The Flower of the Sun

14th September 2018

Lisa Botwright finds out why the common marigold – that bright yellow and golden flower so redolent of the hot summer sun – has been revered for millennia… and why it’s still hailed today as a wonder ingredient for sore and irritated skin.

The common marigold, with its daisy-like golden flowers that brighten our gardens from early summer until the first frost, is otherwise known as calendula officinalis – or even, more romantically, as ‘the flower of the sun’ – and is one of the most popular ingredients used in skincare and natural medicine. Knowledge of its healing properties stretches back into pre-history – with evidence of it being used in Ancient Indian, Arabic and Greek medicine. Such large amounts are grown today in the former Soviet Union that it’s earned the nickname ‘Russian penicillin’.

Calendula is renowned for its natural antiseptic, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory action, for soothing damaged or inflamed skin, helping slow-healing wounds, and promoting skin renewal following burns or after surgery. Recent studies have shown that calendula may even help radiation-related skin irritation.

Its goodness is harnessed in all kinds of products designed to calm, to soothe, to heal and to balance the skin.

Weleda’s Cuts and Grazes salve is an effective alternative to conventional over-the-counter antiseptic creams – and the company that specialises in natural skincare and herbal remedies claim that the product is as popular with mums of accident-prone active children, as it is with grandparents finding that nicks and cuts are taking longer to heal.

Balmology offer a topical treatment to comfort itchy, sore and irritated patches on the skin – or even to use sparingly as a night treatment for very dry skin. Healing calendula promotes cell regeneration, while chamomile calms redness in this balm that melts silkily onto the skin. Balmology’s products are made from high quality ingredients in small batches and are completely free from water, removing the need for synthetic preservatives.

The calendula-infused oil from Naissance can also be used topically for dry or inflamed skin or as a carrier oil for personalised blends of favourite essential oils. To ‘double-cleanse’ sensitive skin, use the calendula oil as a gentle makeup remover, and follow with Kiehl’s gorgeous foaming facial wash made with plant-based ‘moisture-magnet’ glycerin alongside the calendula flower extract.

With the healing properties of the calendula in Green People’s hand & body lotion, added to its delicious ginger and citrus summery-scent, it’s an ideal choice to pack as a holiday after-sun lotion at any time of the year.

One huge fan of calendula is Paul McGregor, founder of HydraNure. Both his two sons suffered from infant eczema as children and, frustrated by creams available at the time, he set about creating his own. His dry skin cream cools, reduces redness and itchiness, and forms a protective layer. The soothing formulation that he developed is an excellent all-round moisturiser that can equally be used as a nourishing night cream as a treatment for dry skin conditions. And for Paul, it was unquestionable that calendula would be anything less than a vital component… “While researching possible ingredients, calendula was at the top of my list”, he says. And why not?

Calendula Deep Cleaning Foaming Face Wash £24;
Calendula Infused Oil £4.99;
Quinoa & Calendula Hand & Body Lotion £17.95;
HydraNure Dry Skin Cream £14.99;
Organic Calendula & Chamomile Soothing Comfort Balm £24

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