This short lived annual plant belongs to the family Asteraceae and is commonly known as marigold or pot marigold. This plant has been used for medicinal purpose for at least 12 centuries. This herb is now grown as ornamental plants in gardens but not all potted marigold belong to this family. This is an aromatic small plant in which the leaf and the petals are edible. In most cases the leaf is bitter and is served in salads.
Calendula is otherwise known as Ruddles, Common marigold, English marigold and Scottish Marigold and they come in various shades of yellow and oranges. Many specifics varieties are cultivated for their colors like Sun Glow (bright yellow), Indian prince (dark orange), lemon (pale yellow) and so goes the list. These plants though annually grow very well in warm climate and any kind of soil, they are found all over the globe where the weather is temperate. They must have originated in Europe but with numerous cultivated varieties available across the globe the actual habitat of the plant is unknown.
Many countries like India, Rome, Greece and Arabia in olden days have used this herb for its medicinal properties and as a coloring agent for food and clothes.
The herb is rich in flavonoids, plant based antioxidants which is important in protecting the body from cell damage. It has anti viral, anti inflammatory and anti bacterial properties, because of which the petals of the plants is used in tinctures and ointment to heal bruise, sun burns and burns. Earlier, history shows that it was widely used to correct stomach disorders and relieve menstrual cramps.
The dried petals of the flower of calendula are used to prepare the tinctures, ointments and washes. It is believed that it increases the blood flow in the injured area and which fastens the healing of the wound. This combined with the antioxidant present in the flower induces the production of collagen by the body which repairs the broken tissue.
These herbs have been used for many years and have very few side effects listed. Generally people allergic to any plant like chrysanthemum, daisy are advised not use this herb. It is usually in an ointment form and is applied for external bruising or burns. Pregnant women and women trying to get pregnant are advised not to use this herb.
In general the plant is quiet safe with no scientific proof of its medicinal value, but is widely used in homeopathy and other alternative medication.