Calendula officinalis

parts used: flowers, leaves.

collection: either the whole flower or just the petals are collected between June and September. The flowers and petals need to be dried quickly in a good current of warm air, spread out on sheets of paper, loosely without touching each other, or they lose their colour. Historically the leaves were also used and should only be picked when dry. The leaves are no longer used by herbalists but they are edible and can be used as salad leaves. The flowers can also be macerated in oil.

cultivation: it is very easy to grow from seed and prefers full sun but is tolerant of semi-shade. Sow in open ground in spring. This plant will self-seed from then on and the crop will expand very quickly so be prepared to cut it back hard when necessary.

constituents: saponins, carotenoids, bitter principle, essential oil, sterols, flavonoids, mucilage, triterpenes.

actions: anti-inflammatory, astringent, vulnerary, antifungal, cholagogue, emmenagogue, immune stimulant, anti-protazoal, antispasmodic, antihaemorrhage, antihistamine, antibacterial (particularly against staphylococcus and streptococcus), anthelmintic anti-emetic, anti- cancer, antiseptic, styptic, haemostatic, diaphoretic, oestrogenic activity (extract from fresh flowers), menstrual regulator.


respiratory system

As an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial immune stimulant Marigold is very effective as a gargle in treating enlarged and inflamed lymphatic glands.

digestive system

Its vulnerary action to the mucous membranes is very powerful and can be used internally to treat gastric and duodenal ulcers. As a cholagogue and choleretic it is effective in relieving symptoms of jaundice and gall bladder inflammation.

genitourinary system

Marigold is an emmenagogue and antispasmodic, perfect for regulating and tonifying the reproductive organs, and can be used to treat absent or painful periods. It can also be used internally and externally, as an immune stimulant and antifungal, to treat vaginal thrush.


It is a great wound healer as it speeds up skin regeneration especially when using the 90% tincture. It is very effective for treating sores, ulcers, sore nipples in nursing mothers, varicose veins, chilblains, bee and wasp stings, fungal infections, thrush.

contraindications: none known.

preparations and dosage

tea: 1–2 teaspoons of flowers per cup, infuse for 15 minutes and drink freely.

tincture: 50g petals to 500ml 45% alcohol, stand for 14 days in a warm place, shake daily. Take 5–20 drops in water daily.

sitz bath: to treat genital thrush use 25g to 2 litres of water, infuse for 20 minutes, add to bath water or a sitz bath and rest in the water for 10 minutes.

infused oil: infuse flowers in a good quality oil for 2 weeks, strain and use as a massage oil or add to an ointment base.

cream: add either tincture or infused oil to a base cream.

combinations: as a treatment for thrush, add the dried or fresh flowers to a sitz bath along with Lavender, Rose, Comfrey and Chamomile. To treat a sore throat use the diluted tincture mixed with Myrrh, Sage and Echinacea to gargle.

This is an extract from Sorrell’s book

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