Calendula officinalis

Common name: Marigold. 

Family: Compositae.



Calendula is our wound medicine prepared from the tall Marigold growing in the wild non-acidic soil.

This plant is also called the Herb of the Sun. Like the African Daisies, the marigold opens its petals on a sunny morning but closes them on a wet day.

It has a peculiar smell, apparently an anathema to the eel-worm and root crops can be protected from this pest by the companion planting of marigolds.


The term officinalis shows the marigold’s connection to the holy men, monks cultivated it as a cure for gout and as a possets and drinks as a comforter for the heart. It’s uses in medicine go back even earlier than the 16th century.


Calendula excels all other others for open cuts which will heal by first intention without stitching. Apply calendula tincture in warm dressing on all cuts. It can nip a bit at first, but stops the bleeding quickly and it is remarkable how calendula closes the cuts up so promptly and rarely leaves a scar.

I remember when my son stepped on a piece of broken glass bottle left on the bottom of a pool and sustained a nasty cut on the sole of his foot. I got him to the room as quickly as possible, cleaned the cut with calendula and a firm bandage was applied. Four days later he was walking and swimming as if nothing had ever happened. Since then, over the years I had treated several severe cuts and wounds, from kids walking through glass doors, open knees on sea rocks, cartwheels lading on metal chairs to an open forehead sustained by the impact of a loft door. Calendula cleans as well as knits, and is most useful when children scrape their knees from a tumble on gravel paths. Caution must be taken that the wound is properly cleaned and all gravel removed, as its knitting power is so remarkable that there will be a risk of the wound to close over residues of gravel or sand remaining.

The Calendula tincture is diluted for use by adding one teaspoonful to a pint of boiled water; I have found ordinary tap water will do just as well, without bothering to boil it, as long as the wound is not too deep or badly infected.


Calendula inhibits the growth of microorganisms. Why boil the water? Pus will never make its appearance in a clean wound, and it will disappear rapidly in an infected wound, if Calendula is used as a dressing.

If the wound is deep, one can syringe it gently with diluted Calendula and lightly pack with gauze soaked in Calendula 1 in 25; then cover the area with dry gauze, cotton wool, and bandage. The wounds need to be dressed only once a day; and they heal up rapidly.

It inhibits their growth and even if wounds are already badly infected, I have seen offensive, purulent discharges become clear and sweet – smelling, in a day or two. Calendula is wonderfully soothing as an external application, it neither destroy nor irritates any new epithelial cells which are forming; it rather stimulates their growth.

Dr Dorothy Shepherd in A Physician Posy states “Calendula dressings are superior to and beat any boracic acid, perchloride of mercury, and even the modern sulphonamide applications. The latest miracle worker in septic and similar coccal diseases – penicillin – was discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming at St. Mary’s, Paddington, in 1928; it will kill Staphylococci; but a generation of penicillin – resistant Staphylococci are said to be evolving gradually. And then, what?

    For years I gave up the use of antiseptics at the Clinic. No more fomentations, no more Lysol or its modern substitute, Dettol; no more carbolic acid; no mercurial dressings. Unashamedly I confess, I am not afraid of germs, not even tetanus, and sepsis has no terrors for me. Let me affirm, on my solemn oath, to my medical colleagues, that, after many years’ experience along these lines, I get no erysipelas, no pyemia, no septicemia, and no tetanus. And many of the cases I have seen were already heavily infected with staphylococci or streptococci. Also, they get on rapidly and heal more quickly than in the old days, when I followed slavishly in the footsteps of conventional medicine and used the antiseptics of the day.”


Other Uses

·      Marigold flower can be rubbed on the swelling caused by the sting of a wasp or bee and will rapidly make it disappear. Another way of using Calendula is to pick off two to three fresh petals of Marigold, moistening them with one’s own saliva and lay them on the stung area and covering it lightly with a handkerchief. No pain or swelling will follow.

·      Calendula is first rate as a local application to the vulva and the perineum in maternity cases. Spray the perineum with the pure tincture, after the perineum has been sutured and apply a moist pad of Calendula, 1 in 25, to the parts. The lochia becomes very quickly sweet, there is no general systemic reaction, and the healing takes place in less than half the usual time.

·      Calendula ointment for the cuts and cracks inside the nostril, which are very irritating and slow in healing sometimes.

·      Also, for the ragged edges round nails which are painful and sting, these heal almost overnight with applications of Calendula ointment or cream.

·      Septic gums clear up rapidly with a Calendula mouth – wash, 1 in 25, and clean cuts, clean wounds, big or small, get on miraculously with it, and we never inject anti – tetanic serum, either. We neither expect any trouble, nor get it.

·      Post – surgical operations; to promote healthy granulation and prevent excessive suppuration and disfiguring scars.

·      In all cases of loss of soft parts when union cannot be effected by means of adhesive plaster.

·      Pustular conjunctivitis, with great redness but no photophobia. Eyewash for irritations, abrasions, infections, conjunctivitis. Eye inflammation after trauma. Scratched cornea. Injuries to the eyes which tend to suppuration. Eye pains after surgery. Lacerated and incised wounds of eyes. Eyes black and blue from extravasated blood. Foreign objects in the eye.

·      Bad circulation – In old age when bothered with bad circulation especially in the feet. They look painful and occasionally skin can break. Calendula in tincture form to take internally (15 drops in water or juice, twice a day) or cream to apply locally can be of great help.

·      Burns, scalds, sunburns.

·      Caesarean operation. Ruptures of cervix and perineum during childbirth. Excoriated and cracked nipples.

·      As a gargle for sore throats or hoarseness.


Marigold tincture is absolutely safe in the hands of lay people.

So do not forget, Calendula mother tincture in your first – aid medicine chest; use it for hemorrhages, cut fingers, apply it to the nostrils in nose bleeding, by moistening a piece of surgical gauze or cotton wool – or a clean handkerchief in an emergency – with Calendula, neat if you like, and pushing it up into the bleeding nostril.

Tell the dentist to use it for bleeding after dental extractions, and for bleeding and oozing gums while filling teeth. Take it with you boldly and offer it to him when you are the victim in the dental chair.

Proselytize and make the virtues of Calendula, the golden Marigold, known. It carries within it the solar forces; these are they which envelop the germs in its life – giving power, so that they can no longer live; thus the natural resistance is raised.


Everybody should grow Calendula or Common Scotch Marigold on any spare corner of garden they have. It grows easily, the golden flowers give a patch of welcome color these grim days, and it is a most useful plant. The fresh, yellow florets of the flower can be applied direct to the wound, or the pulped, fresh plant can be used as a dressing.


The Marigold is a wonderful flower, a magic herb; looking at it, it raises one’s spirits, gives one hope; and remember, this humble servant of is willing to serve you further in the kitchen and in the domestic medicine cupboard; its uses as above mentioned are manifold. It provides the healing touch of nature and prevents the spread of disease, the spread of sepsis – a wonderful mission!!!