Calendula(Calendula officianalis) sometimes called Pot Marigold is actually not a marigold at all, it’s a member of the sunflower family. Not only is it a beautiful plant with gorgeous orange flowers and wonderful healing powers, it’s easy to grow too!
A must have in any dog household, Calendula is my go to herb to treat minor cuts, abrasions, sunburn, rashes, hot spots, eczema, insect bites, burns, yeast infections and inflammations of the skin. Because of it’s anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties, I use Calendula for my dogs on everything from chapped paws and minor cuts to yeast infections.
Calendula works well at speeding up the wound healing process, so well, make sure to clean the wound thoroughly so as not to trap dirt in debris in the wound.
One way to apply Calendula topically is by making a tea. You can make the tea one of two ways.
- Dried herb method: Place 2 tablespoons of dried herb in a heat proof cup and add a cup or so of boiling water. Cover with a saucer or the like and allow to steep for about 20 minutes.
- Fresh herb method: Fill a heat proof jar with fresh flowers and pour in boiling water. Allow the mixture to infuse until it’s fully cooled.
After your tea is done infusing, strain it (composing the the herb) and either soak a clean cloth in the tea and apply to the skin or put it into a spray bottle for spray on wound application. The shelf life isn’t very long, so make it in small amounts and store in the fridge for up to 2 days. You also can freeze some tea in ice cube trays. Pop out a cube and apply directly to the affected area for cool soothing relief.
Another way to apply topically is by making a salve. I know what you’re thinking “Make a salve? I can barely boil water!”. Really, it’s not that hard. I make my own organic healing salve with Calendula, Plantain(see my other post about The Incredible, Edible, Medicinal Plantain), Coconut Oil, Beeswax, and Vitamin E. It does take some time, depending on what method you choose to infuse the oils, but that’s a topic for another post!
With it’s strong anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties Calendula taken orally can help with inflammation and yeast overgrowth in the digestive tract. Many dogs suffer from yeast overgrowth on their skin. The overgrowth of yeast often begins in the digestive tract which can be attributed to over use of antibiotics, stress, and high sugar intake from commercial dog food. The saponins in Calendula also help heal and prevent gastric ulcers, so taking Calendula orally can help to keep the GI tract in tip top shape! You can use the tea, a tincture or add some dried or fresh herb to your dogs food.
There has been studies that show dietary lutein extracted from Calendula increased tumor latency, suppressed mammary tumor growth and enhanced lymphocyte proliferation.(1) Whew! Which in easy to understand terms means that Calendula slowed the tumors, increased the inactive time of the tumors, while boosting the immune system. That’s some powerful stuff!
So go out and get some Calendula and buy some seeds while your at it for next years garden!
There is one word of caution concerning Calendula. It should not be taken internally by pregnant dogs or cats.