The flowers of the Calendula officinalis, or pot marigold plant, are used to treat a number of skin conditions, including eczema. Calendula is believed to benefit eczema by reducing inflammation, eliminating bacteria, and helping the skin heal. While the effectiveness of using calendula for eczema has not been scientifically proven as of 2012, research has indicated that calendula might reduce inflammation and possibly promote healing. Many physicians and patients also report positive results when using calendula to manage eczema. To increase the effectiveness of this treatment, patients are urged to select products that combine pure calendula extract with other natural, nonirritating substances.
While the usefulness of calendula for treating eczema has not been specifically tested as of 2012, other uses of calendula have been the subject of clinical research. One study found calendula effective in reducing skin inflammation and preventing dermatitis in cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy. When used on eczema, calendula might reduce inflammation and improve the health of the skin.
Studies conducted on animal subjects found that calendula also facilities healing. Researchers believed that calendula’s effectiveness was due to the substance’s ability to increase blow flow to the injured area. Eczema patients whose skin becomes blistered or raw might benefit from calendula’s healing properties. Also, since this substance is believed to work as an antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral, using calendula might also help to prevent infection when applied around blisters and other lesions.
Due to the possible benefits, some physicians and holistic healthcare providers suggest using calendula for eczema. Unlike some other eczema treatments, calendula does not contain steroids, which can cause skin thinning if used over long periods of time. Calendula is generally believed to be safe and should not produce side effects. Patients who prefer more natural treatments commonly report positive results when using calendula for eczema. In many patients, calendula is also effective when used in combination with traditional medicine.
While calendula might benefit eczema in some individuals, it is important to for patients to choose products that are free of common irritants. Using a calendula cream that contains certain irritants, such as artificial fragrances, might decrease the effectiveness of the product or exacerbate the user’s condition. To avoid irritating the skin, consumers can either purchase a natural calendula lotion or make an oil at home. Calendula oil can be produced by adding pure calendula extract to a carrier oil, such as olive or sunflower oil. This will ensure that consumers reap the full benefits of using calendula for eczema without suffering any negative effects.