Calendula officinalis

Daisy Family (Asteraceae)

Energetics: warming, drying (De la Foret n.d.)
Taste: pungent, bitter (De la Foret n.d.)
When to harvest: Throughout much of the year outside of coldest months. They are most potent when harvested just as buds open into flowers (Geller, C.A. in Herbs with Rosalee, n.d.). Note that calendula loses much of its medicinal properties six months after harvesting, so it’s best to use up dried calendula flowers quickly.
Identification: Calendula has narrow, smooth (not serrated) leaves, and its flowers are 5-7cm wide in colours ranging from yellow to deep orange. The green base of the flower is sticky. Calendula can grow up to 30cm tall.

Calendula is a self-seeding annual that flowers for much of the year in temperate areas, and while it will die in the deepest winter, more calendula will appear each year due from seeds that survive. Calendula is named While the colourful flowers have antioxidants and the petals can be used in salads etc., the medicinal components are more concentrated in the resinous, sticky green base.

Calendula has many medicinal actions, but it is renowned for its skin support, and also useful internally to support immunity by activating the lymphatic system. It is also mildly antimicrobial.

Skin Care

  • Soothes insect bites, stings, or plant (e.g. nettle) stings

  • Soothes sunburn, calming inflammation & promoting new tissue growth

  • Soothes burns

  • Soothes chicken pox rashes

  • Soothes diaper rash, dry itchy skin, or unexplained rash

  • Hydrates and protects, and supports elasticity

  • Prevents damage from radiation therapy damage

  • Supports wound healing

  • Decreases scar tissue from fresh or old scars

  • Can decrease dandruff if applied regularly

Postpartum & Baby Care

  • Soothes irritated post-partum breast and repairs perineum (sitz bath), and heals mastitis

  • Heals cradle cap

Oral Health

  • Relieves bleeding gums, periodontal disease, or oral thrush

  • Relieves swellings

  • Soothes sore throat

Blood vessel health

Can be used internally or externally to support blood vessel health and reduce varicosities

Lymphatic system & Immune system

Stimulates lymphatic drainage, so supports prevention of infections, relieves swollen lymph nodes after a respiratory infection. It can also help alleviate breast cysts and pelvic cysts.

Its polysaccharides also stimulate the immune system


Relieves heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease, and peptic ulcers (best as a long-infused tea for ulcers)

Menstrual support

Can help to bring on menses if delayed, alleviate cramps - when taken as a strong infusion

Liver support

Helps address liver stagnation when taken as a strong infusion (bitter)


Works against fungal infections, conjunctivitis (pink eye), urinary tract infections, thrush, gum disease

Plant preparations


  • Infusion
  • Edible - flower petals in salads, ornamentally; whole flowers in broths
  • Tincture


  • Compress
  • Oil
  • Balm
  • Liniment
  • Hydrosol


In the Daisy family, which some people react to. It has historically been used to bring on menses so should be avoided in pregnancy.

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