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By: Mark McKibben, Pharmacist

Homeopathic approach to calendula

Uriel’s Calendula 10% gel and Calendula Essence are both go-to homeopathic remedies for aiding in the repair of cuts, grazed or wounded skin.

How does Calendula work? Mostly we are just happy that it does support the body to heal cuts, scrapes and wounds while preventing infections, without asking why. 

In homeopathic medicine there is no way to connect how a plant grows or what it looks like with what it does. It is simply empirically proven that it does work for preventing infections. 

Anthroposophic approach to calendula

But, with Anthroposophic medicine, the attempt is made to also connect the phenomenology of a substance with its effect, to understand why it works. What does that mean? Just this: the way something LOOKS or SMELLS or HOW IT GROWS or WHAT COLOR it is can all help us to understand WHY it works. 

An advantage of this phenomenological approach is that it enables us to assess the medicinal effect of a new substance without trying it out in a homeopathic proving. We have an opportunity to understand nature as well as make use of nature.  

Calendula’s Phenomonology

Calendula has abundant growth energy. Its growth is lush and moist and the flowers come quickly and keep on coming right into November! They are an intense orange, almost fluorescent. Although it is an annual, it reseeds easily and keeps coming back every year. It also can grow in poor soil because it has so much innate vitality. Thus it contains a life energy which helps damaged tissue to remain vital and knit together without any infection.  

But there is more to it than that. When you SMELL the plant, there is a background scent, not exactly pleasant. In fact, you may find it smells SOMEWHAT ROTTEN! What?! Yes, it smells rank and decayed underneath the pleasant scent, even though it looks perfectly lovely and alive and full of vitality. Strange to say, Calendula contains an image of the illness it is used to treat, AS WELL AS the cure! The intensive orange flowers and other parts have resins that preserve tissue against deterioration. You may also notice that despite the lush growth, the numerous flowers are always stopping the growth, preventing it from getting “out of control”. Again Calendula shows the illness of excessive, “inflammatory” growth and the remedy of proper containment, establishing healthy boundaries again. 

What do you think of this different way of considering a healing herb?