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.
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.