Photo Credit: Kimberly Konkol
Calendula officinalis (L.), has a beautiful golden flower and provides us with many therapeutic benefits. Calendula is well-known for it's amazing skin-care properties. Oil infusions and tinctures are both simple ways you can capture the healing properties of calendula for use on the skin. To learn more about how to make a calendula oil infusion read this blog, and to make a successful herbal tincture, read this blog.
Another incredibly simple way to improve skin health from calendula is by eating the golden petals. Calendula petals are filled with carotenoids and flavonoids, which is what gives them their brilliant golden colors. These carotenoids and flavonoids that give plants their brilliant variety of colors, also protect them from the sun. As we include them in our diet, they are distributed in our skin, helping protect our skin from the sun; just as plants are protected. Not only are they protecting our skin from damage from the sun, they are also repairing previous sun damage.   
Although research hasn't shown an association between the color of calendula petals and the amount of flavonoids they contain, it has shown there is a difference with the amount of carotenoids. The bright orange color of calendula is primarily due to lycopene, which is absent in the yellow varieties. Beta carotene was found in both the yellow and orange petals. Our skin is enriched with both lycopene and beta-carotene. The vibrant golden calendula petals are filled with both of these.
Calendula in salad. Photo Credit: Kimberly Konkol
Research is not only showing the carotenoid content in calendula petals, it is also showing how carotenoids protect our skin. The protection we receive from the sun, along with repairing previous damage, depends on how much carotenoids we consume and also the length of time. It was shown that it takes several weeks of consuming 30 mg of beta-carotene to improve skin health. Facial wrinkles and skin elasticity was shown to improve after consuming beta carotene for 90 days.  
As we include a variety of brightly colored vegetables, fruits, and a few flowers in our diet, we are helping protect and improve the quality of our skin. Calendula is very easy to grow, and is a fun and beautiful way to increase our carotenoids and flavonoids.
Although calendula has been shown to be very safe, those who are pregnant are advised not to use Calendula orally or topically. Calendula can also cause allergies with some people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae family, such as ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, and daisies.
Although Calendula can be effective at healing skin tissue and preventing infection, it should not be used on wounds where infection is present or on wounds that are deep. Calendula can heal the top layer of the skin quickly, trapping in the infection
 Cho, S., Lee, D.H., Won, C.H., Kim, S.M., Lee, S., Lee, M.J., & Chung, J.H. (2010). Differential effects of low-dose and high-dose beta-carotene supplementation on the signs of photoaging and type I procollagen gene expression in human skin in vivo. Dermatology, 221(2):160-71. doi: 10.1159/000305548
 Mishra, A. K., Mishra, A., & Chattapadhyay, P. (2010). Calendula officinalis: An important herb with valuable therapeutic dimensions - An overview. Journal of Global Pharma Technology, 2(10). doi: 10.1234/jgpt.v2i10.288
 Raal, A., & Kirsipuu, K. (2011). Total flavonoid content in varieties of Calendula officinalis L. originating from different countries and cultivated in Estonia. Natural Products Research, 25(6):658-662. doi: 10.1080/14786419.2010.528417
 Sausserde, R., & Kampuss, K. (2014). Composition of carotenoids in Calendula (Calendula Officinalis L.) flowers. Foodbalt, 13-18. Retrieved from https://llufb.llu.lv/conference/foodbalt/2014/FoodBalt_Proceedings_2014-13-18.pdf
 Schagen, S.K., Zampeli, V.A., Makrantonkai, E., & Zouboulis, C.C. (2012). Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging. Dermato-Endocrinology, 4(3):298-307. doi: 10.4161/derm.22876
 Stahl, W., & Sies, H. (2007). Carotenoids and flavonoids contribute to nutritional protection against skin damage from sunlight. Molecular Biotechnology, 37(1):26-30. doi: 10.1007/s12033-007-0051-z
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This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.