherever calendula grows it is used to treat the skin. This is true on every continent and has been so for centuries. Not only is it a product with a universal endorsement, it has been stood the test of time. We are talking about a track record of at least 1000 years. Even more exciting, it is perfectly safe. Without getting nasty, lets just say that the powers that be in the health care power block love nothing more than to label herbs dangerous. In an article in a Washington DC newspaper, written by a local physician, garlic was described as an extremely dangerous substance. Tell it to the Italians. Despite similar scrutiny, no scientist has found a single noxious element in calendula. Rest assured, calendula is not only healing, but safe.
Before we launch into the world of calendula it might be a good time to talk about skin in general. Of course you are familiar with it, presumably you have it covering your body, and have had a long term relationship with it. Skin in many regards is a window into your insides, an indicator of your overall mental and physical health. Have you ever noticed that after a two week holiday your skin looks radiant, that obstinate rash seems to have disappeared? Similarly, ever take a look into the mirror when you have had a bout of the flu or been out drinking for a few days? It isn’t a pretty sight is it. Like it or not, our skin is a barometer of our overall health. Using this creme or any other creme on skin that is indicating bad health is a complete waste of time. When it comes to skin you have to get the cart in front of the horse. There are skin troubles and there are skin troubles, and before you start using calendula creme on your skin troubles you need to make the determination as to whether your skin troubles are rooted in poor health or are simply skin troubles.
The advertising and medical communities have been selling us quick fixes for some time now. Chewable antacids for people that eat food that doesn’t agree with them, sleeping tablets for people that work to hard, puppy uppers for people that dont have “enough energy” and more. This is particularly true in the arena of skin care. The sales angle sounds like this, you can do whatever you want to your body, you can abuse the hell out of your skin, and with this little product, you can look young and vibrant forever. Well, it just ain’t so. If you skin is bad because you drink two six packs of beer a night and get your dietary fiber from potato chips you can rub calendula creme on that old face till the cows come home and you will still look like dirt in the morning. Before putting anything on the skin to make it better, you must ask yourself the question, is my nasty skin part of a larger problem or is it just problem skin. The symptomatic treatment of disease or better put, the treatment of symptoms, rather than the root of illness, is the most serious disease affecting the world today.
On a serious note, if you have chronically bad skin, take a look at how you live life emotionally and physically, if you dont take care of yourself, start. Sounds like an oversimplification, but it is just that simple. If you eat poorly, stop it now and start eating properly. If you dont sleep enough, make it your business to get your butt in bed in a reasonable time. If your emotional life is out of kilter, do something to address the issue. Having said this, if your skin is bad because you dont take care of yourself, using calendula in combination with improving your overall health routine will truly make a difference. If you do both items, you may find yourself in demand for soap commercials one day soon.
Before we get on with it I thought I would stay on my soap box for just a few more moments. My legs aren’t tired yet. One last thing to remember, skin is permeable. What you put onto your skin can and will make its way into the body. Take all the transdermal patches we see on the market today, from heart medication to nicotine. Substances do move from the skin into the body, and this is a great thing when the substances we put on our skin our good for us. On the other hand, if they are less than salubrious, it may be a scary thing. A prime example of this is steroid creme, a very commonly used preparation universally prescribed for problematic skin. And it works wonders, anyone with long term skin problems knows how quickly it reduces inflammation and speeds the healing process. What people dont know is that steroids block the immunity system, something people living in the killer bacteria and virus filled world cannot afford. Every time you apply steroid creme, being fat soluble, it goes straight into the body, and for a period of time you have a reduction in the functioning of your immunity system. Let me remind you your immunity system is the police force in charge of keeping cancer under control, and oh, so much more. People that use steroid cremes tend to use them on chronic skin conditions, which means they tend to use the creme on a ongoing basis. Just what a person needs, a chronically impaired immune system.
Generally the use of steroid creme falls into the category of symptomatic treatment of skin problems, it merely treats the lumps and bumps without getting at the reason the lumps and bumps keep popping up. If you are a steroid creme junky, find a health care practitioner that will help you address the source of your problem. Dont settle for anything less. Having said this, many people have used calendula creme in place of their steroid creme and had wonderful success. It doesn’t work as fast, but then again it doesn’t impair your immunity system either. Lets start talking about the solution to many skin problems, calendula, the “mother of the skin”.
Calendula is commonly known as pot marigold, garden marigold, or sometimes just as marigold. Here is where we get into some trouble. There are two marigolds sold at garden centers, one medicinal and the other not. The two plants are entirely different and unrelated. One is named scientifically Tagetes erecta, the other, the one we want, Calendula officinalis. If you have ever wondered why scientific names exist, ie Calendula officinalis, you now know why. Around the globe the same plant will have different name on every spot on the map. Sometimes, like in this case, two entirely different plants will have the same name. Our skin saver is known as pot marigold, in French souci des jardins, fleur de tous les mois( flower of every month, which is just what this garden number will do.), and ringelblume in German, and gouldsbloom in Dutch. In English there are two plants called marigold. Similarly in Spain yerba buena is verbena officinalis and in Venezuela it is Mentha piperita. When botanists starting conversing internationally several hundred years ago it was a fiasco, nobody knew what anybody was talking about. Everyone was using different names to describe the same plant. To simplify matters they decided to give all plants one latin name, a name that would be the universal name for the plant. When a German botanist wanted to talk about ringelblume with a french botanist he knew to refer to it by its scientific name, Calendula officinalis. Using scientific names insured everybody knew exactly what the other person was talking about. Scientific names clarified a hopelessly confusing situation.
For this reason, particular when we are talking about medicinal herbs, we must use the scientific name when discussing and most importantly, purchasing our plants. The other plant called marigold in English speaking countries doesn’t do anything for the skin, planting it and processing it into skin creme would be like using mouthwash for athletes foot fungus. The plant you want, and you can buy the plant or the seeds, is Calendula officinalis. Once you know you have the right plant in your hot little hands you can call it Bert if you want to, just so long as it is Calendula officinalis. Though I am all in favor or local seed sellers and nurseryman, when it comes to medicinal plants, where making sure you have the right plant is critical, you may be better off sticking to large national concerns who are very unlikely to sell you the wrong plant or seed.
As long as we are talking botany (try to keep the yawning to the minimum) you may as well know that Calendula is a member of the daisy family. Along with chrysanthemums, sunflowers, jerusalem artichokes, inula, asters, thistles, chamomile, dandelion, burdock and globe artichokes. Its interesting to note that a number of members of this family, most notably chamomile, inula, dandelion, and burdock are all used to treat skin problems. It would seem that this family of plants contain a set of chemicals that in some fashion speed skin healing, the exact nature of these chemicals and their interaction remains a mystery. What is no mystery however is that around the globe different ethnic groups, from the arabians to the Indigenous people of the America’s, long before the age of international communication, we’re all using a daisy relative to increase the health of skin. I think you will agree that this more than a mere coincidence. Calendula is the most famous member of this skin healing plant family, a plant all nationalities agree will make skin look, feel, and in fact be healthier.
Unlike some of its relations, like the sunflower, that bloom once and call it quits for the season, calendula is a blooming fool. Once it starts you cant stop the poor little flower factory, and in general its still at it when the stinging frosts come and knock it to the ground. The plant has been in cultivation for so long no one really knows where it originally hails from. It can be a perennial plant or an annual plant depending on the severity of the winter it must endure. People living in climates with temperatures well below freezing for months on end will have to plant calendula as an annual, in more moderate climes calendula will keep on going for year after year. This preference for mild winters hints the plant may have originally sprung up somewhere around the mediterranean basin where winters are quite mild and calendula plants can be seen for several seasons.
As long as physicians have written medical books, they have written about Calendula. Dioscorides, Plinius, and many more ancient physicians described marigold as being tops for the skin. In the writings of Albertus Magnus marigold gets a lot of attention, the gentleman felt that it was excellent for healing the bite of wild animals, skin problems, and liver and spleen complaints. The fact that this 17th century writer combined skin problems and liver malfunction in the same breath is not unusual.
The livers job is to remove toxins from the system and when it is under the weather it cant do its job. Toxins are not removed from the skin and while they sit there waiting to be removed they make the skin look like hell. Do you have an old aunt famous for hitting the sauce once the guests have gone home? Ever notice how nasty her skin looks? One of the real downsides of alcoholism is the battering the liver takes resulting in a poor complexion– to say the least. We now know that a poorly functioning liver is at the root of many a ruddy complexion Mr. Magnus treatment for poor skin may have been and inside and outside treatment. The daisy family is as well famous for containing a number of bitter elements that stimulate the liver! Dandelion, burdock, and globe artichoke, relatives of our star calendula, have all been used quite successfully in treating liver, and subsequently, skin conditions.
For the doubters in our midst you will be happy to know that calendula has been picked apart from top to bottom in the aim of finding that miraculous substance that speeds skin healing. At this phase of the game it cant be said that the chemical has been found and in fact it is unlikely that it will ever be found, because chances are there is no it , just a series of its that work together to create the impact we are all looking for,nice looking skin. After you have made your skin creme you can write the following ingredients on the back of the jar. Modern people seem more comfortable with a list of ingredients on the back of the products they use at least one mile long, so to make you more at ease, here is a list you can hand write on the back of your soon to be creme.
volatile oil, bitter substances, carotenoid substances(lycopin,neolyc opin,citroxathin, flavocrhome, carotin, violaxanthin,flavoxanthin , chrysanthemaxanthin), gums, mucilage, rein, albumine, malic acid, cholesterin esters of laurin, myristin, palmatin acids, vitamin c, arnidol and faradiol(dihydroxy alcohols), calendin, triterpendiols, parafine, cerylalcohol, stimasterin, glycosides, glucosides.
Looks like the back of your shampoo bottle doesn’t it? I suspect this is just a beginning, in time more will be discovered. Please note that the pharmaceutical companies, the very ones that insist herbal medicine is a farce, are the ones searching plants inside and out for the active ingredients that make them so “ineffective”. With their help no doubt time will tell what are the active ingredients in calendula.
Let’s take a closer look at what has been discovered about calendula and its ingredients. As you may have noticed, the list of ingredients is long and as such it is rather hard to pinpoint what chemical specifically does the “speedy healing routine”. And in fact my opinion is that it is indeed a combination of actions. In the laboratory calendula extracts have been proven to be anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-protozoal, anti-ulcerous, immunostimulating, and promoting of epithelization. To put that into English, extracts of calendula both take care of several causes of skin problems, ie bacterial and viral infections and also treat a number of the symptoms, ie inflammation and ulcerations. This business about increasing epithelialization is a critical element, this refers to the skins ability to knit itself back together. Some chemical in the plant actually stimulates the knitting together of broken skin, just what you need when you have some sort of abrasion. So you see, Calendula really is the all over best skin treatment of them all, it takes care of the symptoms as well as the causes of those symptoms.
The world is starting to wake up to the fact that the sun is not that good for the skin, the increase in skin cancers in recent years is quite alarming. Matthiolus was an early physician to point out that calendula was of great help in treating cancer, and referred to the plant as Herba cancri, cancer herb. In his 1626 book the old doctor couldn’t say enough about the plant. From the Romans forwards calendula has been used to treat carcinoma and recent evidence indicates that it may in fact contain chemicals that are both anti-tumor and anti-cancer. In that the sun will not be going away anytime soon we need to think about what we can do to undo the daily damage the sun does to our skin. With its anti-cancer and immunostimulating powers, a daily once over with calendula creme may be the answer to the unavoidable sun and its ongoing damage. This is particular true of person that work out of doors or are silly enough to worship the sun.
A not so pleasant and yet ever so common modern malady is herpes, oral and genital. Once the talk of the town, Herpes has been cast aside by even more deadly viral infections, but it is no less a problem. Particularly if you suffer from the affliction, where the sun shines or where it doesn’t. Calendula has been used to treat skin ulcers,herpes sores, warts, chicken pox and shingles, all of which have a common denominator. They are skin eruptions or lesions caused by really mean and hateful little viruses. In fact the romans used the plant to treat warts, indeed the old latin name for the plant was verrucaria, the wart curing plant. The ancient physicians noticed that skin eruptions of a periodic nature, like herpes and warts, were effectively eradicated by calendula. Russian scientists looked into this eruption preventing action and have up to date found that the tincture of calendula has a killer action on the APR-8, A2 Frunze flu viruses, as well as, hold onto you seat, an inhibitory influence on the herpes simplex virus. The ancients use of calendula to halt skin eruptions caused by viruses was quite astute. When you couple calendulas anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcerous, and anti-viral capacity all together you have a cocktail that is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to treating Herpes.
Herpes sufferers can sense an outbreak before it happens and this is critical if they plant to use calendula to avert an actual break out. Herbalists have found if herpes sufferers apply calendula creme at the first signs of an outbreak they can avoid a full blown case of ulcers! Read and believe, thousands have had fantastic success with this treatment, suffer no more. Some herbalists feel it is best to take calendula internally as well as externally ! They recommend a tea of the flowers as well as generous applications of the creme on the areas usually affected.
Calendula is as well marvelous for healing any sort of ulcer in the mouth, be it from the herpes virus or another source. In fact, as long ago as the 1940′s German surgical clinics treating mouth and maxillary diseases experimented with calendula extracts as a healing agent for post surgical wounds and found that a gargle made with the plant did indeed speed the healing process. If you have some nasty gum surgery planned and or if you have gum disease you may want to start gargling with a light tea made with the flowers of your new calendula plant.
Nothing could be more pathetic than a child with the chicken pox or the measles, and though it has been largely eradicated, kids and sometimes grown ups to still get a case of these very uncomfortable illnesses.During the 17th century the petals were used in the treatment of small pox and measles, animal bites as well as insect bites. In the modern day, calendula comes in to the rescue whether the patient has been attacked by a marauding band of mosquitoes or someone has encountered a dose of the pox at the play ground. Generous application of the creme will greatly reduce the discomfort, and this if probably due to the plants ability to reduce inflammation. Itchy skin feels better under a layer of calendula.
Accidents happen and its important to have the medicine cabinet filled with medicines that can be used in first aid situations. Calendula creme being the best candidate for skin tragedies. From burns to abrasions, calendula creme dabbed on injured skin will heal faster and hurt less. Dont forget, calendula has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-fungal actions which would eliminate infection on the wound site and as well anti-inflammatory actions that would reduce the pain. When it comes to first aid, it always pay to dab a touch of calendula creme on the wound before the bandaid goes on.
Another very common skin complaint today is eczema, and as with many chronic conditions, there aren’t always easy answers to the problem. Many herbalists have found getting patients off dairy products eliminates the problem, others have found that eczema sufferers are allergic to aluminum and replacing all cooking utensils made of aluminum with caste iron makes a huge difference. With these two known causes of the disorder out of the way, some still suffer from eczema and calendula creme works for many of them in keeping the condition under control. Part of the syndrome is terrible itching which leads to scratching which leads to scabs which leads to scratching, and so on. It’s called the itch cycle. Calendula creme both soothes the itching as well as speeds the healing of the broken tissue-thus ending the cycle.
To wrap up our discussion of calendulas medicinal powers, lets talk about a particularly savory disorder, athletes foot fungus. Yet another pleasant condition that can be eradicated with the use of calendula creme. You may remember that ingredients contained in the plant have anti-fungal powers which is just what you need when you have athletes foot fungus, or worse yet the same condition when the fungus have made their home between your legs. Creme containing calendula extract will kill the nasty fungi in, releasing you from your bondage of itching.
When I said that calendula was an all in one medicine, perhaps it would have been better to say calendula is a medicine cabinet in and of itself! You cant loose having this one in your shelf and loaded with all the future uses of your calendula creme, its time to start making some of this wonderful ointment.
The hybrid between modern science and ancient herbalism is a wonderful thing and is producing fantastic results. This is the case with calendula for reasons you are about to discover. Physicians some time ago wondered why calendula creme worked sometimes and other times it didn’t seem to work as well. Modern research has answered the question. In the old days people made calendula creme from either a water extract or an alcohol extract. It has been discovered since that calendula has two sorts of ingredients, some that are water soluble and others that are alcohol soluble. More over, it has been discovered that the water soluble ingredients are the elements that treat viral infections and the alcohol soluble ingredients treat bacterial infection. So you can see why some calendula cremes worked on herpes sores and other times didn’t, if the creme wasn’t made with a water extract, the chemicals the suppress the virus wouldn’t be present!
A long story to make a short point, for our all purpose creme, we need to make a water extract as well as an alcohol extract out of our happy little calendula plant. And I do mean plant. Formerly just the flowers of calendula were used in skin ointments, but recent discoveries hint that some of the best parts of the plant can be found in the stem and roots.
With the plant growing in our garden, we are ready to move onto making some medicine. The first thing we are going to do is to go out and collect our raw medicine, namely our calendula plants in full bloom. You will want to pull out 10 plants as we will need five for our water extract and five for our alcohol extract. Once you have pulled them out by their roots, drag the lot into the kitchen and in the sink pull off any dead leaves, slugs, and wash the plants from top to bottom, taking extra care to get the dirt off and down the sink. Once you have your ten plant washed its time to chop them into bits, stems, roots, petals, the works. Divide the plants into two groups of five and hack away.
You will need two glass jars for the remaining part of the procedure and they should be large enough to hold 10 cups of liquid. In the one glass jar put five of your chop up plants and pour on top of them 10 cups of boiling water. Cover, and let stand until cool. Get yourself a pair of pantyhose and cut the legs off, these will act as your strainers to separated the liquid from the herb. Once the water/calendula mixture is cool, poor the whole lot through one of the legs of your amputated hose. Your object is to save the liquid and ditch the herb. Put the water solution back in your glass jar and store it in the fridge.
In the second container, place other five chop plants and cover them with 10 cups of vodka. Cover the mixture and store in a dark place for two weeks. Then strain just as you did with the water/calendula mixture. In a third jar mix your water solution and your alcohol solution and you now have your compound calendula base tincture, with all the healing ingredients. The alcohol will act as a preservative, but is always better to store your tinctures in the dark as light damages some of the chemicals.
With your tincture in hand you are ready to make your creme, which is the moment you have been waiting for. You can of course make you own creme which I can tell you from personal experience is fun, but messy and time consuming, or you can buy some creme from the store. Go to the pharmacy and buy a average brand hand creme, just about any sort will do, so long as it is not made with petrochemicals, ask you pharmacist he can direct you. Buy the cheapest brand you can find, contrary to popular belief, creme is creme is creme. In an empty peanut butter jar or any other sealable glass jar, mix one third part tincture and two third parts hand creme. And whooppee, you have your calendula creme. That is all there is to it and you now are ready for whatever skin disaster happens!
This remedy has been used in condition n which arnica has proved beneficially locally. A feature claimed for it is that it prevents the formation of pus when applied to wounds, and favors healing with the least possible cicatrization. It has been successfully applied to ordinary wounds, as a dressing after the tremcal of epithelioma, to burns, and for the relief of catatrahl affection with raw and tender surfaces. It is a perfectly safe drug , being non-poisonous , and seems to favor union by first intention. Harvey felter.
Prescription: apply the creme all the time, put the tincture in the bath, use as much as you can!
Getting your herb:
1. Purchase dried flowers or tincture at the health food store or herb seller.
2. Grow it yourself. If you run to the garden center in the spring planting mayhem season you will find calendula sold in the flower section and the starter plants available at that location will be all you need to get your skin farm under way.(You may want to take a little nerve tea before you head into the storm, garden centers in spring are usually a nigthmare.) You can also buy the seeds in the seed section and the plant sprouts readily and either option is equally easy and acceptable. Calendula is a fleshy plant and really needs a constant supply of moisture in the summer and a full day of sun. Make certain to plant the plant where you can easily water it. Dont forget the old fashioned name for the plant was pot marigold, so you can easily grow it in pots, as long as you keep them moist. In that you will be using a fair amount of calendula it might be wise to buy the seed and sow yourself a row of it in the garden.
Chapter from My PhD Thesis
Calendula officinalis (L.)
Florets and leaves
Significant phytochemicals include calendine, calendol, calendrin, calenduladiol, calendulosides, inulin, saponin, and saponosides. (16)
Calendula officinalis is a traditional European remedy of long use. It receives mentions in Macer’s Herbal, Culpepper’s Herbal, and Gerard’s Herbal. A native of Southern Europe and Asia, the plant is widely used in Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, and South America . Wherever it grows, it is used to treat wounds and infection. The plant was brought to North America by the colonists and was common by the year1670. The drug was official in the US Pharmacopoeia from 1880 to 1900. It was omitted in 1910. The drug was well understood long before the Eclectic movement came into existence.
Slightly stimulant, diaphoretic, antispasmodic, deobstruent, emmenagogue, prevents gangrene, stimulates wound healing by replacement or first intention, prevents suppuration in cases where there is a chronic tendency, synonymous with arnica in bruises and sprains, useful in recent wounds (causes scars to form without contraction of the tissues), hastens the healing of wounds, favours the union of broken tissues by first intention, relieves pain, soreness, and favours the healing process, prevents suppuration and promotes rapid healing in the normal patient.
“In enfeebled conditions of the capillary blood vessels, also as an application to ulcers and wounds, diluted with four times its bulk of water. Specific Calendula is an important local remedy, and is used internally to assist local action, and in capillary engorgement, varicose veins, chronic suppuration, splenic and hepatic congestion, and in old ulcers. Calendula is the local remedy for lacerated wounds.” (3)
Malaria, low forms of fever, tuberculosis, cancer, catarrhal mucous surfaces, and a tendency to gangrene.
Hepatic and splenic enlargement, varicose veins, capillary engorgement.
Amenorrhoea, vaginitis, endometritis, leucorrhea, gonorrhoea, non-specific urethritis.
Catarrhal conditions of the nose and throat with raw and tender membranes, otitis media.
Cancerous ulcers, ulcers, surgical wounds, lacerations (regardless of health of patient or weather), superficial skin affections, inflammatory indurations of long standing, stubborn acne, chronic ulcers, festering sores, local swellings, epithelioma, burns, scalds, severe burns (to promote healing and prevent the formation of a contracting scar), chaffing and excoriation’s of infants, indolent and gangrenous ulcers, abscess cavities, excoriated nipples, vaginitis, ecchymoses, varicosity’s, stomatitis, eczematous and ulcerative skin diseases, slow healing lesions with exudates.
The drug from Selye’s perspective
State of Resistance
The drug was used to raise resistance to gonorrhoea, non-specific urethritis, malaria, tuberculosis, cancer, and wounds.
State of Exhaustion
The drug was used when State of Exhaustion had commenced. Signs of State of Exhaustion treated with the drug included capillary engorgement, jaundice, ulcers of the mucous membranes or skin, indurations of long standing, indolent and gangrenous ulcers, catarrhal conditions of mucous membrane, eczematous skin conditions, and failure to heal.
From Selye’s perspective, the drug augmented the GAS, which suggests it increases adaptation energy. Evidence to this effect includes the following. The drug was used to raise resistance to infection and cancer. To a limited extent, it was used to remedy signs of State of Exhaustion . Lastly, the Eclectics used Calendula officinalis to inspire healing in slow healing wounds and cold ulcers. It was used to speed healing of traumatic injuries. Significantly, it was reported to speed healing, regardless of the weather or the health of the patient.
Brekhman’s Adaptogen Criterion
An adaptogen should be innocuous and cause minimal disorders in the physiological functions of an organism.
The drug is reported to be innocuous both in Eclectic and contemporary literature. (1–16)
The action of an adaptogen should be non-specific i.e. it should increase resistance to adverse influences of a wide range of factors of physical, chemical, and biological nature.
Clinically the drug was used to increase resistance to bacterial and viral infection, cancer, and wound infection. (1–5)
Experimentally, the crude drug has been found to increase resistance to a wide range of deleterious influences. It acts a potent free radical scavenger and antioxidant (6), prevents liver cell damage (7), increases resistance to periodontal disease (8), acts as a gastroprotectant (9), and has an anti-HIV activity (11). In addition, the drug contains compounds that have been shown to increase resistance to bacterial and viral infection, cancer, tumours, and free radical damage. (16)
An adaptogen may possess normalising action irrespective of the direction of the foregoing pathological changes.
Clinically, the drug was used to correct abnormalities in immune function, both hyperactive and hypo-active. It was seen as effective in remedying failures in healing of wounds and abnormal inflammation. To a limited extent it was used to remedy the signs of State of Exhaustion . (1–5)
Experimentally, the drug acts as a hypoglycaemic (9), enhance proliferation of lymphocytes, and acts as an anti-inflammatory (10). In addition, it contains compounds that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-oedemic, anti-ischemic, anti-rheumatic, anti-hypercholesterolemic , and analgesic activity. (16)
The drug exhibits properties consistent with Brekhman’s definition of an adaptogen; it is innocuous, it raises resistance to a wide range of biological threats, and normalizes physiological abnomalities.
Calendula officinalis has been used as a wound healing and anti-infection agent for hundreds if not thousands of years. Experimental research, using crude drug and constituents have substantiated these uses. The Eclectics found the drug most effective when used internally and topically. Here again, research has validated a historical use. An immune stimulant, the drug would encourage the body to heal a wound and keep it free from infection. Calendula can be seen as a specific in raising resistance to wound infection
Potential Clinical Applications
Wound management, in the age of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria, is a challenge for the medical profession. Calendula officinalis, with its demonstrated effects in this arena, may offer a solution. There is evidence that, when used internally and externally, it raises resistance to wound infection.
• Effects of Calendula officinalis on the GAS. The drug should be tested out in the animal model for its effect on the GAS.
• Calendula officinalis and its relative effect on the immune system. Calendula officinalis is related to Arnica montana and Echinacea angustifolia. Not only is it allied to these plants genetically, it has been used for similar purposes. All three have been used as immune modulators (hyper-immune, hypo-immune, and autoimmune disease). It would be helpful to establish which of the three drugs represents the best immune modulator.
• Calendula officinalis and periodontal disease. Calendula officinalis has been shown to increase resistance to microbial infection, act as an immune stimulant, and act as an anti-inflammatory agent. Specifically, the drug has been shown to adhere to buccal surfaces (13), to inhibit the specific pathogens at the root of periodontal disease, and stimulate the regeneration of tissue (14). All these facts suggest its role in increasing resistance to periodontal disease should be examined.
• Calendula and viral infection. Calendula officinalis has a history of use in viral disease. Recent research shows that it acts an anti-HIV agent. (11). In addition, it has been shown to increase the efficacy of Acyclovir in herpetic disease. (15) Its role in increasing resistance to viral disease should be examined.
• Calendula officinalis and surgical wound management. There is significant evidence to suggest Calendula officinalis could be used in the wound management crisis. Historically it has been used for these purposes and research has substantiated these uses. Its role in raising resistance to surgical wound infection, when used internally and externally should be examined.
The drug is readily grown.
• King, John. The American Eclectic Dispensatory. Moore , Wilstach, and Keys. Cincinnati . 1854. P. 283.
• Webster, HT. Dynamical Therapeutics—A work devoted to the Theory and Practice of Specific Medication with special references to the newer remedies. Webster Medical Publishing Company. Oakland . Second Edition. 1898. P. 542, 617.
• Lloyd Brothers. Dose book of Specific Medicines. Lloyd Brothers, Cincinnati . 1907. P. 83.
• Ellingwood, Finley. American Materia Medica, Therapeutics, and Pharmacognosy. Ellingwood’s Therapeutist. Chicago . 1919. P. 389.
• Lloyd, John Uri. Origin and History of all the Pharmacopoeial Vegetable Drugs, Chemicals and Preparations. Volume 1: Vegetable Drugs. The Caxton Press. Cincinnati . 1921. P. 34.
• Cordova CA et al. Protective properties of butanolic extract of the Calendula officinalis against lipid peroxidation of rat liver microsomes and action as free radical scavenger. Redox ep 2002; 7(2): 95–102. From PubMed abstracts.
• Perez-Carreon et al. Genotoxic and antigenotoxic properties of Calendula officinalis extracts in rat liver cell cultures treated with diethylnitrosamine. Toxicol in Vitro 2002 Jun; 16(3): 253–8.From PubMed abstracts.
• Krazhan et al. Treatment of chronic catarrhal gingivitis with polysorb immobilised Calendula. Stomatologiia (Mosk) 2001:80(5): 11–3. From PubMed abstracts.
• Yoshikawa et al. Medicinal Flowers III. Marigold. Chem Pharm Bull ( Tokyo ) 2001 Jul; 49(7): 863–70. From PubMed abstracts.
• Amirghofran et al. Evaluation of immunomodulatory effects of five herbal plants. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2000 Sep; 72(1–2): 167–72. From PubMed abstracts.
• Kalvatchev et al. Anti-HIV activity of extracts from Calendula officinalis flowers. Biomed Pharmacother 1997; 51(4): 176–80. From PubMed abstracts.
• Akihisa et al. Triterpene alcohols from the flowers of Compositae and their anti-inflammatory effects. Phytochemistry 1996 Dec; 43(6): 1255–60. From PubMed abstracts.
• Schmidgall et al. Evidence for bioadhesive effects of polysaccharides and polysaccharide containing herbs in an ex vivo bioadhesion assay on buccal membranes. Planta Medica 2000 Feb; 66(1): 48–53. From PubMed abstracts.
• Klouchek-Popov et al. Influence of the physiological regeneration and epithelization using fractions isolated from Calendula officinalis. Acta Physiol Pharmacol Bulg 1982; 8(4): 63–7. From PubMed abstracts.
• Corina et al. Treatment with acyclovir combined with a new Romanian product from plants. Oftalmologia 1999; 46(1): 55–7. From PubMed abstracts.
• Dr. Dukes Ethnobotanical and Phytochemical Databases. Agricultural Research Service. USDA.
Notes from the Eclectic Physicians
1854: JOHN KING – CALENDULA OFFICINALIS – GARDEN MARYGOLD
Properties and Uses – Slightly stimulant and diaphoretic. Used for similar purposes with saffron, but less active. Has been reputed antispasmodic, deobstruent, and emmenagogue, and recommended inlow forms of fever, scrofula, jaundice,, amenorrhea, cancer etc. Used in infusion, or in the form of extract, from four to six grains, three or four times a day: also applied locally to cancerous and other ulcers. Probably over estimated. Dr Wm J Clary of Monroeville , Ohio , writes me as follows, in relation to this plant: ?As a local remedy, after surgical operations, it has no equal in the Materia Medica. Its forte is its influence on lacerated wounds, without regard to the general health of the patient, or the weather. If applied constantly, gangrene will not follow, and I might say there will be but little, if any danger of tetanus. When applied to a wound, it is seldom that any suppuration follows, the wound healing by replacement or first intentin. It has been testes by several practitioners, and by one, is used after every surgical operation with the happiest effect. You need not fear to use it in wounds, and I would not be without it, for a hundred times its cost. It is to be made into a saturated tincture with whisky diluted with one-third its quantiy of water; lint is saturated with this, applied to the parts and renewed as often as it becomes dry.?
1898; Webster; (Skin) – Calendula Officinalis
The value of this remedy in superficial skin affections is not sufficiently realized. Even in inflammatory indurations of the skin of long standing, as for instance stubborn cases of acne, calendula will cure when other remedies fail. It acts well in such cases both from internal and local use, and these actions should be combined.
Form for Administration. – Lloyd’s or the tincture from a homeopathic pharmacy. For local use the active agent should be diluted with two or three parts of water.
Dose. – From the fraction of a drop to ten drops.
Synonym – Marigold.
Constituents – Calendula, volatile oil, amorphous bitter principle, gum, sugar.
Preparations – Tinctura Calendulae, Tincture of Calendula. Dose, from half a dram to one dram. Specific Calendula. Dose, from one to sixty minims.
Physiological Action – Through the cerebro-spinal vaso-motor nervous system (Burt’s fourth edition Homeopathic Materia Medica), calendula has one specific action. It induces paralysis in the arterial capillary vessels. Through it the vaso-motor merves become partially paralyzed and the vessels become loaded with blood. From this increased irritation which attracts a large number of white corpuscles, the adhesive quality of these corpuscles induces adhesive inflammation, as is beautifully shown in lacerated wounds and cuts where calendula is used, producing union by first intention. Calendula is best applied in a cerate.
Therapy – This agent is used principally for its local influence. Internally it is given to assit its local action, and to prevent suppuration in cases where there is a chronic tendency to such action. It is useful in varicose veins, chronic ulcers, capillary engorgement, and in hepatic and splenic congestion.
As arnica is applied ot bruises and sprains, this agent is also applicable; and in addition it is of much service applied to recent wounds, cuts and open sores. It is antiseptic, preventing the formation of pus. It causes the scar, or cicatrix, to form without contraction of tissues, and in the simplest possible manner. It hastens the healing of wounds and materially favors union of co-apted surfaces by first intention. It relieves the pain in wounds, and if there are not bad bruises, it quickly relieves the soreness and favors the healing process.
It is applicable to catarrhal mucous surfaces, to restering sores, local swellings, glandular inflammations an dto epithelioma and carcinoma to correct the fetor. it is especially applicable to severe burns, to promote healing and to prevent the formation of a contracting scar.
CALENDULA (Calendula, Marigold)
Calendula has no place in the early Pharmacopeias. It was official in the editions of 1880, 1890 and 1900, but was omitted altogether in 1910.
Marigold, Calendula officinalis, has been known, practically, from the beginning of documentary records in scientific or medicinal lines. A native of Southern Europe and the Orient, it is found under various names, from Japan to India , from the Orient to North America , to which it was carried by European colonists, according to Josselyn (345), before 1670. Dymock (Pharmacographia Indica, Vol. II, p. 322) states that calendula is a weed of cultivation in Northern India . In the early days of English mediaeval medication it was employed in decoctions for fevers, and as a hot drink to promote perspiration. The juice was also used empirically for sore eyes, and as an application to warts. Its popular use, as heired from a time lost to history, led to its final utilization by the medical profession, and to its position in mediaeval herbals, as also in many Pharmacopeias and treatises on European medicines and medication.
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