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The calendula is a flowering plant from the daisy family. The petals are edible and often ground into powder or made into extracts. Organic calendula, which is produced with limited synthetic materials, may then be used as a base for a wide variety of products. Supplements in the form of pills or tinctures may be ingested, as they are believed to carry possible health benefits. Oils and creams may be applied topically to treat rashes, burns, scars, and other skin problems. The petals themselves may be added to salads or used in potpourri and aromatherapy products.
Tinctures made from the plant’s extract and food-grade alcohol may be mixed with water and taken on a daily basis, as can pills containing the flower in powdered form. Organic calendula not only has vitamins and minerals such as beta-carotene, but also antioxidants like flavonols. These plant-based metabolites may help the body fight off free radicals that could eventually cause life-threatening complications, such as cancer. In this way, organic calendula is considered to have anti-tumor properties, as proven in a study performed on mice.
Organic calendula can also be made into a tea that can be drunk or applied to wounds. The flower is said to help with digestion problems such as constipation and cramps. Some studies have suggested the anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties of calendula as well; those who swear by the tea drink it to ward off airborne illnesses and joint pain.
Calendula may have a soothing effect when mixed with other moisturizers and made into a cream or balm. Several manufacturers produce organic calendula creams specifically for babies, as they may decrease irritation from diaper rash. Beauty creams for the hands and face often use this plant as a base, too; it may soothe sunburned or chapped skin and is often marketed toward those with sensitive skin in particular. The antioxidants in calendula oils and tinctures may help to fight off signs of aging, such as wrinkles. They may also treat burns and wounds due to the anti-viral qualities.
Though the petals of the flower can be eaten, many find the taste and smell to be not sweet, but rather like that of hops, which is often associated with beer. This is due to the terpenoids found in the flower. Terpenoids, a type of hydrocarbon, are often added as a flavoring to food products. Despite the fact that the aroma of the petals can be considered pungent, calendula is sometimes added to cosmetics and fragrances for that purpose.
Organic calendula may be purchased before it is made into products, either as a living plant or as dried petals or powdered petals. One may wish to try the plant in its various forms, though no studies on humans have conclusively proven any specific positive effects. It may be a good base ingredient for those who enjoy making their own soaps and creams at home.