Calendula (/kəˈlɛndjlə/)[1] is a genus of about 15–20 species[2] of annual and perennial herbaceous plants in the daisy family Asteraceae that are often known as marigolds.[3]:771 They are native to southwestern Asia, western Europe, Macaronesia, and the Mediterranean. Other plants are also known as marigolds, such as corn marigold, desert marigold, marsh marigold, and plants of the genus Tagetes. The genus name Calendula is a modern Latin diminutive of calendae, meaning "little calendar", "little clock" or possibly "little weather-glass".[4] The common name "marigold" [4] refers to the Virgin Mary. The most commonly cultivated and used member of the genus is the pot marigold (Calendula officinalis). Popular herbal and cosmetic products named 'calendula' invariably derive from C. officinalis.

Calendula January 2008-1 filtered.jpg
field marigold (Calendula arvensis)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Supertribe: Asterodae
Tribe: Calenduleae
Genus: Calendula

See text

Traditional and ancient usesEdit

Calendula species have been used traditionally as culinary and medicinal herbs. The petals are edible and can be used fresh in salads or dried and used to color cheese or as a replacement for saffron. A yellow dye has been extracted from the flowers.[5]

Romans and Greeks used the golden calendula in many rituals and ceremonies, sometimes wearing crowns or garlands made from the flowers. One of its nicknames is "Mary's Gold," referring to the flowers' use in early Catholic events in some countries. Calendula flowers are sacred flowers in India and have been used to decorate the statues of Hindu deities since early times.[6]

Calendula ointments are skin products available for use on minor cuts, burns, and skin irritation;[7] however, evidence of their effectiveness is weak.[7][8]


The flowers of C. officinalis contain flavonol glycosides, triterpene oligoglycosides, oleanane-type triterpene glycosides, saponins, and a sesquiterpene glucoside.[9][10]

Pharmacological effectsEdit

Calendula oil is still used medicinally. The oil of C. officinalis is used as an anti-inflammatory and a remedy for healing wounds.[11]

Plant pharmacological studies have suggested that Calendula extracts have antiviral, antigenotoxic, and anti-inflammatory properties in vitro.[12] In herbalism, Calendula in suspension or in tincture is used topically for treating acne, reducing inflammation, controlling bleeding, and soothing irritated tissue.[13][14] Limited evidence indicates Calendula cream or ointment is effective in treating radiation dermatitis.[15][16] Topical application of C. officinalis ointment has helped to prevent dermatitis and pain; thus reducing the incidence rate of skipped radiation treatments in randomized trials.[14]

Calendula has been used traditionally for abdominal cramps and constipation.[17] In experiments with rabbit jejunum, the aqueous-ethanol extract of C. officinalis flowers was shown to have both spasmolytic and spasmogenic effects, thus providing a scientific rationale for this traditional use.[17] An aqueous extract of C. officinalis obtained by a novel extraction method has demonstrated antitumor (cytotoxic) activity and immunomodulatory properties (lymphocyte activation) in vitro, as well as antitumor activity in mice.[12]

Calendula plants are known to cause allergic reactions,[18][19] and should be avoided during pregnancy.[18]

Culinary useEdit

Calendula species have been used in cooking for centuries. The flowers were a common ingredient in German soups and stews, which explains the nickname "pot marigold". The lovely golden petals were also used to add color to butter and cheese. The flowers are traditional ingredients in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. Calendula tea provides health benefits, as well as being delicious.[20]

Dye useEdit

The flowers were once used as a source of dye for fabrics. By using different mordants, a variety of yellows, oranges and browns could be obtained.[20]


Flower of Calendula officinalis
Group of flowers of Calendula arvensis.

Species include:[21]



  1. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  2. ^ Calendula. Flora of China.
  3. ^ Stace, C. A. (2010). New Flora of the British Isles (Third ed.). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521707725.
  4. ^ a b Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (6th ed.). United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. 2007. p. 3804. ISBN 978-0199206872.
  5. ^ Spotlight on Marigold. The Complete Herbal - Herbs and Herbal Remedies.
  6. ^ Doctor, Vikram (20 October 2017). "Marigold: The Mexican flower that has become a part of Indian festivals". Economic Times Blog. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  7. ^ a b Calendula ointment entry in the public domain NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms
  8. ^ Matthew J. Leach (2008). "Calendula officinalis and Wound Healing: A Systematic Review". Wounds. 20 (8).
  9. ^ Ukiya, M., et al. (2006). Anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor-promoting, and cytotoxic activities of constituents of pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) flowers. J Nat Prod. 69 1692-96.
  10. ^ Yoshikawa, M., et al. (2001). Medicinal flowers. III. Marigold.(1): hypoglycemic, gastric emptying inhibitory, and gastroprotective principles and new oleanane-type triterpene oligolycosides, calendasaponins A, B, C, and D, from Egyptian Calendula officinalis. Chem Pharm Bull. 49 863-70.
  11. ^ Okoh, O. O., et al. (2008). The effects of drying on the chemical components of essential oils of Calendula officinalis L. African Journal of Biotechnology 7(10) 1500-02.
  12. ^ a b Jimenez-Medina, E., et al. (2006). A new extract of the plant Calendula officinalis produces a dual in vitro effect: cytotoxic anti-tumor activity and lymphocyte activation. BMC Cancer. 6:6.
  13. ^ Duran, V; Matic, M; Jovanovć, M; Mimica, N; Gajinov, Z; Poljacki, M; Boza, P (2005). "Results of the clinical examination of an ointment with marigold (Calendula officinalis) extract in the treatment of venous leg ulcers". Int J Tissue React. 27 (3): 101–6. PMID 16372475.
  14. ^ a b Pommier, P., et al. (2004). Phase III randomized trial of Calendula officinalis compared with trolamine for the prevention of acute dermatitis during irradiation for breast cancer. J Clin Oncol. 22(8) 1447-53.
  15. ^ McQuestion, M. (2006). Evidence-based skin care management in radiation therapy. Semin Oncol Nurs. 22 163-73.
  16. ^ Bolderston, A., et al. (2006). The prevention and management of acute skin reactions related to radiation therapy: a systematic review and practice guideline. Support Care Cancer. 14 802-17
  17. ^ a b Bashir S, Janbaz KH, Jabeen Q et al. (2006). Studies on spasmogenic and spasmolytic activities of Calendula officinalis flowers. Phytother Res. 20:906-910.
  18. ^ a b "About Herbs, Botanicals & Other Products: Calendula". Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
  19. ^ Reider, N; Komericki, P; Hausen, BM; Fritsch, P; Aberer, W (2001). "The seamy side of natural medicines: Contact sensitization to arnica (Arnica montana L.) and marigold (Calendula officinalis L.)". Contact Dermatitis. 45 (5): 269–72. doi:10.1034/j.1600-0536.2001.450503.x. PMID 11722485.
  20. ^ a b "History of Calendula". Archived from the original on 2015-09-18. Calendula has been used in cooking for centuries. The flowers were a common ingredient in German soups and stews, which explains the nickname "pot marigold." The lovely golden petals were also used to add color to butter and cheese. The flowers are traditional ingredients in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. Calendula tea provides health benefits as well as being delicious.
  21. ^ Flann, C (ed.). "Species of Calendula". Global Compositae Checklist. Retrieved 31 March 2011.

External linksEdit