This gentle herb makes a soothing and healing skin application that is particularly appropriate for babies’ delicate skin.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is instantly recognised by its cheerful bright orange flowers. Calendula has a long history of use in Western herbal medicine, most often being applied topically to the skin, but also traditionally used as a tonic to be taken internally to cleanse the liver and gall bladder and to treat toxicity and inflammatory digestive problems, such as peptic ulcers, colitis and gastritis.
The flowers are the main part of the plant that is used medicinally, and they are known for their calming, anti-inflammatory and vulnerary (wound-healing) properties as well as their ability to promote skin cell repair and growth in sore, angry, broken or inflamed skin. Calendula is also one of the best herbs for nourishing, cleansing and stimulating the lymphatic system, which helps to boost immunity and move congestion out of the body. The petals are harvested in summer and dried for use in a wide range of preparations.
Calendula will speed healing and counter infection in conditions as diverse as sunburn, insect bites and stings, sore or pustular acne, ringworm, athlete’s foot, vaginal thrush and other fungal infections, mastitis, hot or inflamed rashes, and varicose veins. Slightly astringent and antiseptic with a cooling effect, calendula flowers can be used to make an infusion or extract.
This is then used in salves, balms, creams, ointments, washes, and lotions that are suitable for all types of skin, but they are especially beneficial for environmentally damaged, dry, inflamed, abraded, cracked, chapped or infected skin. Calendula is a handy addition to your natural first aid cabinet, because it helps to prevent infection from spreading and speeds up repair, making it an effective treatment for cuts, grazes, blisters, itching, razor rash, minor burns, scalds and wounds.
Being potent as well as soothing and healing, calendula is a wonderful herb for new-borns and an excellent ingredient in formulations for babies, where gentle effectiveness is of utmost importance. Babies’ delicate skin has special requirements and needs a warming, protective layer, rich moisture and loving, careful skin-to-skin contact.
Weleda midwife, Christina Hinderlich provides this advice about caring for babies’ skin: “Choose quality over quantity. A high quality, natural plant oil and a nappy cream are a great starter kit. I have had very good experiences with calendula. Calendula can absorb lots of sunlight and warmth and contribute to skin development, thanks to its strong structural force. It has a soothing effect on the skin. Organic sesame oil is also a gentle skincare possibility for little ones. It is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which help the formation of the hydrolipid layer.
Calendula also has a perfect safety record, with no toxicity reported, making it the perfect natural choice for nappy rash and cradle cap, and in ‘tummy rub’ blends for soothing wind and colic. Calendula tea is also a useful remedy for thrush, a type of yeast overgrowth that is not uncommon in infants. It is even helpful for the new mum, as it can be used to soothe nipples that are sore from breastfeeding.”
Go Vita loves …
Weleda Nappy Change Cream – Contains calendula to improve skin tone, strength, hydration and regenerative power and fight infections from surrounding bacteria. This formula also includes zinc oxide, which further helps by protecting the skin against the dampness and wet spots which encourage fungal infections.
Calendula Shampoo & Body Wash – Gentle in the bath and shower, this carefully cleanses delicate skin and hair, so that everyone has fun at bath time.
The calendula that is used in Weleda products is Fair Trade, biodynamically cultivated and sustainably produced and harvested. This socially-oriented company has a long and proud tradition of providing security, development and health to employees and suppliers, as well as meeting their commitment to environmental sustainability and biodiversity, through procurement of raw materials, use of natural resources, and sustainable packaging.