Why Do Some People Say Marigold Tea Is Not Safe?

HomeTea KnowledgeWhy Do Some People Say Marigold Tea Is Not Safe?

Last Updated on 09/12/2023 by Desmond

Marigold is a very pretty flower and has important meanings in different regions and religions. Marigold tea is also a common folky herb infusion, which brings various health benefits, even if it tastes not so well.

Marigold petals are collected and dried to make marigold tea
Marigold petals are collected and dried to make marigold tea

What Is Marigold

The marigold’s scientific name is Tagetes, which originated in South America(although it is often called the African marigold,) is a very popular ornamental plant. This flower looks like a ball and shows in beautiful orange and gold color. It is said the plant can help protect the garden from pests, plus its attractive appearance makes it accessible in many gardens. In some folk remedies, people also use it to make marigold tea or ointment, for adjuvant disease therapy, even for some babies’ discomfort. In modern times, marigolds are also taken as the main component in some makeups, perfumes, and dyes.

There is a legend about the name Marigold. It is said that Mother Mary ever used this flower as money, so the early Christians put them on her feet as gold. Even if it is just a story, the marigold is still famous around the world not only for its pretty appearance but also for many deep symbols.

Difference Between Marigold And Calendula

Marigolds are in many types, or the word Marigold in English refers to various flowers(like the diverse French marigolds which developed in France.) It often makes people confused. The most common example is marigold and calendula. These two have a similar look, especially the color, and they are hard to distinguish after drying. They are in different genera; however, people usually call calendula for marigold.

Try to observe them more carefully, you still can distinguish them.

Marigold petals have jagged edges and cock slightly, stacks make the flower look like a ball. The whole plant is typically 50-150cm in height.

The calendula’s petals are in a tongue shape, circling around makes the flower look like a clock. The plant is shorter than Tagetes, typically in 30-60cm.

The flower of a marigold is usually bigger than a calendula. Due to the similar color after drying, steeping them to bloom will make it easier to distinguish.

Tagetes and Calendula have a different look
Tagetes and Calendula have a different look

Is Marigold Edible?

Some people think that the marigold is not edible. I can not negate these views totally because there are so many types of marigolds, and it is hard to make a definitive conclusion.

In Mexico, the marigold is also called “cempasúchi” or “flor de muertos“(the flower of dead,) for decorating the annual Día de Muertos festivity. It is said that the marigold’s bright color can guide the dead’s soul back to the living world. People also bundle marigolds and sage together to make smudge sticks, burn them, make some scents to better connect with the ancestors.

Maybe it is the connection with the dead that makes people think marigold is not edible.

However, in many other countries, marigold means nothing with dead. In Hinduism(India), marigold means pure and holy. And in China, it is a symbol of longevity. Some chefs will mash them to make flavoring, even deep-fry them into dishes for birthday parties.

Another reason may be that some marigold plants have a terrible smell(in fact, the smell is from the leaves.) But there have been no confirmed cases of marigold being unsafe for edible so far.

What Is Marigold Tea Good For

Marigold tea is an herbal tea without caffeine but with many beneficial ingredients contained, such as the antioxidant flavonoid. In the past, even though people did not know the chemical principles of it, they still could feel the benefits that marigolds brought from daily life. Therefore, there are many uses of marigold in folk remedies.

Note: Not all marigolds provide the same benefits. The following benefits are all from Tagetes erecta L and have been proven.


Excessive amounts of radicals in the body can lead to oxidative stress, responsible for most diseases. A study suggested that marigold is rich in antioxidants such as carotenoidlaricitrin(a flavonoid), and glycoside. All of these ingredients can help remove the radicals, and brings the following benefits:

  • Treating inflammation in the body;
  • Delay the vascular aging;
  • Potential cancer-preventing effect;


Studies suggested they found antibiosis ingredients in the marigold extract, which helps kill microorganisms such as bacteria and fungus. Folks consume marigold tea to cure colds, fever, respiratory tract infection, and gastrointestinal discomfort; most are caused by infecting Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi, or Staphylococcus aureus.

Besides, in some South American countries, people use the marigold infusion for washing genitals, to cure the disease caused by Candida Albicans. With its antioxidant properties, having marigold tea or using it to rinse the mouth can improve oral health and solve the ozostomia problem.

Eye Health

To keep the eyes healthy is the most common use of marigolds. A carotenoid called lutein contained in marigold is a powerful antioxidant; the human body can not synthesize it. When you lack lutein, it may lead to macular degeneration and blurred vision. In severe cases, your vision may deteriorate and cause shortsightedness.

Even though lutein is not regarded as a necessary nutrition of the body. However, the studies suggest it plays a great help in maintaining healthy vision and prevention of eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration(ARMD) and cataracts. Adequate intake of carotenoids also helps reduce the risk of bowel cancer and heart disease.

Skin Health

Marigold extract is the main component of many essential oils and skincare products. In the folk, people smear the marigold infusion on the skin to cure trauma such as wound and burn, or skin disease such as ulceration, eczema, and acne. The benefits may come from its anti-inflammation and bactericidal properties. But it seems not to have a good effect by consuming marigold tea.

Help Digestion

In South American traditional folk remedy, marigold is also used to treat digestion system problems. People thought it was bactericidal, so it could also administered against food poisoning. Besides, a similar theory to TCM, marigold is considered capable of blending the cold and heat of the stomach, and it can solve problems like indigestion, bellyache, and constipation.

Marigold Tea Side Effects

Marigold tea is considered safe by the FDA. Still, people who are allergic to the Compositae family should pay attention to it. It’s best to smear a little on your hand or ask your doctor before having marigold tea.

Besides, in some South American countries, women have a habit of managing menstrual blood volume by having marigold tea. Although this benefit hasn’t been confirmed, pregnant women should not take it during pregnancy to avoid miscarriage or other serious consequences.

Marigold is orange just like the sun
Marigold is orange just like the sun

How Does Marigold Tea Taste

Marigold tea shows a beautiful golden color. But in fact, it tastes weak, and a little bitter and weird. So you can add some honey or sugar for flavoring or blend with other herbals, such as chamomile or mint, for a better taste.

How To Make Marigold Tea

If there are marigolds in your garden, it will be simple to DIY marigold tea. Of course, you can buy it from the florist, but be sure they have not been contaminated with pesticides.

  1. First, pick the fresh marigold flowers and clean them up. Do as gently as you can, and don’t let the petals break;
  2. Spread and place the flower after cleaning in a cool and ventilated for drying. Avoid direct sunlight, which will make the marigold lose its flavor and nutrition. Usually, it will take more than 3 days to dry;
  3. The flowers after drying are ready for making marigold tea, but first, you’ve better store them well;
  4. Take 1-2 dried marigold flowers, put them into the cup, add 50℃ warm water, steep for 10 seconds, then pour the infusion out. This is for washing the dust off they got during drying;
  5. Add 85℃ hot water again, steep for 3-5 mins, then serve;

Marigold Lemon Balm Tea

Promote the marigold flavor, which doesn’t so well itself, with the fresh scent of lemon balm, to get a peaceful feeling.

  1. Blend 1 dried marigold flower(or 1TSP petal) and 1 TSP dried lemon balm into a 150ml glass cup;
  2. Boil the water, then wait for it to cool down to 85-93℃;
  3. Fill in the hot water, steep for 5-7 minutes;
  4. Flavor with honey according to your personal taste;

Marigold Chamomile Tea

Chamomile makes some charming, sweet taste for marigold tea, and also some fragrance.

  1. Blend 1 dried marigold flower(or 1TSP petal) and 1 TSP dried chamomile into a 150ml glass cup;
  2. Boil the water, then wait for it to cool down to 85-93℃;
  3. Fill in the hot water, and steep for about 5 minutes;
  4. Flavor with honey according to your personal taste;
  5. You may need to separate out the tiny petals with a colander for a better drinking experience.

Marigold Honeysuckle Tea

This is a TCM herbal tea recipe. Marigold and honeysuckle both benefit the eyes, and honeysuckle is better helped with oral problems and sore throat. However, both of them do not taste good; you may need some rock sugar for flavoring.

  • Blend 1 dried marigold flower(or 1TSP petal) and about 5g dried honeysuckle into a 150ml glass cup;
  • Fill in boiled water;
  • Steep about 10 minutes;
  • Add some rock sugar, and stir to let it melt quickly and evenly;
  • Filter the ingredients with a colander and get the infusion;


Tagetes spp. Essential Oils and Other Extracts: Chemical Characterization and Biological Activity

Edible Flowers of Tagetes erecta L. as Functional Ingredients: Phenolic Composition, Antioxidant and Protective Effects on Caenorhabditis elegans

Modulatory Effect of Carotenoid Supplement Constituting Lutein and Zeaxanthin (10:1) on Anti-oxidant Enzymes and Macular Pigments Level in Rats

Marigold – Mother Mary’s Gold

Marigold Flowers Meaning: What Do Marigolds Symbolize Internationally?

Just a tea lover. Like to try different types of tea. Do not matter if the brewing is perfect, only enjoy the various charming taste.
  1. Can I just use the leaves off the plant to make the tea? It smells wonderful when I tried it at home but I am wondering if it is safe to consume the tea made with leaves.

    • Hi, Sripal,

      In Traditional Chinese Medicine, both Tagetes and Calendulas’ leaves can be served as medicine, fresh or dried. It was ever popular in Guangxi folk, great help on inflammation. Local people primarily get rid of the toothache with it. But they making the marigold leaves tea in a cooking way, into a soup.


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