Backyard Medicine: Calendula officinalis

Calendula is still blossoming here in Toronto right now, donating sunshine to the cold grey rain of late November. Every time I walk by some, it induces a grateful smile. What a beautiful reminder of the abundant medicine accessible to us, even as winter rolls in!



This is another herb that is popular for good reason: used externally in creams, salves or herbal oils, Calendula is anti-inflammatory, wound-healing, supportive to the lymphatic system’s circulation, antibiotic, and anti-fungal. It is unsurpassed for treating local skin problems due to infection and for treating wounds, burns, bruises, and muscle strains (physical damage).  Internally (as a tincture or in tea), it has a similarly soothing & healing effect on the mucus membranes of the gastrointestinal and genitourinary tract.


In my practice, I often prescribe Calendula for rashes such as diaper rash, mild eczema and heat rash, as well as for healing cuts and scrapes. Additionally, I may include it in herbal teas and tinctures for conditions from cervical dysplasia to Seasonal Affective Disorder. My favorite use of Calendula is in a herbal oil, where it is healing, soothing, and gently supports lymphatic circulation. I use it in the Herbal Lymphatic, Breast & Chest Oil I make and sell at Dandelion Naturopathic (and yes, it has Dandelion root in it, too!). For a primo herbal wound-healing oil, pair it with St John’s Wort . Look out for a wound-healing herbal oil recipe, coming up soon.

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