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The name calendula may not be familiar to you. Scientifically termed as Calendula officinalis, calendula is similar to marigolds and belong to the same species as marigolds and are often called by the alternative name, pot marigold.
Owing to its versatility, the flower of the plant can be made into oil, compress, cream, gel, tea, tincture, a component in a facial steam, salads, stews, toothpaste etc. Used for ornamental, cosmetic and culinary purposes, the flowers are one of the most beneficial herbs  .
A popular addition in various health and skin-care products, the flower is used in more than 200 varieties of shampoos, soaps and lotions. Apart from these, calendula is extremely beneficial for your health due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, to say the least  .
Intrigued? Continue reading to learn the different ways the antiviral herb can help you improve your health.
Nutritional Facts About Calendula
According to the study 'Evaluation of Biologically Active Compounds from Calendula officinalis Flowers using Spectrophotometry' conducted in 2012, calendula contains antioxidants in the form of flavonoids and carotenoids.
The petals of the flower are high in antioxidants and also has fatty acids such as calendric and linoleic acids. As a plant, the leaves of calendula contain lutein and beta-carotene (vitamin A carotenoids) which function as antioxidants   .
Health Benefits Of Calendula
1. Reduces inflammation
The anti-inflammatory properties possessed by the flower petals help in treating inflammation. It is proven to help treat ulcerative colitis (UC), an inflammatory bowel disease that irritates the lining of your large intestine or colon  .
2. Improves oral health
Calendula flower extracts are widely used in oral care products such as toothpaste and mouthwashes  . The antibacterial properties possessed by the flower help in killing the harmful bacteria and thus help protect your mouth from ailments such as cavities, gingivitis etc.
3. May prevent cancer
According to recent studies, it has been ascertained that calendulas have possible antitumour properties. That is, calendula extracts procured positive results in cancer management. It is expected to be, with further research, used for cancer prevention, treatment, and palliative care - mainly because it does not pose any toxic side-effect like normal cancer treatment  .
4. Manages cramps
The anti-spasmodic properties of calendula are known to be beneficial for reducing cramping related to menstruation. It is also beneficial for treating other types of spasmodic condition as well  .
5. Boosts eye health
The antioxidant compounds present in calendula are asserted to be increasingly beneficial for improving your vision. The beta-carotene aids in preventing cataract and macular degeneration  .
6. Heals ulcers and wounds
Calendula flower extracts can help in speeding up the healing of slow-healing open wounds and ulcers. It has been proven to boost the recovery rate by 30 per cent in animals. Studies on human beings are yet to be conducted  .
7. Aids menstruation
The presence of flavonoids helps relax your muscles, thereby promoting your blood circulation and easing your menstruation. Calendula can also help induce the menstruation cycle and ease the painful side effects  .
How To Consume Calendula
- Dried petals can be added to cakes and soup.
- Petals of the flower are chopped and added to salads.
- It can be used as a flavour enhancer in rice, soups etc.
- It is also used in the preparation of tea.
- Dried petals can be used for making an omelette.
Calendula Tea Recipes
1. Dried flower tea 
Ingredients: 1-2 tablespoons of dried calendula flower and 1 cup water
Directions: Boil the water and add the dried flower into a cup. Pour the water over the dried herb and let steep for 15 minutes.
2. Fresh flower tea
Ingredients: 4-5 fresh flowers and 1 cup water
Directions: In a heat-roof jar, add the flowers and pour the hot water. Let it infuse for 10 minutes and consume when it cools down.
3. Sun tea
Ingredients: 4-5 fresh flowers or dried flowers, and 2 cups cold water
Directions: Fill a jar with the flowers and pour the cold water over it. Close the bottle and place in a bright sunny spot for 5 to 6 hours.
Side Effects Of Calendula
- As the flowers help induce menstruation, pregnant women and breastfeeding women should avoid calendula  .
- Also, due to its highly potent pro-menstruation effect, calendula should not be consumed by women planning to get pregnant.
- It may interact negatively with sedatives due to its muscle-relaxing abilities.
- Individuals taking diabetes and blood pressure medications also should avoid calendula.
- Individuals allergic to daisies, ragweed etc. should stay away from calendula  .
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-  Sharma, A., Saha, T. N., Arora, A., Shah, R., & Nain, L. (2017). Efficient microorganism compost benefits plant growth and improves soil health in Calendula and Marigold. Horticultural Plant Journal, 3(2), 67-72.
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-  Rizk, E. M., Tolba, K. H., & El-Gharably, A. M. (2019). CAROTENOID PIGMENTS COMPOSITION OF CALENDULA FLOWER AND ITS POTENTIAL USES AS ANTIOXIDANT AND NATURAL COLORANT IN MANUFACTURING OF HARD CANDY.
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-  The Nerdy Farmwife. (n.d.). 14 Uses For Calendula Tea [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://thenerdyfarmwife.com/14-uses-for-calendula-tea/
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-  Faustino, M. V., Pinto, D. C., Gonçalves, M. J., Salgueiro, L., Silveira, P., & Silva, A. M. (2018). Calendula L. species polyphenolic profile and in vitro antifungal activity. Journal of functional foods, 45, 254-267.