If you aren’t hip to calendula oil yet, it’s time to board the train because the health benefits are too good to pass up. The secrets about calendula are out, attracting the interest of scientific researchers and herbal enthusiasts alike. The calendula plant offers a wide range of benefits, and has proven to remedy myriad ailments over the years.
What Is Calendula?
This colorful flower belongs to the Asteraceae/Compositae family and is native to areas in Canada and the United States. As long as the soil is fertile and well-drained, you can grow calendula, especially if it has access to ample sunlight. The leaves are shades or rich oranges and yellow, and have a lovely fragrance. Various animal and in vitro studies have concluded that the flavonoids from these petals exhibit neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-diabetic properties. This makes calendula a highly respected plant in the field of alternative medicine.
Historically, people used calendula to treat kidney stones and gall stones, primarily because it has disinfectant and diuretic properties. Italian folk medicine used to use calendula oil to reduce inflamed wounds and burns. Some cultures brewed the petals into teas and used it as a face wash to reduce freckles or dark spots, or an eye wash to reduce the risk of conjunctivitis.
Health Benefits Of Calendula Oil
Nowadays, people continue to use calendula oil to remedy a variety of ailments. The most common uses involve topical application to reduce infections or fungus. According to research, however, calendula oil may help to reduce diaper rash, inflamed skin, and vaginal yeast infections. You can thank the triterpene saponins, triterpene alcohols, and flavonoids for calendula’s ability to do all of these things. These naturally occurring chemicals interact with the body to improve collagen synthesis and enhance new skin tissue growth. Continue reading to learn more about the primary benefits.
Calendula For Wound Healing
According to a recent study in The Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, calendula ointment was tested on cesarean scars in 72 women. The study compared the use of calendula ointment to conventional hospital treatment. The women who used calendula ointment had quicker healing time, and they reported less redness and swelling. Various animal studies tested calendula oil’s efficacy for healing bug bites, scrapes, burns, and bruises. The studies found that topical application of calendula oil encouraged 90% wound closing, compared to a separate controlled group. A newer study concluded that calendula oil may ward off infection, which contributes to faster wound closure.
Calendula As A Sunscreen
During in vitro studies, calendula oil exhibited an ability to encourage cell rejuvenation. The studies tested its efficacy as a sunscreen, showing a slight ability to protect the skin. Unfortunately, the evidence was not substantial enough to deem it acceptable as a sunscreen replacement. Fortunately, more studies are in the works to determine how effective it is at protecting the skin from UV damage.
Calendula For Vaginal Health
Bacterial vaginosis and vaginal yeast infections are two common occurrences for women. One study with 80 women monitored the use of calendula ointment compared to metronidazole, commonly used to treat bacterial vaginosis. After one week, the study found that both the ointment and metronidazole effectively cured bacterial vaginosis with no side effects. This sparked interest in the participants. The opportunity to use a natural ointment in place of medication excited the women.
Calendula For Muscle Spasms
If you want to ease muscle spasms or tension, get your hands on some calendula oil. According to a Pakistani study, calendula oil was able to relax spontaneous muscle contractions. A different study found that it helped to erase muscle spasms. Because of this ability to reduce muscle spasms, people wonder if it can be beneficial for menstrual cramping. According to anecdotal research, calendula helped induce menstruation for women who experienced irregular periods. It may also ease PMS symptoms like cramping, but more research is necessary to prove this.
How To Make Calendula Oil
- Dried calendula flowers or petals
- Carrier oil of choice (extra virgin olive oil, jojoba oil, organ oil, sweet almond oil)
- 1 glass container (half-pint jar works great)
- Fill a half-pint glass jar about 3/4 of the way full with calendula flowers or petals.
- Pour your desired oil into the jar so that the flowers are fully submerged.
- Place a lid on the container and store it in a sunny, warm location to enhance the infusion process. A windowsill is perfect. It will stay here for three weeks.
- After the three weeks, you have to strain the flowers from the oil. Pour the oil through a cheesecloth into measuring cup with a pour spout.
- Pour the strained oil into a glass jar and store it in a cool, dry place. Use it on your body, or face at will.