(FAQ) Herbs (L)

Common herbs and spices

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Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm Herbs for Pets

Scientific: Melissa officinalis [WikiPedia]

Appearance: Native to the Mediterranean and various regions in N. Africa, Asia, and Europe, lemon balm is a lemon-scented, aromatic, perennial with serrated heart-shaped leaves and whorls of small blue, yellow, or white flowers typical of many members of the Lamiaceae family. It is widely cultivated and naturalized throughout the world in temperate areas.

Parts Used: Dried leaf as a tea, tincture, or made into an ointment Fresh leaf as an essential oil, tincture, or fresh leaf tea.

Common Uses: The use of lemon balm goes back thousands of years to the time of the ancient Romans and Greeks. One of its first recorded uses was as a wine infused liniment. Dioscorides (a Greek physician, pharmacologist, and botanist practising in the 1st century in Rome, who authored the herbal De Materia Medica), mentions its use in this way, and it was also employed in this same manner in Ayurvedic medicine. St. Hildegard of Bingen, an herbalist and nun born in 1098 C.E. in present day Germany said, “Lemon balm contains within it the virtues of a dozen other plants.” According to Nicholas Culpepper (a botanist, avid astrologer, physician, herbalist, and author of the Complete Herbal, written in 1653), said dried lemon balm may be made into a fine 'electuary' with honey. He wrote that it was ruled by the planet Jupiter and associated with the zodiac sign of Cancer, therefore having an association with the water element and thus an effect on emotions. The herb is used for nervous agitation, sleeping problems, functional gastrointestinal complaints, menstrual cramps and urinary spasms. It is thought that the volatile oils in lemon balm contain chemicals that relax muscles, particularly in the bladder, stomach, and uterus, thereby relieving cramps, gas, and nausea. Recent evidence suggests that lemon balm has a depressant or sedative action on the central nervous systems of laboratory mice. The German Standard License for lemon balm tea approves it for nervous disorders of sleep and of the gastrointestinal tract, and to stimulate the appetite (Wichtl and Bisset, 1994). Lemon balm is a non-toxic herb that can be used on dogs, cats and even horses.

Lemon balm’s key constituents include volatile oils, tannins, flavonoids, terpenes, and eugenol. Its terpenes are relaxing, the tannins have antiviral effects, and eugenol calms muscle spasms, kills bacteria, and has an analgesic (pain-relieving) effect. In recent years, lemon balm has made headlines for its ability to treat cold sores and other breakouts caused by the herpes simplex virus and as a treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease.

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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.

Licorice

Licorice Herbs for Pets

Scientific: Glycyrrhiza glabra [WikiPedia]

Appearance: Licorice is the rhizome of a bean plant, both the vertical main tap root and horizontal subsidiary rhizomes being used. The dried roots look like pieces of dried wood, very hard and fibrous, about 1 cm in diameter, with brown skin and a yellow interior. It is available as dried, woody pieces of root, as a powder and as solid sticks of concentrated essence which are glossy black, sweet and partly soluble in water.

Parts Used: The root in dried form

Common Uses: Licorice root is one of the most widely used herbs worldwide and is the single most used herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine today. It was used by the Egyptians as a flavoring for a drink called Mai-sus, and large quantities were found in the tomb of King Tut for his trip into the afterlife. Pliny the Elder recommended it to clear the voice and alleviate thirst and hunger. Dioscides, when traveling with Alexander the Great, recommended that his troops carry and use licorice to help with stamina for long marches, as well as for thirst in areas of drought. In the Middle Ages it was taken to alleviate the negative effects of highly spicy or overcooked food. It was also used for flavoring tobacco, and as a foaming agent in fire extinguishers and beer. In a recent survey of Western medical herbalists, licorice ranked as the 10th most important herb used in clinical practice. An astonishing number of Chinese herbal formulas (over 5,000) use licorice to sweeten teas and to "harmonize" contrasting herbs. Its first documented use dates back to the time of the great Chinese herbal master Zhang Zhong Zhing, about 190 AD, but it was certainly used for many centuries prior to this. In 1914 the Chicago Licorice Company began to sell Black Vines, the first in a very long line of licorice based modern candies.

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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.