Research is mounting on marigold as an oral health ingredient.
Marigold flowers (Calendula officinalis) are widely cultivated in India, which happened to be home to a curious study on marigold and gingivitis last year.
Researchers at India’s Pravara Institute of Medical Sciences recruited 240 adults with gingivitis for a six-month study. Each subject was instructed to consume 6 ml of water with 2ml of a marigold tincture or control (8 ml of water) twice daily. Two visits to the dentist-at three months for cleaning, and at six months for a final assessment-would hopefully determine if marigold was associated with lessened symptoms of gingivitis.
At three months and before cleaning, subjects who used marigold mouthwash demonstrated better scores for plaque, gingivitis, and sulcus bleeding. Control scores did not improve over baseline. Three months after cleaning, both groups recorded better scores for the same three markers, but scores were significantly better for the marigold group on average, who also reported freshness and better taste acceptance compared to the control group. The results, now published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology, can be read in full online.
Marigold flowers are consumed in some locales as tea, but their use is not universally popular. Still, researchers in India and elsewhere have been building a strong case for marigold as an oral health ingredient. Previous studies have already documented marigold’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activity in the mouth. A human trial even experimented with marigold toothpaste, recording results similar to those of the Pravara Institute study.
The Pravara Institute researchers believe marigold may support healthy gums by slowing the degradation of collagen, which is a significant part of the makeup of gingival fibers. More trials are needed to confirm their results, but imagine a day when mothers are growing marigolds in their yards not just for decoration, but for homemade dental remedies.
Nutritional Outlook magazineÃ¢Â¨