(FAQ) Herbs (G)

Common herbs and spices



Garlic Herbs for Pets

Scientific: Allium sativum [WikiPedia]

Appearance: Garlic, a member of the onion family, is a bulb consisting of multiple cloves. The primary compound is Allicin, a chemical released when Garlic cloves are chopped, chewed or crushed.

Parts Used: All.

Common Uses: Garlic herb has impressive antibacterial and antiviral properties. For over 5,000 years, in numerous cultures including Roman, Greek, Egyptian and Mediterranean societies, it has proven to be a powerful healing herb able to fight infections, strengthen the immune system, promote heart health, prevent cancer and contribute to weight loss.

Garlic is rich in vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants including Vitamins A, B and C, selenium, potassium, calcium, zinc and magnesium. Arming the body’s immune defenses through inciting production of immune cells such as T-lymphocytes and macrophages, Garlic prevents and fights infections. Antioxidants ward off free radicals and boost the immune system, helping a wide-range of conditions that affect the heart, lungs, stomach and skin.

Garlic is also the most debated whole food supplement in dog food. A search on the internet will provide your with as many pro as con articles on the inclusion of garlic in the diet. First, here’s why garlic is such a wonderful plant:

  • Garlic is high in inulin, amino acids, sulphur, zinc, potassium and phosphorus. It also contains vitamin A, C, calcium, magnesium, manganese, selenium, germanium and B-complex vitamins;
  • Garlic’s pungent energy warms the body. Pungent herbs move energy upwards and outwards to the body’s surface, improving circulation. Garlic also has an affinity for the lungs, large intestine, spleen and stomach;
  • Garlic helps detoxify the body. It supports beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract and eliminates harmful bacteria. I use it in the fall, winter and early spring as a detox and to balance out the digestive system;
  • As a liver enhancer, garlic breaks down wastes before they enter the bloodstream. It also helps your dog assimilate nutrients and eliminate wastes through the entire digestive tract;

However, garlic is high in sulphur and fructans (inulin and oligofructose). Fructans can cause digestive upset in dogs suffering from leaky gut, inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome. When undigested fructans ferment in the small intestine, they cause bloating, gas and constipation. So, the important message here is that your fur kids digestive system needs to be healthy before you food them garlic.

In huumans, garlic is great for heart health, helping to:

  • Lower LDL or Bad Cholesterol;
  • Increase HDL or Good Cholesterol;
  • Reduces Triglyceride Levels;
  • Increase fibrinolysis or the body’s ability to break up blood clots;
  • Lower Blood Pressure;
  • Increase Circulation;
  • Reduce coagulation by helping platelet stickiness/aggregation;
  • Aid in Weight Loss.

Garlic has culinary and medicinal purposes, is safe (in general), affordable and easy to grow. It is a powerful, versatile herb able to strengthen the immune system, increase heart health, prevent cancer and treat a number of common conditions such as asthma, rashes, insect bites, colds and sore throats.

When used in larger doses, no one will argue that garlic and onions can be toxic to dogs. Yet one must also think about the potential health risks in fooding smaller amounts. On the other hand, with many years of safe use behind it, garlic’s universal acceptance among pet parents, guardians and slaves cannot be ignored. Be sure to consider the pros and the cons of fooding garlic on a daily basis when deciding to include garlic in the diet.

Topic Specific References:

  • Garlic Herb [Ref]
  • Is Garlic Safe for Dogs to Eat? [Ref]
  • Acceleration of superoxide generation in polymorphonuclear leukocytes and inhibition of platelet aggregation by alk(en)yl thiosulfates derived from onion and garlic in dogs and humans. [Ref]
  • Garlic for Dogs - Health Benefits, Preparation, Use, Safe Dosage [Ref]

Used In:

  • Many of our supreme meals and herbals blends

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.


Ginger Herbs for Pets

Scientific: Zingiber officinale [WikiPedia]

Appearance: Ginger is a plant with leafy stems and yellowish green flowers. The ginger spice comes from the roots of the plant.

Parts Used: Dried chopped rhizome for tea, powdered for tea or spice, powdered and encapsulated, or tinctured. Fresh rhizome as a condiment, fresh tea, poultice, juice, tincture, or essential oil and oleoresin

Common Uses: The major active ingredients in ginger are terpenes (quite similar to the chemical action of turpentine) and an oleo-resin called ginger oil. These two, and other active ingredients in ginger, provide antiseptic, lymph-cleansing, circulation-stimulating, and mild constipation relief qualities along with a potent perspiration-inducing action that is quite effective in cleansing the system of toxins. Ginger has been well researched and many of its traditional uses confirmed. It is a warming remedy, ideal for boosting the circulation, lowering high blood pressure and keeping the blood thin in higher doses. Ginger is anti-viral and makes a warming cold and flu remedy. Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb and there has been much recent interest in its use for joint problems. It has also been indicated for arthritis, fevers, headaches, toothaches, coughs, bronchitis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, to ease tendonitis, lower cholesterol and blood-pressure and aid in preventing internal blood clots.

The most well-known medical use of ginger is as an anti-emetic (prevention of nausea and vomiting). In Chinese medicine, ginger is consumed as a stomachic, to help support digestion and normalize gastric function. Several placebo-controlled randomized studies have shown ginger to be safe and effective in the relief of nausea associated with pregnancy. Alcohol extracts were shown effective in preventing vomiting in dogs receiving cisplatin chemotherapy.

Topic Specific References:

  • Ginger [VCA Alternative Therapies]
  • The Amazing and Mightly Ginger, Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition, Chapter 7 [PubMED Books]
  • Ginger and Its Constituents: Role in Prevention and Treatment of Gastrointestinal Cancer [Hindawi]
  • Active ingredients of ginger as potential candidates in the prevention and treatment of diseases via modulation of biological activities [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.


Ginkgo Herbs for Pets

Scientific: Ginkgo macrophylla [WikiPedia]

Appearance: Ginkgos are large trees, normally reaching a height of 20–35 m, with some specimens in China being over 50 m. The tree has an angular crown and long, somewhat erratic branches, and is usually deep rooted and resistant to wind and snow damage. Young trees are often tall and slender, and sparsely branched; the crown becomes broader as the tree ages. During autumn, the leaves turn a bright yellow, then fall, sometimes within a short space of time (one to 15 days). A combination of resistance to disease, insect-resistant wood and the ability to form aerial roots and sprouts makes ginkgos long-lived, with some specimens claimed to be more than 2,500 years old.

Parts Used: Ginkgo’s healing properties are attributed to the presents of flavone glycosides and terpene lactones. Flavones provide antioxidant effects and terpene lactones, such as ginkgolides and bilobalide, increase blood circulation to the brain and body as a whole. The leaves are used to make extracts and tinctures and the herb Ginkgo Biloba can be found in capsule or tablet form.

Common Uses: Ginkgo has been proven effective in the treatment of Age-related cognitive decline (ARCD), early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, certain types of Glaucoma and Intermittent claudication, characterized by leg cramps associated with poor circulation.

Ginkgo decreased the platelet activity factor (PAF), similar to the anti-coagulant effects of aspirin. Too much PAF in the blood increases the risk of heart disease, brain damage, hearing disorders and immune system diseases. Some believe Ginkgo relaxes constricted blood vessels and inhibits arterial plaque formation. An increase in vascular dilation can also reduce retinal damage associated with macular degeneration and reverse deafness associated with diminished blood flow.

The herb Ginkgo Biloba increases metabolism, regulates neurotransmitters and increases the amount of oxygen circulating in the blood, which also increases oxygenation in the brain.

In addition to age-related cognitive disorders, Ginkgo also helps with the physical signs of aging. Its powerful antioxidant properties fight against free radicals, which can show as skin damage, wrinkles and lines.

Antioxidants also help protect against cancer, heart disease, ulcers and glaucoma. Some researchers believe Ginkgo is beneficial to people who have suffered strokes and that its anti-oxidant and circulatory benefits can help prevent future strokes as well as inhibit free-radical damage associated with strokes.

Ginkgo Biloba has anti-inflammatory effects that may help with autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and asthma and may help with anti-rejection of organ transplants.

  • An energizing effect on the brain that reduces cognitive decline
  • Stimulating blood circulation, which reduces lethargy and improves memory
  • Reducing the incidence of cardiovascular disease
  • Decreasing the rate of premature death when used regularly

Alternatives and Adjuncts:

Topic Specific References:

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.


Glucosamine Herbs for Pets

Scientific: Not a herb or spice [WikiPedia]

Appearance: Glucosamine sulfate is a popular derivative of glucosamine which has been proven very efficient in fighting arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, disc degeneration or hip dysplasia in canines. Glucosamine comes in many forms, but the most efficient in relieving arthritis associated discomfort are glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride.

Glucosamine is obtained from crustacean exoskeletons or, rarely, from grains (corn, wheat); the substance is also to be found in the composition of joint cartilages. Clinical trials have shown that glucosamine sulfate has the best results in treating arthritis in dogs, when compared to other glucosamine forms. Glucosamine sulfate works better in tall breeds. Glucosamine can also be used as preventative treatment for joint conditions.

Common Uses: The most commonly used type of glucosamine for joint pain and joint conditions is glucosamine sulfate, as it is easily absorbed and processed into the body and passed into the joints. Glucosamine sulfate stimulates the production of glycosamine glycans in the dog’s cartilage which are actually nutrients that stimulate the cartilage formation.

There are three common forms of glucosamine supplements:

  • Glucosamine sulfate: this is the most common type of glucosamine used in supplements, and the one that’s been most thoroughly researched. It’s extracted from the shells of shellfish or produced synthetically in a lab. It contains sulfur, which is the component that helps build and repair cartilage.
  • Glucosamine hydrochloride: also known as glucosamine HCL, it’s also found in shellfish shells, but doesn’t contain sulfate. It’s more concentrated than glucosamine sulfate but in studies it’s proven less effective in helping joints
  • NAG – N-Acetyl-Glucosamine: this form of glucosamine is a derivative of glucose the body’s precursor to hyaluronic acid, which is part of the synovial fluid that lubricates joints. NAG can be used for both joint and gastrointestinal issues.

Glucosamine Hydrocholride vs Glucosamine Sulfate

Some research suggests that Glucosamine sulfate is more effective at alleviating osteoarthritis symptoms because it is more bio-available, or most easily absorbed by the body compared to hydrochloride supplements. Other studies however suggest that Glucosamine hydrochloride supplements are more concentrated, and are absorbed more rapidly in the gastrointestinal tract than other Glucosamine supplements. A third school of thought holds that Glucosamine supplements are most effective only when they are taken along with chondroitin supplements.

Topic Specific References:

  • The Best Sources Of Glucosamine For Dogs [DNM]
  • Glucosamine Sulfate for Dogs [VetINFO]
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin use in canines for osteoarthritis: A review [PubMED]

Used In:

  • In many of our joint and arthritis support blends;

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.


Goldenseal Herbs for Pets

Scientific: Hydrastis canadensis [WikiPedia]

Appearance: Goldenseal is a perennial herb in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae, and is one of the most popular herbs sold on the American market and has recently gained a reputation as a herbal antibiotic and immune system enhancer.

Parts Used: Leaves

Common Uses: This herb is a powerful antibiotic that prevents the bacteria from latching onto the cell walls. It can be used as a tincture, tea, or wash for dogs with eye infections or weepy eyes. It’s also useful in treating stomach and bowel ailments.American Indians used goldenseal as a medication for inflammatory internal conditions such as respiratory, digestive and genito-urinary tract inflammation induced by allergy or infection. The Cherokee used the roots as a wash for local inflammations, a decoction for general debility, dyspepsia, and to improve appetite. The Iroquois used a decoction of the root for whooping cough, diarrhea, liver disease, fever, sour stomach, flatulence, pneumonia, and with whiskey for heart trouble. They also prepared a compound infusion with other roots for use as drops in the treatment of earache and as a wash for sore eyes. Goldenseal has numerous uses that are attributed to its antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and astringent properties. It soothes irritated mucus membranes aiding the eyes, ears, nose and throat. Taken at the first signs of respiratory problems, colds or flu, Goldenseal helps can help to prevent further symptoms from developing. It has also been used to help reduce fevers, and relieve congestion and excess mucous.

Nutrients: Goldenseal contains calcium, iron, manganese, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, B-complex, and other nutrients and minerals. The roots and rhizomes of goldenseal contain many isoquinoline alkaloids, including hydrastine, berberine, canadine, canadaline, and l-hydrastine as well as traces of essential oil, fatty oil and resin. It is believed that the high content of these alkaloids gives its antibiotic, anti-infective and immune stimulating qualities.

Alternatives and Adjuncts:

Topic Specific References:

  • Using Goldenseal for dogs [YourOldDog]
  • Toxicology and carcinogenesis studies of goldenseal root powder (Hydrastis Canadensis) in F344/N rats and B6C3F1 mice (feed studies) [PubMED]
  • Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) extracts synergistically enhance the antibacterial activity of berberine via efflux pump inhibition [PubMED]
  • A phytochemical study of hydrastis Canadensis (goldenseal) [ScienceDirect]
  • Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis): Is There Enough Scientific Evidence to Support Safety and Efficacy? [WileyOnline]

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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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.