Also called "pot marigold," calendula is an ornamental plant with bright orange-yellow flowers. (The name calendula comes from its tendency to bloom at regular intervals on the calendar.) Calendula’s bright orange blooms have been used in folk medicine for hundreds of years.
Herbal experts use calendula to help heal skin wounds and prevent them from getting infected. It reduces redness and swelling and may fight germs. Today some people rely on calendula to treat conditions such as acne, sunburn, and chapped hands.
You can find calendula in health food stores in many forms—creams, lotions, and gels (for sunburn or chapped hands) and soaps (for acne). When buying calendula products, look for ones that contain at least 10 percent "extract of Calendula officinalis."
If you’re adventurous, you can buy your own dried calendula flower heads in a health food store and brew some "tea" to wash your face with.
Calendula is generally very safe. However, it is in the same plant family as ragweed, so if you suffer from hay fever, try calendula cautiously. If you notice symptoms such as sneezing, itchy eyes or throat, a runny nose, or a rash after applying calendula, stop using it.
The use of herbs is not recommended during pregnancy and breast-feeding except under the guidance of a health professional.
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