Calendula has saved my skin on more than one occasion. I have used it on cuts, burns, tans, rashes, irritations, and dry skin.
Most recently it saved me from a bad skin reaction around my eyes. I tried an eye cream that I had not used before. I was familiar with the brand, and had used many of its products, so I assumed that my skin would react well to it. But it did not.
Less than an hour after putting the eye cream I felt itching. I looked in the mirror and my eyes looked irritated, and started tearing. Even though I washed it off, overnight my eyes grew red, they swelled up, and the skin around them became dry and was peeling off. I looked as if I had stayed awake sobbing through the entire night while sitting on a tanning bed. It was awful!
The next morning I placed cold cotton swabs over my eyes, and then calendula salve, which is a mixture of calendula, olive oil, and beeswax. Within a few minutes the itchiness had reduced, within a few hours the redness was noticeably reduced, within a few days the swelling had gone, and within a week the dryness had vanished and my eyes were back to normal.
The results I experienced are not surprising, given that calendula is known for its properties as a wound healer, skin soother, and anti-inflammatory.
How Calendula Works
Calendula or Calendula officinalis is also known as marigold or pot marigold. It belongs to the Asteraceae or daisy family, which includes dandelion, Echinacea, chrysanthemum, and the chamomiles, along with over 30,000 other species.
Calendula is most well known for its action as an anti-inflammatory, cleanser, detoxifier, antiseptic, wound-healer, and fever-reducer. It is used in herbal medicine, homeopathy, Traditional Medicine, and Ayurvedic medicine (Ahora, Rani, & Sharma, 2013). It is used as a tea, infusion, tincture, ointment, oil, and decoction.
Historically, calendula was used to treat poor eyesight, red eyes, menstrual problems, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, liver obstructions, weak heart, snake bites, headaches, jaundice, measles, smallpox, and wounds (Ahora, Rani, & Sharma, 2013).
Calendula is safe to use topically and has not been known to have any skin toxicity (Kodiyan & Amber, 2015). It has also been used beneficially in the treatment of the below skin conditions:
A study conducted on 53 patients with 2nd or 3rd degree burns showed that a calendula ointment was more effective than Vaseline and other ointments in treating the burns (Ahora, Rani, & Sharma, 2013).
Skin ulcers are frequently found amongst people who suffer from diabetes, particularly in the feet. Ulcers are open sores that expose the inner layers of the skin, and can easily become infected. They are uncomfortable and painful. I found a study in which 41 women suffering from diabetes, aged 44 to 82, had foot ulcers. They received a spray with Calendula, and were able to successfully heal the ulcers. These same results were also seen in ulcers caused from bed rest (Buzzi, de Freitas, & Winter, 2016).
3. Diaper Rash
Diaper rash is a common ailment amongst babies, and can be characterized by skin redness, irritation, rash, dryness, and lesions. A study compared the results of treating diaper rash in a group of 100 babies, where 50 of them were treated with a medication known as bentonite, and the other 50 were treated with calendula. Although calendula took twice as long to heal the diaper rash, it was still effective (Mahmoudi, Adib-Hajbaghery, & Mashaiekhi, 2015), and would thus be a good option for those looking to treat diaper rash with a natural product.
4. Radiation-Induced Skin Damage
People undergoing radiation treatment often suffer from radiodermatitis or inflammation in the skin, particularly in the underarms and skin folds, although inflammation can occur in other areas of the body. Calendula has been use to treat inflammation effectively, often without side effects and with a decrease in pain (Ahora, Rani, & Sharma, 2013; Kodiyan & Amber, 2015).
Given the evidence provided from the studies that showed that calendula can be used in the treatment of burns, ulcers, diaper rash, and skin damage from radiation, calendula is an effective and safe skin healer.
Ahora, D., Rani, A., & Sharma, A. (2013). A review on phytochemistry and ethnopharmacological aspects of genus Calendula. Pharmacognosy Review, 7(14), 179-187. doi:10.4103/0973-7847.120520
Buzzi, M., de Freitas, F., & Winter, M. (2016). 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 Management, 62(3), 8-12. Retrieved from http://www.o-wm.com/article/prospective-descriptive-study-assess-clinical-benefits-using-calendula-officinalis
Kodiyan, J. & Amber, K. T. (2015). A review of the use of topical calendula in the prevention and treatment of radiotherapy-induced skin reactions. Antioxidants, 4(2), 293-303. doi:10.3390/antiox4020293
Mahmoudi, M., Adib-Hajbaghery, M., & Mashaiekhi, M. (2015). Comparing the effects of bentonite & calendula on the improvement of infantile diaper dermatitis: a randomized controlled tria. Indian Journal of Medical Research, 142(6), 742-746. doi:10.4103/0971-5916.174567