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Marigolds play an important role in traditional culture and medicine of Mexico and North and South America. The flower is known as “flower of the dead” in Mexico, and was cultivated by ancient Aztecs and modern Mexicans for the annual Day of the Dead ceremony. It is also used in festivals in Nepal, India, Thailand, and Ukraine. The flower petals were used in food, as a skin wash, and for yellow dye. Marigold was used traditionally for supporting healthy digestion and gastrointestinal function, and for supporting immune function. The dried, ground flowers are used as chicken feed as a source of carotenoids to enhance the color and nutrition of egg yolks, and as a yellow food dye in Europe. Marigolds are commonly known today as a gardening tool to protect plants against nematodes when planted in fields.


Marigold is most commonly used today as a source of carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin, for supporting healthy vision Topical applications of marigold have been used to support healthy foot tissue in healthy volunteers with bunions.

Uses of Marigold


    This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

    Active Constituents

    carotenoids: lutein, zeaxanthin; essential oil: beta-caryophyllene, terpinolene, limonene

    Parts Used

    • dried flowers

    Important precautions

    marigold can cause an allergic reaction in individuals sensitive to the asteraceae/compositae family

    Additional Resources

    Arvigo R & Balick M. 1993. Rainforest Remedies: One hundred healing herbs of Belize. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press.

    Duke J & Vasquez R. 1994. Amazonian Ethnobotanical Dictionary. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

    Khan MT. The podiatric treatment of hallux abducto valgus and its associated condition, bunion, with Tagetes patula.J Pharm Pharmacol. 1996 Jul;48(7):768-70.

    Obana et al. Changes in Macular Pigment Optical Density and Serum Lutein Concentration in Japanese Subjects Taking Two Different Lutein Supplements. PLoS One. 2015 Oct 9;10(10)

    Richer S, Stiles W, Statkute L, et al. Double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of lutein and antioxidant supplementation in the intervention of atrophic age-related macular degermation: the Veterans LAST study (Lutein Antioxidant Supplement Trial). Optometry 2004;75:216-30.

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