Latin name: Calendula officinalis

Part Used: Petals, flower head

History & Cultural Significance: Historically, calendula was known as “poor man's saffron” as it was used to color and flavor foods, specifically butter, cheese, custard, bread, cookies, soups, and rice dishes. Calendula petals are also added to salads and used as a dye for fabric and hair.

Use: Calendula can be safely used on the skin and may be applied when there is inflammation on the skin, external bleeding or wounds, bruising or strains. Calendula can also benefit slow-healing wounds like skin ulcers and can also be used as a first-aid treatment for burns and scalds. Taken internally, calendula has anti-inflammatory actions in the digestive system and thus can be used to treat gastric and duodenal ulcers. As a cholagogue, it relieves gallbladder problems and general indigestion.

Actions: Anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, lymphatic, astringent, vulnerary, emmenagogue, cholagogue, anti-fungal.

Constituents: Triterpenes (calendulosides A-D); flavonoids (including narcissin, rutin); volatile oil; chlorogenic acid.

Safety Considerations: Calendula is a possible allergen for those with known sensitivity to members of the Asteraceae family but is otherwise nontoxic.

Formulator's Notes: In early spring, I found some Calendula seeds at my local grocery store and tossed them into a garden bed. Low and behold, beautiful, bright orange flowers popped up and bloomed right through the Fall until the frost hit! I'm in love with these flowers as they were such a joy to grow and process. I harvested flowers every few days from about July to September and lay them out on my deck to air dry. I've noticed that macerations from flowers that I purchased didn't have the same bright orange colour as those made from the Calendula I grew. I also happen to be in love with the bright orange berries of Sea Buckthorn, which I also grow, so I just had to make them into a combination salve. Both of these herbs are so bright and cheery so rightfully, the combination salve is scented with Bergamot.

You can find Calendula in Forage & Soothe's Calendula Ointment and Sea Buckthorn & Calendula Botanical Salve.


Engels, Gayle. 2008.  Calendula. Herbalgram 26(1-2). American Botanical Council.

Hoffman, D. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, Vermont, Healing Arts Press, 2003.

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