Also Known As: Calendula , Pot marigold
Calendula ,pot marigold, is a genus of about 120 species of annual or perennial herbaceous plants in the daisy family Asteraceae, native to the area from Macaronesia east through the Mediterranean region to Iran. Calendula should not be confused with other plants that are also known as marigolds, such as corn marigold, desert marigold, marsh marigold, or plants of the genus Tagetes.
The name Calendula stems from the Latin kalendae, meaning first day of the month, presumably because pot marigolds are in bloom at the start of most months of the year. The common name marigold probably refers to the Virgin Mary. Claims that its old Saxon or Anglo-Saxon name is 'ymbglidegold' are unsubstantiated, as is the claim that this means 'it turns with the sun'.
The most commonly cultivated and used member of the genus is the pot marigold (Calendula officinalis).
Pot marigold florets are considered edible. They are often used to add color to salads, or added to dishes as a garnish and in lieu of saffron. The leaves are edible but are often not palatable. They have a history of use as a potherb and in salads.
Flowers were used in ancient Greek, Roman, Middle Eastern and Indian cultures as a medicinal herb as well as a dye for fabrics, foods and cosmetics. Many of these uses persist today.
Calendula oil is still used medicinally. The oil of C. officinalis is used as an anti-inflammatory, an anti-tumor agent, and a remedy for healing wounds.
Plant pharmacological studies have suggested that Calendula extracts have anti-viral, anti-genotoxic, and anti-inflammatory properties in vitro. In herbalism, Calendula in suspension or in tincture is used topically for treating acne, reducing inflammation, controlling bleeding, and soothing irritated tissue. There is limited evidence that Calendula cream or ointment is effective in treating radiation dermatitis. Topical application of C. officinalis ointment has helped to prevent dermatitis, pain, and missed radiation treatments in randomized trials.
Calendula has been used traditionally for abdominal cramps and constipation. In experiments with rabbit jejunum the aqueous-ethanol extract ofCalendula officinalis flowers was shown to have both spasmolytic and spasmogenic effects, thus providing a scientific rationale for this traditional use. An aqueous extract of Calendula officinalis obtained by a novel extraction method has demonstrated anti-tumor (cytotoxic) activity and immunomodulatory properties (lymphocyte activation) in vitro, as well as anti-tumor activity in mice.
Calendula is known to cause allergic reactions. It should be avoided during pregnancy.