Calendula officinalis, goldbloom, golds, holligold, Marybud, Marygold, Mary gowles, ruddes

Marigold is an annual plant grown in central and southern Europe, western Asia, and the United States. The plant has a strong, unpleasant smell. The medicinal components include the flowers, shoots, and leaves. Marigold contains lutein, volatile oils, flavonoids, carotenoid pigments, and sterols. Topical use of its extracts promotes wound healing. The herb has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antimitotic, antimutagenic, antioxidant, cancerostatic, and immunostimulating properties. The extracts also have a systemic anti-inflammatory effect. Marigold is available as ointment, cream, gel,and shampoo, tincture, tea, and mouthwash, In products such as Calendula Gel, Calendula Ointment, California Candula Gel, and Kneipp’s Calendula Ointment.

Reported uses

Ointments containing marigold are used to treat wounds, burns, insect bites, chapped lips, nipples cracked by breast-feeding, skin inflammation, furunculosis, eczema, acne, and varicose veins. Tinctures and teas are used for peptic ulcers, dysmenorrhea, and sore throat. Extracts are used for cancer therapy and as immunostimulants in viral and bacterial infections. Other reported uses include diuresis and treatment of fever, toothache, and eye inflammation. Volatile oil of marigold is used in perfumes, and plant pigments are used in cosmetics.


  • Ointment: Apply 2 to 5 g powdered herb in 100g ointment to affected area
  • Compress: Steep 1 tablespoon herb in 500 ml water for 10 to 15 minutes and apply as a moist compress
  • Homeopathic formula: Dosage is 5 to 10 drops, 1 tablet, or 5 to 10 globules 1 to 3 times per day or 1 ml injection subcutaneously, twice weekly
  • Tea: 1 to 2 g per cup of water daily, ingested or as a gargle.


No known reactions have occurred with the use of calendula, although there is a slight possibility that contact dermatitis may occur in some patients.

Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should avoid using the herb, as should patients who have a history of environmental allergies or hypersensitivity to marigold.

Safety RiskĀ Don’t confuse marigold (C. officinalis) with African, Inca, or French marigolds (Tagetes), often used in gardens to repel insects.

Clinical considerations

  • Warn patient about the risk of allergic reaction.
  • Advise women to avoid use while pregnant or breast-feeding. Tell women to notify health care provider about planned, suspected, or known pregnancy.
  • Warn patient not to take herb for worrisome symptoms before seeking appropriate medical evaluation because doing so may delay diagnosis of a potentially serious medical condition.
  • Be sure patient is using correct dosage and administration route.
  • Tell patient to remind prescriber and pharmacist of any herbal or dietary supplement that he’s taking whenobtaining a new prescription.
  • Advise patient to consult his health care provider before using an herbal preparation because a treatment with proven efficacy may be available.

Research summary

Studies have been conducted on the antiviral and antibacterial components of calendula. It has been found effective in treating human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and microorganisms such as Kleb-siella pneumoniae and Sarcina lutea. Other studies have found calendula to be a potent anti-inflammatory agent.