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Calendula oil is one of the most popular and effective topical oils. This oil is distilled from the petals of the pot marigold or Calendula officinalis. The common name used for marigold in India is "Genda".
"Calendula" comes from the Latin word "calendae", which means "little calendar", as the flower blooms on the calends or the first of most months.
In ancient Egypt, the flower was not only used to honour Virgin Mary, but also considered for its rejuvenating properties.
Calendula oil or marigold oil has anti-inflammatory properties. It is used to heal the swelling caused by sprained muscles and bruises. It reduces the swelling effects of injuries.
Calendula oil helps to soothe skin problems like psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema. It provides relief from the inflammation caused by these skin ailments. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, the oil is also used in the treatment of chilblains, spider veins, leg ulcers and varicose veins.
Calendula oil speeds up the healing of minor cuts, wounds, insect bites, bed sores and acne as it has anti-septic and anti-microbial properties.
As it is anti-fungal in nature, it is used for the treatment of ringworm, jock itch and athlete's foot.
Calendula oil is excellent in the treatment of scars. It increases the collagen level and makes it difficult for scar tissues to form.
It is very good for sensitive skin. It can be used as a moisturizer for dry skin and also for the treatment of severely chapped or split skin. It is great in treating diaper rash.
It has been traditionally used in the treatment of constipation, abdominal cramps and ailments of the digestive tract. It has also been used to detoxify the liver and gall bladder.
However, calendula oil has certain side-effects. Hence, it must be used with caution. Pregnant and breast-feeding women should not consume it orally, as it might cause miscarriage.
Certain people are allergic to calendula oil. Hence, one should conduct a patch test before using it. Calendula oil causes too much drowsiness when used along with other medicines during and after surgery. Hence its usage should be stopped a fortnight before surgery.
Calendula oil can be very easily prepared at home:
- Take some dry calendula flowers and place them in a clean, dry glass jar.
- Pour olive oil into the jar.
- Make sure to cover the flowers by at least an inch, so that they get the space to expand. Stir well and cap the jar tightly.
- Place the jar in a warm place and give it a shake once in a day.
- After four to six weeks, strain the oil in a cheese cloth and store it away in a cool, dark place.
This oil can be used for a year.