7 Benefits of Marigolds
1. Lowers Inflammation and Free Radical Damage
Research shows that calendula’s dozens of active chemicals make it a natural cytotoxic, hepatoprotective and spasmogenic herb that’s been demonstrated in both animal and human experiments. Extracts taken from the flower have been shown to lower C-reactive protein and cytokine levels and protect cells from being damaged by free radicals — one of the primary causes of aging and cell deterioration. Calendula not only controls oxidative damage from free radicals that can affect delicate tissues, such as those of the eyes, but also defend against infections of the skin, GI tract and genitals caused by viruses or bacteria.
In addition, research also shows that calendula marigold helps fight growth of bacteria in wounds and might even be able to reduce symptoms associated with chemotherapy and cancer treatments.
2. Reduces Eye Inflammation and Conjunctivitis
Findings from animal studies show that calendula extract is capable of treating conjunctivitis and other chronic ocular inflammatory conditions.
These extracts have demonstrated antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and immuno-stimulating properties that not only reduce eye infections, but protect vision by guarding delicate tissues of the eyes from the effects of UV light, deterioration/aging and oxidative damage.
3. Has Natural Antiseptic Properties
One well-researched use of marigold/calendula extract is applying it in drop form to the inside of the ear canal to help treat bacterial ear infectionsand decrease pain. It’s been found that calendula drops can lower inner-ear swelling and inflammation within just a couple short days of use, even without the use of antibiotics in some cases.
Due to its antifungal properties, calendula can also be used to treat vaginitis/vaginal infections and jock itch. Applying an ointment or cream containing marigold/calendula, probiotic “good bacteria” like Lactobacillus sporogenes and lactic acid to the affected area of the groin/genitals for four weeks can help decrease symptoms, including pain, itchiness, burning when urinating and dryness. (8)
4. Heals Skin Wounds, Burns and Rashes
Historically, and still today, one of the most popular uses of calendula has been applying it to irritated skin (or to the eyelids and elsewhere) to reduce itchiness, redness, sensitivity, dryness and swelling. It’s been found that calendula has the ability to promote the growth of healthy new tissue, increase blood flow to the affected area, boost collagen production, which firms and strengthens skin, hydrate dry skin, and speed up the process of skin repair following surgery or damage.
Marigold’s ability to help treat wounds is believed to be due to stimulation of epithelial cell production, mostly as a result of the presence of glycoproteins and nucleoproteins. It’s also linked to increased cell turnover and improved collagen metabolism stimulation. In folklore medicine, marigold products were applied to various ulceration (both internal and external) and wounds to prevent infections, and even today calendula is used post-surgery to promote faster incision healing.
For those with dry, flaking or rash-prone skin, calendula can be combined with natural lubricating products like coconut oil or shea butter to improve skin hydration and firmness. In addition, marigold is used topically in order to:
- reduce diaper rash and protect sensitive skin
- decrease the appearance of discoloration due to scarring
- reduce unsightly varicose veins
- treat swollen bug bites
- treat burns
- reduce dermatitis and eczema
- reduce bruises
- heal infected cuts
- soothe skin after shaving
- treat ingrown hairs
- reduce dandruff on the scalp
- decrease other signs of poor blood flow and inflammation affecting the skin
5. Helps Reduce Hemorrhoid Pain
Because marigold treatments can promote tissue healing and reduce swelling, many find that applying it topically to the anal or genital area helps reduce symptoms of hemorrhoids or anal tears (also called anal fissures). One animal study that investigated the effects of marigold treatment on bleeding wounds found that using the product for an eight-day window resulted in almost 90 percent closure of the tissue wounds, compared to only 51 percent of those who had not used the treatment.
6. Eases Cramps and Spasms
Calendula’s antispasmodic actions are beneficial for relieving muscle spasms, “charley horse” pains, stomach cramps and PMS/menstrual cramps. Marigold is able to decrease cramping by improving blood flow to the painful area and lowering inflammatory responses. The florets can be consumed in tea form to help ease digestion internally and improve liver health or applied over the abdomen in ointment/extract form in order to seep into tense muscles through the skin.
7. Naturally Repels Bugs
Due to their pungent odor, antioxidant content and volatile oils, marigolds can be used to naturally repel mosquitoes, pests and other insects. This is one reason marigold flowers are commonly planted in vegetable gardens and also used in extract form in candles, room or bug sprays, and many skin lotions in order to prevent mosquito bites.
Using marigold products on your skin helps repel bites, but you can also plant the flowers directly in your yard or garden to protect soil. The flowers’ aroma works underground to keep away nematodes (microscopic worms) and other pests that can eat your crops, sometimes for up to three years after being planted, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.
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