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  1. From http://www.boironusa.com/products/calendula-cream/:

    USES: Helps promote healing of minor burns and cuts, scrapes, skin irritations and sunburn

    ACTIVE INGREDIENT: Calendula officinalis 1X HPUS-10% - Healing agent

    INACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Caprylyl glycol; Carbomer; Cetyl palmitate; EDTA disodium; Glycerin; Lauroyl macrogolglycerides; Pegoxol-7 stearate; Purified water; Sodium hydroxide; Sorbic acid 1,2-hexanediol

  2. From http://www.boironusa.com/products/calendula-ointment/

    USES: ... Helps promote healing of minor burns, scrapes and cuts

    ACTIVE INGREDIENT: Calendula officinalis 1X HPUS-4% - Healing agent

    INACTIVE INGREDIENTS: White petrolatum USP

Is there evidence that this creme and/or ointment: "Helps promote healing of minor burns and cuts, scrapes, skin irritations and sunburn"?

Specifically, is there any testing showing whether:

  • there is efficacy compared to no treatment

  • there is efficacy compared to creme/ointment made from identical inactive ingredients only.

NOTES:

  • I'm looking for answers related to results of testing of this specific product(s), NOT general discussion of "this can't work because homeopathy was proven to not work".

  • In case the text and the company name aren't a dead giveaway, " 1X HPUS" is supposed to mean that the active ingredient is a homeopathic remedy (but see @Fabian's comment below).

  • I lumped them together since they seem to have the similar active ingredients; I will accept the answer which pertains to testing either one of those, or both.

  • Preference is double-blind randomized testing. Duh.

  • 1
    1X is a 1/10 dilution, so this is only homeopathic in name. There is still a potentially active ingredient in a significant concentration in there. – Mad Scientist May 30 '13 at 15:57
  • @Fabian - fair enough. I'm more interested in efficacy than the reasons for it :) – user5341 May 30 '13 at 16:26
  • Also, immediate +50 bonus to any answer pointing to the fact that Calendula produces money... – user5341 May 30 '13 at 16:34
  • Alright, I've found a couple studies that show that Calendula officinalis can be effective as a anti-inflamatory, anti-viral and anti-genotoxic. Does it have to be specific to just this product or are you willing take a slightly more general answer? – rjzii May 30 '13 at 17:04
  • @RobZ - sorry, specific. I'm skeptical of Boiron's claim of that particular product, not calendula in general. – user5341 May 30 '13 at 17:05
3

Since you are looking for results on a specific product the best that can be said is that the efficacy is unknown with some positive evidence, since there has been at least one study that used this specific product.

Phase III Randomized Trial of Calendula Officinalis Compared With Trolamine for the Prevention of Acute Dermatitis During Irradiation for Breast Cancer was published in 2004 by American Society of Clinical Oncology and had the following to say,

Calendula (Pommade au Calendula par Digestion; calendula extract ointment; Boiron Ltd, Levallois-Perret, France) is fabricated from a plant of the marigold family, Calendula officinalis. The digest is obtained by incubation at 75°C in petroleum jelly to extract the liposoluble components of the plant. Calendula is commercialized in France for adjuvant treatment of irritant dermatitis, skin lesions, and superficial burns. In a randomized, open, parallel study with 156 patients of the effectiveness of calendula for the local management of second- and third-degree burns, it was significantly better tolerated than Elase (a proteolytic ointment; Pfizer, New York, NY) and petroleum jelly, and marginally significantly better than petroleum jelly alone for healing.

Concluding that,

This large randomized study demonstrated that a nonsteroid topical agent was significantly effective in preventing mild to severe radiation-induced dermatitis during radiotherapy for breast cancer. Calendula was statistically significantly superior to trolamine for the primary end point, prevention of skin toxicity of RTOG grade 2 or higher, and for all the secondary end points (including allergy, interruption of treatment, patient satisfaction for relief of pain, and dermatitis), with the exception of ease of application, which was considered by the patients to be more difficult with calendula than with trolamine. The quantity of agent used was significantly smaller with calendula than with trolamine, although this would not lead to a cost reduction, given that the price of calendula is at present twice that of trolamine.

However, systematic reviews citing the above article (1, 2, 3) seem to have mixed at best feelings at best although the search I did didn't seem to have many that called out Calendula officinalis as a category on its own.

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  • "marginally significantly better" - did they quantify that? – user5341 May 30 '13 at 17:57
  • @DVK - I thought that phrasing was weird as well. There is a discussion of the maths, but reskimming the paper I can't tell if they quantify it or not. – rjzii May 30 '13 at 18:28

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