Monthly Archives: April 2014

Herbal Pet – The Basics

07- herbs01

It is known that many animals consume specific herbs to treat ailments, a process called zoopharmacognosy (yes that is a real word). The use of herbs for medicinal purposes among humans has been documented to have occurred as far back as 60,000 years ago based on remains found in an ancient grave in Iraq. It has been proposed that the human use of herbs may have started by early man (and woman) carefully watching and mimicking wild animals. If we have animals to thank for our practice of herbalism, then I think it is high time for us to return the favor and treat our pets with gentle herbs in place of harsh drugs.

Herbs often make great substitutes for pharmaceuticals. In fact, about 25% of today’s medicines were derived from herbs.

Partial list of drugs derived from herbs
Aspirin – white willow
Atropine – belladonna
Digoxin and digitoxin – foxglove
Morphine and codeine – opium poppy
Cancer Chemo – Paclitaxel (Taxol) – yew tree
Cancer Chemo – Vinblastine and vincristine – periwinkle

Don’t try to tell me that herbs don’t have a strong effect on the body

The confusing thing about herbal medicine is that herbal remedies come in many forms. Of course, this also makes them more versatile.

You can give a pet the fresh herb (green or dried). You can also give the herb in the form of a tea.

Herbs come as tinctures (a grain alcohol/water preparation of the dried herb). An extract uses the same extraction process only with the fresh herb. (Both of these are considered more potent than teas because the alcohol helps extract more active ingredients).

The problem with tinctures and extracts is the alcohol they contain. Some pets just don’t tolerate it. A way around that problem is to dilute the dose of herbal tincture with an equal amount of hot water. This evaporates off the alcohol.

Herbs can also be found as glycerin extracts but these are less effective than the alcohol preps. Recently a hybrid has been developed. Some herb companies use a water and alcohol extraction process, then evaporate off most of the alcohol and add glycerin as a preservative. This gives the best of both worlds?

When purchasing herbs, be sure the label contains the following information

Genus & Species (Not just the common name)
Expiration or Harvest date
Part of herb used
Amount of active ingredient (standardized)
Other constituents

When dosing herbs for your pet, the following chart may be helpful.

(Give the indicated amount 2-3 times a day)
Pet’s Weight        Tea       Dried Herb        Tincture
0-10 lbs               1/8 c        1/8 tsp           1-3 drops
10-20 lbs               ¼ c        ¼-½ tsp          3-5 drops
20-50 lbs            ¼-½ c       ½-1 tsp         5-10 drops
50-100 lbs          ½-1 c       1-2 tsp         10-20 drops
>100 lbs              1 c           2-3 tsp         20-30 drops

Here are some potential dangers to be aware of.

– Pennyroyal – Very toxic to dogs & cats
– Tea Tree Oil – Very toxic to cats & small dogs
– White Willow Bark – Contains salicylates which are toxic to cats
– Garlic – Can cause anemia at high doses
– Ma Huang – Toxic to cats
– Comfrey – Can cause liver damage
– Hops – Toxic to greyhounds

If your pet has any of the following conditions, the herbs listed should be used with caution.

• Kidney disease – Dandelion, parsley
• Heart disease – Motherwort, goldenseal, Oregon grape, barberry
• Autoimmune disease – Echinacea, reishi, maitake, astragalus
• Liver Disease – Dandelion
• Thyroid disease – Kelp, bugleweed

Herb-Drug Interactions

Herbs used to treat a certain condition may potentiate drugs for that condition
– Gymnema, bitter melon > insulin
– Licorice, bayberry > glucocorticoids
– White willow bark > NSAIDS
– Convallaria, squill > digoxin
– Hawthorn, ginseng > cardiac drugs
– Valerian > CNS depressants

High fiber herbs (flaxseed, psyllium) may delay absorption of drugs

High tannin herbs (grape seed extract, green tea) inhibit absorption of certain alkaline drugs

Anticoagulant herbs (gingko, garlic, ginseng, ginger, turmeric, cayenne, reishi, white willow bark) should not be used with anticoagulant drugs or if the pet has GI ulcers or any bleeding condition.

Many herbs interact with the liver’s detoxification system. They should not be used with phenobarbital, glucocorticoids, ketoconazole, midazolam & calcium channel blockers. Those herbs include: Cats claw, chamomile, echinacea, elder root, eleuthero, gingko, goldenseal, hops, garlic, licorice, milk thistle, red clover, rosemary, saw palmetto, St. John’s wort, valerian, and wild cherry bark.

Herbs can be very helpful for many common conditions. Mixing herbs and drugs can cause problems so you really need to know what you are doing. If in doubt, don’t mix the two. Future “Herbal Pet” posts will give information about specific herbs and their uses.

Now Available: People Chow

People Chow

Run, do not walk, to your nearest grocery store to get yourself a big bag of People Chow. Yes, gone are the days of slaving over a hot microwave oven. Now you can get all the flavor and nutrition you can handle from this new, convenient, food-like kibble.

Your life is going to be so much easier than it ever was before. You can throw out your refrigerator, your radar range, and even your microwave oven – they are all now obsolete. Cooking and savoring are a thing of the past.

And when you go grocery shopping you can bypass the old fashioned, fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as the meat and dairy products, and head straight for the People Chow isle. There you can pick from flavors such as “Tasty Tuna,” “T-Bone Delight,” or even “Tooty Fruity Patooty.”

Gone are the days when you had to think about what to make for dinner, or any other meal for that matter. Simply take one scoop of People Chow, put it in your bowl, and eat it all up – every meal, every day, every year, for the rest of your life – won’t that be fun and easy?

People Chow is made from all natural ingredients such as our patented faux meat, petroleum byproduct chemicals, and GMO grain. And it’s fortified with nutritional high-fructose corn syrup.

Be assured that each and every nugget of People Chow contains a full range of nutrients from A to B. People Chow has been scientifically formulated to meet the minimum nutritional needs of your average scarecrow (as in – if I only had a brain). And you can feel secure in the notion that People Chow is 100% complete and balanced because it has been substantiated by AAFCO (the Association for Asinine Food Choice Options).

Yes, buy your month’s supply of People Chow, rip open the bag, and eat it for each of your meals. Don’t worry about spoilage because People Chow’s unique formulation will remain unchanged for years under any conditions.

There are different shapes and textures of People Chow for all life stages. There are “Big Bites” for big mouths, “Little Bites” for the kids, and “Soft Bites” for later in life after all your teeth fall out by the age of 37. And, just one cup of our “Hi-Pro” formula has more protein than 3 cups of green tea!

Remember, once you find the flavor that agrees with you, be sure never to change foods or you might get the diarrhea. And of course never eat real people food ever again because you might explode.

 

April Fools

(Is your pet a fool?)