Calendula

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Calendula

Common Names

  • Gold-bloom
  • Marigold
  • Marybud
  • Pot Marigold

For Patients & Caregivers

How It Works

Calendula ointment applied to skin may speed wound healing and reduce swelling and irritation from radiation therapy.

Derived from the flower of the marigold plant, calendula is used topically for wound healing. Lab studies have identified naturally occurring chemicals in this botanical that have anti-inflammatatory and skin-healing properties. Studies conducted in humans are limited, but suggest that calendula ointments can help heal wounds and reduce inflammation after radiation therapy. More research is needed to confirm these effects.

Purported Uses
  • To heal burns, wounds
    Lab studies show that calendula ointment applied to skin reduces burn tissue injury. Preliminary humans studies also suggest it may help with wound healing and associated pain.
  • To prevent skin inflammation
    Calendula ointment applied to skin reduced painful swelling and irritation associated with radiation therapy in breast cancer patients.
Do Not Take If
  • You are allergic to plants in the Asteraceae/Compositae family.
  • You are pregnant or lactating because safety data are lacking.
Side Effects
  • Calendula can cause allergic reactions.
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For Healthcare Professionals

Scientific Name
Calendula officinalis
Clinical Summary

Derived from the flower of the marigold plant, calendula is used topically for wound healing (1). Major constituents of the leaves and stems include lutein and beta-carotene (2). Preclinical studies have demonstrated anti-inflammatory (3), antioxidant (4), antimicrobial (5), and cytotoxic effects (9) (10). Animal models also suggest photo- and cardioprotective properties (15) (16).

Studies in humans are limited. An herbal formulation containing calendula appeared to reduce acute otitis media (7) (8). Other studies suggest benefit with prophylactic topical calendula for radiation dermatitis (11) (13), diabetic foot and venous leg ulcers (23) (24), vaginal candidiasis (26), and episiotomy pain (29). Calendula-containing rinse may help chemotherapy-induced stomatitis (17), but was ineffective for preventing chemoradiotherapy-induced mucositis (27). Larger studies are needed to confirm these observations.

Purported Uses
  • Wounds
  • Inflammation
Mechanism of Action

Triterpenoids present in calendula have anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties (3) (6). Photoprotective effects with topical gel formulations are attributed to improvements in collagen synthesis in the subepidermal connective tissue (15). Calendula also modulates antioxidant and anti-inflammatory pathways via Akt and Bcl2 activation, and downregulates of TNF-alpha (16). Essential oil derived from its flowers exhibit sun-protective activity (19), and prevent UVB-induced skin alterations (20). Accelerated burn healing may occur via increased collagen-hydroxyproline and hexosamine, two bioindicators of wound healing (4).

Contraindications

Calendula should be avoided during pregnancy and lactation because safety data are lacking  (1).

Adverse Reactions

Calendula is known to cause allergic reactions (12).

Dosage (OneMSK Only)
References
  1. Barnes J, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines. London: Pharmaceutical Press; 2002.
  2. Bako E, Deli J, Toth G. HPLC study on the carotenoid composition of Calendula products. J Biochem Biophys Methods. Oct-Nov 2002;53(1-3):241-250.
  3. Akihisa T, Yasukawa K, Oinuma H, et al. Triterpene alcohols from the flowers of compositae and their anti-inflammatory effects. Phytochemistry. Dec 1996;43(6):1255-1260.
  4. Chandran PK, Kuttan R. Effect of Calendula officinalis Flower Extract on Acute Phase Proteins, Antioxidant Defense Mechanism and Granuloma Formation During Thermal Burns. J Clin Biochem Nutr. Sep 2008;43(2):58-64.
  5. Szakiel A, Ruszkowski D, Grudniak A, et al. Antibacterial and Antiparasitic Activity of Oleanolic Acid and its Glycosides isolated from Marigold (Calendula officinalis).Planta Med. Nov 2008;74(14):1709-1715.
  6. Kalvatchev Z, Walder R, Garzaro D. Anti-HIV activity of extracts from Calendula officinalis flowers. Biomed Pharmacother. 1997;51(4):176-180.
  7. Sarrell EM, Cohen HA, Kahan E. Naturopathic treatment for ear pain in children. Pediatrics. May 2003;111(5 Pt 1):e574-579.
  8. Sarrell EM, Mandelberg A, Cohen HA.Efficacy of naturopathic extracts in the management of ear pain associated with acute otitis media. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. Jul 2001;155(7):796-799.
  9. Boucaud-Maitre Y, Algernon O, Raynaud J. Cytotoxic and antitumoral activity of Calendula officinalis extracts. Pharmazie. Mar 1988;43(3):220-221.
  10. Ukiya M, Akihisa T, Yasukawa K, et al. Anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor-promoting, and cytotoxic activities of constituents of marigold (Calendula officinalis) flowers. J Nat Prod. Dec 2006;69(12):1692-1696.
  11. 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. Apr 15 2004;22(8):1447-1453.
  12. Reider N, Komericki P, Hausen BM, et al. The seamy side of natural medicines: contact sensitization to arnica (Arnica montana L.) and marigold (Calendula officinalis L.). Contact Dermatitis. 2001 Nov;45(5):269-72.
  13. Kassab S, Cummings M, Berkovitz S, et al. Homeopathic medicines for adverse effects of cancer treatments. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009 Apr 15;(2):CD004845. Review.
  14. Preethi KC, Kuttan R. Hepato and reno protective action of Calendula officinalis L. flower extract. Indian J Exp Biol. 2009 Mar;47(3):163-8.
  15. Fonseca YM, Catini CD, Vicentini FT, et al.  Efficacy of marigold extract-loaded formulations against UV-induced oxidative stress. J Pharm Sci. 2011 Jun;100(6):2182-93.
  16. Ray D, Mukherjee S, Falchi M, Bertelli A, Das DK. Amelioration of myocardial ischemic reperfusion injury with Calendula officinalis Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2010 Dec;11(8):849-54.
  17. Oberbaum M, Yaniv I, Ben-Gal Y, et al.  A randomized, controlled clinical trial of the homeopathic medication TRAUMEEL S in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced stomatitis in children undergoing stem cell transplantation. Cancer. 2001 Aug 1;92(3):684-90.
  18. Saini P, Al-Shibani N, Sun J, et al. Effects of Calendula officinalis on human gingival fibroblasts. Homeopathy. 2012 Apr;101(2):92-8.
  19. Mishra A, Mishra A, Chattopadhyay P. Assessment of In vitro Sun Protection Factor of Calendula officinalis L. (Asteraceae) Essential Oil Formulation. J Young Pharm. 2012 Jan;4(1):17-21.
  20. Mishra AK, Mishra A, Verma A, Chattopadhyay P. Effects of Calendula Essential Oil-Based Cream on Biochemical Parameters of Skin of Albino Rats against Ultraviolet B Radiation. Sci Pharm. 2012 Sep;80(3):669-83.
  21. Panahi Y, Sharif MR, Sharif A, et al. A randomized comparative trial on the therapeutic efficacy of topical aloe vera and Calendula officinalis on diaper dermatitis in children. Scientific World Journal. 2012;2012:810234.
  22. Verma PK, Raina R, Sultana M, Singh M, Kumar P. Total antioxidant and oxidant status of plasma and renal tissue of cisplatin-induced nephrotoxic rats: protection by floral extracts of Calendula officinalis Linn. Ren Fail. 2016;38(1):142-50.
  23. Buzzi M, de Freitas F, Winter M. A Prospective, Descriptive Study to Assess the Clinical Benefits of Using Calendula officinalis Hydroglycolic Extract for the Topical Treatment of Diabetic Foot Ulcers. Ostomy Wound Manage. 2016 Mar;62(3):8-24.
  24. Buzzi M, de Freitas F, de Barros Winter M. Therapeutic effectiveness of a Calendula officinalis extract in venous leg ulcer healing. J Wound Care. 2016 Dec 2;25(12):732-739.
  25. Khairnar MS, Pawar B, Marawar PP, Mani A. Evaluation of Calendula officinalis as an anti-plaque and anti-gingivitis agent. J Indian Soc Periodontol. 2013 Nov;17(6):741-7.
  26. Saffari E, Mohammad-Alizadeh-Charandabi S, Adibpour M, Mirghafourvand M, Javadzadeh Y. Comparing the effects of Calendula officinalis and clotrimazole on vaginal Candidiasis: A randomized controlled trial. Women Health. 2017 Nov-Dec;57(10):1145-1160.
  27. Marucci L, Farneti A, Di Ridolfi P, et al. Double-blind randomized phase III study comparing a mixture of natural agents versus placebo in the prevention of acute mucositis during chemoradiotherapy for head and neck cancer. Head Neck. 2017 Sep;39(9):1761-1769.
  28. Alexandre JTM, Sousa LHT, Lisboa MRP, et al. Anti-inflammatory and antiresorptive effects of Calendula officinalis on inflammatory bone loss in rats. Clin Oral Investig. 2018 Jul;22(6):2175-2185.
  29. De Angelis C, Di Stadio A, Vitale S, et al. Use of calendula ointment after episiotomy: a randomized clinical trial. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. May 27 2020:1-5.
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