Calendula for Digestion
As social media continues to connect people all across the world, people are better able to share ideas and have more discussions about topics ranging all over the board. And, naturally, people are talking more and more about topics that are considered to be taboo, such as mental health and illness. So, if we’re so open to talking about our health on social media (with complete strangers, nonetheless!) , why is it that rarely anyone talks about their digestive health? The digestive system is composed of important organs that are responsible for breaking down food into nutrients, which the body uses for energy, growth and cell repair.
While digestive health may not be a hot topic, many people worldwide experience digestive or gastrointestinal issues on a frequent basis. In a survey of more than 73,000 people in 33 different countries, scientists at the University of Gothenburg found that four out of ten adults suffer from functional gastrointestinal disorders of varying severity. In the U.S. alone, the National Institutes of Health estimate that approximately 60 to 70 million people in the United States live with a digestive disorder. Fortunately, there are a handful of solutions for those dealing with digestive and gastrointestinal issues—one being the medicinal properties found in the flowers of a plant called calendula.
What is Calendula?
Calendula, otherwise known as calendula officinalis or pot marigold, is a flowering plant that has been historically used for various ailments. The medicinal properties of the plant are found in the striking, yellow-orange flowers which are used for not only medicinal purposes, but also as a coloring agent for fabric and food, such as butter and cheese. These flowers have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, giving it powerful healing capabilities.
The Romans cultivated calendula to treat scorpion bites; it was used in the Middle ages for protection against the plague; and, by the time of the civil war, doctors used dried calendula petals to stop bleeding, promote the healing of wounds and prevent infection. Today, calendula is still used for many of these purposes, but it is primarily used to treat wounds, skin conditions, and peptic and duodenal ulcers (sores on the lining of the digestive tract). Lesser known benefits of calendula include its ability to protect against certain cancer cells, reduce heart disease and heart attack risk, and relieve muscle fatigue.
Calendula for Digestion
Calendula is primarily known as a healing plant due to its vulnerary (wound-healing) properties. Applied topically, calendula is used to keep wounds clean and help new tissue grow. Therefore, a topical calendula extract can be used for healing insect bites, bruises, blisters, burns, cuts, cold sores, and other skin various conditions. Basically, if it’s inflamed, swelling, painful, and/or infectious, calendula may be the answer you are seeking!
Similarly, taking calendula orally may also soothe internal wounds and burns including indigestion, ulcers, heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), food intolerances/allergies, gastritis, cramps, and diarrhea. It does this by protecting the stomach lining and repairing the gut wall, while also relieving abdominal pain or discomfort in the meantime. Additionally, calendula is also an antispasmodic—meaning it can relieve involuntary muscle spasms in the body—and is used for treating symptoms such as stomach pain and cramps.
How to Use Calendula for Digestion
Calendula can be found in an array of variations; it can be prepared as a salve, lotion, or cream to be used topically or as a tincture or tea to be taken orally. If you were to take calendula for digestion, it is important to take it orally. Again, you can find calendula as a tincture or as a dried or fresh herb to make a tea.
Vera Herbals formulates an organic calendula and yarrow spagyric extract intended to help with not only digestion, but also blood flow, cramping and inflammation. Like calendula, yarrow has also been studied to help with gastrointestinal issues. Having antiseptic and antispasmodic properties, the involuntary spasms that are a result of digestion issues in the lower intestine can be treated through yarrow consumption.
Another method of consuming calendula it to make a tea with either dried or fresh calendula flowers. Calendula tea can be made several ways, but here is one recipe for reference.
Ignoring your digestive problems is never a good idea, as an unhealthy digestive system can impair your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, store fat and regulate blood sugar, among other important bodily processes. While many people may not be able to identify gastrointestinal symptoms; or simply do not wish to confide in someone about their digestive health; calendula is a simple, inexpensive, healthy solution to easing an array of digestive and gastrointestinal disorders. So, next time you’re on the toilet, take a second to think about your digestive health and maybe consider trying calendula. Don’t talk s*** until you’ve tried it!
“Gut troubles.” National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Feb. 2020, newsinhealth.nih.gov/2020/02/gut-troubles.
Kubista, Margareta Gustafsson. “Four of TEN adults worldwide have functional gastrointestinal disorders.” University of Gothenburg, University of Gothenburg, 27 May 2020, www.gu.se/en/news/four-of-ten-adults-worldwide-have-functional-gastrointestinal-disorders.
“Organic calendula and yarrow extract: Vera Herbals LLC.: Spagyric made.” Vera Herbals LLC., 6 July 2021, veraherbals.com/shop/calendula-yarrow-extract/.
Toney, Sarah. “Simple calendula tea recipe + benefits.” The Free Range Life, 11 Oct. 2020, thefreerangelife.com/calendula-tea/.