Why Calendula is a wonder herb!

by Jo Saxton January 07, 2021

Orange calendula or marigold flowers growing in the field

Calendula is a cheerful garden plant with brilliant orange to yellow flowers that can bloom all year round. It is a valuable plant in the garden as it has many uses – edible, medicinal, and ornamental.

A table of key facts about Calendula or marigold


Calendula petals have a long history of culinary use, where they are often used as a substitute for saffron, more of a dye than as a flavour per se. The Egyptians valued it as a rejuvenating herb, the Greeks garnished and flavoured food with it, and in the Middle Ages, it was used to colour cheeses and butters.

– You can bring some sunshine to your breakfast table by sprinkling dried marigold petals on your oats or muesli!
– Or why not sprinkle the petals on salads, cakes, and desserts for colour and a slightly peppery taste.
– Also, add dried petals to your tea for some anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, and to heal your gut and digestive tract.

Marigold flowers infusing in oil in glass jars
Photo courtesy of Lyonsleaf

Calendula is entwined in a lot of cultural rituals and ceremonies worldwide.

– It was used in ancient Aztec and Mayan civilisation and now is included in processions of the Day of the Dead in Mexico.
– In Hindu culture, wreaths are used to adorn statues of gods and goddesses, and it is often incorporated into food, fabrics and cosmetics.
– Garlands of flowers were often used in rituals and religious ceremonies in Ancient Greece and Rome.
– In Christian services it is often referred to as ‘Mary’s gold’.
– During Mediaeval times it was considered an emblem of love and used as the main ingredient in a complex spell that promised young maidens knowledge of whom they would marry.

The yellow-orange of their petals naturally colours food and fibres, such as wool and silk and so it is a very versatile flower. However, the most exciting use for Calendula is in skincare.


Calendula has anti-inflammatory properties which prevent the body’s release of antihistamines, which can cause pain, inflammation, skin redness and allergies. Inflammation can lead to skin sensitivity, spots, acne, rosacea, psoriasis, eczema and so on. Calendula gently soothes the skin to help reduce inflammation, itchiness and dryness. It can also help to reduce large pores and clear up spots, pimples and acne without drying it out.


Calendula extract or oil contains linoleic acid, which is an essential fatty acid which nourishes your skin cells. It helps to plump the surface of your skin, giving you tighter, more supple skin and a healthy glow.

Orange marigold flowers growing on the Lyonsleaf farm
Photo courtesy of Lyonsleaf


Calendula contains flavinoids, a type of antioxidant, which help protect your skin from free radical damage. These are highly destructive, unstable molecules which create havoc on your skin (and body!). Antioxidants help to stabilise and neutralise these free radicals before they can do damage, which leads to premature aging, fine lines and wrinkles, and overall dullness to the skin.

Both the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties help to protect the collagen and elastin supply in your skin. If you’re concerned about premature aging then consider using Calendula!


Calendula is well-recognised for its ability to heal. During the American Civil War and World War I, Calendula petals were used to dress wounds in the battlefield. It increases blood flow and oxygen to the skin and tissues, which helps to improve skin function and its ability to repair. It has a wide range of applications:

– heals minor cuts, wounds, and scars
– soothes sunburn and other minor burns
– heals chapped skin, nappy rash, cold sores, and cracked nipples from nursing 
– relieves redness from stings, insect bites, chicken pox, and bruises
– an eyewash for conjunctivitis (a cold infusion), and for thrush or yeast infections (douche).

It really is a powerful little plant!

Safety summary about using marigold

I’d love to hear from you if you use Calendula for your own health or in your homemade skincare, so fro please tag @thegingermint on social media.

If you love herbs or just want to know a bit more bout them, come and join our Facebook group – 'UK Garden Herb Lovers'.



Our Calendula product links:

Herb Garden herbal tea
Moontime herbal tea
Dog Growbar
Calendula Cream
TLC Balm
Mama & Baby soap
Horse Chestnut Balm
Beauty Balm
Unfragranced Beauty Balm
Body Butter
Soothing Skin Salve for dogs
Zinc & Calendula Cream
Calendula & Marshmallow Balm
Arnica Balm



We'd love to connect so come and say 'hi'!

Jo Saxton
Jo Saxton


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