Calendula officinalis, a species of marigold, has a wide variety of medical uses. For example, if it is used on the skin, it is well-known for its ability to promote the quick healing of open sores or ulcers. It is also used for its anti-inflammatory properties. Some people choose to take Calendula officinalis internally, particularly if they suffer from sore throats or fevers. Before using it, a skilled medical provider should be consulted, as it may interfere with certain drugs and potentially cause miscarriages in women who are pregnant.
One of the main medical uses for Calendula officinalis is as a topical ointment on the skin. It is thought to treat a variety of skin issues, some more serious than others. For example, it is thought to help open sores and skin ulcers heal faster. It is also thought to help soothe irritations on the skin, such as windburn, sunburn, and even diaper rash and chaffing.
Another medical use for Calendula officinalis is the treatment of conjunctivitis, an infection of the eye. Since it is thought to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, the petals are often brewed as a medicinal tea. The concoction is then used as a homeopathic wash for the eyes, rather than ingested.
Some people believe that an ointment or salve that is made from Calendula officinalis can be used to reduce hemorrhoids and varicose veins. Others feel that it has the ability to stop nosebleeds, particularly if the ointment is applied to the inside of the nostril and nasal passageway. In some cases, the petals from the Calendula officinalis flowers are made directly into a paste; in other cases, the paste from the petals is combined with other ingredients, such as witch hazel or cocoa butter.
Many people use Calendula officinalis orally, either by drinking or gargling with a tea or consuming a capsule. For example, although the tea may be consumed, many people choose to gargle with it, particularly to help soothe a sore throat or laryngitis. People who drink it often hope it will help lower a fever or lessen cramps associated with menstruation. It is also believed to have cleansing properties to help with liver function and maintenance.
As with any herb or medicine, people should proceed with caution before using Calendula officinalis in any format. Some supplements are mixed with other herbs that may prove harmful. In addition, the herb may cause miscarriages in pregnant women. People who will be undergoing surgery or who have recently been through surgery should avoid it because it may cause excessive sleepiness if it is used in combination with a sedative.