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Botanical name

(Garden) Calendula - Calendula officinalis L.


Composite flower (Asteraceae)

Common name


Useful information about the plant

Calendula is an ancient farming and ornamental plant, presumably already planted in cottage gardens and cemeteries in the 12th century (in Eruope). Today it can often be found growing wild in dumps, roadsides, borders and vineyards to be found. It is native to Central, Eastern and Southern Europe. The genus name calendula comes from the Latin "calendae" (= the first day of the month) and means something like "small calendar". The epithet officinalis suggests that it is an old medicinal plant, because the "officina" is the sales room of a pharmacy and "officinalis" means: used in the pharmacies. The English name "marigold" refers to the colours of the flower. The calendula is 30 to 50cm high with the upper part richly branched with downy, hairy stems. On them are alternate oblong, hairy leaves. The large flower heads are very striking with a diameter of 5 to 7cm, consisting of a wreath of orange-coloured ray florets up to 2cm long and the inside is a cushion of orange funnel-shaped florets. In the gardens you can often find "filled" calendula with several circles of florets. The flower is surrounded by an involucre; flowering time is June to September.

Medicinally used plant parts (drug)

The flowers are used. The receptacle must be separated so that the drug consists mainly of the ray florets and few disc florets. The commercially available drug comes mainly from imports from Poland, Hungary and Egypt.

Ingredients of the drug

Calendula flowers contain flavonoids, triterpene alcohols, triterpene saponins, carotenoids, polysaccharides and an essential oil.

Descriptions of the quality

The quality of calendula flowers (Calendula flos) is specified in the European Pharmacopoeia (Ph. Eur.). The quality of the following drug preparations are specified in the German pharmaceutical Codex (DAC):

Medical Application

Recognised medical use

Externally for inflammatory changes in the mouth and throat and wounds with poor healing tendency (Commission E, ESCOP). The HMPC has classified calendula flowers as traditional herbal medicinal products (see "traditional use").

Traditional use

The HMPC has categorised calendula flowers as a traditional herbal medicine (§ 39a AMG). Based on many years of experience calendula flowers can be used externally to heal mild inflammations of the skin and minor wounds and for the treatment of mild inflammations of the mouth and throat. Calendula oil (an oily extract of marigold flowers) is used traditionally as a mild-acting drug to support the skin function (traditional use acc. to § 109a).

Medicinal herbal preparations in finished drug products

  • Calendula flowers as an ornamental drug in teas and for the preparation of an infusion
  • Alcoholic extracts (including tincture) for the preparation of creams, ointments or oral rinses
  • Extracts with vegetable oil in ointments


Prepared drugs: see package insert;
Tea infusion: dab the skin area several times a day with a freshly prepared infusion, or use warm for mouthwash and gargle.

Preparation of a tea infusion

Pour 150ml of hot water over 1 - 2g of calendula flowers, let it stand for 5 - 10 minutes and strain.


People who already have an existing allergy to Compositae (Asteraceae) should avoid calendula petals and their preparations.
There are still no studies on the safety of the use of calendula flowers during pregnancy and breast-feeding and for use in children under 12 years old.

Side effects

Rarely skin irritation


None known


Drug monographs

HMPC, Commission E, ESCOP, WHO Vol. 2

Further reading

Wichtl: Teedrogen und Phytopharmaka, pg. 141
Schilcher: Leitfaden Phytotherapie, pg. 217
Van Wyk: Handbuch der Arzneipflanzen, pg. 74
Kommentar zum Europäischen Arzneibuch (Calendula flowers, no. 1297)

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