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Calendula officinalis

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Calendula officinalis is a flowering plant belongs to the genus Calendula and family Asteraceae. It is probably native to southern Europe. It is a short-lived aromatic perennial plant, growing to 80 cm tall, with sparsely branched lax or erect stems. The leaves are oblong-lanceolate, 5–17 cm long, hairy on both sides, and with margins entire or occasionally waved or weakly toothed.
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Botanical Names
Calendula officinalis
Indian Names
Sanskrit : Zendu Marathi : Zendu Hindi : Zergul, Genda ful Gujarati : Galgotta, Dipmal Tamil : Sendigai.
Chemical Constituents
A number of phytochemical studies have demonstrated the presence of several classes of chemical compounds in flowers of Calendula officinalis, the main ones being terpenoids, flavonoids, coumarines, quinones, volatile oil, carotenoids and amino acids (1). The flowers of Calendula officinalis also contains flavonol glycosides, triterpene oligoglycosides, triterpene glycosides, saponins, and a sesquiterpene glucoside The petals and pollen contain triterpenoid esters, carotenoids flavoxanthin and auroxanthin, an antioxidant and the source of the yellow-orange coloration. The leaves and stems contain other carotenoids, mostly lutein (80%) and zeaxanthin (5%), and beta-carotene. It also contains saponins, resins and essential oils. Other phtytochemicals include the bitter constituent, loliolide (calendin), calendulin and n-paraffins .
Pesticide Limits
A limit for pesticide is one of the major issues in standardization of medicinal plants and products in view of the worldwide widespread use of pesticides in cultivated plants. The presence of pesticides in extracts increase the health risk by many folds. The pesticides can be extremely irritant on skin as well as in the internal organs, it is essential to monitor its concentration as a part of GMP. Various analytical methods for the quantitative determination of pesticides by gas chromatography coupled with mass-spectrophotometer are in use. Konark Research Foundation (KRF), a NABL certified lab is well equipped with the latest technology and instruments and monitors the pesticide limit as part of its GMP.
Chromatographic Profile
From the pharmacopoeial perspective, a better quality control of raw material can be achieved by specifying quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content of the active ingredient or marker substances. A chromatographic finger profile represents qualitative/ quantitative determination of various components present in a complex plant extract, irrespective whether or not their exact identity is known. Thin layer chromatographic technique is the simplest and least expensive method that provides plenty of information on the composition of raw herbs and its preparation. For quantitative analysis of active ingredients or marker substances with simultaneous separation and detection High Pressure liquid chromatography is the best technique. We use the latest model of HPLC for all its analysis.
Limits of Impurities
A test requirement for foreign organic matter would ensure the extent of contamination of extraneous matters such as filth and other parts of botanicals not covered by the definition of the herbal drug. Since sand and soil are predictable contaminants of botanicals, test requirements for ‘total ash’, water soluble ash’, ‘acid soluble ash, residue on ignition and sulphated ash would be expected to limit such contaminants. Test requirement for heavy metals in botanical raw material are probably more relevant for parts of plants growing under ground than for the aerial parts of the plant. The presence of high levels of minerals interacts with the final product there by affecting its keeping quality.
Microbial Limits
If the raw herbs are to be used directly without boiling in water prior to consumption, restrictive limits on microbial contaminants are required for pathogens such as Salmonella sp. Enterobacter and E. coli which are causative agent for various gastrointestinal diseases. A lower level of yeasts and molds and a limit on total aerobes are considered appropriate in plant material for topical use. The presence of aflatoxins detected by chemical means is generally independent of the number of viable molds that are detected using microbiological methods. Aflatoxins in microgram quantity are capable of giving serious hypersensitivity reactions which can be extremely harmful to human health.
Pharmacology
Pharmacological studies have confirmed that Calendula officinalis exhibit a broad range of biological effects and pharmacological activities such as anti-HIV, cytotoxic, anti inflammatory, hepato protective, spasmolytic and spasmogenic (2). The essential oils of this herb are highly medicinal with several therapeutic activities, such as anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumorogenic. In addition, the in vitro antimicrobial activities of its oils have also been reported. Extracts from the plant have been reported to show activity against HIV-1 replication (3). It has also been reported that LACE i.e. Laser Activated Calendula Extract demonstrated a potent in vitro growth inhibition of several tumor cell lines, whereas it induced proliferation and activation of peripheral blood lymphocytes. The mechanisms of this inhibition were identified as cell cycle arrest and apoptosis induction. Furthermore, the LACE extract presented anti-tumor activity in vivo in nude mice (4). In Italian folk medicine calendula is used as an antipyretic and anti-inflammatory. It is very effective in the treatment of conjunctivitis, pharyngitis, aphthous stomatitis and gingivo stomatitis, and other inflammatory conditions of the skin and mucus membranes. Calendula cream alone or in combination with other remedies is also used in homeopathic remedy to treat abrasions and minor burns.
Health Benefits
Calendula officinalis is one of the most known and used medicinal plants. It is widely cultivated for obtaining extracts used in phyto-therapy. The extracts obtained from Calendula possess a wide range of pharmacological effects such as wound-healing, anti inflammatory, antibacterial, immuno-stimulative, anti tumor, and anti HIV etc (6). It is used in traditional medicine, especially for wound healing, jaundice, blood purification, and as an antispasmodic. Lycopene is present in calendula which acts as an active inhibitor of tumour cells proliferation. Oxygenated carotenoids also have the biological properties due to their antioxidant properties. The flowers can be made into extracts, tinctures, balms and salves and applied directly to the skin to help heal wounds and to soothe inflamed and damaged skin. The plant has been known to exhibit antioxidant and wound healing properties. Calendula is also safe for internal use as a uterine tonic, antimicrobial or cancer remedy.
Application in Cosmetics
Calendula is a key ingredient in skin lotions because of its many benefits for the skin. Calendula is great to help with sore, inflamed, itchy skin conditions, burns, and eczema. The properties of calendula are anti-inflammatory, styptic, antiseptic, and anti-hemorrhagic. It can be used in the treatment of ulcers and inflamed cutaneous lesions as well as slow-healing wounds and bruising (8). Calendula consists of flavonoids which are plant-based antioxidants that protect body against free radicals which damage the cells. Calendula can be applied to all skin types. It is widely used in anti-aging creams and lotions for sensitive, dry and damaged skin. Calendula officinalis is a medicinal plant that accumulates large amounts of carotenoids in its inflorescences. Carotenoids present in calendula act as photo protective agents and may reduce the risk of sunburns, photo allergy and even some types of skin cancer .
Research References
1. Muley B. P., Khadabadi S. S., and Banarase N. B. Phytochemical Constituents and Pharmacological Activities of Calendula officinalis Linn (Asteraceae): A Review. Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, 2009; 8 (5): 455-465 2. Okoh O.O., Sadimenko A.P., Asekun O.T., and Afolayan A.J. The effects of drying on the chemical components of essential oils of Calendula officinalis L. African Journal of Biotechnology, 2008; 7 (10): 1500-1502 3. Zilda C. G., Claudia M. R., Sandra R. F., Benedito P. D. F., Celso V. N., Diógenes A. G. C. Analysis of the essential oils from Calendula officinalis growing in Brazil using three different extraction procedures Brazilian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 2008 44(3). 4. Eva J. M., Angel G. L., Laura P., Ignacio A., Antonia C. and Federico G. A new extract of the plant calendula officinalis produces a dual in vitro effect: cytotoxic anti-tumor activity and lymphocyte activation BMC Cancer 2006, 6:119 5. Adela P., Constantin B., Sanda A., Carmen S. HPLC analysis of carotenoids in four varieties of Calendula officinalis L. flowers Acta Biologica Szegediensis 2003. 47(1-4):37-40 6. AZZAZ N. A., HASSAN E. A., and ELEMAREY F. A. Physiological, anatomical, and biochemical studies on pot marigold (Calendula officinalis L.) plants. African Crop Science Conference Proceedings 2008. 8: 1727-1738 7. Waseem S., Hamid M., Ishrat N., Waqas K. K., Haroon A., Saqib H., and Atif K. PHARMACOGNOSTICAL STUDY OF THE MEDICINAL PLANT CALENDULA OFFICINALIS L. (FAMILY COMPOSITAE) International Journal of Cell & Molecular Biology (IJCMB) 2010 1(2): 108-116 8. Eva J.-M., Angel G.-L., Laura P., Ignacio A., Antonia C. and Federico G. A new extract of the plant calendula officinalis produces a dual in vitro effect: cytotoxic anti-tumor activity and lymphocyte activation BMC Cancer 2006, 6:119 9. Lúcia H. D. R.-F., Karina B. L. and Janete D. A. Topical Calendula officinalis L. successfully treated exfoliative cheilitis: a case report Cases Journal 2009, 2:9077