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What is calendula? What is it used for?

Calendula is a common plant grown throughout Europe and North America. It is similar to a sunflower in appearance, with large, scoop-shaped yellow or orange flowers.

The flowers of the calendula plant are used medicinally. Much of calendula’s anti-inflammatory action is due to its high content of flavonoids. It also contains various saponins and carotenoids.

Historically, calendula flowers were used to reduce inflammation and fight infections. They were also used to treat a variety of skin conditions, from eczema to ulcerations. Recent evidence suggests they can fight some viral infections; there are also anecdotal (but unsubstantiated) reports that calendula can effectively treat cancer.

How much calendula should I take?

Most practitioners recommend 1-2 teaspoons of calendula combined with 200ml of boiling water as a tea, with a minimum of three cups of tea per day. Some practitioners also recommend 1-2ml of calendula tincture, which can be taken with water or tea.

What forms of calendula are available?

Some specialty stores sell calendula flower petals, which can be used to make a calendula tea. Calendula tinctures and ointments are also available.

What can happen if I take too much calendula? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?

Except for persons who may be allergic, there are no know side-effects or drug interactions with calendula.

Other Resources :

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• De Tommasi N, Conti C, Stein ML, et al. Structure and in vitro activity of triterpenoid saponins form calendula arvensis. Plants Med 1991;57:250—3.
• Della Loggia R, Tubaro A, Sosa S, et al. The role of triterpenoids in the topical anti-inflammatory activity of calendula officinalis flowers. Planta Med 1994;60:516—20.
• Leung A, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 113—4.
• Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenburg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum, 1988, 344.
• Wichtl M. Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1994, 118—20.


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