Calendula, a flowering plant also known as pot marigold, can be served as a tea or used as an ingredient in various herbal formulations.
While the tea is made by steeping the flowers in boiling water, the extract is derived from both the flowers and the leaves (
Despite its slightly bitter taste, calendula tea is a traditional remedy used in folk medicine because of its ascribed therapeutic properties. Meanwhile, you can find the extract in oils, ointments, and tinctures.
Here are 7 potential benefits of calendula tea and extract.
Antioxidants are beneficial compounds that neutralize the harmful effects of oxidative stress in your body (
Calendula extract possesses several potent antioxidants, including triterpenes, flavonoids, polyphenols, and carotenoids (
Additionally, it boasts anti-inflammatory compounds, such as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα). While inflammation is a normal bodily response, chronic inflammation is linked to multiple conditions, including obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes (
In a study in rats fed monosodium glutamate (MSG), calendula extract significantly reduced oxidative stress and reverted the depletion of antioxidant levels by up to 122% (
MSG is a popular flavor enhancer that may cause headaches, dizziness, and numbness in sensitive individuals or when consumed in high doses (
While these results are promising, further human research is needed.
Calendula contains numerous compounds that may fight oxidative stress and inflammation in your body.
Calendula extract found in oils, ointments, and tinctures may be used topically to treat wounds and ulcers. You can also apply the tea to your skin via a cloth compress or spray bottle. However, it’s unclear whether drinking the tea offers the same effects.
Test-tube and animal studies indicate that calendula extract may regulate the expression of certain proteins that promote wound healing (
One test-tube study determined that calendula extract increased the amount of collagen in wounds as they healed. This protein is necessary to form new skin (
In a 12-week study in 57 people, 72% of those treated with calendula extract experienced complete healing of venous leg ulcers, compared with 32% in the control group (
Similarly, in a 30-week study in 41 adults with diabetes-related foot ulcers, 78% of participants achieved complete wound closure after daily treatment with calendula spray (
You can apply calendula to your skin in various forms to promote wound and ulcer healing.
Calendula’s antioxidant content may provide anti-tumor effects.
Test-tube studies suggest that calendula’s flavonoid and triterpene antioxidants may fight leukemia, melanoma, colon, and pancreatic cancer cells (
Research indicates that the extract activates proteins that kill cancer cells while simultaneously blocking other proteins that would otherwise interfere with cell death (
Nevertheless, research in humans is lacking. Calendula tea or other calendula products should never be used as a cancer treatment.
Several calendula compounds may combat certain cancer cells, but human studies are necessary.
Calendula extract is known for its antifungal and antimicrobial properties (
Notably, in one test-tube study, oil from calendula flowers proved effective against 23 strains of Candida yeast — a common fungus that can cause oral, vaginal, and skin infections (
Another test-tube study indicated that calendula extract inhibits the growth of leishmania, the parasite responsible for leishmaniasis — a disease that may produce skin sores or affect internal organs, such as your spleen, liver, and bone marrow (
You can apply calendula oils, ointments, cloth compresses, or sprays directly to your skin — but remember that research in humans is needed, so it’s unclear how effective these treatments are.
Calendula may offer antifungal and antimicrobial properties, but studies in humans are lacking.
Calendula may help treat oral conditions, such as gingivitis.
Gingivitis, which is characterized by chronic inflammation of the gums, is one of the most common oral diseases (
In a 6-month study in 240 people with gingivitis, those given a calendula mouthwash experienced a 46% reduction in their inflammation levels, compared with 35% in the control group (
What’s more, a test-tube study determined that a calendula-based mouthwash reduced the number of microorganisms on suture materials used for tooth extraction (26).
The studies attributed these effects to calendula’s potent anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
Furthermore, gargling calendula tea is said to relieve sore throats — although the evidence is anecdotal (
Calendula’s anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties may aid oral health by combatting gingivitis and microbial growth.
Calendula extract is widely utilized in cosmetics, including creams and ointments.
Both test-tube and human studies show that calendula extract may enhance skin hydration and stimulate its firmness and elasticity, which may delay signs of aging (
These effects are likely due to its antioxidant content, which may reduce skin damage caused by oxidative stress (
Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the leading cause of oxidative stress in the skin. Interestingly, one test-tube study determined that calendula oil has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 8.36 (
As such, sunscreens formulated with calendula oil may safeguard against sunburn.
Lastly, a 10-day study in 66 children with diaper rash determined that calendula ointment may work as a safe and effective treatment (
Calendula’s antioxidants and SPF may reduce skin damage, combat skin aging, and treat diaper rash.
Many people claim that calendula has other uses, but few of these are supported by science.
- May regulate the menstrual cycle. Calendula is said to induce menstruation and relieve menstrual cramps, though supporting studies are lacking.
- May relieves sore nipples during nursing. When applied topically, calendula products may treat cracked nipples during breastfeeding. Still, more research is needed (
- May work as a face toner. Calendula is believed to reduce acne and breakouts due to its antimicrobial properties. However, no evidence backs this claim.
- May boost heart health. Calendula’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant potential may reduce heart attack risk. However, these effects were seen in a single test-tube study that used high doses (
- May relieve muscle fatigue. A study in mice suggests that calendula extract reduces exercise-induced muscle soreness. However, the study included extracts from two other plants, making it difficult to determine how calendula works on its own (
A handful of studies indicate that calendula may improve heart health, treat muscle fatigue, and relieve sore nipples. However, no scientific evidence supports its other uses, which include regulating menstruation and clearing acne.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers calendula safe for general use (
However, while it may improve skin health in some people, skin contact may result in allergic reactions in others. Therefore, you should test your skin’s reaction by applying a small amount of any calendula-based product prior to using it (
People with allergies to other plants from the Asteraceae family, such as German chamomile and mountain arnica, may be more prone to a calendula allergy (
Furthermore, it may be best to avoid calendula products while pregnant to reduce your risk of miscarriage, given the herb’s alleged menstruation effects.
Lastly, a review of 46 studies determined that calendula may interfere with sedatives and blood pressure medications. If you’re taking either of these, you may wish to avoid this herb (
While calendula is generally recognized as safe by the FDA, pregnant women and people taking sedatives or blood pressure medications may want to avoid it.
Calendula, a flowering plant, is packed with beneficial plant compounds that may provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and wound healing effects.
It’s commonly taken as an herbal tea and used in various topical creams.
Still, further human research is necessary, as most of the evidence relies on test-tube or animal studies.
Lastly, you should avoid calendula if you’re pregnant or taking sedatives or medications to lower blood pressure.