Calendula officinalis L.

Last updated: 06 Apr 2016

Scientific Name

Calendula officinalis L.


Calendula aurantiaca Kotschy ex Boiss., Calendula eriocarpa DC., Calendula hydruntina (Fiori) Lanza, Calendula officinalis var. officinalis, Calendula officinalis var. prolifera Hort., Calendula prolifera Hort. ex Steud., Calendula × santamariae Font Quer, Calendula sinuata var. aurantiaca (Klotzsch ex Boiss.) Boiss., Caltha officinalis (L.) Moench. [1]

Vernacular Name

English Calendula, common marigold, garden marigold, hen and chickens, marigold, pot marigold, ruddles, Scotch marigold [2]
China Jin zhan ju, chin chan hua [2]
India Roja, sushi phul, thulvkka saamanthi, zendhu zergul [2]
Japan Tô-kin-sen-ka [2]
Tibet Bod-gur-gum [2].

Geographical Distributions

Calendula officinalis was being grown in British gardens as a pot-herb, and as a medicinal and ornamental plant. It had been spread to places as a bird-seed and esparto alien. It readily escapes, being known from the wild by 1872. It is increasing in the Isles of Scilly, where it was first recorded in 1939, the Channel Islands, and in sheltered places in south Britain. [3]

Botanical Description

C. officinalis falls under the family of Compositae. It is an annual to perennial plant that can grow up to 20-50cm high. [4]

The leaves are 7 to 14x 1 to 4 cm, lance-shaped with narrowed bases, narrowly parallel-sided, or spoon-shaped, shortly tapering to the apex or blunt, glandular-hairy to sparsely spidery-cottony hairy, usually with a smooth edge to obsecurely wavy-toothed. [4]

The flowers are 4 to 7 cm in diameter, petals of yellow and orange in colour. [4]

The outer fruits (achenes) are incurved and narrowly beaked from 2 to 2.5cm in length, alternating with shorter boat-shaped (rarely 3-winged) achenes. [4]


No documentation.

Chemical Constituent

C. officinalis contains triterpenoids and flavonoids [5][6]. C. officinalis dried flowers has been reported to contain triterpendiol monoesters (e.g. faradiol-3-O-palmitate, faradiol-3-O-myristate, faradiol-3-O-laurate, arnidiol-3-O-palmitate, arnidiol-3-O-myristate, arnidiol-3-O-laurate, calenduladiol-3-O-palmitate, and calenduladiol-3-O-myristate) [7]. The flavonoids, particularly patulitrin and patuletin, may be used as dyes [8]. The saponin fractions isolated from C. officinalis flower include oleanolic acid and ursolic acid [9]. Calendasaponins A, B, C, and D, two additional ionone glucosides (officinosides A and B), and two sesquiterpene oligoglycosides (officinosides C and D) have been isolated from the flowers of Egyptian Calendula officinalis [10].

Plant Part Used

Petal. [11]

Traditional Use

In Unani and Sidha, the flowers of C. officinalis had been used to treat wound and are believed to have the following biological activity: emmenagogue, sedative, antihemorrhagic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, styptic, fecrifuge, antiprotozoal. It is also used as a remedy for skin problems, to be applied externally to bites, stings, sprains, wounds, sore eyes, varicose veins, gastric and duodenal ulcers. The flower infusion can be prepared to treat jaundice or made as a mouthwash for toothache. [11]

Preclinical Data


Wound healing activity

C. officinalis extracts have been used topically to promote wound healing, with several studies reporting a measurable effect. In a laboratory study, an ointment containing a 5% fractionated extract of C. officinalis flowers markedly stimulated the physiological regeneration and epithelialization of wound tissue, seemingly due to more intensive metabolism of glycoproteins, nucleoproteins, and collagen proteins during the regenerative period in the tissues. [12]

Antioxidant activity

C. officinalis extracts also have antioxidant activity as reported in laboratory studies. [13]

Another study reported immune activation by C. officinalis extracts using in vitro granulocyte tests and in vivo carbon clearance tests, both laboratory determinants of immune activation. [14]

C. officinalis extracts have also been reported to be anti-inflammatory, which also aids in wound repair and healing [15][16]. The anti-inflammatory effect has been reported to be due to the triterpenoids (specifically faradiol) found in calendula [17]. There are various case reports of C. officinalis preparations healing wounds, including traumatic wounds and chronic wounds (pressure sores and diabetic ulcers) [18].

Other activity

Russian studies have reported that preparations of C. officinalis alleviated the signs of chronic conjunctivitis and other chronic ocular inflammatory conditions in laboratory animals [19][20]. Some early clinical studies reported that combination preparations containing Calendula were effective in treating duodenal ulcers and gastroduodenitis [21]. A proprietary otic solution that contains herbal extracts including Allium sativum, Verbascum thapsus, Calendula flores, and Hypericum perforatum in olive oil, provided similar results in pain relief in cases of acute otitis media to a commercially available anesthetic otic solution containing ametocaine and phenazone in glycerine [22].

Extracts of dried flowers from C. officinalis were also reported to inhibit the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in vitro, reducing HIV-1 reverse transcriptase in a dose and time dependent manner [23]. Further research needs to be performed to support these findings. Animal studies have indicated that some of the saponins isolated in C. officinalis have exhibited inhibitory effects on an increase in serum glucose levels in glucose-loaded rats, gastric emptying in mice, and ethanol- and indomethacin-induced gastric lesions in rats [5].

C. officinalis extracts may also have anticancer activity. A laboratory study reported that an extract of C. officinalis had cytotoxic tumor cell activity and lymphocyte activation in vitro. [24][25]


Acute toxicity, tested in a study where a single dose of C.officinalis extract 2000 mg/kg dissolved in distilled water was administered by oral gavage. Subchronic doses of 50, 250 and 1000 mg/kg/day were administered in drinking water. No mortality or signs of toxicity were observed in the acute study. In the subchronic study, haemoglobin, erythrocytes, leukocytes and blood clotting time were significantly affected in both males and females rats after 90 days. Alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alkaline phosphate were also significantly affected. Histopathological examination of tissues showed slight abnormalities in hepatic parenchyma that were consistent with biochemical variations observed. [26]

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing

No documentation


  1. The Plant List. Ver 1.1. Calendula officinalis L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Feb 11; cited 2016 Apr 6]. Available from:
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume II C-D. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 25.
  3. Online Atlas of the British & Irish Flora. Calendula officinalis (Pot Marigold). [homepage on the Internet]. [updated 2008 Nov; cited 2016 Apr 14]. Available from:
  4. The Herb Society of America. Essential guide: Calendula [homepage on the Internet] Ohio: The Herb Society of America; c2007. [cited 2016 Nov 17] Available from:
  5. Yoshikawa M, Murakami T, Kishi A, Kageura T, Matsuda H. Medicinal flowers. III. Marigold. (1): hypoglycemic, gastric emptying inhibitory, and gastroprotective principles and new oleanane-type triterpene oligoglycosides, calendasaponins A, B, C, and D, from Egyptian Calendula officinalis. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2001;49(7):863-870.
  6. Vidal-Ollivier E, Elias R, Faure F, and et al. Flavonol glycosides from Calendula officinalis flowers. Planta Med. 1989;55:73-74.
  7. Neukirch H, D'Ambrosio M, Dalla Via J, Guerriero A. Simultaneous quantitative determination of eight triterpenoid monoesters from flowers of 10 varieties of Calendula officinalis L. and characterisation of a new triterpenoid monoester. Phytochem Anal. 2004;15(1):30-35.
  8. Guinot P, Gargadennec A, Valette G, Fruchier A, Andary C. Primary flavonoids in marigold dye: extraction, structure and involvement in the dyeing process. Phytochem Anal. 2008;19(1):46-51.
  9. Kowalski R. Studies of selected plant raw materials as alternative sources of triterpenes of oleanolic and ursolic acid types. J Agric Food Chem. 2007;55(3):656-662.
  10. Marukam T, Kishi A, Yoshikawa M. Medicinal flowers. IV. Marigold. (2): Structures of new ionone and sesquiterpene glycosides from Egyptian Calendula officinalis. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2001;49(8):974-978.
  11. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of medicinal plants used in Malaysia. Volume 1. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR, 2002; p. 133.
  12. Klouchek-Popova E, Popov A, Pavlova N, Krŭsteva S. Influence of the physiological regeneration and epithelialization using fractions isolated from Calendula officinalis. Acta Physiol Pharmacol Bulg. 1982;8(4):63-67.
  13. Braga PC, Dal Sasso M, Culici M, et al. Antioxidant activity of Calendula officinalis extract: inhibitory effects on chemiluminescence of human neutrophil bursts and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy. Pharmacology. 2009;83(6):348-355.
  14. Wagner H, Proksch A, Riess-Maurer I, et al. Immunostimulating action of polysaccharides (heteroglycans) from higher plants. Arzneimittelforschung. 1985;35(7):1069-1075.
  15. Akihisa T, Yasukawa K, Oinuma H, et al. Triterpene alcohols from the flowers of compositae and their anti-inflammatory effects. Phytochemistry. 1996;43(6):1255-1260.
  16. Bezakova L, Masterová I, Pauliková I, Psenák M. Inhibitory activity of isorhamnetin glycosides from Calendula officinalis L. on the activity of lipoxygenase. Pharmazie. 1996;51(2):126-127.
  17. Della Loggia R, Tubaro A, Sosa S, Becker H, Saar S, Isaac O. The role of triterpenoids in the topical anti-inflammatory activity of Calendula officinalis flowers. Planta Med. 1994;60(6):516-520.
  18. Cannon KA, inventor; Cannon Karen A, assignee. Method for treating pressure ulcers using calendula. United States patent 5266330. 1993 Nov 30.
  19. Mozherenkov VP, Shubina LF. Treatment of chronic conjunctivitis with Calendula. Med Sestra. 1976;35(4):33-34.
  20. Marinchev VN, Bychkova LN, Balvanovich NV, Giraev AN. Use of calendula for therapy of chronic inflammatory diseases of eyelids and conjunctiva. Oftalmol Zh. 1971;26(3):196-198.
  21. Iatsyno AL, Belova LF, Lipkina GS, Sokolov SI, Trutneva EA. Pharmacology of calenduloside B, a new triterpene glycoside from the roots of Calendula officinalis. Farmakol Toksikol. 1978;41(5):556-560.
  22. Sarrell EM, Mandelberg A, Cohen HA. Efficacy of naturopathic extracts in the management of ear pain associated with acute otitis media. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2001;155(7):796-799.
  23. Kalvatchev Z, Walder R, Garzaro D. Anti-HIV activity of extracts from Calendula officinalis flowers. Biomed Pharmacother. 1997;51(4):176-180.
  24. Jiménez-Medina E, Garcia-Lora A, Paco L, Algarra I, Collado A, Garrido F. A new extract of the plant Calendula officinalis produces a dual in vitro effect: Cytotoxic anti-tumor activity and lymphocyte activation. BMC Cancer. 2006;6:119.
  25. Ukiya M, Akihisa T, Yasukawa K, Tokuda H, Suzuki T, Kimura Y. Anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor-promoting, and cytotoxic activities of constituents of Marigold (Calendula officinalis) flowers. J Nat Prod. 2006;69(12):1692-1696.
  26. Lagarto A, Bueno V, Guerra I, Valdés O, Vega Y, Torres L. Acute and subchronic oral toxicities of Calendula officinalis extract in Wistar rats. Exp Tox Path. 2011;63(4):387-391.