Calendula officinalis is one year plant that has the flower throughout the whole year. The old Egyptians valued the plant for its rejuvenating qualities. In Europe, the plant was long used in soups and as a colorant for butter and cheese. In American civil wars, physicians used Calendula for treating wound on the battlefield. Marigold is also associated with the saint virgin Maria. In England is the plant with Queen Mary associated in the 17th century. That is why the English name is also “Marigold.
Lutein is natural fat-soluble yellowish pigment found in a variety of plants, algae and photosynthetic bacteria. This pigment functions as accessory light-gathering pigments and protects against the toxic effects of ultra-violet radiation and oxygen. Lutein is the primary carotenoid present in the central area of the retina called the macula.
Lutein is a member of the carotenoid family, which is best known for another one of its members, beta-carotene.
Lutein and zeaxanthin often occur together and they have great health benefit.
Lutein is an antioxidant to protect the macula from potentially damaging forms of ultraviolet light. Consequently, lutein is believed by many experts assist in prevention against age-related macular degeneration (the leading cause of blindness in older adults). Lutein in supplement form, should be taken with fat-containing food to improve absorption.
Research has suggested a minimum of 6-10 mg per day of lutein. Carotenoids are the naturally occurring pigments that give fruits and vegetables their bright color. There are dozen of carotenoids and most of them have antioxidant properties. Combining carotenoids with one another or with other categories of antioxidants such as vitamins increases their antioxidant activity. Some of the best studied and best understood carotenoids are lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthine and beta-carotene. Lutein also filters the high-energy, blue wavelengths of light from the visible. light spectrum by as much as 90%. Blue light, in both indoor lighting and sunlight, is believed to induce oxidative stress and possible free-radical damage in human organs exposed to light, such as the eyes ans skin. Blue light is not the same as the commonly known ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B wavelengths of the invisible spectrum.
While there no true lutein deficiency has been identified, individuals who consume more lutein appear to be at a lower risk of macular degeneration. A recent study indicated that adults with a high intake of lutein had a nearly 60% decrease in risk of macular degeneration compared with individuals with a lower intake. In a similar study a link was suggested between low lutein intake and an increase risk of developing cataracts.
For cardiovascular health, lutein present in blood serum may favorably impact arterial wall thickening a component of atherosclerosis. Lutein plays important role in maintaining healthy skin, it has influence on hydration, elasticity and skin lipid content. Such exposure can create reactive oxygen species, leading to cell-damaging free radicals with skin. The skin provides numerous function.s It acts as a barrier of protection for the internal organs. It regulates body temperature. It plays important role in immunological response. Therefore, it is important to protect the skin.