“calendula strengthens the heart exceedingly.”
― Nicholas Culpepper
LOVE + REVERENCE
There is so much to love about Calendula! It is warm, joyful and uplifting. It is often called the sunshine herb, which is so fitting for this sun-loving plant. Calendula flowers open their widest in the late morning sun, after the dew has gone. They bask in the warmth of the sun’s rays and greet them with an open embrace. Harvesting Calendula at this moment of its own blissful state comes with mutual agreement and appreciation. The flower tops pop off with an exuberance that speaks to this reciprocation. Memories of that “pop-pop-pop-swoosh” as you pluck the flowers and toss them into a harvesting basket will stay with me forever. As I return to the memory, I can feel the warmth of the sun on my skin and the weightiness of the resinous Calendula flowers in my warm palm. There is an immediate exchange, a reminder to my body of deep gratitude for both the sun and this sun-loving plant.
FARMING + SOURCING
Calendula grows abundantly in California. It is strong and resilient, and its vibrancy is indicative of its rich nutrient and antioxidant concentration. Laurel Skin’s longest standing farm partnership grows most of our Calendula. It is a biodynamic farm just miles from our Petaluma Barn. I first met this farmer way back in my very first year of formulating, and she has been a true gift ever since. Her farm is a sacred and happy space, where Calendula thrives easily. She seeds this sweet plant for us each year, though she says, “most of it just shows up”. Each flower is hand-harvested daily in the summer at their peak of vibrancy. The Calendula flowers get sorted one-by-one at our apothecary-lab, and then worked into one of our potent infusions.
In addition to our primary Calendula farm, we also work with two organic family farms that provide us with her Hydrosol. One in California and one in Washington. We use several mediums of Calendula throughout our products to ensure we are providing the widest variety of nutrients the plant has to offer. Three whole plant Calendula extracts we make internally and have perfected over the years, and two whole plant extracts we rely on local herbalists for; each having developed their own unique expressions of the plant.
CALENDULA + SKIN + phytochemistry
This bright sunshine flower is an arsenal of skin loving nourishment. Calendula is helpful for almost every skin condition – from hyperpigmentation, to acne, to eczema, to barrier restoration. I don’t know of a more versatile and helpful plant to heal the skin. There is so much to say about it, it could fill a book all its own.
Lutein: This deep yellow pigment has powerful UV protection properties. Lutein prevents UV induced lipid oxidation.
Carotenoids: Proven to absorb UV and repair proteins from UV damage, carotenoids are precursors to retinol and studies show them to have both anti-cancer and anti-tumor effects.
Resins + Tannins: Powerful humectants, while soothing irritation, accelerate healing and restore imbalances.
Cholesterol: We often don’t focus on the positive forms of cholesterol, but Calendula contains Methylsterols + Isofucosterols – two types of cholesterol proven to be beneficial in restoring the barrier function of the skin.
Vitamin C, E, Malic Acid, Lycopene, Quercetin, Saccharides, + more: There are too many incredible phytonutrients in Calendula for us to cover them all here.
In my subjective view, Calendula’s greatest affinities are lymph and skin. It acts as a warm, gentle stimulant to the fluids and connective tissue within our bodies, while positively impacting the health of our immune system. According to herbalist Matthew Wood, the topical application of Calendula will reduce lymphatic swelling and edema. It has a minerality to it that hydrates fascia and connective tissue, preventing stagnation and aiding in flexibility, elasticity and movement. The lymphatic system is so important, responsible for carrying waste and toxins away from healthy tissues, in order for our skin to thrive.
ACNE + MICROBIOME
As we all know, skin conditions are an expression of our internal terrain. To treat acne and our external microbiome, begin by treating ourselves internally. Using plants topically will help to ease the external symptoms that come from internal imbalances. Calendula is one of the only plants that herbalist David Hoffmann recommends for topical acne treatment.
Calendula is very specific to almost every symptom associated with acne. This flower is soothing and anti-inflammatory to red, irritated breakouts and cysts. Calendula is balancing to the microbiome. It has antimicrobial properties, which discourage imbalances and the over colonization of single bacteria strains. A healthy microbiome is a diverse one. Its lipid and mineral content feed the beneficial bacteria, acting as a prebiotic. Calendula brings the sunshine with it, treating fungal acne, as well as microbial disruption of all kinds. The resins and carotenoids of Calendula encourage breakouts to heal quickly and prevent scarring.
INFLAMMATION + BARRIER REPAIR
Calendula Hydrosol is unparalleled for inflammation – from acne to rosacea symptoms, and bug bits to eczema – this soothing resinous flower directly communicates with your skin to calm and soothe. It will reduce redness, irritation and swelling, while supporting surface immune activity to accelerate the healing process. This plant’s triterpene acids impede specific inflammatory pathways, like NF-kB, which has been linked to cancer and permanent DNA damage. Additional studies have found it to be more effective than steroids for dermatitis and inflammation.
Cholesterol, a lipid found in our skin’s lipid barrier, is mirrored by Calendula’s high phytosterol content. The resins, lipids, vitamin E and B vitamin content are all barrier supportive constituents found in Calendula. This herb should be in any skin ritual focused on barrier healing.
It is hard to believe that Calendula is helpful for acne, sensitive skin and hyperpigmentation – but it is. Calendula is full of carotenoids and flavonoids, plant antioxidants that absorb and transmute UVA and UVB rays. Calendula is a source for quercetin and rutin, flavonoids that offer additional prevention of UV induced free radical activity. These nutrients, along with many others found in Calendula, can be stored and time-released by our cells, for when our skin needs that support of antioxidant activity. This flower protects our skin from the sun with the same nutrients it uses to strengthen its own relationship with the sun.
The anti-inflammatory properties of Calendula, combined with its antioxidant compounds, are able to put a full stop to the UV induced oxidative stress cycle, protecting both cellular and barrier lipids from oxidation. Preventing new sun damage from occurring is essential for chronic sun damage to heal.
This sunshine loving plant is uplifting to our soul and spirit. It instills joy, and brings a bright resilient warmth to us. Do you love it as much as I do?
Find Calendula in abundance in most of the Laurel Skin line, including our newest launch Soothe Compound: Calendula + Oat.
2 responses to “INGREDIENT SPOTLIGHT: CALENDULA”
Calendula is one of my favorites! It always helped me with acne when I was younger, and now with redness.
Beyond gorgeous photography!!!
It is such an amazing bloom! Thank you for your sweet words and we are so glad that Calendula has helped you! xo