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Calendula, well known as one of the ornamental marigolds, blooms month after month from early spring to first frost. Because "calend" means month in Latin, the plant's lengthy flowering season is believed to have given calendula its name. The herb has been used to heal wounds and treat inflamed skin since ancient times.
An active ingredient that might be responsible for calendula's traditional medicinal properties has not been discovered. One theory suggests that volatile oils in the plant act synergistically with other constituents called xanthophylls. 1
Experiments on rats and other animals suggest that calendula cream exerts wound-healing and anti-inflammatory effects, 2 but double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have not yet been reported. The best study on calendula so far was a controlled trial comparing calendula to the standard treatment trolamine for the prevention of skin irriation caused by radiation therapy . 3 Interestingly, the researchers used trolamine for comparison not because it has been proven effective but more as a kind of acceptable placebo (trolamine is not thought to do very much, even though it's widely used). The study found calendula more effective than trolamine. However, because this was not a double-blind study, the results mean little; mere expectation of benefit is likely to cause patients and...
Calendula is generally regarded as safe. Neither calendula cream nor calendula taken internally has been associated with any adverse effects other than occasional allergic reactions, and animal studies have found no significant toxic effects. 4 However, the same studies found that in high doses, calendula acts like a sedative and also reduces blood pressure. For this reason, it might not be safe to combine calendula with sedative or blood pressure medications.
Interactions You Should Know About
If you are taking
- Sedative drugs:Calendula might increase the sedative effect.
- Medications to reduce blood pressure:Internal use of calendula might amplify the blood pressure-lowering effect.