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Therapeutic Potential of Calendula officinalis
Calendula officinalis (Calendula), belonging to the family of Asteraceae, commonly known as English Marigold or Pot Marigold is an aromatic herb which is used in Traditional system of medicine for treating wounds, ulcers, herpes, scars, skin damage, frost-bite and blood purification. It is mainly used because of its various biological activities to treat diseases as analgesic, anti–diabetic, anti-ulcer and anti-inflammatory. It is also used for gastro-intestinal diseases, gynecological problems, eye diseases, skin injuries and some cases of burn. Calendula oil is still medicinally used as, an anti-tumor agent, and a remedy for healing wounds. Plant pharmacological studies have suggested that Calendula extracts have antiviral and anti-genotoxic properties in-vitro. In herbalism, Calendula in suspension or in tincture is used topically for treating acne, reducing inflammation, controlling bleeding, and soothing irritated tissue. Calendula is used for protection against the plague. In early American Shaker medicine, calendula was a treatment for gangrene. In addition to its first aid uses, calendula also acts as a digestive remedy. An infusion or tincture of the flowers, taken internally, is beneficial in the treatment of yeast infections, and diarrhea. An infusion of Calendula officinalis may also be used to treat bee stings, eye inflammations, boils and abscesses, varicose veins, eczema, and as a gargle for mouth sores or to relieve toothache. It improves the circulation of the blood & the lymphatic fluids and aids in elimination of toxins from the body. This plant is rich in many pharmaceutical active ingredients like carotenoids, flavonoids, glycosides, steroids and sterols quinines, volatile oil, and amino acids. The extract of this plant as well as pure compound isolated from it, has been demonstrated to possess multiple pharmacological activities such as anti-cytotoxic, hepato-protective and spasmolytic amongst others. Acute toxicity studies in rats and mice suggest that the extract is relatively nontoxic. Animal tests have demonstrated minimal skin irritation, and no sensitization or photo toxicity. Minimal ocular irritation was seen with one formulation and no irritation with others. Six saponins isolated from C. officinalis flowers were not mutagenic in an Ames test, and a tea derived from C. officinalis was not genotoxic in Drosophila melanogaster. Clinical testing of cosmetic formulations containing the extract elicited little irritation or sensitization. This review has explored the organoleptic, in-vitro and in-vivo pharmacological activities as well as description, cultivation and active chemical constituents of Calendula officinalis in order to existing information on this plant as well as highlighted its multi activity properties as a medicinal agent.