With the amount of health-related content online these days, as well as the increased emphasis on wellbeing arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re learning more about natural remedies all the time. Herbal treatments can often address the same issues as pharmaceutical products while posing far fewer health risks.
Calendula oil is just such a supplement. Its benefits for your skin are wide-ranging, including rash and wound healing, reduction of eczema, psoriasis, and acne, and soothing of chicken pox symptoms.
While calendula oil is not the best-known natural medicine on the market (yet), it’s quickly emerging as an important skin product. We’ve looked at the benefits and key characteristics of calendula here.
What Is Calendula Oil?
Calendula is a plant that has a range of dermatological benefits. Also known as pot marigold (Calendula Officinalis), it originated in the north of Europe. Nowadays, growers produce it all over the world.
The plant’s main healthcare applications relate to the skin. It is generally used as a topical treatment, although ingesting it can be useful under some circumstances. It’s one of many essential oils that can have dermatological benefits.
How Is It Extracted?
Manufacturers make the oil by taking dried calendula petals or flowers and infusing them in one of a number of oils, such as jojoba or olive. There are a few different specific approaches here; generally, the longer you leave the flowers to sit in the oil, the more effective the extraction process will be. However, if you’re making your own oil and you’re not willing to wait several weeks for it, you might prefer a quicker option.
What Does Calendula Essential Oil Smell Like?
Calendula oil has an aroma that is instantly recognizable. Its blend of scents is quite unlike any other herb or essential oil. It has been described as wooden and musky.
Because it is so distinctive, not everyone finds the aroma of calendula oil or flowers appealing. For those who do, however, it adds an extra reason to keep some in your medicine cabinet.
Calendula Oil Benefits
Calendula’s benefits relate mainly to the skin. Topical application of oil or salve can solve or improve a host of skin conditions. Some users also ingest calendula in various forms, although this is somewhat less common.
We’ve looked at a few of the most significant benefits of calendula oil below.
Reduction of Rashes & Other Irritations
This is perhaps the best-known of calendula’s healthcare applications. It’s effective in treating a broad range of everyday skin irritations, including dry skin, contact dermatitis, flea bites, rosacea, and seborrheic eczema.
These kinds of issues can often have ongoing underlying causes. If a rash or irritation persists on your skin despite your use of calendula oil or another herbal remedy, you should consult with a dermatological expert.
If you suffer from dry or chapped lips, buying lip balms that have calendula flowers in them might be a good idea.
Inflammation is the root cause of a host of health issues, including arthritis, diabetes, and even cancer. It is also responsible for a host of common skin issues, like psoriasis, acne, and general redness.
Luckily, calendula oil has potent anti-inflammatory properties. Applying it to the skin will address any inflammatory issues you may be experiencing.
Bacteria give rise to a wide range of health conditions. In terms of the skin, some of the most common bacterial infections are cellulitis, folliculitis, carbuncles, and bacterial vaginosis. If you suffer from one of these, the antibacterial properties of calendula flower may be of assistance to you.
Calendula’s antifungal properties could also make it effective in treating things like yeast infections.
Possible Acceleration of Wound Healing
While research in this area has not yet been extensive enough to confirm that calendula flowers or calendula oil are effective in healing wounds, there is a considerable degree of anecdotal evidence to this effect. There is also a 2013 study that indicates that calendula ointment could speed up wound recovery time along with standard care methods.
Applying calendula products to cuts or healing scabs could be a good idea if they’re not mending as quickly as you’d like.
Acne is a skin condition that most commonly affects teenagers. It comes about due to excess sebum in pores, which causes outbreaks of spots and blackheads along the face, neck, and upper torso.
Topical application of calendula cream, salve, or oil can help to ease these outbreaks.
Eczema causes red rashes and lumps on the skin, along with an itch that can be very severe. It occurs most commonly in areas where skin bends, such as on the inside of your elbows or behind your knees.
Topical application of infused oils containing calendula can have huge benefits for eczema sufferers. While there have not been many peer-reviewed studies in this area, the anecdotal evidence in its favor is strong.
A common complaint among children of diaper-wearing age, diaper rash involves red and inflamed skin around a baby’s buttocks and groin. It is often associated with infrequent diaper changing, as well as sensitive skin.
Applying calendula oil to your baby’s affected areas can help them find relief from diaper rash. This issue also affects those who wear adult diapers. A 2012 study showed that aloe vera (which is a more established remedy for this issue) was significantly less effective than calendula oil in relieving the symptoms of diaper rash.
Cradle cap is another issue babies suffer from that calendula oil can often relieve.
Psoriasis is similar to eczema in many respects. It also causes redness and discomfort on your skin.
However, there are a few key differences. Firstly, the itch that comes with psoriasis is not as severe as that which is caused by eczema, but is more painful. It also looks different, coming with scaly patches and thickening the skin. Psoriasis can appear in many different areas of your body, including your scalp, the palms of your hands, and the soles of your feet.
Treatment with calendula flower products helps many people with psoriasis.
Improvement of the Appearance of the Skin
You don’t have to have a dermatological issue in order to see the benefits of calendula. Even if you just want softer, cleaner, more attractive skin, you should use the essential oil.
Calendula will help you to rid yourself of impurities, grease, spots, scars bruising, and other imperfections that are keeping you from looking your best.
Many people avoid using oils on their faces as they feel it will lead to added shine or greasiness. However, many people report that calendula oil is perfectly safe for facial use.
Calendula oil can also help to ease itching. This has important knock-on effects, because scratching often makes conditions like acne and psoriasis much worse due to the presence of grease and impurities on your fingers.
Insufficient Evidence for Healing
As is the case for many herbal remedies, clinical examination of calendula remains quite limited at this point. This means that not all of the health gains people report from using calendula are supported by scientific research.
This doesn’t mean that they’re not real; it just means that organizations like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are not yet able to approve them for use in the management of given conditions. The FDA does, however, recognize calendula as safe.
Ways to Use Calendula Oil
Most people use Calendula Officinalis as an oil or salve which they apply topically to specific areas of the skin. This is the most effective way to carry out wound healing or to remedy conditions like acne, psoriasis, or burns, as it addresses them directly.
Despite the perceptions of many people that oil is unsuitable for use on the face, you can use calendula oil to treat facial irritations and imperfections. Before you begin regular use on your face, however, you should do a test spot somewhere less visible, like the inside of your arm.
You can also include calendula in a salve. This is a topical treatment that is a high quality cure for burns or more aggressive forms of irritation.
Can Calendula Be Used as a Carrier Oil?
A carrier oil is used to dilute stronger essential oils so that they have the correct dose for their purpose. Common carrier oils include vegetable oil, olive oil, and jojoba oil.
Calendula oil is not the most effective carrier oil, as it can be quite potent. However, if you mix it with another type of oil, you can indeed use it for this purpose. Experts recommend making up no more than 20% of your carrier mix with calendula oil.
How Long Does Calendula Oil Last?
The shelf life of calendula depends on a few different factors. However, a good rule of thumb is that the oil will survive for somewhere between 1-2 years under high quality storage conditions.
Keeping calendula flowers or oil in a mason jar is perhaps the best way to ensure that they stay fresh for as long as possible. If you don’t have one or can’t find one in a store, an ordinary glass jar is the next best thing.
Calendula isn’t dangerous under most circumstances, so dosage isn’t that much of a pressing consideration in most cases. This is especially true if you’re using an oil or salve topically. However, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind.
Firstly, any medicine will begin to lose efficacy if you use too much of it. Our bodies build up a resistance to any foreign substance they come in contact with regularly, so you’ll need to use more and more calendula to achieve the same effect if you’re using it a lot over a long period of time.
Also, as noted below, there are limited circumstances in which it may pose a risk to your health. If you’re not sure whether it will be good for you, it’s important to start with a small dose.
Calendula Oil Risks & Side Effects
Experts consider dried calendula a very safe herb by general standards. However, there are a few situations in which its use in an infused oil for skin care is not recommended.
Calendula can have an impact on the menstrual cycle, encouraging menstruation in some women. For this reason, you shouldn’t ingest it during pregnancy. Researchers have not conclusively said whether it is safe for breastfeeding mothers, so it may be best to avoid using it until you’ve finished nursing your baby.
Also, calendula is similar in some respects to ragweed, which means that people who are allergic to the latter may also be sensitive to the former. While this isn’t true in all cases, it’s something to keep in mind if you’ve had issues with ragweed in the past.
Interactions With Medications
As a herbal remedy, calendula does not interact extensively with other medications. However, you should be aware that it does cause drowsiness in some users. Therefore, you should limit your use of calendula alongside central nervous system depressants (CNS), also known as sedatives.
Some common pharmaceutical sedatives include clonazepam (Klonopin), a potent anti-anxiety medication, and zolpidem (Ambien), a product that is often prescribed for those with insomnia. If you take one of these treatments and you find that calendula’s interaction with them makes you very drowsy, you should consult with a healthcare professional before continuing on a course of calendula oil.
Where to Find Calendula Oil
You can purchase calendula either online or in a physical store, although it’s usually easier to find on the internet.
You can also make your own with a calendula oil recipe. These recipes involve infusing the flower or petals in a carrier oil, such as jojoba, vegetable, or almond oil. You should note, however, that jojoba oil is not edible. If you get a good oil recipe this can be a good way to learn more about calendula oil, and it could also save you some money.
What Can You Use Instead of Calendula Oil?
If calendula doesn’t sound like it’s for you, don’t worry. There are other herbal options that can fulfill the same tasks.
If you need something to help you recover from a wound, burn, or skin irritation, aloe vera is one of your best options. You can use the leaves in their natural form or purchase an aloe vera gel product from a store. Whichever you choose, you’re likely to notice considerable benefits in most cases.
Another great alternative to calendula cream is Vitamin E. Vitamin E fights off free radicals that live on the skin, causing a range of imperfections. It can also heal and moisturize the skin, adding to its general health and appearance.
If you’d like to access the benefits of other herbal remedies along with calendula, there are many composite products that can provide this. ILavaHemp Touch is a full spectrum hemp cream with calendula, CBD, Corsican helichrysum, blue tansy, mango ginger, and a host of other essential oils. Along with the benefits of calendula oil discussed here, it offers a range of other skin care applications as well.