First Aid Ointment Comes from Calendula Flowers

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“Dear Pharmacist,

It seems my kids spend the summer getting bumped and bruised. Can you recommend a natural remedy to treat all those boo boos?”

–P.E., Clackamus, Oregon

Answer: Yes, I have just the thing. Not too long ago, a friend of mine took a nasty spill while riding her bicycle. She shared the details of what happened with me, and today, I will share her story with you. My friend’s next-door neighbor asked politely how she was doing after the minor accident, and she confessed to her neighbor that everything hurt.

“I have just the thing,” the neighbor responded and dunked inside her house, emerging a moment later with a jar of calendula cream. Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is an herb that has been used safely all over the world for centuries, specifically for wound healing.

My friend decided to give her neighbor’s cream a try, since she trusted the source. She trusted her because the lady had raised five teenagers who played every sport from soccer to volleyball. If this stuff came with the soccer mom’s seal of approval, it had to be effective.

As my friend relayed her story to me, I became excited to write about it too, since there are no prescription drugs or salves that do all that Calendula can. My friend dabbed the cream on her bruises and scrapes, took a nap and woke up significantly better. Within days, she was as good as new.

This inspired me to research calendula. I wish I knew about it when my children were young. A few European studies have concluded calendula to help soothe wounds and improve healing. It has antifungal, antiviral, and even anti-tumor properties! I think calendula would be fantastic for cradle cap and diaper rashes, or any rash for that matter. You can use it on minor burns, sunburn, bedsores, eczema and poison ivy. A small study proved it can ease the pain of radiation-induced dermatitis. Calendula may improve acne too. Health food stores and online retailers sell calendula in cream, lotions, ointments or tinctures. You’ll see various brands and companies selling it, a few of which include Boiron, Weleda, California Baby and Hyland’s.

If you are creating a first-aid cabinet, I highly recommend you include Calendula. Put it next to your hydrocortisone and tea tree oil. Calendula is so safe you can literally eat the beautiful yellow flowers from which the cream is made, so long as you’re not allergic to flowers in the daisy or marigold family. Calendula extract imparts a beautiful yellow color, so it’s used as a natural coloring agent in cuisines around the world. Lately, I’ve been buying the fresh (and edible version) of flowers from my natural grocer to garnish salads and soups. It makes for a delicious conversation piece at my dinner table.

Did You Know?
Folate found in green leafy veggies (and supplements) was just shown to reduce colon cancer risk.