Calendula officinalis, also known as Pot Marigold, belongs to the sunflower family (Asteraceae/Compositae), the largest family in all plants. The plant is native to southern Europe and was used in ancient Greek, Roman, Arabic and Indian cultures as a medicinal herb as well as a dye for fabrics, foods and cosmetics. The leaves and petals of the Pot Marigold are edible, with the petals added to dishes as a garnish and in lieu of saffron. The leaves can be sweet but are more commonly bitter, and may be used in salads.
Officinalis grows to about half a meter in height. Typically, the stems are straight and ramified. The leaves are oblong-lanceolate, hairy on both sides and 5 to 15 cm long with toothed margins. The flowering period is in Spring with the flowers appearing all year long and the fruit is a thorny curved achene. The plant prefers a rich, light soil and a sunny location. It is also fast growing which makes it perfect for flower arrangements.
Calendula officinalis flowers have long been employed time in folk therapy, and more than 35 properties have been attributed to decoctions and tinctures from the flowers. The main uses are as remedies for burns (including sunburns), bruises and cutaneous (skin) and internal inflammatory diseases of several origins. The plant also has insect repelling properties. Studies conducted on officinalis have shown the plant to demonstrate the ability to inhibit the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) replication, to enhance significantly the physiological regeneration and epithelialization of tissues and to induce notable anti-inflammatory effects, thus lowering immune reactions.
IBSAR performed studies using water extract of Calendula officinalis to treat broiler chickens (chickens or turkeys raised specifically for meat production). These studies were the first conducted on broilers instead of cells. The water extract proved to be successful in clearing viruses such as IBD from the system of broilers. The extract also exhibited anti-inflammatory properties when exposed to viruses such as ND, IB and Salmonella and enhanced the broiler’s ability to battle these viruses reducing their mortality rate significantly.
- PCR Use in Epidemiological Study of Avian Mycoplasmosis and Control of Gumboro by Herbal Extracts: View Abstract