(FAQ) Herbs (E)

Common herbs and spices

E

Echinacea

Echinacea Herbs for Pets

Scientific: Echinacea angustifolia, E. purpurea, E. pallida [WikiPedia]

Appearance: Echinacea is a tall perennial with lance-like leaves about 15cm long Purple-pink, daisy-like flowers that smell like honey, with orange-brown centres, are produced in summer to early autumn.

Parts Used: Roots, rhizomes and parts above the ground

Common Uses: There are nine Echinacea species which have been discovered so far, three of which are used for medicinal purposes: E. purpurea, E. angustifolia, and E. pallida. Echinacea is now utilized as a preventative and treatment remedy for influenza, the common cold, and minor upper respiratory infections.

Echinacea is probably the most commonly used herb in the Western World. This herb is used to prevent and treat colds, infections and as an herbal remedy for flu. The three active constituents are alkamides, chicoric acid and polysaccharides; however, the action of these ingredients is still being understood. What useful evidence there is indicates that echinacea mainly stimulates phagocytosis, i.e it acts mainly to stimulate the immune response. Echinacea has been used to treat prophylaxis, gingivitis, sinusitis. It has also been utilized as a treatment of infectious illness such as influenza, colds and related symptoms like coughs, high fever and sore throat. It is also used for bacterial infections, above all those of a chronic or recurrent nature. The herb is thought to be of help for allergies, mild septicaemia, pinkeye and skin disorders such as psoriasis. It has been used as an herbal remedy to strengthen the immune system and to treat conditions of damaged or suppressed immunity such as post-viral syndromes.

During the early 1900’s, Germany was the first to used Echinacea as an herbal medicine. Echinacea has been used traditionally for the natural treatment of bronchitis and whooping cough. They have recently begun researching the effects of Echinacea while advocating its ability to stimulate the human immune system and ward off infections.

Alternatives and Adjuncts:

Topic Specific Research:

  • Echinacea – Side Effects and Health Benefits [Ref]
  • Echinacea [Ref]
  • Echinacea Medicinal Uses [Ref]
  • Herbal medicine in children with respiratory tract infection: systematic review and meta-analysis. (PubMED) [Ref]
  • Echinacea purpurea-derived alkylamides exhibit potent anti-inflammatory effects and alleviate clinical symptoms of atopic eczema. (PubMED) [Ref]
  • Antioxidant, Antidiabetic, and Antihypertensive Properties of Echinacea purpurea Flower Extract and Caffeic Acid Derivatives Using In Vitro Models. (PubMED) [Ref]

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.

Elderberry

Elderberry Herbs for Pets

Scientific: Sambucus nigra [WikiPedia]

Appearance: Elderberries are the fruit of the Sambucus tree. The most common type is the Sambucus nigra. The tree has clusters of small white or cream elderflowers and bunches of small blue or black elderberries.

Parts Used: The flowers and berries are most commonly used. The dried fruits are less bitter than fresh. The branches and leaves are poisonous. The small stem which is sometimes left on the berry is safe.

Common Uses: European elder is a plant native to Europe, southwest Asia, and North America. Its flowers and berries have a long history of use in traditional European medicine. Elder berries have also been used for making preserves, wines, winter cordials, and for adding flavour and colour to other wines. Elderberry is used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, to improve vision, to boost the immune system, to improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. Elderberries contain organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid, vitaman A and B and a large amount of vitamin C. They are also mildly laxative, a diuretic, and diaphoretic. Flavonoids, including quercetin, are believed to account for the therapeutic actions of the elderberry flowers and berries. According to test tube studies these flavonoids include anthocyanins that are powerful antioxidants and protect cells against damage.

Nutrients: Elderberries contain organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid, vitaman A and B and a large amount of vitamin C.

Alternatives and Adjuncts:

Topic Specific Research:

  • Eyebright Herb [Ref]
  • Eyebright Health Benefits and Medicinal Uses [Ref]

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.

Elecampane

Elecampane Herbs for Pets

Scientific: Inula helenium [WikiPedia]

Appearance: Elecampane is a large beautiful plant with leaves that are similar to the downy leaves of great mullein. The flowers look like small sunflowers. They are bright yellow, about 4 inches in diameter, and bloom mid to late summer. The sturdy, deeply furrowed stem rises from a basal rosette of large, ovate, pointed leaves. Elecampane reaches a height of 3-6 feet; often found growing in hedgerows. The lower stem is hairy, becoming sparsely branched and downy at the top. The root, the part that is used medicinally, is a thick cylindrical branched rhizome that is yellow on the outside but white inside. It has a warm bitter taste and a scent which is said to resemble violets in bloom.

Parts Used: Root or rhizome

Common Uses: Historically, Elecampane Inula helenium has been used to combat intestinal parasites, yeast infections and congestive heart failure. Elecampane is a reliable agent against bronchitis, pneumonia and emphysema and in the treatment of bronchial coughs in children. This herb has diuretic and expectorant properties and anecdotal evidence of suggests uses as an antiseptic and digestive aid.

Elecampane constituents are inulin, mucilage, volatile oil (helenin, camphor, alantol), alantoic acid, a thymol derivative, sesquiterpene lactones (including alantolactone, isoalantolactone), triterpenoid saponins, sterols, and bitter principles (possibly including dammaradienol, stigmasterol, friedlin), resin, pectin, and possible alkaloid. Its actions are expectorant, anti-tussive, sedative, anthelmintic, diaphoretic, stomachic, antifungal, antiparasitic, relaxant, warming, tonic, alterative, diuretic and anti-bacterial.

This plant has a long history in veterinary medicine as an effective remedy for skin diseases of sheep and horses. The veterinary use of elecampane is the origin of the herb’s other names, scabwort and horseheal.

Alternatives and Adjuncts:

Topic Specific Research:

  • Elecampane – Health Benefits and Side Effects [Ref]
  • Elecampane Herb [Ref]
  • Elecampane [Ref]

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.

Eyebright

Eyebright Herbs for Pets

Scientific: Euphrasia officinalis [WikiPedia]

Appearance: Eyebright is an annual plant reaching from 5 to 15 cm in height in its common habitat. It has deep-cut leaves and small flowers that vary in colour. The stem of the eyebright plant is thin and stiff, and the leaves grow approximately 1/6 to 1/2 inch long by 1/4 inch across with four or five teeth on each side of the leaf. It is a hemi-parasitic plant that steals its food by attaching to other plants around it. This makes the Eyebright plant difficult to harvest. The ideal times to harvest the plants are in the summer when they are in full bloom. The flower is cut just about the root and an extract of the fluid is prepared. Unfortunately, due to the high demand for eyebright, the plant is quickly becoming an endangered species.

Parts Used: Above-ground

Common Uses: A German book on medicinal herbs was published in 1485 listing eyebright among one of the herbs used to cure eye ailments. Eyebright was especially popular in the age of Queen Elizabeth I, when people drank eyebright ale. Eyebright was also prescribed in tobacco form and was smoked to relieve bronchial colds. Eyebright was again made popular in the 17th century by Nicholas Culpepper who believed it strengthened the brain, so he equated the herb to the Zodiac sign Leo. It is widely used throughout Europe and even in some African countries. An herbal tea made from the herb was considered a useful remedy for sinusitis, rhinitis, an irritation and inflammation of the mucous membrane inside the nose, and other respiratory infections.

Eyebright contains:

  • Alkaloids
  • Iridoid glycosides
  • Phenolic acids
  • Sterols
  • Tannins
  • Volatile oils.

Eyebright contains astringent compounds called tannins that can reduce inflammation and swelling in the eye and also create a protective coating on the surface of the eye. Eyebright is also quite useful in treating respiratory conditions such as allergies, bronchitis, colds, and sinusitis. The tannins in eyebright can reduce the mucus production, which relieves the symptoms of respiratory conditions and even increases the firmness of the tissues in the respiratory system.

Thorough studies of the herb’s ingredients were not made until 1999 and then it was established that some of the ingredients found in the plant have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and astringent properties. The substances aucubin, loganin and verbenalin have been shown to have positive effect on inflammation in laboratory animals. Aucubin stimulates the production of proteins that are involved in the healing processes, which may explain the use of eyebright as a healing herb.

Alternatives and Adjuncts:

Topic Specific Research:

  • Eyebright Herb [Ref]
  • Eyebright Health Benefits and Medicinal Uses [Ref]

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.