Allergies and Calendula Extract
Answered by: Kerry Hackett
Question from: Simone Fleming
Posted on: May 28, 2008

I read in the whole dog journal about calendula. One of my dogs, a 17 lb terrier mix, has a lot of allergies. I now have him on mostly raw food and he is a lot better and has a nice coat, which was rather sparse when I adopted him. He still likes to chew on his feet and bite his tail area, so I thought calendula might be worth a try. I ordered some seed and dried flowers from your company but in the meantime I found a calendula extract at Whole Foods grocery. This is meant for human adults and says to take 30-40 drops 2-3 times a day with a little water. Do you have any idea how many drops I should put in his food in the morning, and maybe afternoon?

There are alot of reasons an animal can exhibit allergic symptoms; food intolerance is just one of many. However, it is a great idea to start with a homemade diet; if you are looking for other resources do check out Richard Pitcairn’s, "Natural Health for Dogs and Cats", "The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat" by Juliette de Bairacli Levy and "The Barf Diet" by Ian Billinghurst for further information and recipes. When a caretaker is trying to relieve allergic symptoms, he/she should look at the status of the immune system, stress levels, external allergens, digestive function, waste excretion, exercise levels, etc.; the list can be quite long when searching out predisposing factors. Depending on the cause of the problem, herbs typically used in allergic conditions can include: Astragulus (Astragulus membranaceos), Blue Flag (Iris versicolor), Burdock (Arctium lappa), Chickweed (Stellaria media), Clivers (Galium aparine), Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis), Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Nettle (Urtica dioica), Oregon Grape (Berberis aquifolium), Red Clover (Trifolium pratense), Turmeric (Cucurma longa), Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus) as well as Calendula (Calendula officinalis) to name a few. Calendula may be given to dogs in a variety of ways. As a dried herb (added to food): 25 - 400 mg per kilogram of animal divided into three doses per day; as an infusion: make a tea by placing 5 - 30 g of herb per cup of boiling water. Let steep for 15 minutes. Give one-quarter to one-half of a cup per 10 kilograms of animal, divided into three portions over the day. The tea can also be added to food. And lastly, as a tincture. You mentioned buying an "extract" at the health food shop but didn’t mention how strong the extract was (it should be on the label of the bottle). Ideally, you have two choices: one as an alcohol-based extract in a 1:3 or 1:5 ratio of herb to alcohol (in a 25% alcohol): one-half to 2 millilitres per 10 kg of animal divided into three portions per day. The alcohol tincture should be diluted before use (add boiling water to the dose) and can be added to food. The other tincture format would be as a glycerite. This might be preferrable as the taste is much nicer (it’s sweet!) and does not have to be diluted. The same dose may be used for a glycerite as given for the alcohol-based tincture above. At 17 pounds, you might want to start with the lower recommended dose and see how you dog fares. If, after all of this you still would like another opinion, you may be able to find a qualified professional with experience in herbal medicine in your area by going to the website of the Veterinary Botanical Medicine Association ( and click on "Find a Practitioner".

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