- Pot Marigold
For Patients & Caregivers
Tell your healthcare providers about any dietary supplements you’re taking, such as herbs, vitamins, minerals, and natural or home remedies. This will help them manage your care and keep you safe.
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.
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
For Healthcare Professionals
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.
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).