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What Is Calendula Used for Today?
Experiments on rats and other animals suggest that calendula cream exerts wound-healing and anti-inflammatory effects, 1 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 . 2 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 experimenters to perceive benefit.
Creams made with calendula flower are a nearly ubiquitous item in the German medicine chest, used for everything from children's scrapes to eczema , burns , and poorly healing wounds. These same German products are widely available in the United States as well.
Calendula cream is also used to soothe hemorrhoids and varicose veins , and the tea reportedly reduces the discomfort of canker sores . However, as yet there is no scientific evidence for any of these uses.
- Review of Natural Products. St. Louis, Mo: Facts and Comparisons; 1995: Calendula monograph.
- Pommier P, Gomez F, Sunyach MP, et al. Phase III randomized trial of Calendula officinalis compared with trolamine for the prevention of acute dermatitis during irradiation for breast cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2004;22:1447-53.