Marigolds are lovely flowers with a vibrant warm yellowish-orange color. As springtime comes, nature is showing us all kinds of beautiful flowers, and one type of them are the marigolds. Today we will discuss if guinea pigs can eat marigold flowers. It is not unusual for guinea pigs to consume various types of roots and flowers or plants, so let’s explore more about this flower as food for the guinea pigs.
Can guinea pigs eat marigolds? Yes, guinea pigs can eat marigolds. However, this flower should not be an everyday food for the guinea pig and should be fed occasionally and more as a treat. Twice a week is a normal serving frequency. The marigolds can be freshly picked (from clean areas and gardens), or they can be purchased like a mix of marigolds and timothy hay, and even just as dried marigolds packed separately. Many pet food stores offer this flower as ‘organic and dried’, so it can be used by just opening up the package and rinsing the flowers before feeding the guinea pig with them.
We humans also consume marigolds; we use them for many recipes like salads, or even as herbal medicines. There are many benefits of marigolds as far as herbal medicine goes; for ear infections, for lessening skin inflammations, treating cuts, bruises and more. So, we can confirm marigolds are amazing flowers with various uses. And the good part about this flower is that it can be consumed by the guinea pigs fresh or dried. Of course, they prefer the freshly picked marigolds over the dried ones, and also they prefer the petals over the other flower parts. But, let’s see all the details for the marigold as guinea pig food in the sections below.
Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Marigolds
- Soothes skin problems – the ointment of marigold can treat many skin issues like sunburns, bug bites, warts, ulcerations and even acne, wounds, dry skin, blisters. It can be a very handy thing to have at home in case your guinea pig suffers some external injury for example.
- Soothes the stomach and improves digestion – the marigolds when consumed (as fresh, raw flowers, dried or as infusion like tea) can improve the gut work overall. Any symptoms of inflammation in the stomach are soothed, also gastritis is relieved, acid reflux too, and there are fewer stomach cramps overall.
- Boosted immunity – with its nutrients, the marigold boosts the overall immunity and health of the organism (more details in sections below)
- Antiviral properties – herbalists confirm that marigold flower cleanses the organism and removes viruses, so it detoxifies the whole body, especially the gallbladder and liver the most.
- Antibacterial properties – consuming marigold helps the organism fight off many illnesses, common colds, flu, infections and with this the lymphatic system is kept healthy too.
- Antioxidant protection – marigold flower contains many antioxidant compounds like the carotenoids that fight off diseases and keep the immunity in great shape. The antioxidants keep all cells safe from the damage of free radicals which can cause early aging and diseases.
- Better eyesight – the compounds in the marigold keep the eyes safe from many eye diseases like cataracts or macular degeneration
- Cancer protection – marigold has antioxidants that prevent and fight cancer. The lutein compound prevents cancer of the breasts and stops cancer cells to multiply even more (if there is cancer already). This flower also prevents colon cancer, leukemia, and melanoma.
- Wound healing – when this flower or the flower ointment is rubbed on any external wounds or skin problem, it promotes better healing. It is especially good for burns, irritated skin, scrapes or any skin injuries and problems. It is even good for promoting the growth of new skin cells and healthy skin tissues.
- Healthy cardiovascular system – this is due to the certain compounds in the marigold like the plant sterols and flavonoids (details below).
Nutrition Facts of Marigolds
- Calendic acid – this compound soothes the gastrointestinal tract and the gut lining, it prevents cramps, ulcers, diarrhea or painful bowel movements. It also helps with indigestion.
- Carotenoids – they act as antioxidants and after digestion, they are converted to the most powerful antioxidant – the vitamin A. This antioxidant keeps all organs healthy and improves the overall immunity.
- Tocopherols – the tocopherols are compounds that are linked with vitamin E. This vitamin reduces inflammation, keeps the skin safe from cancers and aging too.
- Calendulin (plant sterols) – this compound prevents heart disease and lowers cholesterol. This means the cardiovascular system will work better and stay healthy for longer. Also, these sterols prevent rectal, colon, and stomach cancer.
- Linoleic acid – this acid builds muscle mass and helps with losing fat. So, there is less risk of obesity and better chances of keeping up a healthy weight.
- Polysaccharides – they are compounds that boost immunity. Also, their role is to store energy in the body after food is consumed.
- Flavonoids – the flavonoids are the plant pigments and they lower risk of asthma, cancers, stroke and heart problems.
- Triterpenes saponins – these compounds keep all surfaces aka membranes in the body hydrated and soap-like in structure. This means any wounds will heal fast and well, and there will be fewer scars after injuries or wounds. Also, the saponins act like diuretics (better excretion of urine in the body and healthier urination).
- Oleanolic acid glycosides – these compounds kill microbes, act as antioxidants, remove inflammation and they make skin more elastic.
- Lutein – keeps the retina of the eye healthy, thus reducing the risk of eyesight problems that can lead to macular degeneration.
Risks to Consider When Feeding Marigolds to Guinea Pigs
- Poisoning and toxicity or bad digestion – it is very important to know where the marigolds are picked from. If you decide to give your cavy fresh marigolds, pick them from an area without pollution or dirt. It is best to keep marigolds in your own garden if you can and check them for any bugs or dirt after you pick them and rinse them. If the marigolds are picked nearby streets or dirty areas, there is a possibility of it containing toxins/pollutants which can be fatal for the cavy. Also, unless you pick this flower from your own garden, there is a chance of them containing pesticides, so always double check where marigolds were picked from. In case the marigold was sprayed with pesticides or from picked form an area of pollution, the guinea pig will have painful digestion, nausea or diarrhea and you must rush to the vet if this happens!
Quick Facts on Marigolds
- The marigold originates from South America and Mexico
- Its cultivation has started back in the 16th century; then the Spanish travelers and explorers brought this flower from South America to the European countries
- Marigold is not always yellow-orange, it comes in the colors red and maroon as well.
- The term ‘marigold’ comes from the term ‘Mary’s gold’. This term was coined by Christians who put flowers instead of coins, on Mary’s altar.
- Marigold is also known as Calendula (its botanical name). This term comes from the Latin language, meaning ‘little calendar or clock’.
- Other names are Holigold and Maidens of the Sun (because of its vibrant yellowish-orange color).
How does a marigold taste like?
People who have consumed marigolds have included the petals for cooking or decoration of foods. Usually, the petals are used in various salads, and the leaves, pistils, and stamens are thrown out. The taste is peppery or spicy, so it tastes better when mixed with something else. The aroma can be quite strong, so if your guinea pig dislikes marigold by itself, you can introduce it slowly with another food the cavy can consume.
How much marigold and how often should it be served to the guinea pig?
Twice per week is a good rule of thumb, and also a small handful is enough. More than this, or more often could cause digestion problems for the guinea pig. Plus, not more than 2 times per week leaves you with the opportunity to include other foods in the guinea pig’s diet, for rich food variety and good nutrition.
Before I let you go, one final thought on food. With food, you can’t ever be too careful which is why I get all guinea pig food from a reliable source such as Amazon. If you are not sure what to order but believe your little piggies deserve some great treats please check our Helpful Guide to the Best Guinea Pig Treats to get some ideas. We have also made a full list of foods that guinea pigs can and can’t eat (150+ Types of Foods). Be sure to also check our recommended products page for everything you will ever need to assure a happy life for your Guinea Pigs. Hope this information was helpful and you have found the answer you were looking for.
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