Next to the aloe vera plant and the robust burdock root, no other plant on this planet is better equipped to benefit your skin’s health than Calendula.

Any herbalist worth his salt will opt for calendula when tasked with alleviating a skin condition. In fact, there is a very high chance that the creams and ointments that dermatologists prescribe every single day contain calendula byproducts in their formulation.

Calendula is amongst the best natural sources of medical dermatological compounds known to man and is a common ingredient that can be found in cosmetic products from soap to lotions. Although its use is not restricted to skincare, there is one thing for which calendula is not recommended.

If you are looking for a fragrant flower with a pleasant aroma to populate your flower garden, calendula is not a viable option. In fact, the recommendation is to not use calendula for this purpose due to its very particular aroma.

What Does Calendula Smell Like?

The smell of calendula is similar to the smell of medicine or green tree sap. The resiny aroma is not revolting, but it is also not an odor that can be described as a “flowery” scent.

Despite its lackluster performance as a “garden” component, calendula is a wonderful flower that deserves to be known better by the population at large.

Calendula The Pot Marigold

The name Calendula is derived from the Latin word “calendas”, which also gives origins to the word calendar since it is a reference to the plant’s ability to bloom regularly throughout the year.

The plant is known by many other names, including Mary’s Gold and Scotch Marigold. In Spanish, it is known as “Maravilla”, which means wonder, due to its many medicinal and aesthetic attributes.

Calendula The Pot Marigold

The scientific name of the calendula of the plant is Calendula Officinalis, which, again, highlights its many medicinal properties. The plant is a species of Calendula Arvensis, a hardy plant that grows abundantly in Southern and Central Europe.

The Calendula flowering plant is larger, with vivid orange flowers and lemon-green leaves that closely hug the stem, although it does also come in a yellow variety.

Because of its large colorful flowers, you will often find calendula plants lining the flower beds and rockeries of gardens and public parks around the world.

Some people will also plant them in pots and adorn their balconies and window sills. It fares well in these conditions because it can withstand both drought and heavy rain, as well as cold and hot weather.

Nevertheless, those looking to give their homes a touch of freshness and a flowery aroma will be disappointed. I’ve met a few people who hate the smell of calendula, but I’ve met even fewer people who enjoy the green sap smell.

Active Components Of Calendula

The therapeutic and medicinal effects of the calendula plant are the result of the high concentration of active chemical compounds found within the plant’s fibers. This is also the reason why the flowers smell like medicine and the edible leaves have a very strong bitter taste.

A field of Calendula will have a bad smell

In the case of the calendula plant, you can find the following active ingredients:

  • A few essential oils, which are made up of different molecules such as methone, carvone, caryophyllene, etc. These provide calendula with both antimicrobial and antiparasitic properties.
  • A host of bitter principles which gives the plant some very strong digestive properties.
  • A wide number of Flavonoids, which are responsible for the calendula flowers’ bright orange colors. 
  • Saponins, a type of sugar that tastes very similar to licorice, and which can have an anticancer effect on human cells.
  • Cholesterin esters that are derived from palmitic, stearic, lauric, myristic acids.
  • A wide variety of Carotenoids and other Xanthophyll pigments.
  • Several Triterpene alcohols, polysaccharides, and galactans.

Without a doubt, the Calendula plant is an organic medicinal powerhouse. Extracts from the calendula flower can help to promote the healing of wounds and provide a very strong anti-inflammatory effect thanks to powerful prostaglandins like faradiol.

Calendula can be used to make herbal infusions, tinctures and, as we mentioned before, a plethora of ointments for the treatment of inflammatory conditions of the skin and mucous membranes, including open wounds, bruises, and conditions such as dermatitis, etc.

Dried Calendula Flowers

Surprisingly enough, given its medicine-like fragrance and bitter taste, many people use calendula petals to color and flavor a wide variety of dishes.

I guess aroma, much like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.