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Nutritional Supplement

Calendula

  • Skin Protection

    Eczema and Radiation-Induced Dermatitis

    Radiation therapy for breast cancer frequently causes painful dermatitis. Breast cancer patients who topically applied calendula had significantly fewer cases of severe dermatitis.
    Eczema and Radiation-Induced Dermatitis
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    Radiation therapy for breast cancer frequently causes painful dermatitis at the radiation site. In a study of women undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer, those who topically applied Calendula officinalis had significantly fewer cases of severe dermatitis, compared with those who used a standard medication.5 Calendula treatment was begun after the first radiation session and was applied twice a day or more, depending on whether dermatitis or pain occurred.

    Eczema

    Topical preparations containing calendula, chickweed, or oak bark have been used traditionally to treat people with eczema.
    Eczema
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    Topical preparations containing calendula, chickweed, or oak bark6have been used traditionally to treat people with eczema but none of these has been studied in scientific research focusing on people with eczema.

    Radiation therapy for breast cancer frequently causes painful dermatitis at the radiation site. In a study of women undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer, those who topically applied Calendula officinalis had significantly fewer cases of severe dermatitis, compared with those who used a standard medication.7 Calendula treatment was begun after the first radiation session and was applied twice a day or more, depending on whether dermatitis or pain occurred.

    Wound Healing

    Topically applied calendula can be used to speed wound healing.
    Wound Healing
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    Calendula flowers were historically considered beneficial for wound healing, reducing inflammation and fighting infection as a natural antiseptic.8 Like echinacea, calendula is approved in Germany for use in treating poorly healing wounds.9 Generally 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of calendula flowers is steeped in hot water for 15 minutes, then cloths are dipped into the liquid to make compresses. Such compresses should be applied for at least 15 minutes, initially several times per day, then tapering off as the wound improves.

    Traditional herbalists sometimes recommend the topical use of herbs such as St. John’s wort, calendula, chamomile, and plantain, either alone or in combination, to speed wound healing. Clinical trial in humans have not yet validated this traditional practice.

    Burns

    Calendula is anti-inflammatory and may be applied topically to minor burns to soothe pain and help promote tissue repair.
    Burns
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    Calendula cream may be applied to minor burns to soothe pain and help promote tissue repair. It has been shown in animal studies to be anti-inflammatory10 and to aid repair of damaged tissues.11 The cream is applied three times per day. Plantain is regarded as similar to calendula in traditional medicine, though usually the whole leaf is applied directly to the burn as a poultice.

    Poison Oak/Ivy

    Calendula has been used historically to treat skin inflammations such as poison oak and poison ivy.
    Poison Oak/Ivy
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    A great many plants have been used historically to treat skin inflammations like poison oak and poison ivy dermatitis. Examples include calendula (Calendula officinalis), blood root (Sanguinaria canadensis), Virginia snakeroot (Aristolachia serpentaria), holy basil (Ocimum tenuifolium), and chickweed (Stellaria media). None of these remedies has been subjected to controlled clinical studies to determine if they are safe and effective for this use. Cooling essential oils, such as peppermint and menthol, have also been used topically to relieve burning pain and itch. Such oils should not be applied full-strength, but should rather be diluted (for example in lotion or gel) to avoid further skin irritation.

  • Digestive Support

    Peptic Ulcer

    Calendula is another plant with anti-inflammatory and healing activities that can be used as part of a traditional medicine approach to peptic ulcers. The same amount as chamomile can be used.
    Peptic Ulcer
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    Calendula is another plant with anti-inflammatory and healing activities that can be used as part of a traditional medicine approach to peptic ulcers. The same amount as chamomile can be used.

    Ulcerative Colitis

    Calendula is an anti-inflammatory and soothing herb that may be effective in the treatment of ulcerative colitis.
    Ulcerative Colitis
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    Aloe vera juice has anti-inflammatory activity and been used by some doctors for people with UC. In a double-blind study of people with mildly to moderately active ulcerative colitis, supplementation with aloe resulted in a complete remission or an improvement in symptoms in 47% of cases, compared with 14% of those given a placebo (a statistically significant difference).12 No significant side effects were seen. The amount of aloe used was 100 ml (approximately 3.5 ounces) twice a day for four weeks. Other traditional anti-inflammatory and soothing herbs, including calendula, flaxseed, licorice, marshmallow, myrrh, and yarrow. Many of these herbs are most effective, according to clinical experience, if taken internally as well as in enema form.13 Enemas should be avoided during acute flare-ups but are useful for mild and chronic inflammation. It is best to consult with a doctor experienced with botanical medicine to learn more about herbal enemas before using them. More research needs to be done to determine the effectiveness of these herbs.

  • Pain Management

    Wound Healing

    Topically applied calendula can be used to speed wound healing.
    Wound Healing
    ×
     

    Calendula flowers were historically considered beneficial for wound healing, reducing inflammation and fighting infection as a natural antiseptic.14 Like echinacea, calendula is approved in Germany for use in treating poorly healing wounds.15 Generally 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of calendula flowers is steeped in hot water for 15 minutes, then cloths are dipped into the liquid to make compresses. Such compresses should be applied for at least 15 minutes, initially several times per day, then tapering off as the wound improves.

    Traditional herbalists sometimes recommend the topical use of herbs such as St. John’s wort, calendula, chamomile, and plantain, either alone or in combination, to speed wound healing. Clinical trial in humans have not yet validated this traditional practice.

    Burns

    Calendula is anti-inflammatory and may be applied topically to minor burns to soothe pain and help promote tissue repair.
    Burns
    ×
     

    Calendula cream may be applied to minor burns to soothe pain and help promote tissue repair. It has been shown in animal studies to be anti-inflammatory16 and to aid repair of damaged tissues.17 The cream is applied three times per day. Plantain is regarded as similar to calendula in traditional medicine, though usually the whole leaf is applied directly to the burn as a poultice.

  • Eye Health Support

    Conjunctivitis and Blepharitis

    Calendula has been traditionally used to treat eye inflammation.
    Conjunctivitis and Blepharitis
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    Several herbs have been traditionally used to treat eye inflammation. Examples include calendula, eyebright, chamomile, and comfrey. None of these herbs has been studied for use in conjunctivitis or blepharitis. As any preparation placed on the eye must be kept sterile, topical use of these herbs in the eyes should only be done under the supervision of an experienced healthcare professional.

What Are Star Ratings?
×
Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

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Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

Calendula flowers were historically considered beneficial for reducing inflammation, wound healing, and as an antiseptic. Calendula was used to treat various skin diseases, ranging from skin ulcerations to eczema.18 Internally, the soothing effects of calendula have been used for stomach ulcers and inflammation. Traditionally, a sterile tea was topically applied in cases of conjunctivitis.

References

1. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenburg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum, 1988, 344.

2. Della Loggia R, Tubaro A, Sosa S, et al. The role of triterpenoids in the topical anti-inflammatory activity of Calendula officinalis flowers. Planta Medica 1994;60:516-20.

3. Bogdanova NS, Nikolaeva IS, Shcherbakova LI, et al. Study of antiviral properties of Calendula officinalis. Farmskolto Ksikol 1970;33:349-55 [in Russian].

4. De Tommasi N, Conti C, Stein ML, et al. Structure and in vitro activity of triterpenoid saponins form Calendula arvensis. Plants Med 1991;57:250-3.

5. Pommier P, Gomez F, Sunyach MP, et al. Phase III randomized trial of Calendula officinalis compared with trolamine for the prevention of acute dermatitis during irradiation for breast cancer. J Clin Oncol 2004;22:1447-53.

6. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenberg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum and Beaconsfield: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1988, 328-9.

7. Pommier P, Gomez F, Sunyach MP, et al. Phase III randomized trial of Calendula officinalis compared with trolamine for the prevention of acute dermatitis during irradiation for breast cancer. J Clin Oncol 2004;22:1447-53.

8. Leung A, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 113-4.

9. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al (eds). The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 100.

10. Della Loggia R, Tubaro A, Sosa S, et al. The role of triterpenoids in the topical anti-inflammatory activity of Calendula officinalis flowers. Planta Medica 1994;60:516-20.

11. Patrick KFM, Kumar S, Edwardson PAD, Hutchinson JJ. Induction of vascularisation by an aqueous extract of the flowers of Calendula officinalis L the European marigold. Phytomedicine 1996;3:11-8.

12. Langmead L, Feakins RM, Goldthorpe S, et al. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral aloe vera gel for active ulcerative colitis. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2004;19:739-47.

13. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Beaconsfield, UK: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1989, 114-5.

14. Leung A, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 113-4.

15. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al (eds). The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 100.

16. Della Loggia R, Tubaro A, Sosa S, et al. The role of triterpenoids in the topical anti-inflammatory activity of Calendula officinalis flowers. Planta Medica 1994;60:516-20.

17. Patrick KFM, Kumar S, Edwardson PAD, Hutchinson JJ. Induction of vascularisation by an aqueous extract of the flowers of Calendula officinalis L the European marigold. Phytomedicine 1996;3:11-8.

18. Leung A, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 113-4.

19. Wichtl M. Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1994, 118-20.

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2019.