Marigold is perhaps most well known as a topical remedy for minor burns, cuts, bug bites, and bruises. As a calendula salve, ointment, or compress, this herb can be applied to the skin to speed the healing process, reduce inflammation and pain, and to protect the body from infection. Although there has been sparse scientific research regarding marigold as a medicinal plant on humans, there have been some studies on animals. Marigold flowers have been found to be an effective remedy for skin inflammation. Also, tests on women receiving radiation treatment for breast cancer have shown that a calendula salve can reduce the severe dermatitis that usually accompanies chemotherapy.
Not only is this herb considered a vulnerary, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory, but it is also useful as an emmenagogue, regulating and balancing both painful and irregular menstrual cycles. Of all the marigold flower benefits, this is perhaps the most interesting, as the flower itself blooms on a monthly basis.
Today, herbal healers also use marigold as a medicinal plant for all varieties of gastrointestinal problems — stomach ulcers, gallbladder disease, indigestion, even to possibly help prevent stomach cancer. This herb is considered a cholagogue; it protects the stomach and intestinal lining by inhibiting prostaglandin, which can lead to inflammation and swelling. Also, its antimicrobial properties protect the gastrointestinal system from the negative effects of harmful bacteria.
The active components of marigold flowers include a number of antioxidants, such as carotenoids and quercetin, as well as volatile oils, saponins, and mucilage.