Botanical Names:

l          Family Asteraceae (formerly Compositae)

l          Calendula officinalis

l          Tagetes spp.

 Common Names:

 Marigold, Pot marigold, Holligold/Holigold, Goldbloom/Gold-bloom, Golds, Mary Bud/Marybud, Ruddes, Mary Gowles, Garden/English/African/American/Aztec Marigold

Spanish: Caldula, Mercadela, Coronilla, Virreyna Caldula, Cempashil, Peric, Flor de Muerto, Cincollagas

Nahuatl: Cempoalx hitl

Maya: Ix-ti-pu

 Description of the herb calendula:Calendula is a bushy, aromatic annual, with branched stems and lanceolate leaves. Flowers have yellow to orange ray florets, produced from spring to autumn.

 About Calendula:

 Also known as pot marigold (Calendula officinalis), calendula is a versatile herb native to the Mediterranean region. Europeans have grown this flowering plant in their gardens since the 1100s, actively using it through the centuries as a food and healing agent. A member of the aster family, calendula should not be confused with the common garden marigold (Tagetes species), which also sports bright orange and yellow flowers. It the colorful blossoming tops that are used medicinally.


 1.        Anti-inflammatory

2.        Astringent

3.        Emmenagogue

4.        Uterotonic properties

5.        Antimicrobial

6.        Antiviral

 Despite its long history of use, there are almost no studies regarding the efficacy of calendula in humans.  Used topically, a 5% flower extract has demonstrated stimulation of epithelialization in surgically-induced wounds.  The mechanism of this effect is believed to include collagen stabilization and increased glycoprotein.

 Chemical Composition:

l          Triterpenoids (faradiol)

l          Oleanolic acid glycosides

l          Sesquiterpene glycosides

l          Sapsonins

l          Flavonoids

l          Essential Oils

l          Steroidal compounds


·         There have been no reports in Western literature describing serious reactions to the use of calendula

·         In Russia, there was one report of anaphylaxis in a patient who gargled with calendula.

·         Doses up to 50 mg/kg have shown no histopathologic changes.

·         As with any agent, the risk of allergic reaction is possible.  Risk for allergic reaction is more likely in a patient with allergies to chamomile, feverfew, or dandelion pollen.  When used topically, the reaction is generally a self-limited contact dermatitis.

The name "calendula" connotes to the plant tendency to bloom according to the calendar, either once a month or at the new moon. Some sources also refer to calendula by its medieval moniker, "poor man's saffron," because it lends vibrant color and flavor to soups, rice, and chowders. These days, the colorful petals are a popular addition to salads.

    Calendula is one of the most well-known and versatile herbs in Western herbal medicine. Infusions are commonly used to treat such chronic fungal infections as ringworm or oral thrush, as an effective douche for vaginal yeast infections, to aid digestion, menopausal problems, menstrual pain, and esophogeal inflammations, and as a mouthwash, to heal gums after a tooth extraction, mouth ulcers, and gum inflammations.

This plant has a particular affinity for women. Taken regularly, marigold tea is helpful for painful periods, tender ovaries, blocked tubes, and in maintaining equilibrium during menopause. It has a mild estrogenic action often effective in reducing menstrual pain and regulating menstrual bleeding. When taken regularly, calendula will clear up cellulite, especially if used in conjunction with massage.

Taken internally, calendula helps inflammatory digestive system problems, including gastritis, peptic ulcers, regional ileitis, and colitis. It is also useful in expeling amoebas and intestinal worms and such fungal infections as candidiasis.

It is best known as an antiseptic, astringent, and an antimicrobial used on cuts, wounds, skin infections, varicose veins and hemorrhoids. It is especially helpful with fungal conditions, including athlete foot, thrush, diaper rash, and cradle cap. It also helps sore nipples from breasfeeding.

Calendula has long been used as a detoxifying herb and for helping to treat the cause of such conditions characterized by fever and infection. The herb is also effective for cleansing the liver and gallbladder.

 If taken as a hot infusion, it promotes sweating, thereby helping to relieve fevers while improving blood and lymphatic circulation, thus enabling the body to expel toxins.

 The therapeutic use of Calendula originated in ancient Egypt and spread to Europe. Many varieties of the plant exist, one of which is the common marigold. A natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory agent, Calendula is one of the best herbs for treating wounds, skin abrasions and infections.

 A salve made from this herb is soothing to skin wounds, sunburns, bruises and all kinds of skin problems. It stimulates the growth of new skin cells.

 Calendula for reducing inflammation and speeding the healing of sores. Also helps prevent staphylococcus infection.Taken internally, it also helps alleviate the symptoms of indigestion and other gastrointestinal disorders. Calendula's healing power appears to come from components known as terpenes. One of these, calenduloside B, is known as a sedative.

 Calendula has astrigent, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and immune-stimulating properties. The extract may be useful in treating gingivitis. Also it has been known to alleviate symptoms of chronic stomach inflammation (hypersecretory gastritis), a condition associated with ulcers.

 Calendula is perhaps best known for its effectiveness in healing skin problems such as wounds, burns, insect bites, eczema, skin ulcers, and rashes. It has also been used internally to soothe and heal gastric and duodenal ulcers, as a wash for varicose veins and hemorrhoids, as a rinse for toothaches, and as an eyewash for conditions like conjunctivitis. In vitro (test tube) research has shown that calendula contains antimicrobial compounds that inhibit certain strains of Staphylococcus and Candida, as well as E. coli and some protozoa, such as Trichomonas. Its wound-healing properties may also be attributed to its high content of natural iodine, carotene, and manganese, which promote skin cell regeneration.


 Extraction, separation and isolation of volatiles and dyes from Calendula officinalis L. and Aloysia triphylla (L'Her.) Britton by supercritical CO2:

Isolation of volatile concentrate from the dried leaves ofAloysia triphylla (L'Herit.) Britton (lemon verbena) and the dried flowers of Calendula officinalis L. were obtained by supercritical extraction with CO2. To obtain a pure volatile extract devoid of cuticular waxes, the extraction products were fractionated in two separators operating in series. A good extraction process was obtained operating at 90 bar and 50 deg C in the extraction vessel, at 90 bar and at -5 deg C in the first separator and at a pressure between 20 and 15 bar and temperatures in the range (10-20 deg C) in the second one.

The composition of the volatile concentrate has been analyzed by GC/MS. The volatile concentrate ofA. triphylla was found to contain: phytol (11.6%), spathulenol (7.1%), caryophyllene oxide (5.6%), methyl 9,12,15-octadecatrienoate (5.6%) and alpha-curcumene (4.6%). The volatile concentrate of C. officinalis was found to consist of: methyl hexadecanoate (23.8%), methyl linoleate (18.6%), methyl 9,12,15-octadecatrienoate (17.2%), methyl octadecanoate (4.8%), methyl tetradecanoate (4.6%), gamma-cadinene and cubenol (4.0%), 8-cadinene (3.2%), alpha-cadinol (1.8%) and oplopanone (1.3%). To complete the investigation, a comparison with the hydrodistilled oil has been carried out.

On the exhausted matrix a further extraction at higher pressure (320 bar) and 50 deg C with a single separator was performed for the extraction of lutein from Calendula flowers, the amount of lutein obtained was determined by spectrophotometric measurements.

Taken internally for:

 In digestion, Calendula is used in formulas for healing infection and wounds of the upper GI tract such as bleeding ulcers, inflamed esophagus, hernia, mouth sores, for esophageal reflux, indigestion, gastric and duodenal ulcers, fevers, gallbladder problems, irregular or painful menstruation.

Applied externally for:

 Cuts, wounds (especially slow-healing with bleeding and discharge), sores and burns; hemorrhoids; varicose veins; skin rashes from measles, chickenpox, shingles and other eruptive skin diseases; diaper rash; athlete's foot and other fungal infections; sore, inflamed, red eyes use a tea eye wash.



 Alterative; Analgesic; Anti-inflammatory; Antiseptic; Antiviral; Astringent; Blood cleansing; Blood purifier; Carminative; Depurative; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Hemostatic; Immunostimulant; Pyorrhea; Stimulant; Styptic; Vulnerary;


Fig. 1.   Biosynthesis of linoleate and calendate catalyzed by (1,2) and (1,4)-desaturases, respectively. OPL, phospholipid ester; X, undefined headgroup.

The availability of a convenient yeast expression system for Fac2 – a Calendula officinalis gene encoding the -desaturase involved in calendic acid production offered a unique opportunity to study the mechanism of this reaction using KIE methodology. Specifically, we wished to correlate the site of initial oxidation for this process with that determined for 12 -desaturation .


Fig. 2.   Generic mechanistic scheme showing the stepwise removal of hydrogens in fatty acid (1,2)-desaturation. Structure of the putative diiron oxidizing species is speculative.

 Analytical procedures:

For fatty acid analysis, yeast pellets were saponified by adding 2 mL 10% KOH/methanol and heating at 80 °C for 2 h. The mixture was then cooled and pre-extracted with 2 x 2 mL hexane to remove nonsaponifiable lipids. The reaction mixture was then neutralized with 50% acetic acid to pH 5 and the fatty acids were extracted with 2 x 2 mL hexane. The hexane was removed under a nitrogen stream and the mixture, including the conjugated fatty acids, was esterified with 2 mL 1% H2 SO4 in methanol at 50 °C for 1 h (This methylation method has been found to be most suitable for conjugated fatty acid ester analysis.) The cooled mixture was extracted with 2 x 2 mL hexane. The pooled hexane was washed with 2 mL H2 O and concentrated under N2 for HPLC purification, GC or GC-MS analysis.

GC-MS analysis of yeast lipids was performed using a Fisons VG TRIO 2000 mass spectrometer (VG Analytical, UK) controlled by Masslynx version 2.0 software, coupled to a GC 8000 Series gas chromatograph as previously described except that a narrow EI+ scan range of 285–305 m /z was used. A representative mass spectrum of biosynthetic methyl calendate is shown in Fig. 3.


Fig. 3.   Mass spectrum of biosynthetic methyl calendate. Arrow indicates the molecular ion cluster used to calculate the isotopic content of deuterated samples.


Fig. 4.   Isotopomers of 1 used to probe the kinetic isotope effects on the fatty acid (1,4)-desaturase reaction involved in calendate biosynthesis.

Fig. 5. Mechanistic model showing the relationship between oxidant position in 12 desaturation and the (1,4)-desaturase reaction leading to the formation of a conjugated 8,10-diene system.