Mexican marigold, also called Aztec marigold, is a species of the genus Tagetes native to Mexico and Central America. It was cultivated by the Aztecs for medicinal, ceremonial and decorative purposes.
Marigold can relieve digestive tract problems including poor appetite, gas, stomach pain, colic, intestinal worms, and dysentery. It is also used for coughs, colds, mumps, fluid retention and sore eyes. Ingested by women, it can induce menstruation, treat sore breasts (mastitis) and protect against miscarriage. Its florets are rich in the orange-yellow carotenoid lutein, that can help protect the eyes against oxidative stress and decrease the risk of eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. Moreover, lutein is used as a yellow/orange food colour (INS-number E161b) in the European Union, Australia and New Zealand for foods such as pasta, vegetable oil, margarine, mayonnaise, salad dressing, baked goods, confectionery, dairy products, ice cream, yogurt, citrus juice and mustard.