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Why the herb Calendula is incredibly good at healing open wounds -- as well as balancing your dog's digestive and immune systems.
AND how to use it to treat your dog.
(Great for human health too, btw!)
Calendula is not only one of our favorite herbs but one of the most versatile, effective natural remedies for a pet parent to have on hand to treat wounds, clean wounds, and make wounds heal faster, and more.
What is Calendula
Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is very easy to grow and can be used internally in a strongly brewed herbal tea or applied topically for a wide variety of ailments. It is a gentle yet powerful remedy. It’s known to be an extremely effective wound healer, as well as excellent for treating inflammation and improving digestion.
In traditional herbal medicine, calendula has been used to treat digestive issues such as ulcers, colitis, and other gastrointestinal problems; skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne; as well as minor wounds and abrasions.
Okay, tell me more...
Calendula may also help boost your pet’s immune system by inhibiting the growth of viruses, bacteria, and other infectious agents. It is also a great source of antioxidants that can help fight off free radicals in the body, which can cause cell damage.
Calendula is also an anti-inflammatory that helps reduce inflammation and swelling in the body, while also promoting the healing of damaged tissue. It’s great for treating skin rashes, hot spots, and other skin irritations.
Healing your dog's wounds & for overall wellness
If you have a green thumb, adding calendula to your herb garden is an excellent idea to enjoy it as a fresh herb and flower! I think you'll be surprised how often you will turn to it for natural wound care from your dog's minor scrapes and minor wounds to more serious puncture wounds, as well as for skin infections, itchy areas, and as a wider-ranging first aid tool for your dog's health.
How Calendula works and how to use it
To introduce you to this amazing herb, let's take a look at its herbal profile and the details on how it works to heal wounds, fight harmful bacteria, and keep pet owners and dogs alike in good health.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
Common Name(s): Calendula, Marigold, Pot Marigold
Parts Used: It’s recommended to use the entire flowering head as many of the aromatic and resinous properties of the plant are located just underneath the flower base.
Taste: bitter with a slightly sweet and salty taste
Energetics: gentle warming effects, a bit drying, and draining. Calendula can be best utilized on tissues that are in a cold and depressive state.
Actions: Calendula acts in a number of ways to restore balance and wellness in our dogs' (and our) bodies:
1) As a lymphagogue
- think swollen lymph nodes and detoxification. Calendula has lymph-stimulating properties that improve the body's natural lymphatic drainage.
2) As an alterative
- slowly "alters" to restore the proper function of the body to increase health and vitality
3) As a vulnerary (healing agent)/astringent
- excellent for drawing out toxins and aiding in wound healing
4) As a bitter tonic
- has a draining and drying effect, the result of the bitter action on the liver, gallbladder, and entire gastrointestinal tract
5) As an inflammation reducer
- whether on the skin or within the GI tract
Affinities: Lymphatic and immune systems, liver and gallbladder, digestive system (mucosal membranes), skin, female reproductive system (uterus)
As you can see, Calendula has a wide range of areas it can benefit as it aids the return of homeostasis to a dog's body.
Topical application use to heal wounds
I’ve used calendula as a topical application to aid wound healing on a dog's wound multiple times and it’s always worked exceptionally well as a wound healing treatment to guard against skin infections while helping wounds heal faster.
Calendula cream for topical use can be found at most grocery stores or you can get your hands on or grow the herb itself and create topical creams or tinctures for internal use.
Pro tip: wound cleansing
Before applying a calendula healing cream or salve to your dog's wound, you'll want to thoroughly cleanse the area. One of my favorite natural remedies to clean wounds and any surrounding area in a gentle, but antibacterial way is either with herbal tea rinses or a diluted apple cider vinegar rinse.
A calendula herbal tea you've made to drink for internal support can double as a rinse, or you could use a 50/50 water/ apple cider vinegar rinse (try filling a spray bottle for a gentle application). If you're making your own healing salve, coconut oil (also antibacterial, antifungal) makes a great carrier oil.
For concerning open wounds that might require stitches, it's always good to consult your vet.
Internal use to help GI issues
Calendula can also be used internally to aid in GI distress conditions such as IBD, leaky gut, or even food intolerance. Research has also shown it can be very helpful for healing the gut after heavy antibiotic use and the distress caused by antibiotics.
It’s a very safe herb and there are no known contraindications whether used topically or internally. However, because of its known affinity for the uterus, it is best to avoid if a dog is pregnant. If a dog runs ‘hot’ you might want to avoid calendula as it is warming.
Next up in the Herbs Channel on Dogly
Now that you know how to use Calendula as a natural wound healer and for GI support, continue learning about other healing herbs for GI support in the next step-by-step guide.
Or hop over to the Herbs Channel if you'd like to ask a question in the Community discussion and start any of the other step-by-step guides in Healing Herbs.
If you ever need more personalized wellness guidance, please reach out!