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The term "herb" as used in herbal medicine means a plant or plant part that is used to make medicine, food flavors, or aromatic oils for fragrances. Herbs for health is one of the oldest forms of medicine. Before there were drugs there were herbal remedies. Many of the conventional drugs used today had their origins in herbs. Nearly all modern medicines are based on the “active ingredients” of some herb. To give a few examples, cortisone was from a plant called Yucca, aspirin from White Willow, Digitalis from Foxglove, and Valium was extracted from Valerian root. In general, herbal medicine works in much the same way as do conventional drugs. Herbs contain numerous naturally occurring chemicals that have biological activity.
There are 3 major systems of herbology: Traditional Chinese medicine, Western herbal medicine, and Ayurvedic herbal medicine. These herbal remedies come in various forms: whole teas, capsules, tablets, extracts and tinctures, essential oils, salves, balms and ointments. Also herbs can be divided into 3 different classes: 1) Nutritional herbs such as garlic or alfalfa; 2) Medicinal herbs that are used for specific illnesses such as goldenseal, pau’d arco, and Hawthorn berries; 3) Toxic Herbs such as poinsettia, poison mushrooms. Finally, herbs are prepared in several ways and consequently are available as dried herbs, tinctures extracts, glycerin extracts
Herbal remedies come as single herbs or mixed herbs. Two or more herbs are put together to make the combination remedy more effective at solving certain health care issues. Also, the various herbs in the combination may help balance each other out and reduce the likelihood of side effects. Herbs may be combined not only with other herbs but also with nutritional remedies. Common herbs are AloeVera, Cayenne, Chamomile, Echinacea, Ma-huang, Feverfew, Ginger, Ginkgo, Ginseng, Goldenseal, Hawthorn, Hops, Licorice, Milk Thistle, Nettle, Passion Flower, Peppermint, St. John’s Wort, Saw Palmetto, Valerian, Witch Hazel.
ALOE VERA: The gel taken internally is used in pets to treat arthritis, gastrointestinal upsets such as gastroenteritis, and inflammatory bowel disease. Externally the gel can be used to treat hot spots, burns, and other skin conditions.
ASTRAGALUS is a Chinese herb that has powerful immune stimulation properties. It builds resistance, heals and repairs the body. Specifically, it is used to kill viruses and to treat cancer. It would be good to consider giving a pet this herb after exposure to a contagious disease and during periods of hard work, athletic events and extreme stress.
BOSWELLIA is an Indian herb which has a variety of uses but its primary use is as an anti-inflammatory to treat arthritis, hip dysplasia, and back pain.
CALENDULA is an herb that can be used both internally and externally. Externally it helps heal wounds, burns and skin infections. Internally it acts as a blood cleanser with a particular attraction to the digestive system.
COMFREY is used to greatly enhance the healing of wounds and broken bones. It has also been used to heal digestive problems and urinary tract disease. It is believed that an overdose can cause liver disease so feed with some caution.
ECHINACEA stimulates the pets immune response and fights bacterial infection all over but especially in the respiratory system.
GINGER is a spice that can be used to treat arthritis, vomiting and motion sickness. 1 capsule one hour before a car trip should be sufficient to treat a 25 pound dog for car sickness.
GRAPEFRUIT SEED EXTRACT has been found highly effective in treating bacteria infections including staphylococcus, streptococcus, salmonella, candida, herpes, giardia, and Chlamydia infections in birds. It should not be confused with Grapeseed extract. It can be used to detoxify produce and fruit or can be sprayed on to sores or cuts after it is diluted approximately 6 times. It should be used for only one week at a time but can be alternated with Echinacea.
HORSETAIL is an herb which helps the body repair bone and connective tissue. It also has been shown to support the urinary tract, the cardiovascular system and the musculoskeltal system. It can be used internally and externally to enhance the skin, coat, and nails. Topical application of Horsetail can help with nail bed inflammation and abscesses.
LICORICE ROOT has a particular affinity for the digestive tract, the respiratory tract and the adrenal gland. It can be used to treat chronic coughs, bronchitis and congestion, gastritis, vomiting, gastric reflux, skin allergies, arthritis, and to support an overworked exhausted adrenal gland resulting from chronic stress. When used continually for long periods of time it result in fluid retention and elevated blood pressure reading. To prevent fluid retention (from sodium retention) either stop treatment every three weeks and stop for one week or give the “deglycyrrhized” for of the herb.
MULLEIN is probably the most effective herb for respiratory disease and functions as both an anti cough remedy and an expectorant. It protects the respiratory lining and reduces congestion.
SLIPPERY ELM BARK is well know for its ability to treat coughing, diarrhea, vomiting and constipation. When this herb is mixed with water or with body secretions it forms a thick mucus like liquid which adheres to and protects the mucous membranes of the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems.
YUCCA is an herb often found in herbal formulas used to treat arthritis. It reduces joint pain and swelling and stiffness. It contains some of the same properties as hydrocortisone and may also be used to treat itching and scratching resulting from skin allergies.