Calendula cream is made from marigolds.
As a rule, most “alternative medicine” doesn’t wash with me or, for that matter, most medical practitioners that I know.
However, I find herbalism very interesting because at least, unlike homeopathy, there are active ingredients that possibly might do some good (or harm). I even have a book on the toxic substances contained in plants that I read for pleasure. Some plants produce some very powerful substances. Less than a century ago people had to rely on various herbal preparations – some will have worked and others might have been downright dangerous.
I must confess to the fact that for many years I have used calendula cream on areas of rough skin or mild patches of eczema. It seems to be very soothing and in my family it seems to heal. The brand I used to use was Nelson’s calendula cream and I became quite addicted to the marigold smell. However, they seem to have changed the formula in recent years and for me it doesn’t have the same appeal any more.
It should always be remembered that a small number of individuals will develop allergies to very specific plant products as well as the preservatives that might be added to creams and ointments to prevent bacterial contamination to allow a realistic shelf life. For most people though, this will not be a problem.
I always grow old-fashioned pot marigolds in my garden every summer, not because I’m a particular fan of orange flowers but because I love the scent of marigolds so much. Maybe this summer I’ll try to make my own calendula cream.
Here is a link to an article from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center on calendula. Note that before reaching the page on a specific herb or plant, the Sloan-Kettering may draw your attention to the lack of evidence base for the use of many herbs, by asking you to read an introductory page first.
Extracted from the flower of the marigold plant, calendula is used topically for wound healing (1). Major constituents of the leaves and stems of the plant include lutein and beta-carotene (2). Extracts from calendula demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties (3), which may improve wound healing (4), and antibacterial, antiparasitic (5), anti-HIV (6), cytotoxic and anti-tumor effects (9) (10) both in vitro and in vivo. Further, studies done in mice indicate hepato- and renoprotective effects (14). An herbal formulation containing calendula was found effective in reducing earache in children with acute otitis media (7) (8). Preliminary data support use of topical calendula for prophylaxis of acute dermatitis during radiation therapy in cancer patients (11) (13). More research is needed. Calendula is known to cause allergic reactions (1) (12).”
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