Since ancient times, medicinal healers have been using calendula to treat inflammation of the skin. What is this mysterious remedy? It’s a herb. Well, actually it’s a flower that is better known as an ornamental marigold. Many plants have healing powers (that’s what herbal medicine is based on), and the ingredients within calendula, which exert its power, have not been fully discovered yet. That doesn’t stop the guessing though — some experts believe the plant’s essential oils work together with ingredients called ‘xanthophylls’ (they prevent damage from occurring in the plant due to overexposure to the sun).
As winter looms, your skin is bound to get dry and your lips chapped. You might want to keep calendula in the back of your mind. The Germans certainly do, as creams made with this flower are some of the best-selling skin ointments in the country. If you were to open up half of the medicine cabinets in Deutschland, you’d probably see calendula cream sitting there. It’s used for treating scrapes, burns, wounds that aren’t healing fast enough, eczema, and even hemorrhoids and varicose veins.
Perhaps it’s not as common over here because there haven’t been very many good-quality trials performed on calendula as of yet. However, some studies have proved that calendula does indeed have anti-inflammatory and wound- healing abilities. It’s also been found to work as an antiseptic, killing bacteria and viruses — and it can even stimulate the immune system.
Maybe the best evidence of this comes from a study that compared calendula to ‘trolamine,’ a common treatment that is used to prevent skin irritations caused by radiation therapy. The study showed that calendula cream ended up being more effective than trolamine for preventing skin problems.
However, evidence backing calendula’s healing properties is sparse. That’s okay — this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work. How could this and other herbal treatments be so popular in Germany (seemingly the land of alternative medicine) if it were ineffective? When you use calendula cream, apply it about two to three times a day to the affected area of your skin. It’s perfectly safe and has never been linked to side effects worse than allergic reaction.
Look for products that contain at least a 10% extract of calendula. You can also find a tincture, which can be an effective remedy when diluted a little. After diluting the tincture, you can then wash the affected skin with it.
If you’re searching for a good cream and have been trying to find one that works, check out calendula. It can help soothe and treat skin irritations, rash, minor burns, sunburns, bruises, insect bites, scrapes, acne, and even eczema.