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The Pot Marigold Plant - Both Extravagant and Medicinal

Background: 

My recent trip to India was one full of reunions with family I hadn’t seen in years, and new memories made. The main event that brought hundreds of people from all parts of the world to India was my cousin’s wedding. It was extravagant and unlike any traditional Indian wedding I had been to before. There were fireworks, and dancing, and the scenery was utterly jaw-dropping. The next key event that took place was my thread ceremony. A thread ceremony is a religious ritual performed for young men to signify the transition to adulthood, as well as the commitment to gaining knowledge throughout one’s lifetime. This occasion involved a 4-hour-long prayer, an ear piercing, and hours of posing for photos. In the end, I received a sacred thread called the yajnopavita to be worn, which signifies that my thread ceremony had occurred. Upon returning from my grandiose trip and skimming through the hundreds if not thousands, of pictures that were taken, I noticed one extremely vibrant and prominent color throughout. The bright orange and yellow colors I saw were due to the extensive use of the Pot Marigold herb in the religious events I participated in. I remembered that the flowers of the Pot Marigold were spread throughout the venues of both events and were used on numerous for blessing the people who were the focal point of the ceremony. Since I recalled that I had seen the herb used on countless religious occasions specifically in India, extensive research allowed me to explore its uses in areas apart from the apparent narrow range that I had seen it in, specifically its medicinal properties which will be gone over in depth.

Officially called Calendula officinalis, the Pot Marigold herb breathes life and joy into the traditions of Indian culture. It is said to have been popular in bridging the gap between Hindu Gods and mortals in ancient times, however, it has kept its popularity and relevance in Indian culture to this day. The origins of the Marigold can be traced back to South America in the 16th century when the religious importance of the plant gained its acclaim. Through Portuguese traders, it reached India and spread throughout the country. From there, the medicinal properties of the plant began to arise, leading people from places around the globe to expand their usage of the plant as a whole. This is seen in the various product forms commercially made by companies. This includes tea, liquid drops, powder, tinctures, capsules, pills, lotions, creams, and salves!

Health Benefits:

Apart from the substantial symbolic importance of the plant, the Pot Marigold’s use in the health field has grown immensely from its origination. It has shown great affinity in wound healing, which is because it can increase oxygen and blood flow to the wounded area. This increase in substances the body requires for wound healing allows for greater efficiency in wound healing when the herb is ingested or applied in an ointment form. A specific study demonstrated the significant effect that combining the extract of Calendula with zinc oxide has on enhancing the already considerable wound and burn-healing effects of the plant. The study, published on pub.acs.org indicated that the properties of the zinc oxide particles in conjunction with the internal plant compounds in the Pot Marigold allowed for improvement in the healing process through its general increase of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. The results produced by this study have been replicated by several other established and published articles, which utilized clinical methods apart from the one described to confirm the health benefits in all aspects. This hastened wound-healing benefit is largely due to the Pot Marigold’s ability to increase granulation, which is the creation of new tissue and blood vessels to repair wounds in the healing process.

Furthermore, the herb is known for its popularity in skincare, often being a prominent ingredient in several products. When applied in a cream, or lotion form, it has been shown to contain compounds that allow for skin cells to be replenished, giving the skin a glowing and refreshing feel. The plant can also nourish the skin and allow it to retain liquids and remain hydrated for a longer period. When the Pot Marigold is used in its extract form in skincare products, it allows for collagen levels in the body to be increased. Collagen is the main component of connective tissue and the most apparent protein within most mammals, accounting for almost 30%. An increase in this protein allows for a reduction in the amounts of lines and wrinkles present on the skin because collagen is one of the main structural components of the body. This capability carries its beneficial activity onto areas of the body apart from skincare, reinforcing connective tissue on the internal linings of organs within the body. Collagen also promotes blood clotting, which relates to the previous health benefit of wound healing. The use of skin care products containing this extract provides the skin with firm, soft, smooth, and healthy properties. In addition to the previous advantages, Pot Marigold extract can provide immense protection against UV rays from the sun, preventing sunburns, and even skin cancer in some cases due to the plentiful amounts of anti-oxidants it contains.

Science Behind it:

The sheer variety of medicinal properties the Pot Marigold contains begs the question of what plant compounds it contains to enable the plant to be this beneficial. There are over 15 types of compounds within Cadula, and most of them fit into four different categories of compounds. These are carotenoids, terpenoids, flavonoids, and volatile oils.

Carotenoids are pigments found in plants that have a large role in providing anti-oxidants to the body since they are unable to be synthesized by animals directly, so they need to be externally consumed by plants. The carotenoids flavoxanthin and auroxanthin are found within the Pot Marigold and are responsible for the bright yellow and orange color it has. Simply put, antioxidants can reduce the production of free radicals around atoms or molecules within the body, which is important since free radicals are correlated with detrimental diseases.

The benefits provided by terpenoids, flavonoids, and volatile oils are similar to those of carotenoids, however, they are far more extensive. The majority of these compounds are of plant origin and have been discovered to be essential in the recovery and prevention of harmful diseases. To list just some of the health benefits these provide, they have antimicrobial, antifungal, antiparasitic, antiviral, anti-allergenic, antispasmodic, antihyperglycemic, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory properties. This comprehensive list of the immense capabilities that the compounds within the Pot Marigold have indicates why it has such an assortment of medicinal qualities.

Conclusion:

My trip to India not only allowed me to connect with my culture at a deeper level than what I had already experienced thus far, but it also made me curious about learning more about the culture itself and how nature has such an important role within it. This immersion taught me so much about how the Pot Marigold plant is used both culturally and medicinally, and I hope to learn about more cultures in the future and how they utilize herbs to enhance their medical field!

Works Cited:


References

(n.d.). Wikipedia. Retrieved January 21, 2024, from https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/acsami.3c17350

Calendula Information. (n.d.). Mount Sinai. Retrieved January 21, 2024, from https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/herb/calendula

Collagen: What It Is, Types, Function & Benefits. (2022, May 23). Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved January 21, 2024, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/23089-collagen

Maoka, T. (2019, October 1). Carotenoids as natural functional pigments - PMC. NCBI. Retrieved January 21, 2024, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6949322/

Mishra, Y. (2023, May 29). Marigold Flower and Dyeing with Marigold. Peepul Tree. Retrieved January 21, 2024, from https://www.peepultree.world/livehistoryindia/story/living-culture/marigold-the-story-of-india-s-beloved-flower

Mukherjee, A. (2022, April 5). How To Use Calendula In Skin Care? SkinKraft. Retrieved January 21, 2024, from https://skinkraft.com/blogs/articles/how-to-use-calendula-on-skin

Thoppil, R. J., & Bishayee, A. (n.d.). Terpenoids as potential chemopreventive and therapeutic agents in liver cancer. NCBI. Retrieved January 21, 2024, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3182282/

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