(FAQ) Herbs (D)

Common herbs and spices

D

Dandelion

Dandelion Herbs for Pets

Scientific: Taraxacum officinal [WikiPedia]

Composition: Bitter glycosides, triterpenoids, tannins, volatile oils, inulin, vitamins A, B complex, C, Calcium, Fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Protein, Selenium, Silicon, Sodium, Zinc.

Appearance: Dandelion is a perennial herb with a long, brown taproot. The leaves are jagged and pointy. They grow close to the ground and outward from a central point. They are a dark green on the edges and a lighter green towards the centre. The stems are light green to a dark reddish purple. The flowers are a bright yellow on the outside to a dark orange in the centre. When the flowers are mature, they turn into a white puffball of seeds that scatter everywhere when the wind blows. The scattered seeds sprout into new plants. Every part of the dandelion exudes a milky substance when it is damaged.

Parts Used: All

Common Uses: Dandelion has both medical and culinary uses. Dandelion greens are one of the most nutritious greens available. One cup of raw greens has:

  • 112% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A
  • 535% RDA of vitamin K
  • 32% RDA of vitamin C
  • 103 mg of calcium
  • 1.7 mg of iron
  • 218 mg of potassium.

Source: USDA SR11207 | Dandelion greens, raw

Nutrient
Unit
Value (100gr)
Cup (55gr)
Nutrient
Water
Unit
g
Value (100gr)
85.60
Cup (55gr)
47.08
Nutrient
Energy
Unit
kcal
Value (100gr)
45
Cup (55gr)
25
Nutrient
Protein
Unit
g
Value (100gr)
2.70
Cup (55gr)
1.49
Nutrient
Total lipid (fat)
Unit
g
Value (100gr)
0.70
Cup (55gr)
0.39
Nutrient
Carbohydrate
Unit
g
Value (100gr)
9.20
Cup (55gr)
5.06
Nutrient
Fiber
Unit
g
Value (100gr)
3.50
Cup (55gr)
1.9
Nutrient
Sugars
Unit
g
Value (100gr)
0.71
Cup (55gr)
0.39

Source: USDA SR11207 (Rel April 2018) | Units: μg = micrograms | mg = milligrams | IU = International units

Dandelion is also a good source of beta carotene, lutein, vitamin H, which has been proven to help weight loss, and over two dozen other nutrients. Dandelion greens add colour and texture to salads, stir-fry, and soups. The greens are the leaves. It is best to harvest them in early spring, well before the last frost is expected. They need to be gathered before the flowers bloom or they will be bitter. The best time is when the leaves have just emerged.

The root is also used for culinary purposes. It can be added to soups or ground up and roasted to make a drink like coffee without the negative side effects. The root of the dandelion is full of vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients, including inulin, which is helpful in controlling diabetes.

Dandelion herb has been associated with improving liver function and liver diseases such as hepatitis and jaundice. It is a strong diuretic that does not deplete potassium in the body. It has been shown to improve both constipation and diarrhoea. It purifies the blood, cleanses the digestive system, removes heavy metals from body tissues, and can help dissolve kidney stones. It has been shown to help weight loss, cure acne, lower high blood pressure, cure anaemia, lower serum cholesterol levels, reduce acid indigestion and gas, improve some cancers, and help control diabetes all with no negative side effects. The dandelion herb is full of so many vitamins, minerals and micronutrients that alone might be the reason it is so beneficial in so many different areas.

  • The sodium in dandelions is thought to reduce the inflammation of the liver.
  • Vitamin A helps fight cancers in the mouth and the lungs.
  • Potassium, along with magnesium, has been shown to help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke.
  • Dandelions are full of both potassium and magnesium.
  • The fibre in dandelions lowers cholesterol, is beneficial to diabetes, and fights cancer and heart disease.
  • Calcium has been shown to build strong bones and reduce high blood pressure.
  • B vitamins lower the effects of stress.

Nutrients: The chief constituents of Dandelion root are Taraxacin, acrystalline and Taraxacerin, an acrid resin, with Inulin (a sort of sugar which replaces starch in many of the Dandelion family, Compositae), gluten, gum and potash. It contains substantial levels of vitamins A, C, D, B-complex, iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, manganese, choline, calcium and boron.

  • Improves digestion and absorption of nutrients because it stimulates the release of bile from the liver into the gallbladder
  • Increases health for liver and gallbladder by providing sustaining nutrients
  • Helps to digest fat
  • Aids in healthy skin and protects against eczema
  • Stimulates urination for a healthy urinary tract without losing essential potassium

Alternatives and Adjuncts: Liver and digestive problems, consider milk thistle, burdock, yellow dock, marshmallow, chickweed or Oregon grape.

Topic Specific Research:

  • Dandelion [Ref]
  • Taraxacum officinale and related species-An ethnopharmacological review and its potential as a commercial medicinal plant [PubMED]
  • The Physiological Effects of Dandelion (Taraxacum Officinale) in Type 2 Diabetes. [PubMED]

Used In:

PLEASE NOTE that herbal and other natural products can harm your animals – not all plants are safe and gentle! Do not attempt using any of the ingredients listed, or any other plant matter, without the guidance of a qualified herbalist.

Devils Claw

Devils Claw Herbs for Pets

Scientific: Harpagophytum [WikiPedia]

Composition: The active ingredients are various iridoid glycosides, acetylated phenolic glycosides, and terpenoids.

Appearance: This plant, which is native to Africa, gets its name from the appearance of its fruit, which is covered with hooks meant to attach onto animals to spread the seeds.

Parts Used: The roots and tubers

Common Uses: Devil’s claw is used for “hardening of the arteries" (atherosclerosis), arthritis, gout, muscle pain (myalgia), back pain, tendonitis, chest pain, gastrointestinal (GI) upset or heart burn, fever, and migraine headache. It is also used for difficulties in childbirth, menstrual problems, allergic reactions, loss of appetite, and kidney and bladder disease.

Multiple studies suggest that devil’s claw tuber may help alleviate the pain of osteoarthritis, primarily through the iridoid glycoside constituents it contains. Devil’s claw has become very popular in recent years, and appears in numerous arthritis relief formulas for dogs and other animals. However, despite its popularity, there has been many mixed reviews from veterinary practitioners and dog owners regarding its efficiency. The reasons behind this controversy may be related to how the herb is harvested. The tubers of this bizarre-looking little African plant must be selectively harvested from mature plants that are at least four years old, and the harvest must be done during a very specific stage of the plant’s growth cycle. The most sustainable practice is to harvest only one to a few of the tubers that extend from the plant’s base, leaving enough to assure the plant’s survival and the re-growth of new tubers. Unfortunately, increased demand for this herb has led to the premature harvest of too many tubers, and in many areas, we are seeing declining populations of the plant.

Because tubers from immature plants lack sufficient concentrations of active iridoid glycoside constituents, much of the devil’s claw sold on the North American market is functionally useless. With that said, there are sustainable sources for those who seek it out; aside from its bitter flavour, properly-harvested devil’s claw is an excellent joint pain remedy.

Its main ingredient are iridoid (mainly harpagoside), as well as harpagide, phenolic glycosides (acteoside and isoacteoside), procumbide together with their cinnamic and coumarin acid esters.

Alternatives and Adjuncts:

Topic Specific Research:

  • Top 5 Herbs for Animal Arthritis [Ref]
  • Devil’s Claw [Ref]
  • Review of Anti-Inflammatory Herbal Medicines [Ref]
  • Devil's Claw [WebMD]
  • Devil's claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) and chronic inflammatory diseases: A concise overview on preclinical and clinical data [PubMED]
  • Bioactive Compounds and Extracts from Traditional Herbs and Their Potential Anti-Inflammatory Health Effects [PubMED]

Used In:

PLEASE NOTE that herbal and other natural products can harm your animals – not all plants are safe and gentle! Do not attempt using any of the ingredients listed, or any other plant matter, without the guidance of a qualified herbalist.

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Disclaimer

If you are feeding herbs for healing or calming purposes then it is most effective to feed the herbs on a daily basis throughout one full blood cycle, which is 3 months (12 weeks). The condition should be vastly improved over this time to the point where further supplementation should no longer be necessary.

Please ensure that you are familiar with our [medical disclaimer]. We provide these herbal solutions for your convenience only, and because we know they work for the conditions that these solutions have been formulated for.

Herbs as a rule should not be fed to pregnant animals, as many of them have uterine or hormonal stimulant properties. Before feeding a herb to a broodmare or foal, please consult with a [vet or holistic animal practitioner] to substantiate safety of a specific herb. The information provided by us on this site is intended solely for animals older than six months of age.