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The marigold (calendula) is one of the most popular medicinal plants. Marigold ointment in particular is world famous for its good healing properties for skin diseases and injuries. There are also a number of other areas of application in which the marigold ointment can shine. For example, it is also used for joint complaints from which it successfully takes away the inflammation and pain potential. What else the marigold ointment can do, how to make it yourself and what there is to know in general about the marigold as a medicinal herb is revealed in our contribution to the topic.
Caution: risk of confusion
The marigold has countless epithets, which can lead to confusion, especially when it comes to collecting marigolds for a self-made ointment. Terms such as buttercup, sun bride, solstice or student flower are also used, for example, for other flower crops, which mostly represent their own genus of plants. The epithet marigold is particularly misleading and dangerous, since it easily confuses it with the yellow blooming but poisonous marsh marigold.
Profile of the marigold:
Scientific name: Calendula
Plant family: Asteraceae
- Gold flower,
- Angel flower,
- Cattle flower,
- Sun bride,
- Student flower,
- Dead flower,
- Alarm crumbs
- and usury flower.
Occurrence: Europe, Mediterranean
- Skin diseases / skin problems,
- Vascular disease,
- Joint problems,
- Inner unrest,
- Injuries and wound healing disorders.
Plant parts used: Leaves, flowers, stems
Where exactly the marigold originally came from is still a mystery to this day. It is believed that she once came to Central Europe from the Mediterranean. Since then, the seeds, which we usually have an annual flower, have braved the cold winters, which is why, once sown, they sprout relatively reliably each year in their outdoor locations. You can recognize it there by its striking yellow-orange tongue flowers. And the unusually crescent-shaped seeds that emerge from the flowers of the medicinal plant are easy to identify. Its slightly ruffled to curled shape was the reason why the mother of all herbal witches, Hildegard von Bingen, once christened the marigold "Ringula", while the bright, sunny blossoms contributed to names such as gold flowers, dawn or sun bride.
The sunny mood of the marigold is also evident in its preferred location conditions. The location should be sunny, warm and never waterlogged. Otherwise, the lanceolate leaves of the calendula quickly tend to diseases such as mildew. In addition, marigolds prefer to stand on nutrient-rich and loose loam or gravel soils that have a slight lime content.
Despite these special requirements, the marigold overgrows relatively easily with us, which is why it has been able to spread across Europe over the centuries. Most widespread among us and therefore most commonly used as a medicinal plant:
- the Field marigold (Calendula arvensis)
- and the Common marigold / gardening (Calendula officinalis).
In the superstitions of the Middle Ages, Calendula was considered a magic plant and oracle of love. Similar to the daisy, for example, it was used to conduct the famous “He loves me, he doesn't love me” oracle. However, the flower was only picked secretly for this purpose, because the picking of the marigolds, according to popular belief, also caused thunderstorms. Calendula was generally used as a flower oracle for weather forecasts. Since their flowers are aligned with the position of the sun, it was assumed that a particularly beautiful day was in store when the marigold flowers were already open at six in the morning. However, if the flowers remained closed after seven in the morning, a rainy day was more likely.
“Sun bride is a herb that has thick but not large leaves and a lemon-yellow flower that closes at sunset and opens when it rises. It is cold and damp. Grated, it helps bite poisonous animals when placed on the wound. Their juice helps with blockages in the spleen and liver.
(Albertus Magnus, German scholar from the 13th century)
The use of calendula as a magic plant went so far that it became an important ingredient in love ointments. Young women, in particular, liked to prepare an appropriate ointment of vinegar, honey, marigold flowers and other summer herbs with them when they yearned for their loved ones or loved ones. The ointment was then applied to the skin in the evening before going to bed, hoping that it might make the loved one appear in dreams and maybe even in real life.
However, calendula ointments were even more important in folk medicine. Already in antiquity, the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians, as well as the Arabs and Indians discovered the diverse healing potential of the marigold. The healing powers of calendula are very similar to arnica, which is also used for skin complaints, but it works far more efficiently than this. The healing effect of marigold ointment for skin damage even goes so far that it does an excellent job with existing wounds and lesions. And although calendula preparations are world famous for this effect, this is not the only area of application for the healing flower. From digestive and respiratory problems to joint, vascular and nervous disorders, it is said to have healing effects for all kinds of health problems. Even classic women's ailments are said to react positively to the ingredients of the marigold. Overall, the medicinal herb is indicated for the following areas of application:
- respiratory symptoms such as asthma, cough or inflammation of the mucous membranes.
- Women suffering such as menstrual pain, PMS symptoms, menopausal symptoms or disturbed cycle.
- Vascular disease such as varicose veins, spider veins, swollen lymphatic vessels, open legs or thrombosis.
- Skin diseases such as acne, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, dry skin or warts.
- Nervous disorders and mental stress such as anxiety disorders, sleep disorders and restlessness.
- Indigestion such as bile problems, liver weakness, stomach problems, bowel problems or stomach ulcers.
- Wound treatment such as bruises, bruises, bruises, cuts and abrasions, burns, wound healing disorders or strains.
- other complaints such as mouth sores, ear infections, worm infections or toothache.
"The juice of marigold flowers put in the ears / should kill the worms in it. On the contractions of the teeth / one should put a good portion of the juice in the mouth / keep it in it for a while / should behave the pain soon. "
(Tabernaemontanus, German doctor and pharmacist from the 16th century.)
Ingredients and effects
It is no coincidence that marigold or marigold ointment has such a good and versatile effect. Because there is a real abundance of medicinal ingredients in the plant. Fortunately, these rarely or not at all cause side effects, which is why marigold ointment is available without a prescription in the pharmacy. It should also not be missing in any well-stocked medicine chest so that it is quickly at hand in an emergency, for example in the case of minor household accidents that result in bruises or bruises. The most important ingredients of calendula include:
- Bitter substances,
- and saponins.
The bitter substances in the marigold are primarily due to their good effects on digestive problems, because they stimulate the secretion of digestive enzymes as well as bile and gastric juice. In addition, a relaxing (spasmolytic) and immune-strengthening effect is attributed to the natural products. This can be helpful not only for stomach or intestinal cramps, but also for cramps as part of menstrual cramps. For this purpose, marigold is best used as a tea herb. In addition, the bitter substances in the marigold ointment have a considerable healing potential because they are additional
- promotes blood circulation
- and immune boosting
Act. Such properties are of course more than desirable for skin inflammation, circulatory disorders and the disinfection of wounds.
A certain group of secondary plant substances are described as flavonoids, which give plants and in particular their flowers their color. The name is derived from the Latin word flavus for "yellow", since the coloring properties of flavonoids were first discovered on plants such as the dyed oak, which were often used in ancient times to yellow textiles. Such yellow plant dyes are also found in the flowers of the marigold. One of them is quercetin. In addition to its coloring properties, this is considered as
- lowering cholesterol,
- improves blood circulation,
- vascular protective
- and immune boosting.
In addition, several independent studies have found that quercetin has an anti-cancer effect, which is why the flavonoid is now playing an important role in cancer therapy. It is therefore not surprising that marigold ointment is recommended even for skin cancer.
Another flavonoid in the calendula is isorhamnetin. It is significantly less known than quercetin, but it also has some interesting healing effects. Especially in the treatment of psychologically or emotionally motivated diseases such as
- Mood swings,
- Reluctance and listlessness
Isorhamnetin is relevant as a mood-enhancing and drive-enhancing active ingredient. Furthermore, the immune-boosting potential of the flavonoid is also very considerable. A Chinese study has therefore already recommended isorhamnetin for the prevention and therapy of autoimmune diseases.
The carotenoids contained in it also contribute to the orange-yellow coloring and the cell-protecting effect of the marigold. Better known as provitamin A, this dye is said to have similar healing effects to quercetin and isorhamnetin, with injuries such as
- and poorly healing wounds
react exceptionally well to treatment with carotenoids. This is because the dyes are unlikely to help the body regenerate cells. They improve the signal line between the body cells and thus accelerate their regenerative processes. This even goes so far that even wrinkles and degenerate cancer cells can hardly withstand the zeal for regeneration of carotenoids.
The same applies to functional disorders in the area of the brain and visual cells, which is why carotenoids are also receiving increasing attention in the treatment of eye diseases such as cataracts and diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. The diseases are based on cell degenerative processes that take place in the eye and brain, respectively, and cause cell tissue to collapse, which until now has been difficult or impossible to reverse. Carotenoids are therefore an important research subject for new treatment methods. Initial research results in this regard are already available, at least in the case of Alzheimer's. The two most important carotenoids in calendula, xanthophyll and violaxanthin, are included.
Phytohormones or plant hormones are plant-specific substances that are very similar in their function to the body's own hormones. In plants, phytohormones regulate the growth and development of a plant in the various vegetation phases. In the human body, plant hormones can even take over the tasks of conventional hormones and thus remedy hormonal disorders, but also tissue and organ weaknesses based on hormone disorders.
A phytohormone, which is particularly important here in marigold ointment for its good effect on skin problems and injuries, is salicylic acid. It is used in plants to ward off harmful substances and pathogens and is therefore an essential component of the plant's immune response.
Salicylic acid can also perform similar functions in the human organism. Here, the plant hormone provides additional strengthening, above all for protecting the skin barrier. This ingredient is particularly well known to people with chronic skin diseases, because it is considered an indispensable ingredient in countless ointments and creams against dermatological autoimmune diseases such as neurodermatitis. Overall, salicylic acid can help with the following skin conditions:
- Skin inflammation,
- Skin infections,
- Skin fungus,
- Wart disease,
- Wound bleeding
- and wound pain.
By the way: The good effects of calendula on classic women's diseases such as heavy menstrual bleeding, menstrual disorders or menopausal symptoms can also be explained by the hormonal effects of the phytohormones. Apparently, these, for example in the form of phytoestrogens, can act as a replacement for sex hormones in the event of an imbalance in the hormonal balance of women.
The phytosterols, also known as phytosterols, are closely related to the phytohormones. Behind this is a group of vegetable fats with a remarkable protective function. In contrast to phytohormones such as salicylic acid, this does not refer to the skin, but to the metabolism and heart and vascular health. For example, phytosterols contained in the marigold work
- and taraxasterol
especially with high cholesterol levels. In general medicine, these are often considered to trigger vascular diseases such as arteriosclerosis and, as a result, also heart problems such as coronary artery disease. The risk of other secondary diseases of arteriosclerosis, such as heart attacks or strokes, can also be prevented with phytosterols.
Phytosterols also have an effect on the skin
- and cell regenerative
Effect. This is particularly advantageous for dry skin and skin diseases associated with itching or itchy skin flakes (neurodermatitis and psoriasis).
The last important group of substances that calendula preparations such as marigold ointment support in their broad spectrum of activity are saponins, such as calendula sapogenin, which is only found in marigold. In general, saponins are also known for their cholesterol-lowering and anti-inflammatory properties. A special disinfection aspect is added to Calendula-Sapogenin, because it has both antibacterial and antiviral properties, with the antibacterial efficiency against classic wound, skin and mucous membrane germs such as Staphylococcus aureus or Enterococcus faecalis particularly standing out. This emerges from an international study, which also investigated the cytotoxic and cancer cell-killing potential of saponins.
It is also often overlooked that saponins also have a stimulating and even healing effect on digestion. Since they increase the permeability of the intestinal walls, they make it easier for the digestive tract to absorb nutrients from food. There is also one
- hormone and enzyme stimulating
- as well as mucus and secretion promoting
Effect that is suitable for stimulating the metabolism and for detoxification, for example in the course of a diet. The secretion-promoting aspect of saponins is also important in many respiratory diseases that are associated with a mucus throat or bronchial tubes.
Application and dosage
The marigold can be easily grown for medicinal purposes. In addition to the location requirements described at the beginning, it is important that no chemical fertilizers are used in the culture of the medicinal plant. Once infiltrated into the site soil, the substances pass directly into the calendula via the plant roots and are inevitably absorbed by the body during medical use. It is irrelevant whether an internal application, for example by taking calendula tea, or an external application by ointments and creams of the calendula takes place. Because the skin also absorbs pollutants, which can only make skin problems to be treated worse. When growing marigolds yourself, please ensure that you only use organic fertilizers, such as nettle slurry or compost.
The harvest time for calendula then extends from June to September. Both the flowers and the leaves and stems of the plant can be harvested, as these will later die anyway and, like the flowers of the medicinal herb, contain medicinal agents. However, while the flowers can also be processed fresh, for example to make tea infusions or oil extracts, you should first dry the rest of the aerial parts of the plant. Drying is done on a white linen cloth or in a herbal bundle. The latter is particularly suitable for marigolds, as these can be harvested whole in an uncomplicated manner.
Make marigold ointment yourself
"The powder of the bark mixed with fennel seed juice, wine and a little oil, so that everything boiled until it sucks; therefore put a little wax on it, go to the ointments and smear it on the meat, as well as the cold stomach, it helps. ”
(Hieronymus Bock, German botanist from the 16th century)
You can buy marigold ointment without a prescription in any pharmacy and also in most drugstores. However, if you want to make your own ointment, you have different approaches to choose from.
Ointment with beeswax and oil extract:
For an ointment with marigold oil, an oil extract must first be made from the flowers of the plant. For this you need:
- a large screw jar (preferably a mason jar),
- approx. 300 grams of dried marigold flowers,
- 600 milliliters of oil (preferably germ oil or sunflower oil),
- a clean linen cloth,
- a dark bottle for storage.
Place the marigold flowers in the screw-top jar and close it well. After that, the oil deposit has to ripen in the light for about three to four weeks. A bright window sill is best suited for this. Shake the marigold oil well every day so that the ingredients are evenly distributed in the oil. After the extraction time has elapsed, the flowers are filtered off with a clean linen cloth and the oil is stored cool in a dark glass bottle for storage. Then for the preparation of the ointment
- 30 milliliters of marigold oil
- and two grams of beeswax
needed. Put both in a glass bowl and heat the mixture in a water bath. Once the beeswax has dissolved, you can stir the whole thing until you get an even mass. In order to check whether the consistency fits, a few drops of the ointment are put on a plate as a test and passed after cooling. If necessary, some additional wax can be added. Finally, the marigold ointment is filled into an ointment jar.
Tip: For a longer shelf life, it is best to add a few drops of anti-rancidity to the ointment. Working with olive oil is not recommended, especially when extracting oil, as it quickly becomes rancid.
There are numerous modifications for the oil variant of the marigold ointment. For example, instead of two grams of beeswax, you can only use one gram and instead mix in four grams of lanolin or cocoa butter for improved skin care. The following variants also offer an alternative to the oil recipe:
Marigold ointment with coconut fat or milking fat
You do not need an oil extract for this, which is why this variant is produced faster. You will need:
- ten grams of marigold flowers,
- 100 grams of coconut or milking fat,
- a clean linen cloth
- and an ointment jar.
Heat the coconut fat in a saucepan over a low flame. Then add the marigold flowers and let the ointment mixture simmer gently for about ten minutes. The ointment mass must then rest untreated for about three days before it is heated again and then pressed through a linen cloth. As soon as the ointment has cooled, you can put it in an ointment jar like the oil ointment variant and store it cool in the refrigerator.
Traditional marigold ointment with lard
This recipe was used in the Middle Ages and is the most traditional variant of marigold ointment.
- five grams of marigold flowers,
- 70 grams of lard,
- a small pot,
- a linen cloth and
- an ointment jar.
The solid lard is cut into small pieces beforehand and then placed in a saucepan. After the lard has melted completely over low heat, add the marigold flowers. Then stir until the flowers are completely covered with lard. After about 30 minutes you can take the ointment off the stove. Now the ointment has to draw for about a day before it is heated again and then filtered through the linen cloth. After cooling, the ointment is then spread into the ointment jar as usual.
All of the variants shown have a shelf life of around one year and can be used up to three times a day for skin care or wound treatment.
Pollen allergy sufferers should be particularly careful when using calendula ointment. If there is an allergy to the daisy family, the application can quickly lead to classic allergy symptoms such as reddening of the skin, allergic rhinitis, burning eyes or even a shock. Otherwise, if properly dosed, there are no known side effects for marigold preparations. (ma)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Miriam Adam, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
- Tarcisio Vitor Augusto Lordani, Celia Eliane de Lara, Fabiana Borges: "Therapeutic Effects of Medicinal Plants on Cutaneous Wound Healing in Humans: A Systematic Review", 2018, Mediators of Inflammation
- Heinz Schilcher, Susanne Kammerer, Tankred Wegener: "Guide to Phytotherapy: With Access to the Medical World", Urban & Fischer Verlag / Elsevier GmbH, 2016
- Fereshteh Jahdi, Akram Haghighi Khabbaz, Maryam Kashian, et al .: "The impact of calendula ointment on cesarean wound healing: A randomized controlled clinical trial", 2018, jfmpc