The botanical industry sure makes good use of flowers. Oils are extracted from the petals to enhance your products with their scent and more. These flowers are not just for your garden and home, add calendula superstar herb.
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Calendula Superstar Herb
So what is calendula? Calendula has many names (aka pot marigold, Scotch marigold or common marigold) looks similar to the marigold flower. There are around 20 species of edible flowers from this daisy family. They are in a different class than your common marigold.
This flower is native to Southwest Asia, Western Europe, Macaronesia and the Mediterranean region. Calendula is a plant that can now be found worldwide. It is a perennial found in flower beds with a big orange blossom. The herb has been used for centuries in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine.
Known as a healing plant it is usually used to increase tissue healing after injuries, burns and bruises. Flowers are harvested and infused as oil in your products. Calendula has been FDA approved as a spice and ingredient.
Petals of the calendula can be eaten versus the marigold being dangerous. More importantly marigolds should not be ingested by humans and animals. If you have flowers that look like marigolds you have to be absolutely sure they are calendulas. Thus you don’t want to eat a marigold nor have pets near it.
Calendula is added to:
- Body creams
- Wound treatments
- Lip balms
If you are aware you are allergic to marigolds this plant is not for you. You should always perform a patch test with new products. In the event a red, itchy rash should occur take the product off right away. Calendula may even contradict with other plant allergies like ragweed and chrysanthemums.
Calendula Compared to Marigold
To determine whether it’s a calendula examine its components. The surest way is to exam the plants seeds. Calendulas will have brown U-shaped seeds with little bumps along the exposed surface.
Marigold seeds are straight and black with white tips. If your flower is not producing seeds you can pluck a bloom from the head once it withers.
Look at the shape of the flower and its petal. Petals of the calendula are straight, long and oval-like. I think it looks more like a daisy. Colors are yellow, white, orange or pink.
Calendula's flower is kinda flat shaped. There is a very prominent dot in its center ranging in color from yellow to brown.
Marigold petals usually look like rectangles with rounded corners. Their surface is somewhat wavy not flat. I think the petals of this flower are clustered or pulled tight together. Its center color can be solid or a combination of cream, yellow, red or orange.
Calendula has long, rounded leaves. Leaves and stems are sticky and somewhat hairy.
Marigold has long thin leaves that have toothed edges. The whole plant feels smooth to the touch.
Mature calendulas usually reach between 1 and 2 feet tall. But this depends on the actual species and growing conditions.
Versus the mature marigold with its many varieties which can grow between 6 inches and 4 feet tall. If your flower is over 2 feet tall it’s likely not a calendula but a marigold.
Calendula's flowers and leaves are somewhat sweet smelling. Marigold has an odor that is unpleasant and oddly pungent or spicy.
Calendula plants are entirely safe and edible. But you have to be absolutely sure of the plant. It’s always wise to check with a professional herbiest if you intend to eat a plant or brew as tea.
Marigolds are actually poisonous. It is best to just avoid them.
Calendula Superstar Herb Qualities
These factors can contribute:
- Sun exposure
Calendula can help inflammatory skin conditions including eczema and psoriasis.
You heard all about antioxidants as an ingredient in skincare from what we covered before. They neutralize free radicals helping you stay clear of oxidative stress. Both of these can cause premature aging, collagen and elastin breakdown in addition to other problems.
Calendula includes carotenoids and flavonoids. With these antioxidants it improves wound healing while hydrating your skin as well as prevents inflammation.
You have trillions of bacteria and fungi living on your skin (don’t freak) forming its microbiome. Their job is to keep your skin healthy. Sometimes things can get thrown off with a certain strain (or strains).
Results can be seen with overgrowth of certain bacteria and fungi these symptoms are triggered. But calendula can help.
How is Calendula Used in Skincare?
Like other medicinal plants through the centuries calendula has many uses. In addition it is formulated into your creams, essential oils and serums. Just look for calendula officinalis on the label.
Calendula oil is what is actually used in skincare products that are applied to your skin. Oil is extracted through a process from its petals, seeds and stems (rose is usually rose oil). This is often used for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial qualities.
Calendula superstar herb is commonly used in hydrating creams. The plant contains fatty acids in its oil such as linoleic acid. These rich nutrients assist to support your skin barrier function.
You need to keep this healthy so your skin can hold in water to remain hydrated. Check out products like Naturopathica’s Calendula Essential Hydrating Cream which is well loved.
Calendula can be hydrating and nourishing for dry skin. It has been used to relieve many conditions that cause dry, itchy and irritated areas.
- Other dry skin
This herb promotes the production of collagen. A protein your skin needs for structure that decreases as we age. Calendula helps to bring back skin’s glow.
As well as having a strong effect the herb is gentle. So it can be enjoyed by those with sensitivities. Therefore making it safe and effective for babies who have the most sensitive and delicate skin.
It is often found in many products for children. As a result the preferred natural option for prevention and treatment of conditions that babies experience.
- Diaper rash
- Cradle cap
Wrinkles are Slowed Down
Because of its soothing abilities calendula is really known as a healing plant. The healing effect of its petals is very powerful.
Beneficial for many needs:
- Insect bites
- Cold sores
Applied topically it is used to keep your wound clean and encourage new tissue growth. Often this is seen in pour healing wounds. As a result these could have signs including tenderness, redness or inflammation.
This healing herb can also be used for sunburn. A cream, ointment or balm can be placed on the area. In other words it has the ability to reduce swelling and redness preventing infection leading to quicker healing.
Calendula superstar herb has the ability to reduce scarring making it perfect for wound healing. This herb encourages blood flow to the injury. In turn it promotes a quick and healthy healing process minus any infection.
How can you use Calendula?
Put a spin on your essential oil use by adding a couple drops of calendula to a carrier oil (jojoba is good). Be careful with applying essential oil directly on your skin. They can cause allergic reactions.
Add to Bath
Drop in bath to relieve swelling and inflammation. If you have the whole calendula flower adorn warm bath with flower heads and petals. The look alone will be stress relieving.
Wrapping it up
Calendula has many years of history. It has been used for its healing and soothing qualities. The flower is commonly known as a marigold but calendulas differ.
And to think marigolds were in the family flower bed growing up and we didn’t know they were poisonous. Be sure you’re growing the right plant for your intentions substituting could be dangerous. So there you have it another super herb to add to your skincare shelf.
Do you have either calendulas or marigolds around your home?
Mary is the founder of All About Our Skin. Former esthetician and CPC. Enjoys researching skincare and has been studying our skin for the past fifteen years.