For many of us, another season of summer fun and sun can be pretty hard on the skin causing heat rash, bug bites, sunburns, and various scrapes and bruises. A trip to the drug store promises relief in some 1000+ varieties of creams and ointments with an ingredient list so long and complex, a pocket dictionary is necessary just for translation!
Well, if you’re looking for some topical relief without all of the synthetic chemical strings attached, look no further than a fabulous little flower called calendula.
This vibrant yellow flower is in the daisy family and looks a lot like your average marigold. In fact, its common name is “pot marigold”, but distinct botanical properties set calendula apart from true marigolds. It is native to the Mediterranean, but it is a versatile and hardy plant that is easy to grow with a little love and care in your backyard garden.
Natural Treatment for Topical Skin Conditions
Calendula has been used to treat topical skin irritations for hundreds of years; these conditions include the following:
- Bruises and abrasions
- Poison oak and ivy
Calendula has an ability to soothe irritated skin and repair the damaged skin tissue, making it a popular ingredient in skin care products. It is also used in ear drops to treat ear infections, especially in children as it effectively relieves pain just like a non-herbal preparation.
For oral care, a toothpaste based on calendula extract is helpful in improving inflammation caused due to gingivitis. The calendula toothpaste also helps in reducing plaque and bleeding of gums in people affected by gingivitis.
Calendula is also used to heal wounds, burns, cuts and bruises:
Calendula has been shown to help wounds heal faster, possibly by increasing blood flow and oxygen to the affected area, which helps the body grow new tissue. It is also used to improve skin hydration and firmness. The dried petals of the calendula plant are used in tinctures, ointments, and washes to treat burns, bruises, and cuts, as well as the minor infections they cause. Calendula also has been shown to help prevent dermatitis or skin inflammation in breast cancer patients during radiation therapy.
How to Use Calendula
When used to treat skin irritations, calendula is applied to the affected area in the form of salves, creams, lotions, tinctures, and poultices. Lab studies have shown that calendula has antimicrobial properties, so it’s no surprise that it is a common ingredient in natural acne treatments and cosmetics.
A very small portion of the population may have adverse reactions to calendula—a small rash or reddening of the skin—but those instances are very rare. To play it safe, always conduct a skin test on a small part of your forearm before you apply calendula to the irritated area—you don’t want to add another level of discomfort to your sunburned cheeks!
Jocelyn Eide is a writer-researcher from Montana, USA, and writes on a variety of insightful topics, including natural health. When she is not working, she is likely doing Yoga.