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What Is Calendula Ointment?

Calendula ointment is used to treat inflamed skin.
Calendula ointment should not be used on open or seeping wounds.
Calendula ointment can be used to treat minor cuts and scrapes.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2014
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Calendula ointment is a salve which is used to treat irritated skin. Many health food stores and skin care shops sell calendula ointment, and it is also sometimes available at drug stores and in the lotions aisle of large grocery stores. It is also possible to make this salve at home. One advantage to making it at home is that people can control the carrier fat used for the calendula, which can be useful for people who are concerned about allergies or who would like to avoid animal products.

This ointment is derived from Calendula officinalis, a plant in the genus sometimes referred to as “pot marigolds.” Plants in this genus are often utilized as ornamentals for their brightly colored flowers. They naturally produce a variety of compounds which are believed to have antiinflammatory and antibacterial effects. Calendulas certainly produce flavonoids, antioxidant compounds which appear to be beneficial to human health.

There are a number of types of skin irritation which can be treated with calendula ointment. The ointment should not be applied to open or seeping wounds, but it can be used on cooled dry burns, chafing, minor cuts and scrapes, and irritated or inflamed skin. Some researchers have demonstrated that calendula ointment can reduce inflammation associated with radiation treatment for cancer patients, and it can also be useful for treating dry or cracked skin.

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Pure calendula ointment is made with fats such as cocoa butter, beeswax, kukui butter, or shea butter and calendula petals which are steeped in the oils. It can be a suspension of solid fat or a whipped oils made into a cream. For seeping wounds, calendula water or spray can be used. All of these products are designed for topical use only and should not be consumed, as they may have stabilizers or other ingredients which could be dangerous to ingest.

People who want to make their own calendula ointment can select the fats of choice they would like to use, heat them, and steep dried calendula petals in the warmed fats. The petals may be left in if the ointment is going to be used relatively quickly, or the warm fat can be strained into a container for storage. It should be kept in a cool dry place, and if it contains fats which go rancid quickly, it may be wise to consider refrigerating the ointment. Refrigerated ointment can also be very refreshing on irritated skin during warm weather.

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MrsWinslow
Post 2

@Kat919 - I thought it was homeopathic, too, but after reading the article, I'm not so sure. The idea with a homeopathic remedy like arnica is that like cures like, but in dilution. So the plant arnica is made from would actually cause pain and inflammation, I suppose. Supposedly, diluting the like substance a great deal makes it more effective.

But the article says that the plant has anti-inflammatory properties, which doesn't follow the law of similars. So I'm not sure. I'll stick to good old ibuprofen for anti-inflammatory!

Kat919
Post 1

I thought that calendula ointment was homeopathic, like arnica. We had calendula gel, I think, and arnica we had both as an ointment and in those little sugar pills. Is calendula a homeopathic remedy or something different?

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