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Calendula For Cats & Dogs


Calendula (Calendula Officinalis - Asteraceae) or marigold as it is more commonly known, is a cleansing and detoxifying herb famous for its ability to treat infections. Calendula like other herbs has many therapeutic properties but astrologically, Calendula is thought to be ruled by the sun as the flowers resemble the sun and it's known to bring warmth to the tissues throughout the body.

The parts of the plant that are commonly used as medicine are the bright orange flower heads and the leaves and the plant is either used fresh or dried. The power of a herb is in using the whole plant not just isolating one or two components for their use, which is done in many instances with allopathic medicine. This whole plant idea is the magic of herbs as medicine as they are forever adapting to the environment around them, which makes them some of the best preventative and curative medicines to introduce into your pet's daily life. 

Calendula has flavonoids and carotenoids that help reduce heat (inflammation), provide a spectrum of antioxidant activity, heal wounds, and tone tissues. The polysaccharides in Calendula help stimulate immune function and soothe mucosal tissues in the gut. Calendula is a bitter (triterpene content), which is both a constituent and an action. Bitters stimulate digestion and liver activity. They also increase detoxification and help increase bile production. Bitters work with the entire digestive system helping break down fats and oils (like burdock root). In essence, they increase digestive function. Bitters have a downward movement in the body, helping fluids drain from the elimination channels like the intestines and kidneys. Bitters can have a systemic drying effect so keep this in mind when a plant has bitter principles.

Calendula is also a lymphatic alterative that gradually restores healthy functioning to the lymphatic system, which includes the blood, intestines (nutrient assimilation), and liver system. It has a pungent, salty, and sweet (nourishing) taste. The pungent elements of Calendula are stimulating while salt moves and regulates the body's waters. The sweet aspect helps bring moisture and tone to the mucosa in the digestive tract. Even though bitters are somewhat drying, Calendula is moisturizing due to its polysaccharide content. So it has both drying and moisturizing properties.

Calendula has an affinity towards the element of water. It helps balance the waters of the body through the lymphatic system, its primary organ affinity. The lymphatics and the element water bring calendula's influence to the deeper places in the body. Through the Sun's influence, Calendula warms the lymphatics and thins out lymph fluid so it can pass through the lymph nodes for processing. Herbalist Matthew Wood says Calendula helps "unresolved infections" and Calendula "reaches the hidden parts of the body". The beauty of Calendula's action is it not only works on the lymphatic system is also works (bitter) on the entire liver system including the gastrointestinal system. Calendula helps move backed-up fluids from the core out to the periphery of the body. It does this along with the elimination channels including the liver and intestines.

Calendula has an effect on the immune system in that it regulates the terrain of the body's tissues. It regulates the water element clearing stagnation and opening up the elimination channels so the body can detoxify properly.

Calendula is known as a bacteriostatic (action) instead of an anti-bacterial. A Bacteriostatic helps regulate bacteria by keeping them from spreading instead of killing them. Calendula helps contain the bacteria within the lymph system where it can keep it moving and neutralize it. The lymph system is an integral part of the immune system. The lymphatic system helps cleanse the blood and keep fluids moving. This is an important part of the healing process.

Calendula excels when tissues are hot, swollen, and painful. The homeopathic proving of Calendula addresses pain and infection as well as traumatic injury. Even though when used externally, you need to be careful as Calendula will seal a wound even if it's not done draining. Internally, Calendula will help heal infections.

Benefits of Calendula

  • Heals wounds
  • Antimicrobial
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Detoxifying
  • Helps relieve muscle spasms
  • Helps prevent hemorrhaging
  • Antifungal - Helps against fungal infections such as candida, ringworm
  • Effective in helping heal cuts, grazes
  • Helps combat inflammed skin conditions such as rashes, eczema, hotspots, etc.
  • Helps with digestive disorders such as ulcers as it helps soothe the mucosa and membranes
  • Is warming and drying to the lungs and relieves excess moisture in the entire respiratory system 
  • Helps reduce fevers
  • Helps cleanse the liver 
  • Helps cleanse the gall-bladder
  • Can be used to regulate menstrual bleeding 
  • Can be applied to burns
  • Helps control and regulate bacterial growth without killing it
  • By aiding the terrain of your pet it helps boost their immunity
  • Helps relieve the discomfort with IBS
  • Good for constipation
  • Can help stimulate bile

Is Calendula Safe for Pets? 

Yes, it's safe for both cats and dogs and should be one of the remedies you have in your first aid kit. It can be given internally or applied topically and although its main consideration is to combat infection and wound healing, its ability to work with the lymph system means it's one of the herbs you should always have on hand for a variety of ailments that crop up with pets.

Like with most herbs air on the side of caution, especially with cats, and approach herbs with the idea that you're using it as a medicine in the short term to help eliminate the cause of the health issue. If you're hoping to use herbs for the long term for a specific health issue then do so under guidance from a homeopathic or holistic vet, so your pet can be regularly monitored before any contraindications arise. 

However, one of the best ways to incorporate herbs into your pet's life is to plant a pet-friendly herbal garden that allows them a variety of fresh seasonal herbs that your cat or dog can self-select as and when needed. Even an indoor garden will help your pet balance its own needs, click here for details.

Side Effects 

  • If your pet's condition worsens or does not improve speak with your integrative vet
  • In rare cases, calendula may cause an allergic reaction
  • Over-dosing or long term use could be harmful to cats
  • Avoid giving to pregnant or lactating pets

How to Give Calendula to Cats & Dogs

Forms of use:
  • Tincture
  • Poultice
  • Homeopathy pellets
  • Decoction

Administration can be via
  • Can be given orally as a homeopathy remedy
  • A tincture can be given orally or applied topically
  • Can be applied topically

Calendula Dosage for Pets  

Cats & Dogs

It's best to consult your homeopathy or holistic vet for your pet's individual health needs, especially when using this as an internal supplement/medicine. As with any herb or plant, they are natural medicines. The quality of a herb is important, especially when using the herb as medicine or preventative medicine. 

The appropriate dose of Calendula depends on a number of factors such as the overall health of your pet and any condition you're trying to treat, whether it is acute or chronic. Remember as with other herbs start on a lesser dosage to ensure your cat and dog has no side effects prior to increasing to the recommended dosage. Calendula has a wide application so not all possibilities can be covered here. 

General-purpose guidelines for common occurrences:

Decoction (Tea). Use the aerial parts fresh or dried (the parts of the plant above ground). This is perhaps one of the safest ways to give calendula to your cat or dog as the tea can be made weak or you can begin to micro-dose your cat or dog and monitor how they get on. Also, herbal teas are not as strong as tinctures. Make a tea with your herb, steep it for 30 minutes or so. You can give 2-3 drops twice daily directly into your pet's mouth, or mixed into your pet's food, or alternatively, let your cat or dog drink the droplets directly. 

You could also add some of the cooled tea to a spray bottle and spray the tea directly onto your pet's skin to help alleviate irritation. With cats, it's easier to dab the tea onto the affected area as oftentimes the sound of the spray bottle scares cats. Let the tea dry naturally on the skin. To help with skin irritation you may need to spray 3 or 4 times throughout the day until the issue clears up.

A great grounding, cleaning, and soothing bath to do specifically for dogs, or even cats as a rub down, is to mix some good quality apple cider vinegar, with sea salt, baking soda, and a cup of calendula tea. Mix all the ingredients together in a warm bath (not hot) and with a cotton facecloth bathe or rub your pet down. Dry off any excess water but leave the rest to dry naturally. This is great for helping clean off any debris to allow the skin to continue to eliminate any toxins from the body, whilst also being soothing for your pet. Be aware that in some pets the baking soda may make your pet itchier as the combination of vinegar and the soda react together. If in doubt leave it out.

A poultice or Topical Salve: Make it into a poultice using calendula solely or mix it with a bit of olive oil or coconut oil, ghee, or shea butter to form a paste or salve. Soak the herb for about 15-20 minutes. Make your paste and spread on a gauze or cheesecloth and apply over the infected wound. This can also be applied to scratches, flea bites, hotspots, dry skin, etc. You may need to apply the poultice 2 or 3 times throughout the day. If you've mixed the calendula with a carrier oil, then you can apply the salve 2 or 3 times throughout the day. This can help with both skin and tissue repair and promote new skin growth. This is also great for those pets that suffer from a flaky dry nose.

Tincture: Follow the manufacturer's or your vet's instructions as any dosages will be dependent upon the potency level of 'the mother' used in the formula your pet's size and your pet's ailment. You may need to dilute the drops in water prior to administering. Please ensure you select tinctures that are alcohol-free, or look to burn off some of the alcohol to reduce the level of this toxin entering your pet's system. For issues such as lymphatic stimulation, the dosage for calendula is quite small using 1 drop for every 10 pounds/4.5 kilos of bodyweight, given twice daily just before eating.

The homeopathy product: This will again be determined by the ailment you're treating and the potency or strength of the dilution. This should be guided by your homeopathic or holistic vet as the incorrect potency will unlikely give an improvement or may cause adverse reactions. However, as a guide, Calendula 200c can be given twice daily until the wound is healed and it can also help speed healing up quite nicely. Make sure you give any homeopathic a few hours outside of feeding times.

Fresh Calendula (Calendula officinalis) Calendula (or Dandelion) properties make it excellent for helping reduce or eliminate warts. The ancient method still used today is applying the stem sap from these herbs. Break off a calendula or dandelion stem as close to the ground as possible. Gently squeeze the sticky, milky sap from the stem. Apply it directly to cover the wart. Apply twice daily for at least 2 weeks or more. It may be irritating initially but continue with the process as it's fighting the effects of the wart.

This article is not meant for diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your holistic veterinarian for proper diagnosis and your pet's individual treatment plan. 

One of the best things you can do for your animal is to not only feed a species-appropriate diet but know where your closest certified veterinary homeopathy is, or a holistic vet. Most issues with animals are caused by poor nutrition or exposure to toxins. Herbal or homeopathy medicine works with the body to clear the toxins and sort out any deficiencies. Natural medicine also has fewer known side effects than any allopathic medicine sold in standard vet practices and increases the longevity of your cat and dog.

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Natural lifestyle, naturally health, naturally thriving!!


Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine - Andrew Chevallier
The Way of Herbs - Micheal Tierra
The Way of Chinese Herbs - Michael Tierra

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Wednesday, October 05 2022

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