Guest Post: Pot Marigold for Wound Healing

Pot Marigold (or Calendula officinalis) is a perennial flowering plant in the daisy family Asteraceae. The easy cultivation of the Calendula genus has resulted in the development of cultivars (varieties) that result in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and colors. Although there are approximately 15 named species within the genus, only C. officinalis is utilized for medicinal benefits.

It should be noted that Calendula officinalis (although it goes by many names, including poet’s marigold, pot marigold, Mary’s gold, and marigold) is not the same plant as the common marigold (several species of the genus Tagetes). Although they are both part of the Asteraceae family, they are not the same plant and do not have the same properties.


Due to an international history of cultivation, it is not universally agreed upon where C. officinalis originated. However, most describe it as a native of the Mediterranean region. Regardless, it has been grown and utilized by many cultures around the world for centuries.

In Calendula: An Herb Society of America Guide, a number of non-medicinal uses are described:

  • Ancient Romans used it to treat scorpion bites.
  • In many cultures, it was used as an aphrodisiac.
  • In old German folklore, if the flower remained closed after 7 a.m. it was thought to predict rain.
  • In Mexico it was (and is) thought to be a flower of death

Another notable use of C. officinalis was as a sort of  “calendar flower” in medieval times. Farmers observed that itbloomed on most or all of the calendae (Middle English, from Latin, meaning the first days of the month) andwould open and close at nearly the same time every day; 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. respectively.

Source: Dinesh Valke

Historically, C. officinalis has been used medicinally to treat the following:

  • liver problems
  • stomach ulcers
  • minor infections
  • menstrual issues
  • fevers
  • jaundice
  • conjunctivitis
  • superficial burns/wounds


Recent research supports several medicinal uses of C. officinalis extract; a systematic review of the extract for wound healing found that results varied across different fields of study, which is outlined below:

Acute Wound Healing

Results across studies were consistent. Six studies reviewed showed faster resolution of the inflammation phase with increased production of granulation tissue.

Chronic Wound Healing

Results across studies varied. Two studies demonstrated decreased ulcer surface area compared to controls. One study demonstrated no improvement for the calendula group in diabetic leg ulcer healing

Burn Healing

Results across studies varied. Two studies demonstrated a prophylactic effect for the administration of calendula extract prior to burn injury. One study of patients suffering from partial to full thickness burns demonstrated no benefit for topical application of calendula extract compared to controls.

Overall, the review identified “…some evidence for the beneficial effects of C. officinalis extract for wound healing, consistent with its role in traditional medicine.” Although C. officinalis has been used medicinally for centuries and is considered low-risk, it is important to remember that herbal remedies do occasionally have interactions with other supplements or medications. Because of this, health care providers do not recommend at-home use of C. officinalis on open wounds without supervision.

At-Home Preparation

The National Institute of Medical Herbalists outlines several methods to prepare herbs for medicinal use:

Water-Based Preparations

  • Infusions: dried or fresh herbs, usually aerial parts, steeped in boiling water
  • Poultices: moistened herbs kept in place by a cloth for localized healing
  • Lotions: infusions or decoctions delivered in a smooth liquid preparation
  • Compresses: generally a soft cloth wrung out of a hot or cold infusion or decoction and
    applied to the affected area

Since ancient times, people from all parts of the world have utilized plants and herbs for traditional medicine practices. Although modern day medical advancements have rendered many of these practices outdated or inefficient, they are still important to learn and understand. Beyond keeping cultural practices alive, developing an understanding of traditional medicine can be a valuable asset to those interested in alternative medicine or those for whom modern medicine has been unsuccessful. 


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