Our ongoing series on herbs for dogs continues with this look at Calendula.
Calendula, also known as pot marigold, encompasses about 15 to 20 species of annual and perennial plants from the daisy family known as Asteraceae. Native to western Europe, southwestern Asia, the Mediterranean, and the islands of the North Atlantic Ocean, Calendula has a number of practical applications and has been renowned for its medicinal and culinary properties.
The petals of the flower are edible and can be used in salads or even as a replacement for saffron, while yellow dye has been extracted from the petals for other applications. Historically, the petals of Calendula were used to tint fabrics in a wide variety of colors.
There are, of course, more practical applications that make Calendula a terrific herbal treatment for your pet. The oil from the plant has been used medicinally as an anti-inflammatory and as a remedy for healing wounds. Because the oil has antiviral and the aforementioned anti-inflammatory properties, it has been used for a wide variety of topical applications as well.
Calendula Dosage for Dogs
Calendula is typically available as an extract or a tincture, but you can also use the dried petals to make a tea that can be cooled and transferred to a spray bottle to relieve things like itching.
How to Make a Skin Rinse for Your Dog’s Mild Skin Irritations
Boil one quart of clean water. Add a half cup of fresh dried calendula flowers to the boiling water. Remove from heat and cover with a lid. Allow this mixture to steep (to soak until it mixes in very well). COOL the mixture. Strain the yellow liquid into a glass jar or bowl.
You can use this skin rinse generously on most skin problems.
Tea for Inflamed Gums, Bacterial Infections & GI Issues
Tea: Add 2 teaspoons of the flower petals to 1 cup boiling water (pure such as bottled water is best). Allow to steep and COOL! You can blot the gums by using a clean cloth dipped in the tea and gently apply to the dog’s gums. However, when it comes to periodontal and gum issues, we highly recommend using our dental paste recipe here. For bacterial infections and GI issues, peptic ulcers, leaky gut, IBD, you can add one cup of calendula tea to one quart of your dog’s fresh drinking water.
Or, give 1/4 cup per twenty pounds of body weight. For those under twenty pounds, just give two tablespoons at a time.
Tincture: Internal use of Calendula for dogs can be done by adding a few drops of a tincture to your four-legged friend’s food. The tincture is best when dealing with issues such as yeast and candidiasis.
Recommended dosage is 1/2 to 2 mls per 20 pounds body weight divided into 3 daily doses.
DO NOT give tinctures with alcohol to those dogs with ulcerative colitis, liver disease or reflux. Instead, use glycerin or water based tinctures.
You can usually see results within a few days to a few weeks for tough skin issues.
What are the health benefits of calendula?
Therapeutic Uses of Calendula for Dogs
Calendula is mostly used as an anti-inflammatory, but there are other therapeutic applications worth checking out. Its long history of fuse as an herbal wound-healer is perhaps its most prevalent feature, as it can heal all manner of cuts, burns, abrasions, and inflammations.
It should also be noted that the leaves and stems of the Calendula plant include salicylic acid, which is the same analgesic found in aspirin.
- Speed Wound Healing: Calendula cream can be used to speed wound healing and will relieve pain at the site of the wound, contending with any inflammation and promoting the healing of damaged tissues. It does this by stimulating fibroblastic activity, which subsequently stimulates the cells responsible for doing the heavy lifting.
- Good For Skin: Calendula can be used as part of a salve with Saint John’s Wort or comfrey to relieve rashes, eczema, sunburns, and insect bites. It can mitigate the problems associated with rashes and other skin conditions, alleviating the itching that comes with such issues and cutting down on the general irritation.
- Treat Inflammation: Calendula can be used internally as a tincture to treat any inflammation of the digestive or urinary tracts. It helps in lymphatic drainage and can be mixed with marshmallow or plantain to soothe irritated mucus membranes along the digestive tract. It has been used as a treatment for chronic conditions like colitis because of these soothing properties.
- Boost Immune System: Internal applications of Calendula can also boost the immune system, with properties aiding in liver function and helping soothe the nervous system. There is also research that suggests that saponin in Calendula can impede tumor growth.
Calendula is among the safest herbs you can use for your dog. It has been used as a common topical treatment for years and is a non-toxic plant. As with most herbal treatments, however, it should not be given internally to pregnant or nursing animals.
The salicylic acid component may also cause problems with animals with allergies and application may produce a mild skin irritation in some pets. Estimations hold that this allergy is present in less than one percent of animals, but it’s still best to test any topical treatment on a small sample area first.
Reasons to Use Calendula for Dogs
Due to its safety and long history of application, Calendula is among the most popular herbal treatments for dogs. It is an indispensable component in any first aid toolkit and is commonly seen in most herbal treatment regimens. Used internally or topically, there’s little doubting the popularity and efficacy of Calendula for dogs.
Whether used from a spray bottle containing a tincture or as a skin oil, Calendula seems to be one of the safest and most effective of all herbal treatments.
Its anti-inflammatory properties are well-documented, plus it has a few surprising internal benefits to boot. One of nature’s many surprises, Calendula can’t be recommended highly enough
References: Herbs for Pets by M.L. Wulff-Tilford and G.L. Tilford, Natural Remedies for Dogs and Cats by CJ Puotinen