Astragalus root, Astragalus membranaceus, a popular plant
in Chinese medicine, is considered an immuno-stimulant
herb. It is said to stimulate the development of cells
in the immune system. The purple coneflower, Echinacea
purpurea, one of the most popular of all herbs, is said
to stimulate macrophages, especially in their action against
yeast cells. According to research, both berberis and
aloe vera stimulate an immune response.
If the absorptive lining of the small intestines has been
damaged and is "leaking", gentle herbs such as fennel
seed, Foeniculum vulgar, and cumin root, Cuminum cyminum,
are given. Turmeric root, Curcuma longa, is said to have
anti-inflammatory properties and to aid digestion of protein.
Echinacea before the allergy season may boost the immune
system. Oil of peppermint, Mentha piperata, is said to
clear nasal congestion. The Ayurvedic herb Coleus forskholii
is said to dilate the bronchi as powerfully as some prescribed
drugs. Ginkgo, aloe vera (which is said to have anti-inflammatory
abilities), and khella, Ammi visnaga, are said to reduce
Herbs that are claimed to have anti-cancer properties
include lemon balm, Melissa officinalis, mistletoe leaf,
Viscum album, barberry bark, Berberis Vulgaris, Roman
chamomile flower, Chamaemelum nobile, comfrey leaf; Symphytum
officinale, Echinacea root, and fenugreek seed, Trigonella
foenumgraecum. Recent research suggests that Astragalus
membranaceus roots, Ligustrum lucidum seeds, and the TCM
herbs Oldenlandia diffusa and Scutellaria barbata may
be effective for preventing certain forms of human cancer.
While the Chinese Astragalus membranaceus is non-toxic,
other members of this genus are potentially dangerous.
Only use herbs under supervision of a herbalist experienced
with their use in dogs.
Infusion of catnip, Nepeta cataria, is used for treating
a fever, Echinacea to enhance the immune system, and thyme,
Thymus vulgaris, to relax the windpipe and bronchial passages
in respiratory infections.
Abraded skin is washed in warm, soapy water and any embedded
material is gently scraped out. Warm, wet tea bags on
wounds may help blood clots to form. Herbs with antibacterial
and antihemorrhagic properties are used. Tincture of pot
marigold, Calendula officinalis, diluted in water may
promote blood clotting. Turmeric root powder, Curcuma
longa, can be effective but it causes intense, yellow
staining to the skin and hair (and clothing and furniture!).
Yarrow herb, Athillea millefolium, does not stain. It
is applied topically until obvious healing begins. Yarrow
may also be combined with peppermint, Mentha piperita,
or German chamomile flower, Matricaria recutita. To encourage
epithelial growth from the edges of the abrasion, comfrey
leaf Symphytum officinale, may be used. Published studies
say that new skin formation is faster when Calendula tincture
is applied to a wound. Hypericum tincture by mouth is
also said to accelerate wound healing.
Marshmallow, Althaea officinalis, and slippery elm, Ulmus
rubra, ointment is applied to thin-walled abscesses. Open
wounds are irrigated with peppermint tea, Mentha piperita.
Hot spots are shaved and cleaned with dilute cider vinegar.
Aloe Vera cream is then applied. Herbs said to have antifungal
properties include tea tree oil, thyme, Thymus vulgaris,
angelica root, Angelica archangelica, marigold flower,
Calendula officinalis, and rosemary leaf, Rosmarinus officinalis.
If the herbalist believes a skin infection occurs due
to a hormonal imbalance, yam, Dioscora, may be given to
correct hormone levels.
Cider vinegar is a repellent to some insects. Powdered
garlic, and goldenseal, mixed in olive oil, are applied
to areas of skin infested with Demodex mange. Also for
Demodex, copious quantities of vegetable oil rubbed into
the skin are said to starve Demodex mites of oxygen. Because
ear mites (Otodectes cynotis) are most active at night,
treat infested ears just before your bedtime. Dilute nine
drops of yellow dock tincture, in 15 ml water and instil
in affected ears every three days for six weeks. Olive
oil instilled alternate days for six weeks is also recommended.
Six weeks are necessary because mite eggs hatch over this
For fleas, use a fine-toothed, metal flea comb. Place
captured fleas in ammonia-laced water. Natural pyrethrin
powder, especially from chrysanthemums grown in Kenya,
is an effective natural insecticide. In India it is mixed
with Acorus calamus and also used for ticks and lice.
Flea control depends upon preventing or reducing reinfestations.
Washing and vacuuming the environment reduces adult, larval,
and egg stages of fleas. Always incinerate used vacuum-cleaner
bags. Some herbalists advocate leaving eucalyptus leaves
under furniture and rugs or rubbing fennel foliage into
your dog's coat. Nematodes are bugs that eat fleas: these
are commercially available and are introduced into the
yard or garden.
Corn starch, mixed with just enough boiled water to make
a paste, may reduce itching when applied to irritated
areas. Goldenseal and Calendula cream may also be useful.
Echinacea, goldenseal, or pau d'arco internally, may strengthen
the immune system. Infusion of German chamomile flower
is said to be soothing and cooling to irritated skin.
Other herbs, such as burdock root, curled dock root, licorice
root, and southernwood herb may reduce itchiness.
Choose herb treatments according to their recognized properties.
Use analgesics or anti-inflammatories such as angelica
root, and greater celandine. Anti-rheumatics include celery
seed, and meadowsweet. Comfrey leaf is thought to help
heal synovial membrane and joint cartilage.
Tendons, and Ligaments
Local treatments for sprains and muscle strains include
liniments of yarrow herb, hyssop, or sweet pepper. Bruising
of muscles may be treated with lettuce leaf, hop strobile,
German chamomile flower, or rosemary leaf. Herbs that
have been used to control muscle spasm include ginger
root, caraway seed, and fennel seed.
Gentle herbs that may help the digestion include cardamom
seed, fennel seed, and small amounts of ginger root, and
barberry bark. Marshmallow root is said to help soothe
soreness in the gums. Purple coneflower decoction may
be recommended as a mouthwash both for oral health and
for general condition.
- the Stomach
According to recent research work, extract of plums, is
as effective as powerful drugs for inhibiting vomiting
in dogs. Infusions of German chamomile, fennel, and peppermint
are used to control nausea in dogs. Relaxants and tonics
such as ginger may relieve nausea associated with anxiety.
Ginger is said to improve digestion of proteins and control
nausea in travel or motion sickness by strengthening the
mucosal lining of the stomach. It affects the production
of prostaglandins and by doing so may be anti-inflammatory.
For hepatitis, seeds of milk thistle, may inhibit liver
damage and promote liver cell regeneration.
- the Intestines
Various herbs are used to reduce bowel inflammation. Marshmallow
root, and slippery elm, soothe and protect tissues. Echinacea
and goldenseal, inhibit bacteria, while pokeroot heals
ulceration and comfrey eases inflammation. Arrowroot in
water soothes the bowels. Dandelion, is a mild laxative
and B vitamin source. Peppermint oil supplied in capsules
specially treated to survive the acid environment of the
stomach, reduces intestinal contractions and associated
pain and trapped gas. Other herbs said to have similar
effects include German chamomile, valerian, rosemary,
and lemon balm. Ayurvedic triphala powder may be suggested
as a laxative, and light kaolin clay as a toxin absorbent
and intestine protector.
Herbs with a reputation for preventing urinary stones
include stone root herb, and horsetail herb. Diuretic
herbs that increase urine flow are sometimes used. These
include dandelion leaf; and couch grass. Cherry stalk
extract reduces edema. Urinary antiseptics to treat bacterial
cystitis include bearberry leaf, and juniper berry.
Herbs that soothe the urinary tract, helping the passage
of small stones, include peppermint herb, fennel seed,
and marshmallow root.
For kidney impairment, a dog's general well-being may
be improved when any of these herbs are appropriately
used: cinnamon bark, comfrey leaf, and celery seed.
Sedative herbs such as valerian root, lemon baIm leaf,
hop strobile, and lettuce leaf, are used by veterinary
herbalists to reduce stress or anxiety in bitches during
mating. To enhance the performance of stud dogs they may
recommend zinc supplement in the diet and any of ginseng
root, celery seed for one week prior to mating, or fenugreek
seed for a longer period. Sage, and motherwort are used
as natural estrogen supplements. The "female" herbs black
cohosh, blue cohosh, and wild yam, contain high levels
of plant estrogens, and are recommended to control over-sexed
male dogs. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), produced from
wild yam, is recommended to improve sperm counts. It should
be treated as a hormone, with caution.
Emblic myrobalan fruit, angelica root, ashwagandha root,
and rehmannia root, may help to regenerate blood cells
in anemic dogs. German studies showed that bioflavonoids
in hawthorn, dilate coronary arteries, improving the supply
of oxygen to heart muscle.A purified extract of ginger,
when given in injections, partially destroyed adult heartworms
and reduced microfilaria by up to 98 percent.
A variety of herbs may be recommended to manage blocked
sinuses and nasal congestion. These include hyssop herb,
cinnamon bark, celery seed, and elder flower. Garlic and
Echinacea may boost the immune system.
For senility, a veterinary herbalist may suggest ginseng
root, or myrrh resin. Ginkgo biloba is thought to boost
blood flow to the brain and may delay the development
of senile dementia. St. John's wort is thought to have
painkilling properties. Yarrow infusion is thought to
improve circulation and lower blood pressure.
Veterinary herbalists suggest following orthodox therapy
for diabetes, including diet management and insulin injections,
but may recommend herbs said to reduce blood sugar. These
include marshmallow root, coriander seed, and nettle.
For anxiety, herbal veterinarians may suggest sedative
herbs such as valerian root, guelder rose bark, lemon
balm, Roman chamomile flower, and lettuce leaf. Hops may
also have a sedative effect, calming nervous individuals.
St. John's wort is three times better than placebo for
treating mild depression in people. It is used with increasing
frequency as "background therapy" for anxious dogs undergoing
and Nose Disorders
To soothe sore, inflamed, "allergic" eyes or sore nostrils,
a herbal vet may suggest bathing the eyes with a lightly
boiled decoction of any of fennel seed, eyebright or elder
flower. To control bacterial eye infections, decoctions
of either fennel seed or Roman chamomile flower are used.
Greater celandine infusions may also be used to bathe
sore eyes. Cod-liver oil may be applied as a lubricant
for dogs with a crusty nose. Infusion of mullein may be
suggested to help clear blocked sinuses. Warning: don't
smear decongestants on a dog's fur. Some may be toxic
Olive or almond oil may help to clear residual wax after
an ear infection or infestation. Damage to the ear flap
may be cleaned with witch hazel. For white dogs, prone
to sunburn to their ear tips, aloe vera may be soothing.
Marigold is used for cleaning inflamed ear canals. Ginger,
and ginkgo biloba are said by some to reduce deafness
by improving circulation to the ear. Commercially produced
herbal gels are available for controlling external ear
canal conditions and infestations.