We all know the beautiful flower called calendula. Intense orange-yellow in color, calendulas are a wonderful choice for floral ornaments. What very few know, however, is that these small flowers can be useful in treating many health problems.
Calendulas are rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants are substances that give the gorgeous shade to yellow calendulas. Antioxidants provide protection by canceling the harmful effects of free radicals, molecules that damage cells and make the body sick. The main danger is that free radicals can alter the structure of DNA, thus causing cancer.
The WebMD website says that calendula ointment can reduce inflammation caused by radiation therapy. Also, calendula ointment can relieve dermatitis caused by radiation suffered by women with breast cancer after they undergo radiation therapy.
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Calendula prevents cancer
Calendula contains lutein, one of the most important ingredients in the fight against cancer. Lutein is an antioxidant whose anti-tumor effects were tested recently in a study conducted on patients suffering from breast cancer. The test results were reported in the Journal of Nutrition in the October 1997 edition. It was proved that lutein has not only reduced the number of tumors, but it was useful in preventing the formation of cancer cells as well.
Researchers have discovered that lutein has many health benefits even in small amounts. According to the journal Academy, it has been shown that this substance is beneficial in treating melanoma, leukemia and colon cancer.
In the fight against cancer, calendula flower tea is a very powerful adjuvant. First boil the water, then add a tablespoon of calendula and a spoonful of horsetail.
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Calendula is also excellent for healing wounds and the regeneration of skin and blood vessels in the affected areas. Calendula oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antifungal agent, and it is used to treat serious wounds, ulcers and rashes such as diaper rash and other types of eczema. Calendula oil can be used to treat bee and scorpion stings.
Healthy looking skin
Calendulas are found in many commercially available creams, ointments and oils. Nutritionists recommend using these products for treating sunburns, bites and swelling, infections, varicose veins, sore throat and canker sores. They can be used as an antispasmodic to alleviate painful spasms and cramps. Mixed with binder oil, calendula oil can be used to improve the appearance of the skin.
Calendula for treating eye diseases
Because it is very rich in antioxidants, calendula can help prevent eye problems such as cataracts or macular degeneration. Lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene are the three main active ingredients found in calendula that support healing eye diseases.
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Precautions on using calendula
Calendula is the only marigold species that can be used for medicinal purposes. Others, including African and French species, should never be administered internally. Calendula tea can also be used to treat sore throat and swollen lymph glands, and for cleaning the sensitive skin around the eyes.
People allergic to ragweed, daisies, chrysanthemums or other similar plants should completely avoid using calendula. The Medical Center of the University of Maryland warns that pregnant or nursing women should not use calendula, because there is some evidence that the plant can affect fertility. In addition, it may interact with sedatives and medicines for diabetes or hypertension.