Family • Asteraceae - Tagetes erecta L. - MARIGOLD

Scientific names

Tagetes erecta Linn.
Tagetes major Gaertn.

Common names

Ahito (Ilk.)
Amarillo (Span., Tag.)
African marigold (Engl.)
Aztec marigold (Engl.)
French marigold (Engl.)
Marigold (Engl.)

Other vernacular names

HINDI: Genda
MARATHI: Jhenduphool
KONKANI: Gondiphool.
KANNADA: Chenna mallige


Ahito is an ornamental plant, a rather coarse, erect, glabrous branched, rank-smelling annual herb, 0.4 to 1 meter high. Leaves are 4 to 11 centimeters long, very deeply pinnatifid, with lanceolate lobes, coarsely and sharply toothed, 1 to 2.5 centimeters long. Heads are solitary, 2.5 to 3.5 centimeters long, 2 to 4 centimeters in diameter, long-peduncled, with the peduncle thickened upward. Involucre is green. Flowers are pale to deep yellow. Ray flowers are 1-seriate, female, the ligule entire or 2-toothed, short or long. Disk flowers are perfect, regular, tubular limb usually somewhat enlarged, 5-fid. Fruits are achenes, linear, narrowed below, compressed or angled, 6 to 7 millimeters long.

– Ornamental cultivation throughout most of Philippines,
– Spontaneous and naturalized in some localities.
– Flowering all year.
– Now planted in all warm countries.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Studies on the antioxidant and analgesic activities of Aztec marigold (Tagetes erecta) flowers / Samra Bashir, Anwar H. Gilani / Phytotherapy Research • Volume 22 Issue 12, Pages 1692 – 1694 / DOI 10.1002/ptr.2550

(2) Carotenoid Composition of Marigold (Tagetes erecta) Flower Extract Used as Nutritional Supplement / W Leigh Hadden et al / J. Agric. Food Chem., 1999, 47 (10), pp 4189–4194 / DOI: 10.1021/jf990096k

(3) The essential oil of Tagetes erecta L. occurring in Iran / Flavour and fragrance journal / ISSN 0882-5734

(4) The Use of Marigold Therapy for Podiatric Skin Conditions / Robert A Hadfield BS et al / The Foot & Ankle Journal 1 (7): 1 / doi: 10.3827/faoj.2008.0107.0001


(6) Antihyperlipidemic effect of Tagetes erecta in cholesterol fed hyperlipidemic rats / Rodda Raghuveer * et al / Der Pharmacia Lettre, 2011: 3 (5) 266-270

(7) Evaluation of antibacterial activity of different parts of Tagetes erecta / Preeti Verma* and Archana Verma / INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PHARMACY & LIFE SCIENCES, 3(6): June 2012

(8) Marigold orange / Flowers of India / Common names


(10) Tagetes erecta Linn. and its mosquitocidal potency against Culex quinquefasicatus / Farjana Nikkon*, M Rowshanul Habib, Zahangir Alam Saud, M Rezaul Karim / doi:10.1016/S2221-1691(11)60024-5

(11) Utilization of Temple waste flower -Tagetus erecta for Dyeing of Cotton, Wool and Silk on Industrial scale /
Padma S. Vankar*, Rakhi Shanker, Samudrika Wijayapala / JTATM Volume 6, Issue 1, Spring2009

Parts utilized
Flower and leaves.

• Marigold is the richest and purest source of lutein.
• Phytochemical studies isolated flavonoids, carotenoids, xanthophylls and polyketides. with antimutagenic, phytotoric, nutritional, anticarcinogenic and ophthalmologic agents.
• Study of stems and flowers characterized: ß-caryophyllene, terpinolene, (E)-ocimenone, ß-ocimene, piperitenone and Z-ocimene, and limonene.
• Flowers contain a volatile oil and a yellow coloring-matter, quercetagetin.

– Considered anthelmintic, aromatic, digestive, ophthalmic, sedative, stomachic, tonic, carminative, emmenagogue.
– Roots considered laxative.

Edibility / Culinary
• Petals of some varieties are edible; used in salads and for flavor and color.
• Yellow dye from the flower used as saffron substitute for food coloring and flavor.
• Condiment.
• A plant of medicinal use since prehistoric times.
• Used for anemia. irregular menstruation, abdominal pain during menstrual period, rheumatic muscular and bone pain.
• Leaves applied to boils and carbuncles; juice used for earaches.
• Internally, used for indigestion, colic, severe constipation, coughs and dysentery.
• Externally, used for sores, ulcers, eczema, sore eyes and rheumatism.
• Decoction of flowers used for colds, conjunctivitis, mumps, sore eyes.
• Decoction preparation for coughs: Boil a handful of the herb in a liter of water and drink a glass 3x daily.
• In India, juice of the flowers occasionally used as blood purifier and as remedy for piles.
• Infusion or decoction of plant used for colds, rheumatic pains, bronchitis.
• In Brazil, infusion of leaves and flowers used as vermifuge.
• In Mexico, decoction of flowers and leaves used as diuretic and carminative.
• In Aztecs used for carbuncles and eye infections.
• In Brazil and Mexico, used for joint pains and muscle spasms. Also, used for allergic contact dermatitis.
• Elsewhere, used in folk medicine for eye diseases, colds, coughs, conjunctivitis, hemorrhoids and ulcers.

• Repellent: Insecticide, repellent.
• Rituals: The Aztecs used it for ceremonial purposes.
• Dye: Flowers yield a natural dye.

Study Findings
• Antioxidant / Analgesic effect / Flowers: A study showed pronounced antioxidant potential in Aztec marigold flowers and dose-dependent analgesic effect in keeping with its folkloric medicinal use as antiinflammatory and analgesic.
• Wound Healing Activity / Leaves: Ethanolic extract of Tagetes erecta leaves was evaluated on adult albino rats. Results showed significant wound healing activity, comparable to the nitrofurazone control. The study supports the wound healing properties of the leaves as claimed in folkloric literature.
• Carotenoid / Nutritional Supplement: Flower extract was found to contain biologically useful lutein compounds and studied for use as nutritional supplement and as poultry food colorant.
• Keratolytic / Anti-verrucae / Podiatric Use: Its use for plantar hyperkeratosis was first described in the early 80s. Marigold paste has been used for painful hyperkeratotic lesions in the UK. Studies yielded tagetone, d-limonene, acimene, linalyl-acetate, linalol, and other terpenes. Tagetone acts as catalyst in inhibiting the production and transmission of keratinocytes. Marigold also showed benefit in the treatment of topical verrucae. Study shows promised for continued investigation for use of marigold therapy for various podiatric conditions.
• Toxicological Study: Study showed the chloroform extract of T erecta had no toxic effects and validates its traditional use in indigenous systems of medicine.
• Essential Oil: Study of essential oils of T erecta yielded piperitone (50.7%), piperitenone, (E)-ß-ocimene from the leaf oil and 1,8-cineole (23.1%), a-pinene, a-terpineol, piperitone and sabinene from the flower oil.
• Antinociceptive / Anti-Inflammatory: Study of T. erecta alcoholic extracts showed significant antinociceptive activity and significant anti-inflammatory activity comparable to the Diclofenac sodium.
• Insecticidal: Study of crude extracts and fractions of flower of T erecta was tested for insecticidal activity against stored product insect pest, Trilobium castaneum. The chloroform extract showed highest toxicity against both larvae and adults of T castaneum.
• Essential Oil / Antioxidant / Camphor and Methyleugenol: Study of essential oil for antioxidant activity using a DPPD assay, free radical scavenging activity and oxidation of deoxyribose assay. Analysis yielded 18 components; b-caryophyllene, limonene, methyleugenol, (E)-ocimene, piperetone, piperitenone and ?-terpinolene were the main components. Results demonstrated significant antioxidant activity, less than a-tocopherol. The activity was attributed to the presence of camphor and methyleugenol, both naturally occurring in a variety of herbs and spices.
• Antioxidant / Flowers: An ethanolic extract of flowers was studied for antioxidant activity. Phytochemical yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, proteins, steroids, and tannins. Results showed antioxidant activity in all in vitro assays — DPPH, reducing power, and superoxide radical scavenging activity , with better reducing power than standard ascorbic acid.
• Antidiabetic: Study of hydroalcoholic extract in peritoneally streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats showed increased glucose levels after 30 minutes, and hypoglycemia only after 120 minutes.
• Antihyperlipidemic Effect: Study of hydroalcoholic extract in induced hyperlipidemic showed a significant decrease in all hyperlipidemic parameters. Lovastatin was sued as standard.
• Antimicrobial: Study of various extracts evaluated the antimicrobial activity of T. erecta and T. pistula flowers. Methanol extract of T. erecta was found to have better inhibitory activity than cold and hot aqueous extracts. Results showed the extracts of both species possess potential broad spectrum antibacterial activity.  Leaf extracts of Tagetes erectus showed very satisfactory inhibitory activity when tested against various gram negative and gram positive bacteria and fungi.
• Antibacterial: Study showed the leaf and flower of T. erecta to show a broad spectrum of antibacterial activity. The flower extract showed significant activity against S. lutea, E. coli, B. circulence.
• Mosquitocidal / Flowers / Cx quinquefasciatus: Study evaluated the mosquitocidal effects of ethanolic extract of flowers of Tagetes erecta and its fractions against the larvae of Culex quinquefasciatus. Results showed the flowers of T. erecta to be a very effective natural larvicide.
• Dyes from Waste Flowers: A huge amount of marigold are collected as waste flowers from temple offerings in India. The petals yield a natural dye, the colorants consisting mainly of carotenoid-lutein and flavonoid-patuletin, with crude extracts used for dyeing textiles. The study describes an innovative dyeing process with net enhancement of dye uptake due to metal mordanting. Thesuperiority of solvent extraction over conventional extraction was established in the study. Results suggest a potential for industrial application.

Ornamental cultivation.
Extracts and other products in the cybermarket.