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Marigolds Can Brighten up Your Life With Their Various Health Benefits

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  • Marigold, also known as calendula, is traditionally used to help relieve minor burns, wounds and other skin problems. It may provide beneficial effects against cancer, UVB radiation, bursitis, body toxins and menstrual pain as well
  • The flower petals may be utilized as an herbal infusion, topical solution and eyewash. They can also be brewed into tea
  • Marigold petals add color and flavor in various dishes like stews, soups, pudding and salads. When powdered, they work well as a cheaper alternative to saffron

Marigolds (Calendula officinalis) are mainstays in gardens all over the world because of their sunny appearance. Throughout history, the marigold plant, also called calendula, has been well-utilized since the 12th century in Central Europe and the Mediterranean.1 Documentations of use also reach as far back as the Indian, Middle Eastern, Greek and Roman civilizations when calendula flowers were used as a dye.2

The name it goes by these days, marigold, was introduced in the early days of Christianity. People named it Mary's Gold in honor of the Virgin Mary, which was then shortened through time into "marigold."3 Its other common names are pot marigold, English marigold and poet's marigold.4

However, marigold shares the same name with the Tagetes plant, which is a more popular flower in the U.S.5 This type of marigold is also well-known in Mexico as the "flower of the dead." It is used by citizens during "Dia de los Muertos" or the "Day of the Dead," and is commonly used to adorn home altars, which are built by families to remember and show respect for their deceased loved ones.6

Take note that these two plants belong to different plant varieties. It's a common mistake to interchange them because of their similar names, but it's important to know that they have distinct benefits.7 To make sure that you're looking at the calendula plant, it's best that you look for its scientific name in labels.

With its numerous uses, it's obvious that this plant offers so much more than beauty alone. Continue reading to learn more about marigold's health benefits and how you can use it for some everyday health concerns.

Get These 5 Potential Health Benefits From Marigolds

Aside from its vibrant color that adds to its attractiveness, marigolds may be used to help alleviate various ailments. It is traditionally used to help relieve minor burns, wounds and other skin problems.8 This plant may have beneficial effects against the following health conditions as well:

  • Cancer — Flavonoids in marigold flowers were found to exhibit cytotoxic, anti-inflammatory and inhibitory activities against colon cancer, leukemia and melanoma cells.9
  • Skin conditions — Marigold has been used in mitigating various skin conditions because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Marigold essential oil, when applied on the skin, may help reduce damage caused by UVB radiation.10 To add, a 2018 study found that marigold methanol extract has high levels of polyphenols that provide antiaging effects to the skin.11
  • Bursitis — Bursitis or the inflammation of the bursa sac often causes extreme pain due to swelling.12 As an alternative to injections, shoe gear change, surgery or paddings, marigolds may be used for paste and pad therapy to help ease discomfort and inflammation.13
  • Body toxins — Marigolds are known to assist in the body's detoxification process by eliminating toxic materials that have accumulated over time in the body. This detoxification not only benefits the digestive system, but also the lymphatic system by helping induce drainage and alleviate inflammation of the lymph nodes.14
  • Menstrual pain — Marigold offers benefits for the proper regulation of the processes that take place in the female reproductive system. It helps relieve menstrual pain and cramps.15

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How Can You Use Marigolds? Here are 3 Ways

Marigolds are often used by many people for decorative purposes — they can be made into wreaths, flower arrangements, potpourri and dry-in-place decorations.16 But apart from their bright and attractive flowers, marigolds may be utilized in other ways. Here are some techniques on how to put marigolds to good use:

  • As an herbal infusion — Because marigold leaves are bitter-tasting, its flower petals may be used to create an herbal infusion by soaking them in water, vinegar, alcohol, cream or milk. This results in a golden orange liquid with a woody and sweet taste.17
  • As a topical solution — Marigold extract was found to exhibit wound healing activities when taken orally and applied topically.18 It also may be used to help alleviate burns through its antioxidant properties.19
  • As an eyewash — Marigold cold infusions have been used as a wash to help soothe and cool strained eyes. It's also commonly used to help relieve conjunctivitis.20

Marigolds Add Color Not Just to Your Garden but Your Health, Too

Marigolds are commonly found in gardens and plant boxes to exude an inviting appearance in homes and also in vegetable gardens to attract insects that feed on pests.21 While they're often ignored by seasoned green thumbs because they seem to prefer using other plants that are more unique,22 it's still a good idea to grow these flowering plants in your garden or yard.

Marigolds not only will give a vibrant appearance to your garden, but also will allow you to utilize this herb when needed. Follow this guide on how to grow and care for your marigold plants:23

  1. Find a portion of your garden with abundant sunlight as marigolds need it to thrive. They also grow best in moderately fertile and well-drained soil.
  2. Sow the marigold seeds 1 inch apart in the garden when the soil is warm during spring. You also have the choice of germinating them indoors.
  3. Water the plants well and let the soil dry thoroughly before watering again. Water them at the base of the plant and not from the top.
  4. Marigold seeds germinate easily. The blooms usually appear after a few weeks. Once the flowers are established, pinch off the tops, aka "dead-heading," for them to become bushier.

You can also plant marigolds as a ground cover. Gardeners have noted that this plant, with its pungent scent, has the ability to repel nematodes or the microscopic worms found underground that harm the roots of vegetable crops.24

Try These Delicious and Healthy Marigold Recipes

Apart from the plant's various medicinal uses, marigold has culinary uses, too. The petals can be powdered and used as a coloring and flavoring agent — a more affordable alternative to saffron.25 The fresh or dried whole flowers can also be added to soups, stews, pudding, yogurt and salad, while the leaves can be used in salads or stews.26 Here's one marigold recipe you can try:

Cauliflower With Marigold Sauce


Serving size: 4 servings

  • 1 medium cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup organic raw butter
  • 1/2 coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup grated grass fed, organic and raw milk cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups raw coconut milk
  • 6 marigold flowerheads
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Break up the cauliflower into large florets. Steam them for 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked.
  2. In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and mix until a soft paste is formed.
  3. Slowly add the milk, whisking continuously to keep the mixture smooth.
  4. Decrease heat to low and simmer for five to 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
  5. Stir in cheese. Do not allow to boil.
  6. Remove from heat and add the marigold petals. Stir the mixture slowly.
  7. Place the cauliflower in a serving dish and pour the sauce. Serve.

(Adapted from Genius Kitchen27)

Brewing tea is also one of the most well-known uses for this herb. Its flower petals produce a vivid, pungent flavored tea.28 To make your own, follow this recipe:

Marigold Herbal Tea Recipe


  • 2 teaspoons dried marigold petals
  • 1 cup boiling water


  1. Add the marigold petals in the cup of water and steep for five minutes.
  2. Strain the mixture and let cool until warm enough to drink.

(From "90+ Herbal Teas To Be In Good Health"29)

Make Your Own Calendula Oil Infusion With These Easy Steps

Marigold essential oil, or calendula oil, is often used as an active component in lotions, salves and creams because of its positive effect on the skin.30 Studies found that it contains high amounts of flavonoids and terpenes that contribute to the improvement of skin health, promotion of wound healing and reduction of inflammation.31

There are two ways to make your own marigold oil: cold infusion and hot infusion. However, cold infusion is more recommended because the flowers are delicate.32 Below are the two methods on how to make calendula oil infusion:33


  • Fresh calendula petals or leaves
  • Carrier oil (coconut oil, sunflower oil or almond oil)
  • Clean lidded glass jar


Cold infusion method:

  1. Put your desired amount of dried calendula petals in a clean, dry glass jar.
  2. Fill the jar with your carrier oil of choice to cover the petals by an inch.
  3. Place the jar in a sunny spot to infuse for two to six weeks.
  4. Drain the petals from the oil and store the oil in a container with a lid. Remember to put a label on the container.

Hot infusion method:

  1. Put your desired amount of dried calendula petals in a saucepan with boiling water.
  2. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. After a few minutes, strain the mixture and place the oil in a glass jar.
  3. Label the container, seal with a lid and store the oil. You can use it for up to one year.

Contraindications for the Use of Marigolds

Before using marigolds or calendula to help ease a health issue, it is best to consult a health practitioner to get the right dosage. If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, it's best to avoid this herb because of the lack of studies in this area.34

Marigolds should also be avoided by people who are allergic to plants that belong to the Compositae or Aster family such as daisies, chrysanthemums and ragweed. Marigolds belong to the same family and may cause severe allergic reactions.35

+ Sources and References