Mother Earth News Blogs > Natural Health

Natural Health

Healthy living, herbal remedies and DIY natural beauty.

4 Calendula Uses for Your Health

Calendula grows like crazy in our garden. As a family who loves color, we welcome the bright orange and yellow flowers that fill up the garden, but we still inevitably have to pull this plant out by the bucketful each year before it completely takes over. But maybe this year I will save a few of the extra plants, as calendula leaves offer a wide range of medicinal properties. The many calendula uses for health include treating diaper rash, healing wounds, and helping with side effects of radiation therapy.

Medicinal properties of calendula

There are many types of calendula, but the specific kind that is used medicinally is called Calendula officinalis (commonly known as pot marigold). It has been traditionally used to treat gastrointestinal ulcers, chronic infections, skin problems, wounds, and more.[1] It is known to possess many qualities that allow it to treat a number of conditions; these properties include anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic, antioxidant, would healing, and more.[2] There are countless potential calendula uses for your health.

1. Wound healing. Probably the most popular and well-studied of the calendula uses is wound healing. Studies show that it makes wounds heal better and faster by affecting the inflammatory response, activating antioxidant defense mechanisms, promoting formation of collagen, and more. Calendula may help heal burn wounds, surgical sites, and other types of acute injuries.[3-6] Many people use calendula oil in dressings to be put on wounds. There are a variety of topical creams and ointments that you can purchase at natural health stores for wound healing purposes. Find one with calendula oil as an active component and try using it to help anything from sunburns to cuts.

2. Diaper rash. Calendula is also one of the more effective natural diaper rash treatments.[7,8] In one study, calendula ointment was found to be significantly better at decreasing the severity of diaper rash symptoms than aloe vera, another great natural remedy for wounds.[7] Non-toxic and safe to use on the skin, even in babies, topical calendula creams may help you and your baby find relief from this bothersome condition.

3. Side effects from radiation therapy. Patients undergoing radiation therapy often experience a variety of unpleasant and bothersome side effects. Research shows that calendula can reduce some of these side effects, including skin reactions (changes in color, irritation, soreness, etc.) and oral mucositis (swelling, pain, and sores in the mouth).[9,10] For tips on finding a naturopathic oncology doctor, read more here.

4. Gingivitis is characterized by inflammation and infection of the gums, often caused by poor oral hygiene. Because calendula has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, it is not surprising that it can help to treat gingivitis naturally. Researchers found that two ml of calendula tincture in a small amount of water could be used as an effective, anti-gingivitis mouthwash when used in the morning and at night.[11]

Using calendula

To take advantage of these calendula uses, try these options:

  • Try calendula essential oil, which can be used in aromatherapy, applied directly to affected areas, or diluted for use. Try infusing the oil in homemade lotions, face washes, balms, and more.

  • There are many commercially prepared products that contain calendula extract. Look for topical creams, gels, and ointments for skin conditions, wounds, and diaper rash.

  • Try making your own calendula oil. Place the leaves from fresh calendula flowers in a clean glass jar. Allow leaves to wilt slightly before adding olive oil to cover the flowers with about an inch of oil. Cover and let sit for four to six weeks, stirring occasionally. Strain out the flowers, and store your infused oil in a cool, dark place.

  • Drink calendula tea. Buy prepared calendula tea, or make your own by steeping leaves in boiled water.


[1] A review on phytochemistry and ethnopharmacological aspects of genus Calendula.

[2] Studies on spasmogenic and spasmolytic activities of Calendula officinalis flowers.

[3] Wound healing activity of flower extract of Calendula officinalis.

[4] Effect of Calendula officinalis cream on achilles tendon healing.

[5] Development of lamellar gel phase emulsion containing marigold oil (Calendula officinalis) as a potential modern wound dressing.

[6] Effect of Calendula officinalis Flower Extract on Acute Phase Proteins, Antioxidant Defense Mechanism and Granuloma Formation During Thermal Burns.

[7] A randomized comparative trial on the therapeutic efficacy of topical aloe vera and Calendula officinalis on diaper dermatitis in children.

[8] Shampoo-clay heals diaper rash faster than calendula officinalis.

[9] Complementary strategies for the management of radiation therapy side effects.

[10] Antioxidant capacity of calendula officinalis flowers extract and prevention of radiation induced oropharyngeal mucositis in patients with head and neck cancers: a randomized controlled clinical study.

[11] Evaluation of Calendula officinalis as an anti-plaque and anti-gingivitis agent.

Chelsea Clark is a writer with a passion for science, human biology, and natural health. She holds a bachelor’s degree in molecular and cellular biology with an emphasis in neuroscience from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA. Her research on the relationship between chronic headache pain and daily stress levels has been presented at various regional, national, and international conferences. Chelsea’s interest in natural health has been fueled by her own personal experience with chronic medical issues. Her many profound experiences with natural health practitioners and remedies have motivated Chelsea to contribute to the world of natural health as a researcher and writer for Natural Health Advisory Institute.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.