Calendula: What It Is and What It's Good For
When we think of medicinal plants and herbs, it’s common for unexceptional shrubs and ground-up leaves to come to mind. When we think of poisonous plants, aren’t they more often than not vibrant, beautiful flowers?
Calendula oil is one of those rare exceptions. It’s both beautiful to look at, and quite helpful from a wellness standpoint. In fact, it’s a versatile plant that can produce an essential oil perfect for supporting a variety of systems, including nourishing skin, alleviating dry or irritated skin, supporting our muscular system, and it can even play a role in improving dental health!
Let’s break down calendula oil in more detail and show you how it plays a key role in many of the best herbal salves!
What is Calendula?
Calendula is actually a type of marigold plant, and it’s been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Unlike many other medicinal herbs, calendula is also pretty to look at, featuring petals of deep oranges and yellows most of the time.
Calendula’s colors petals aren’t just visually appealing--they also are the part of the plant that have the key medicinal compounds: flavonoids, which are beneficial components you can also find in fruits and vegetables. As a native herb of North America, calendula is incredibly easy to find in the wild and is a lovely addition to any garden.
The flowers don’t take up a lot of space and are annual plants that should rebloom each year. They attract butterflies and bees for added benefit to your garden, without attracting annoying bugs like mosquitos.
How Does Calendula Work?
The calendula flower includes many natural chemicals that account for it medicinal value. These include the flavonoids quercetin and isorhamnetin, certain triterpene alcohols, and triterpene saponins.
Scientific names aside, all this means is that calendula offers a variety of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can help hydrate your skin, improve skin health, and even act as an effective soap ingredient.
Because most of the medicinal benefits are found in the flowers rather than the roots or stem of the plant, it’s these pieces that are chopped up or mashed together to become ingredients for salves and other topical treatments. You can also make essential oils from calendula plants. You do however need to dilute these essential oils with a carrier oil for maximum benefit and safety if applying them topically or as a spray.
The Benefits of Calendula
Let’s break down the many benefits of calendula depending on the form and treatment type.
Pain Relief and Skin Repair
As mentioned, the calendula plant contains plenty of antioxidants and soothing flavonoids. These compounds are known to boost our immune systems and provide holistic health benefits.
When applied as part of a topical salve and used in conjunction with other ingredients, calendula can help soothe damaged or irritated skin and support the body’s healing efforts.
Skin repair is also an area where calendula provides real benefits. Green Goo’s Skin Repair Salve demonstrates this by mixing calendula with aloe vera, vitamin E, and coconut oil for overall nourishment. This all-natural salve is great for scarring, wrinkles, or even minor burns!
Calendula’s soothing effects can also help outside of and around your mouth, too. Calendula is the first ingredient in Green Goo’s Cold Sore treatment, and it works as a skin protectant when it’s needed the most!
Note that you should not consume calendula oil under any circumstance. The above advice only relates to the outside of your mouth, not actually consuming any liquid calendula product.
Menstrual Cramp Relief
Because calendula can be inhaled as an essential oil through aromatherapy, it can also help relax you and ease the tension caused by menstrual cramps and other unpleasant feelings you might experience throughout your body due to menstruation. As with all essential oils, you have to dilute the calendula oil with a carrier oil, then diffuse the oil mixture for best effect.
Skin Hydration and Protection
Calendula is a powerful skin hydrator and protector as it’s packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Green Goo’s Dry Skin Salve uses calendula oil and other vital ingredients to form a moisturizing layer over your skin to help temporarily alleviate some of the stubborn symptoms of various skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
That topical salve can be applied relatively frequently for soothing relief!
As mentioned before, calendula oil can be combined with other ingredients to create a soap that’s perfect for sensitive skin. Green Goo’s Bar Soap combines regular calendula oil with aloe vera. This combination moisturizes and soothes the skin, in direct contrast to regular alkaline bar soap, which can actually dry out and irritate the skin.
Green Goo’s bar soap cleans your skin capably and is perfect for babies or adults who just have sensitive skin. Those with acne may also appreciate this bar soap since it won’t strip your skin of natural oils and make your acne problems worse.
Many insects don't like the concentrated fragrance of calendula essential oil. Because of this, applying the oil topically to your skin in a diluted carrier oil solution can serve as an effective insect repellent. You can also create your own bug spray by combining calendula oil and water. This may not be quite as effective as other anti-bug essential oil formulas like our Bugs Be Gone spray, but it's far better than using chemicals like DEET!
If you're looking for healthier skin, you might consider using calendula oil to nourish and improve your skin's appearance. Directly rubbing diluted calendula essential oil might result in better skin hydration and firmness across the board. You can also use this topically, and it’s a lot easier to apply and absorb than many thicker, over-the-counter creams.
A Treatment for Diaper Rash
Green Goo’s plant-based wellness products aren’t just for kids and adults--Green Goo’s Baby Balm is specially formulated to soothe and moisturize a baby’s skin. Many mothers have found that calendula oil is great for relieving skin irritations like diaper rash on their little one's sensitive skin. This salve includes calendula along with other skin-promoting ingredients like jojoba seed oil and vitamin E.
Calendula as a Balm
Lip balms in particular really benefit from a combination of regular beeswax, olive oil, sunflower seed oil, and calendula oil, all of which mix well together to produce a hydrating product that moisturizes and mends dry, chapped lips! You'll find calendula oil in Green Goo Lip Balm as well.
How Do You Take Your Calendula?
Calendula oil is only ever utilized as part of another topical treatment (and combined with other herbal ingredients), or as an essential oil. You should not consume the oil from the calendula flower under any circumstances, although calendula flowers added to tea are likely not poisonous in small doses (though we do recommend you purchase a pre-made calendula tea).
Are There Any Side Effects?
As with many herbal remedies, you should avoid using calendula if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. This includes using the oil for oral health. Furthermore, those who are already allergic to ragweed and any related plants might also be allergic to calendula. Similar plants include other marigolds, daisies, chrysanthemums, and more.
You should also speak to a doctor before regularly using calendula oil or a topical salve, particularly if you are already using another topical ointment or are approaching a major surgery. Your doctor will be able to tell you if the calendula oil will interfere with any medication in your near future and can advise you properly.
We recommend that you do a skin patch test (i.e. only put a little bit of the oil on your skin to try it first) before making calendula a regular part of your skin care routine. With Green Goo, you can also easily wash off any product with some warm water and a washcloth!
Calendula oil is a fantastic herb you can find in many of the best soothing salves. Not only that, but it makes a phenomenal essential oil that’s especially soothing if you’re a fan of aromatherapy. We think most folks should give calendula oil a try, even if it’s just as one of many other ingredients in a natural remedy!