Calendula – Skin Conditions


Calendula officinalis – Pot Marigold

Marigold is a common garden plant with a long tradition in herbalism as a treatment for a variety of skin conditions. Calendula has been nicknamed ‘Russian penicillin’ because vast quantities are grown in Russia.

USES Acne, psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, tonsilitis, wound healing, detoxification.

HOW IT WORKS The active constituents in Calendula officinalis have still to be identified, although studies have reported flavonoids, volatile oil, cartenoids and triterpenes. The triterpenes appear to be the main active group.

The flavonoids may contribute to the anti-inflammatory and lymphatic (cleansing) effect of the herb.

Calendula comes in creams and ointments or in tincture form for internal application.

Herbal throat spray

A randomised double-blind placebo-controlled study* carried out to compare the results of using an Echinacea based throat spray with a pharmaceutical throat spray in patients with acute sore throats has been published in Herbalgram, the journal of the American Botanical Council.

A most encouraging study showed that the herbal throat spray a mixture of echinacea and sage extracts performed as well as its drugs-based counterpart.

Throat Spray Trial

Sore throats are among the most common complaints encountered in general medical practice and generally occur in conjunction with upper respiratory tract infections. Viral infections account for at least 65% of all sore throats, so the use of antibiotics only plays a minor part in the treatment of sore throats.

Each patient was given a patient diary. He or she had to rate their sore throat symptoms (difficulty swallowing, salivation, redness and fever) every morning before administering the first dose of treatment, at midday and in the evening.

The combined response rates showed that the echinacea and sage based throat spray was as good as the pharmaceutical spray for the resolution of symptoms of sore throat. There were no serious or otherwise significant adverse events in either group, and 94% of the Echinacea group said they’d use the product again.

Very gratifying to have clinical research such as this to confirm the benefits of a proven herbal product.

*Reference: Schapowal A, Berger D, Klein P, Suter A. Echinacea/sage or chlorhexidine/lidocaine for treating acute sore throats: a randomized double-blind trial. Europ J Med Res.2009;14(9):406-412.

Agnus Castus – Hormone Balancer

Vitex Agnus Castus or Chaste Tree.

USES Pre-menstrual Syndrome/Tension (PMS/PMT), Teenage Acne.

HISTORY Agnus Castus was well known in ancient times and featured in Homer’s 6th- century BC epic The Iliad, as a symbol of chastity capable of warding off evil. As the name chaste tree implies, it was thought to reduce sexual desire and traditionally monks chewed it to reduce unwanted libido.



HOW IT WORKS Research has confirmed that Agnus Castus has a hormonal action. A study in Germany indicated that the berries have a progesterogenic effect, acting on the pituitary gland, which regulates the menstrual cycle. It also has been reported to possess the ability to inhibit Prolactin.

Both these actions are thought to be important in PMS, particularly as many who suffer with the problem have a greater sensitivity to Prolactin. Agnus Castus has also been found to be beneficial in the treatment of acne in both men and women.