• Clinical data 90%
  • Efficacy 80%
  • Security 70%
  • Toxicity 30%

Calendula officinalis
Flos Calendulae

Synonyms

Asteraceae are also known as Compositae.

General appearance

Ligulate florets consist of a yellow, orange or orange-yellow ligule, 3–5mm wide and about 7 mm in the middle part, with 3-toothed apex and hairy, partly sickle-shaped, yellowish-brown to orange-brown tube with projecting style and 2-lobed stigma; occasionally with a partly bent yellowish-brown to orange-brown ovary. Tubular florets about 5 mm long, consist of yellow, orange-red or red-violet 5-lobed corolla and yellowish-brown or orange-brown tube, hairy in its lower part, mostly with a bent yellowish-brown to orangebrown ovary.

Major chemical constituents

The major constituents are triterpene saponins (2–10%) based on oleanolic acid (i.e. calendulosides) and flavonoids (3-O-glycosides of isorhamnetin and quercetin), including astragalin, hyperoside, isoquercitrin and rutin. Other constituents include essential oil, sesquiterpenes (e.g. caryophyllene) and triterpenes (e.g. a- and b-amyrins, lupeol and lupenone). Polysaccharides have also been reported.

Medicinal uses of Calendula officinalis

Uses supported by clinical data
None.
Uses described in pharmacopoeias and in traditional systems of medicine
Calendula officinalis: External treatment of superficial cuts, minor inflammations of the skin and oral mucosa, wounds and ulcus cruris.
Uses described in folk medicine, not supported by experimental or clinical data
Treatment of amenorrhoea, angina, fevers, gastritis, hypotension, jaundice, rheumatism and vomiting.

Pharmacology

Experimental pharmacology

Phagocytosis

Three polysaccharides isolated from an aqueous extract of Flos Calendulae enhanced phagocytosis in human granulocytes in vitro in the colloidal carbon clearance test. Intraperitoneal injection of a polysaccharide fraction isolated from an aqueous extract of the flowers to mice (10 mg/kg body weight) enhanced phagocytosis. Intraperitoneal administration of an unsaponifiable fraction (0.5 ml) of a hydroalcoholic extract of the flowers weakly stimulated phagocytosis in mice inoculated with Escherichia coli. However, the hydroalcoholic extract was not active.

Antimicrobial activity

The essential oil of the flowers inhibited the growth in vitro of Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Candida albicans. A flavonoid fraction isolated from the flowers inhibited the growth in vitro of S. aureus, Sarcina lutea, E. coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Candida monosa. However, chloroform, ethanol, methanol or water extracts of the flowers did not inhibit bacterial growth in vitro. Acetone, ethanol or water extracts inhibited the growth in vitro of the fungus Neurospora crassa.
Extracts of the flowers inhibited the growth in vitro of Trichomonas vaginalis.
Oxygenated terpenes appear to be responsible for the antimicrobial activity.

Antiviral activity

A tincture of the flowers suppressed the replication of herpes simplex, influenza A2 and influenza APR-8 viruses in vitro. However, an aqueous extract of the flowers was not active. A chloroform extract of the flowers inhibited
the replication of HIV-1 in acutely infected lymphocytic MOLT-4 cells in vitro (IC50 0.4 mg/ml). A chloroform extract also inhibited HIV-1 reverse transcriptase activity in a dose-dependent manner (ED50 51.0mg/ml) (32). A 5% hot aqueous extract of the flowers (2 ml) inhibited the replication of encephalitis virus after intraperitoneal administration to mice.

Anti-inflammatory activity

Topical application of a 70% ethanol extract of the flowers to mice at a dose of 1.2 mg/ear (corresponding to 4.16 mg crude drug) reduced croton oil-induced ear oedema by 20%. External application of a carbon dioxide extract of the
flowers (300mg/cm2) suppressed croton oil-induced ear oedema in mice. The triterpene fraction of an extract of the flowers had marked antiinflammatory activity in mice (1mg/ear) against ear oedema induced by 12-Otetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate. Faradiol esters isolated from the flowers (240mg/cm2) inhibited croton oil induced ear oedema in mice. Intragastric administration of an aqueous extract of the flowers (100 mg/kg body weight) inhibited carrageenan-induced footpad oedema in rats. However, an 80% ethanol extract of the flowers was weakly active (11% inhibition) at a concentration of 100 mg/kg body weight administered orally 1 hour prior to induction of oedema. Isorhamnetin glycosides isolated from the flowers inhibited rat lung lipoxygenase in vitro.

Wound-healing activity

External application of a hydroalcoholic extract accelerated the rate of contraction and epithelialization of excision wounds in rats. A 3% freeze-dried aqueous extract of the flowers induced vascularization in the chick chorioallantoic membrane assay. Histological sections of the treated chorioallantoic membranes also indicated the presence of hyaluronan, a tissue glycosaminoglycan associated with neovascularization.

Clinical pharmacology

Although no randomized, controlled clinical trials have been performed, two case reports in the early medical literature support the traditional use of Flos Calendulae. The reports describe the use of a strong tincture of the flowers applied on compresses to reduce inflammation and suppuration, and to accelerate the healing of wounds. These reports may be of historical value only.

Contraindications

Flos Calendulae is contraindicated in cases of known allergy to plants of the Asteraceae (Compositae) family.

Warnings

No information available.

News and Journals

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