Kratom for Pets

Biologically species Appropriate Raw and Real Food for Cats and Dogs

Toxic or Healthful?

Mitragyna Speciosa (see: Wikipedia), which is commonly called as Kratom​1​ , from the coffee family, is a tropical herb that grows predominantly in the Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Sumatra. Kratom contains a chemical called Mitragynine (see: Wikipedia)​2​ . It serves like a medicine drug such as codeine and morphine, used to relieve pain. The traditional herb is said to possess psychoactive properties due to the alkaloid compounds such Mitragynine and 7-Hydroxymitragynine (7-HMG).

There are over 20 active chemicals​3​ in the leaves including some compounds that have analgesic and opioid-like effects. The main active ingredients are:

  • Mitragynine
  • 7-hydroxy mitragynine
  • Speciociliatine
  • Pynantheine
  • Speciogynine

Mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine are the main chemicals that can produce analgesic effects​4​ like codeine, and they may also demonstrate some anti-inflammatory properties. Speciociliatine, Pynantheine, and Speciogynine also have some analgesic effects and can also influence behavior and the function of smooth muscles in animals.

There are different strains of Kratom (see: Guidance PA Website) mostly based on their originating source. Each one has some variation in the effects that people claim to experience when they use it. Of these strains, those that come from leaves with a red vein have a reputation for higher potency. In the traditional way to categorize kratom, the color refers to the vein on the leaf and indicates how mature the leaves are at the time of harvest. Red is known for having the most time to mature, while white has the shortest time, and green is in the middle.

When you do your research on the herb, you will come to realise that there is an much controversy for and against its use, as the current food vs McKibble and McCarb debate. You will realise that very little research in support of the herb exist​5​ . Sounds familiar does it not. Currently, this substance is not approved for any use by the US FDA because of “limited research and potential risks of addiction and dependence​6​ . There are many more anecdotal testimonials from pet parents claiming that the herb helps them manage anxiety, depression, pain, and stress, for themselves as well as their pets.

Is Kratom An Opioid?

Kratom is a herbal remedy with several chemical compounds. The primary ingredients listed above are alkaloid substances that, like other opioids, can link to mu-type brain receptors and produce effects like pain relief, sedation, and a sense of pleasure. The most active substances are Mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine.

What Does Kratom Do?

Perhaps because there is a (yet to be fully discovered and understood) combination of chemicals in Kratom, it can act in different ways. Some of the actions depend on the dose level.

  • It can provide analgesia or pain relief.
  • It can also behave as a cough suppressant in animals.
  • In low doses, it functions as a stimulant by acting on adenosine, adrenergic, and serotonin receptors in the brain.
  • In higher doses, it performs as a sedative by acting against mu, kappa, and delta-opioid receptors in the brain.

When Kratom acts on the Opiate receptors, specifically when 7-hydroxymitragynine acts on mu receptors​7​ , there is the release of endorphins, dynorphins, and enkephalins. These neurotransmitters are responsible for the suppression of pain signals along the pain pathway. They also increase the pain nerve endings stimulation threshold. When signals are not generated and even when they are generated, they are suppressed; pain is not felt by the central nervous system. The release of dopamine and serotonin play an additional role in making one feel better.

What Are the Potential Benefits of Kratom?

There are many unsubstantiated or anecdotal claims as to the effects of taking Kratom. Scientific support for reported benefits in people is still limited. In animals, studies suggest that this substance could help with a number of conditions.

Anti-Anxiety Medicine

If you’ve ever dealt with a dog that goes crazy when you leave them alone, you understand that our mutts, pups, nobles and masters can suffer from anxiety just like we can. As an opioid, Kratom might be able to stimulate energy and help to calm your pet’s nerves.

Arthritis Relief

People in Southeast Asia have been using Kratom for pain relief for many years, and animal studies suggest that this herb may provide similar effects in dogs. These results could be good news for dogs suffering from arthritis pain. Some pet parents that give Kratom to their arthritic furry friends report happier, more active pups.

Chronic Pain Relief

Because the alkaloid drugs in Kratom act on the mu-type opioid receptors to create analgesia, the herb could be useful to help relieve pain. In an informal research trial, 62 out of 66 dogs that received Kratom to treat their pain showed noticeable improvements. For dogs with ongoing aches and soreness, this herb might provide comfort.

Seizure Treatment

There is conflicting information about the effectiveness of Kratom to treat seizures. On the one hand, some individuals with pets that suffer from epilepsy or other conditions that cause seizures report improvement after taking Kratom. Some experience no more seizures while others have only minor episodes. However, according to the American Psychiatric Association and other sources, there are also cases of Kratom-induced seizures in people. Some of the trigger events occurred when the patient combined this herb with other substances.

Appetite Stimulant

One reason that people native to the growth area of Kratom chew on the leaves is to increase their energy and appetite. As a stimulant, this substance will likely boost your pet’s activity level and desire to eat. Just remember, what goes up must come down. If you stop giving your pet Kratom, it can lead to a decreased appetite or anorexia.

Energy Stimulant

At low to moderate doses, Kratom acts as a mild stimulant. The chemicals react with brain receptors​8​ to stimulate alertness and energy levels.

Kratom for pets?

Huumans use Kratom in tea, take it in capsules, or as a powder. What about dogs and cats? This herb has a bitter taste, and your mutts, pups, nobles, masters and muggles is likely to spit it out unless you make it more interesting to him.

  • Sugarless peanut butter – add Kratom to some sugar-free peanut butter to mask the bitter taste. Most pups go crazy for this sandwich spread, so they’ll see it as a treat.
  • Add to treats – mix a small amount of Kratom powder with a special treat like hamburger or beef bits.
  • With fruit – puree some apples or get a little steamed pumpkin and mix the Kratom in it.
  • Mix it with beef bone broth – dogs love beef broth. The amount of kratom you need won’t affect the flavor.
  • Mix it with their dinner – If you use moist food, you can stir the powder right into their food.
  • Rub it on their gums – Some owners rub a Kratom solution on their canine pal’s gums. The surface vessels in the mucous membranes will absorb the liquid quickly. This can help when pets are in extreme pain.

Are there Dosage Guidelines?

There are no dosing guidelines for dogs or cats, so finding the right amount involves some trial and error. Start small as higher dosages can have negative side effects including:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Diarrhea
  • Liver damage

Based on our research, some pro-veterinarians and owners use a Kratom calculator for human dosages to determine how much to give their pooches based on weight.

Include Probiotics in the Diet

Adding probiotics when you give Kratom to your pet can support the digestion of the alkaloid compounds.

Is Kratom Toxic To Dogs or Cats?

A review of studies​9​ on the effects of Kratom in humans and animals suggests that Kratom is minimally toxic​10​ . At very high doses, it can damage the liver and cause seizures, but current research does not show toxic effects at lower levels​11​ . Keep in mind that most pharmacologic and therapeutic evidence about kratom comes from anecdotal reports and patient experiences. More than half of the available scientific literature on kratom has been published since 2012, and there are few, if any, controlled clinical trial results that have been published.

Our Final Thoughts On Kratom For Dogs and Cats

For pet parents seeking herbal alternatives to traditional pain and anxiety medications, there’s some promising information about Kratom. A recently published review of 57 years of international scientific evidence, led by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and the University of British Columbia, may help reduce misconceptions about kratom and restore its potential as a public health tool that deserves more research. People who use this substance to help their canine companions report benefits that include increased energy, less anxiety, and noticeable pain relief. However, there’s also some concerning information about this herbal supplement, and using it does not come risk-free. If you want to experiment with Kratom, talk to your veterinarian first and use extreme caution.

As with most conditions, the most healthful natural diet will improve the pet’s overall health.

Articles and Videos

Research and References

  1. 1.
    Fluyau D, Revadigar N. Biochemical Benefits, Diagnosis, and Clinical Risks Evaluation of Kratom. Front Psychiatry. 2017;8:62. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2017.00062
  2. 2.
    Jansen K, Prast C. Psychoactive properties of mitragynine (kratom). J Psychoactive Drugs. 1988;20(4):455-457. doi:10.1080/02791072.1988.10472519
  3. 3.
    Prozialeck WC, Jateen KJ, Shridhar VA. Pharmacology of Kratom: An Emerging Botanical Agent With Stimulant, Analgesic and Opioid-Like Effects . JAOA. 2012;112(2012):1. https://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2094342.
  4. 4.
    Kruegel A, Uprety R, Grinnell S, et al. 7-Hydroxymitragynine Is an Active Metabolite of Mitragynine and a Key Mediator of Its Analgesic Effects. ACS Cent Sci. 2019;5(6):992-1001. doi:10.1021/acscentsci.9b00141
  5. 5.
    Veltri C, Grundmann O. Current perspectives on the impact of Kratom use. Subst Abuse Rehabil. 2019;10:23-31. doi:10.2147/SAR.S164261
  6. 6.
    Prozialeck W. Update on the Pharmacology and Legal Status of Kratom. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2016;116(12):802-809. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2016.156
  7. 7.
    Babu K, McCurdy C, Boyer E. Opioid receptors and legal highs: Salvia divinorum and Kratom. Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2008;46(2):146-152. doi:10.1080/15563650701241795
  8. 8.
    Swogger MT, Walsh Z. Kratom use and mental health: A systematic review. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. February 2018:134-140. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.10.012
  9. 9.
    Hassan Z, Muzaimi M, Navaratnam V, et al. From Kratom to mitragynine and its derivatives: physiological and behavioural effects related to use, abuse, and addiction. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2013;37(2):138-151. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2012.11.012
  10. 10.
    Raffa RB, Beckett JR, Brahmbhatt VN, et al. Orally Active Opioid Compounds from a Non-Poppy Source. J Med Chem. April 2013:4840-4848. doi:10.1021/jm400143z
  11. 11.
    Sabetghadam A, Ramanathan S, Sasidharan S, Mansor S. Subchronic exposure to mitragynine, the principal alkaloid of Mitragyna speciosa, in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2013;146(3):815-823. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2013.02.008

Herbs for Pets ..

Herbs for Cats and Dogs

We discuss herbs for pets (cats, dogs and horses) here. Many of us are introduced to the realm of herbal medicine by using herbs as direct replacements for over-the-counter or prescription drugs. Like drugs, herbs can be used to treat the symptoms of disease effectively. Unlike many drugs, herbs are relatively safe and gentle medicines – they are very forgiving, offering a much greater margin of error and fewer adverse side effects.

Most drugs are composed of specific chemical compounds that have been isolated from their source (or synthesised), and concentrated to maximum potency. A medical plant, however, consists of dozens, sometimes thousands, of interactive or inert natural chemical components. Many sceptics argue that herbal solutions are less effective and unsafe because of the concentrations of active constituents are too low and are variable from plant to plant.

Food and medicine are of the same origin …

~ Japanese Proverb

To the herbalist, the presence of scientifically proven compounds is only part of what makes a plant useful. Instead of focusing on isolated chemical components, the herbalist accepts the inexplicable synergy that exists among all components of the plant’s chemistry and all components of the physical and non-physical recipient. In the mind of the herbalist, this is what makes herbal solutions safe, effective, and unique. The whole plant is always greater, and usually safer, than the sum of its parts.

But here are a few important things to remember:

  • keep in mind that herbs are slower acting than most drugs. Expectations of rapid results is perhaps the greatest cause of frustration and failure among would-be herbalists or recipients. The difference between successful herbal therapy and resorting to a shot of say, prednisolone, often amounts to a day or two of patient waiting;
  • when using herbs as direct replacements for allopathic medicines, don’t expect results beyond those you would expect from the drugs you are replacing. The only difference in therapy when using herbs as drug substitutes is the medicinal device; the curative depth of the therapy remains the same;
  • if you opts to use herbs symptomatically, it is important to remember that you will likely end up discouraged if you expect to find a cure.

The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.

~ Thomas Edison

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

Herbs for Working Dogs

Fooding our Canine Athletes

Energy Enhancing Plants

Did you know? Long before the Russians were caught doping their athletes with steroids, the former Soviet Union spent decades secretly searching for energy-enhancing plants that would help their Olympians, as well as their soldiers and astronauts, perform better. The Soviets were looking for what they called “adaptogens”—plant species that would encourage the body to adapt to physical and mental stress without major side effects.

Krista Johnson, National Geographic (Article)

The Whole Dog Journal published a very insightful article about the use of herbs to improve your workings dogs capabilities in early 2001 by CJ Puotinen. CJ is the author of several books about medicinal herbs and The Encyclopedia of Natural Pet Care (1998 Keats Publishing) (Amazon). Essentially, the only healthy shortcut that can help you and your boy or girl to the winners circle is Mother Nature herself, as certain medicinal herbs could help your fur kid concentrate despite distractions, relax under stress, keep his or her joints limber, improve coats, increase stamina and even possible improve sense of smell.

We discuss a few of these natural options for your interest only. Please note that herbal and other natural products can harm your pets – not all plants are safe and gentle! Do not attempt using any of the plants, herbs or spices listed, or any other plant matter, without the guidance of a qualified herbalist. Most importantly is to remember that with herbs and spices, there are no absolutes, but rather, ranges of active components in a plant. Mother Nature does not create every plant equally.

Herbs for learning

If you want your dog to pay attention, there are two groups of herbs that may help. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) and chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla or Anthemis nobilis), both are nervines, herbs that nourish the nerves, and either one can help prevent your dog from being distracted, hyperactive, or overstimulated. While most people describe valerian as smelling like old socks, most dogs enjoy it and many cats actively crave it.

Read More: What is a Nervine, The Naturopathic Herbalist (Article)

Memory tonics such as gotu kola (Centella asiatica), ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) enhance blood circulation and help stimulate clear thinking. Mental acuity also helps a dog’s physical performance. No matter what the canine sport your dog participates in, his ability to concentrate and make fast, accurate mental connections can be enhanced by the herbs described above.

Herbs for scent work

Memory-tonic herbs improve circulation throughout the brain and body, and some herbalists speculate that they may improve a dog’s sense of smell. Ginkgo, gotu kola, and rosemary are even more effective when combined with small amounts of stimulant herbs such as cayenne pepper (Capsicum frutescens) or ginger (Zingiber officinale). Valerian and / or chamomile can be used at the same time to improve concentration and focus.

Unfamiliar herbs may distract your dog’s nose, so don’t wait until the day of an event to introduce them; start weeks ahead so that his sensory system can adjust as you experiment.

Herbs for stress

A growing number of boarding kennel operators, humane society shelter workers, handlers of traveling dogs, and veterinarians know what a difference calming nervines can make for any animal who is anxious or confused. Valerian, skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), hops (Humulus lupulus), oatstraw (Avena sativa) and chamomile help dogs adapt and relax. Although these herbs are considered sleeping aids, none of them will sedate an active, alert dog the way pharmaceutical tranquilizers do. Instead, they allow a resting dog to relax and sleep by relieving nervous anxiety, and they help a wide-awake dog remain calm.

Read More: What is Adaptogen, The Naturopathic Herbalist (Article)

In addition, adaptogen (in herbal medicine a natural substance considered to help the body adapt to stress) herbs help dogs cope with stress. Adaptogens gradually correct imbalances, such as by raising or lowering blood pressure, reducing or increasing pulse rate, or correcting blood sugar levels, and when taken on a daily basis for weeks or months, they have been shown to help stabilize a dog’s responses to stress.

The most famous adaptogen herb is ginseng (Panax ginseng or P. quinquefolius), but other adaptogens gaining popularity among dog owners are fo-ti (Polygonum multiflorum), schizandra (Schizandra chenensin), ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) and astragalus (Astragalus membranaceous). Like tonic herbs, adaptogens work gradually and require months of use before their benefits are apparent.

An additional benefit of adaptogens is that they help increase stamina and endurance. This effect can be helpful for dogs that run or jog with their owners over long distances, as well as hunting, tracking, or sled dogs.

Herbs for the skin and coat

One of the more popular herbs for topical application is aloe vera juice or gel, which can be rubbed into the skin to soothe irritation, relieve itching, and speed healing. Chamomile tea is an excellent final rinse for all but white-coated dogs (it can temporarily darken white fur) and stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) tea is recommended for dark coats; both are natural hair conditioners.

Topical application offers temporary relief, but the real solution to skin and coat problems comes from inside. In addition to improving the diet, consider giving alterative (often called blood-cleansing) herbs such as burdock root (Arctium lappa), dandelion leaf (Taraxacum officinale), dandelion root, red clover (Trifolium pratense), stinging nettle, and yellow dock root (Rumex crispus). Gradually, over a period of weeks and months, these herbs restore normal body function and act as general tonics for improved health and appearance.

Read More: What is an Alterative, The Naturopathic Herbalist (Article)

In addition, bitter herbs such as dandelion leaf, wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), feverfew (Tanacetum partenium), or commercial preparations such as Swedish Bitters stimulate the gastrointestinal tract, improve digestion, and indirectly improve coat condition.

To use a bitter herb, add small amounts to your dog’s first bite of food or simply place a pinch of the herb or a drop of tincture in her mouth. She won’t like it, but in response to the bitter taste her digestive organs will secrete bile and other fluids. If you accustom your dog to receiving bitters with each meal, she will usually come to accept them eagerly as she associates their taste with food. Last, adding aloe vera juice or gel to food can also help improve digestion and relieve skin and coat problems.

Herbs for limber joints

Conventional medicine considers arthritis irreversible and incurable; its only treatment is with symptom-suppressing drugs that temporarily alleviate pain, thus increasing mobility. However, holistic and integrative veterinarians are finding that a well-balanced all-raw diet can actually reverse the arthritic process, keep bones strong, maintain flexibility, and help prevent injury.

Arthritic dogs fed commercial feed may be helped by nutritional supplements such as glucosamine sulfate, chondriotin sulfate, or blends of herbs, but they usually begin limping as soon as the supplement is discontinued, something that wouldn’t happen if these supplements actually cured the condition. Boswellia (Boswellia spp.), devil’s claw root (Harpagophytum procumbens), yucca (Yucca spp.), white willow bark (Salix alba) and feverfew offer relief from symptoms, but they should be considered only part of the arthritis protocol. All of these herbs are appropriate for dogs recovering from injuries.

External applications of arnica (Arnica montana) tincture speed the healing of muscle sprains and bruises by increasing capillary blood circulation. Arnica tincture is an important first-aid remedy; if used within a few minutes of injury, it prevents pain, swelling and bruising.

As with any condition, the most healthful natural diet will improve the pet’s overall health.

Plants as Food AND Medicine?

BARF and Prey Diets for Cats and Dogs

Or perhaps the intersection of culture and science?

The huuman body is much better suited to treatment with herbal remedies than with isolated chemical treatments. Our species evolved side-by-side with plants over hundreds of thousands of years, and our digestive system and physiology are geared to digesting and utilizing some plant-based foods, which often have a medicinal value as well as providing sustenance.

The dividing line between “food” and “medicine” may not always be clear. Are lemons, papayas, onions, and oats food or medicine? What about turmeric, kelp or burdock root? In many instances they are both. Herbal remedies only really come into their own once the distinction between food and “medicine” are removed.

Throughout our blog, FAQ and product information panels you will notice that we often refer to active components (plant constituents or the chemistry of the plants); whether in food, fruit, veggies or herbs. Herbology has been hailed as quackery for many decades, it is only recently that active constituents responsible for the medicinal actions of plants (fruits, veggies and / or herbs) have been isolated and observed, so much so that whole fields of study has evolved called pharmacognosy (the study of plants or other natural sources as possible sources of drugs) and zoopharmacognosy (the study of non-human animal behaviour in self-medication using plants). Curcumin in turmeric is what helps to counter or manage inflammation. Piperine in pepper helps to activate curcumin in turmeric, increasing its bioavailability during intake. The adult monarch butterflies preferentially lay their eggs on toxic plants such as milkweed which reduce parasite growth and disease in their offspring caterpillars. The compounds found in plants are of many kinds, but most are in four major biochemical classes: alkaloids, glycosides, polyphenols, and terpenes. Knowing a little about the chemicals contained in plants helps you to understand how they work within the body.

Phytochemicals

All plants produce chemical compounds which give them an evolutionary advantage, such as defending against herbivores or, in the example of salicylic acid, as a hormone in plant defences. These phytochemicals have potential for use as drugs, and the content and known pharmacological activity of these substances in medicinal plants is the scientific basis for their use in modern medicine, if scientifically confirmed. For instance, daffodils (Narcissus) contain nine groups of alkaloids including galantamine, licensed for use against Alzheimer’s disease. The alkaloids are bitter-tasting and toxic, and concentrated in the parts of the plant such as the stem most likely to be eaten by herbivores; they may also protect against parasites.

Even more interestingly, plant chemistry includes the miracle of photosynthesis, plant respiration, structure, growth, development, and reproduction. Much of the chemical basis of life is common to both plants, mutts, pups, nobles, masters, muggles and huumans. In essence, the whole of the plant must be respected as an integrated biologically evolved unit that is beyond the analytical comprehension of science.

  • Acids
  • Alcohols
  • Carbohydrates
  • Phenols & phenolic glycosides
  • Tannins
  • Coumarins & their glycosides
  • Anthraquinones & their glycosides
  • Flavones & Flavonoid glycosides
  • Volatile Oils
  • Saponins
  • Cardioactive glycosides
  • Cyanogenic glycosides
  • “Bitter Principles”
  • Alkaloids

We discuss but a few below.

Alkaloids

Alkaloids are bitter-tasting chemicals, very widespread in nature, and often toxic, found in many medicinal plants. There are several classes with different modes of action as drugs, both recreational and pharmaceutical. Alkaloids (Wikipedia) are a class of naturally occurring organic compounds that mostly contain basic nitrogen atoms. In addition to carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen, alkaloids may also contain oxygen, sulfur and, more rarely, other elements such as chlorine, bromine, and phosphorus. Alkaloids are produced by a large variety of organisms including bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals. Depending on the type of plants, the maximum concentration is observed in the leaves (black henbane), fruits or seeds (Strychnine tree), root (Rauwolfia serpentina) or bark (cinchona). The role of alkaloids for living organisms that produce them is still unclear. It was initially assumed that the alkaloids are the final products of nitrogen metabolism in plants, as urea in mammals. It was later shown that alkaloid concentration varies over time, and this hypothesis was refuted. Several plants are suggested to also produce alkaloids as venom components; however, the exact biosynthesis pathways have not been empirically demonstrated. Medicines of different classes include atropine, scopolamine, and hyoscyamine (all from nightshade), the traditional medicine berberine (from plants such as Berberis and Mahonia), caffeine (Coffea), cocaine (Coca), ephedrine (Ephedra), morphine (opium poppy), nicotine (tobacco), reserpine (Rauwolfia serpentina), quinidine and quinine (Cinchona), vincamine (Vinca minor), and vincristine (Catharanthus roseus), to name but a few.

Glycosides

In chemistry, a glycoside is a molecule in which a sugar is bound to another functional group via a glycosidic bond. Glycosides play numerous important roles in living organisms. Many plants store chemicals in the form of inactive glycosides. These can be activated by enzyme hydrolysis, which causes the sugar part to be broken off, making the chemical available for use. Many such plant glycosides are used as medications. Several species of Heliconius butterfly can incorporate these plant compounds as a form of chemical defense against predators. In animals and humans, poisons are often bound to sugar molecules as part of their elimination from the body. Anthraquinone glycosides are found in medicinal plants such as rhubarb, cascara, and Alexandrian senna. Plant-based laxatives made from such plants include senna, rhubarb and Aloe. The cardiac glycosides are powerful drugs from medicinal plants including foxglove and lily of the valley. They include digoxin and digitoxin which support the beating of the heart, and act as diuretics.

Polyphenols

Polyphenols of several classes are widespread in plants, having diverse roles in defences against plant diseases and predators. They include hormone-mimicking phytoestrogens and astringent tannins. Plants containing phytoestrogens have been administered for centuries for gynecological disorders, such as fertility, menstrual, and menopausal problems. Among these plants are Pueraria mirifica, kudzu, angelica, fennel, and anise.

Many polyphenolic extracts, such as from grape seeds, olives or maritime pine bark, are sold as dietary supplements and cosmetics without proof or legal health claims for beneficial health effects. In Ayurveda, the astringent rind of the pomegranate, containing polyphenols called punicalagins, is used as a medicine.

Phenolic acids, such as rosmarinic acid, are strongly antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and can also have antiviral properties. Phenol derived from thyme, called thymol, have been found to be highly effective in reducing the minimum inhibitory concentration of several antibiotics against zoonotic pathogens and food spoilage bacteria.

Terpenes

Terpenes and terpenoids of many kinds are found in a variety of medicinal plants, and in resinous plants such as the conifers. They are strongly aromatic and serve to repel herbivores. Their scent makes them useful in essential oils, whether for perfumes such as rose and lavender, or for aromatherapy. Some have medicinal uses: for example, thymol is an antiseptic and was once used as a vermifuge (anti-worm medicine).

Summary

Medicinal plants, also called medicinal herbs, have been discovered and used in traditional medicine practices since prehistoric times. Plants synthesize hundreds of chemical compounds for functions including defence against insects, fungi, diseases, and herbivorous mammals. Numerous phytochemicals with potential or established biological activity have been identified. However, since a single plant contains widely diverse phytochemicals, the effects of using a whole plant as medicine are uncertain. Further, the phytochemical content and pharmacological actions, if any, of many plants having medicinal potential remain unassessed by rigorous scientific research to define efficacy and safety.

The earliest historical records of herbs are found from the Sumerian civilisation, where hundreds of medicinal plants including opium are listed on clay tablets. The Ebers Papyrus from ancient Egypt, c. 1550 BC, describes over 850 plant medicines. The Greek physician Dioscorides, who worked in the Roman army, documented over 1000 recipes for medicines using over 600 medicinal plants in De materia medica, c. 60 AD; this formed the basis of pharmacopoeias for some 1500 years. Drug research makes use of ethnobotany to search for pharmacologically active substances in nature and has in this way discovered hundreds of useful compounds. These include the common drugs aspirin, digoxin, quinine, and opium.

Not all safe for us or our fur kids, but you get the jist. Dr Marisa Marciano maintain a fantastic blog titled The Naturopathic Herbalist for further reading and learning.

Natural DeWormer Remedies ..

Buy Your Raw Dog Food from Raw Food for Pets

Herbal Options For Your Fur Kid’s DeWormers

It is an unfortunate reality of life, worms can invade your fur kid’s body when they smell, drink, lick, and ingest dirt, rotten meat, trash and even poop. If your fur kids play around in the backyard or walks around where other dogs can defecate, you might not even notice how they pick up unseen worm eggs or larvae. Dogs can also pass worms to other dogs, and even humans, simply through normal socialization.

There are 5 main (or common) types of worms that can contaminate your fur kids. They live in different organs, such as the intestines, heart, lungs and blood vessels. For a discussion on Spirocerca Lupi, please read our article on this ugly bug.

Some worms cause more obvious symptoms than others … but here are a few clues your dog may give you that could mean he or she has worms:

  • Intermittent or frequent diarrhoea or vomiting can be signs your dog has worms.
  • Your dog may have a fever;
  • He or she may scoot and lick his rear (though scooting can mean other things too);
  • Your fur kid may be off his food or be a little lethargic; his or her coat may look dull;
  • You might see stools that are coated in mucus (but otherwise look normal);
  • Or you might see squiggly worms or “rice bodies” in his stool.

But some worms can’t be seen with the naked eye, so if your dog’s showing some of these signs, you might want to get a fecal sample analysed by your vet.

Although there are many commercial deworming medications available, natural remedies are often safer and cheaper. They have also been found to be effective in deworming puppies. Although healthy fur kids can tolerate mild infections, a more serious infestation can rob them of vital nutrients and adversely affect their health.

If you have concerns about whether your fur kids have worms, it’s best to confirm that your dog’s ailment is due to a worm infection as the symptoms are like those of other illnesses. You should, therefore, have your dog’s faeces pathologically tested every 3 to 6 months before treating him or her. If the ailment is a worm infection and is severe, you should consult your vet and use a conventional dewormer as prescribed. But be aware, conventional dewormers use chemical-based pesticides that contain toxins and carcinogens. By using natural, herbal, homeopathic dewormers you can reduce your dog’s and cat’s toxic load, exposure to carcinogens and support their overall health. In some cases of extreme parasite infestation use of pesticide-based treatment may be required – but as soon as the treatment is completed, you can follow a natural herbal protocol to prevent re-infestation and re-use of pesticide-based wormers. This is not an exhaustive list, but here are some examples of the adverse drug events reported to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (see: Adverse Event Reports for Animal Drugs and Devices (FDA)) for the most common active ingredients in de-worming drugs.

The starting point for preventing and treating worms is always a healthy immune system. A balanced intestinal environment prevents disease, including parasite infestations. Recent research has linked gut bacteria to many health conditions and the type and balance of bacteria in the gut can actually influence the lifespan of intestinal worms. Avoiding antibiotics and processed commercial foods – and adding dietary probiotics like Lactobacillus sporogenes – will help maintain the delicate ecosystem in your dog’s gut, making it less habitable for worms.

Types of Worms

The most common types of intestinal worms are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms.

Roundworms

Roundworms (Wikipedia) (Toxocara canis) live and reproduce in the small intestine. Adult roundworms are one to seven inches long and look like spaghetti. Roundworms have microscopic eggs so your dog can pick them up in his environment, or by eating infected animals like birds or rodents. For most adult dogs roundworms are low risk and don’t cause health problems.

But if you have a pregnant female with roundworms, she can transmit them to her puppies during pregnancy; in puppies roundworms can be more serious, causing diarrhoea and vomiting, and may result in malnutrition and impaired growth.

If your dog has roundworm, he may look pot bellied, and may be lethargic or weak. He may also have diarrhoea or vomiting, show signs of abdominal pain, and a dull coat. Weight loss can mean a more significant infection.

Hookworms

Hookworms (Wikipedia) (Ancylostoma caninum) also live mainly in the small intestine. They’re grey and between ½ and ¾ inch long. The front end of the worm has a hook that attaches to the intestinal lining, where it feeds on your dog’s blood. Your dog can pick up hookworm larvae from the soil, through his mouth or through the skin on his pads. Most adult dogs develop some immunity to hookworms, but if your dog is immune compromised he can be more susceptible to infection.

  • Diarrhoea and vomiting are the usual symptoms of hookworm.
  • Nursing females can transmit hookworm larvae to newborn puppies through milk, which can cause chronic diarrhoea (often with blood or mucus) and anaemia
  • Signs of anaemia include weakness, depression, lethargy and pale mucous membranes (like the gums).

Whipworms

Whipworms (Wikipedia) (Trichuris vulpis) attach to the mucous membranes (mucosa) lining the caecum and colon (both part of the large intestine), where they feed on your dog’s blood. Adult whipworms are two to three inches long, tapered at one end, like a whip – hence the name. Your dog can get whipworms from swallowing whipworm eggs in soil or water that contain dog faeces.

  • Signs of whipworms are diarrhoea, vomiting and weight loss.

Whipworms eggs survive in the environment for a long time so reinfection after treatment is quite common

Tapeworms

Tapeworms (Wikipedia) (Dipylidium caninum) are long, flat worms that attach to the intestines. If your dog has tapeworms you might see worm segments that look like grains of rice in his poop. There are about 14 difference species of tapeworm. Fleas carry tapeworm eggs so if your dog has fleas, he could get tapeworm. Tapeworm segments themselves aren’t infectious, but your dog can get tapeworms by eating intermediate hosts like fleas and lice, as well as rodents, rabbits or large animals such as sheep, goats, cattle, pigs or deer. (If you’re a PMR raw feeder, freezing meats for 10 days before feeding will eliminate tapeworms.)

If your dog has tapeworms he may not show any signs of illness, but over time his coat may start to look dull and he may lose his appetite or lose a little weight.

Giardia

Giardia (Wikipedia) (Giardia lamblia) lives in the intestine and is a protozoan (a microscopic single celled parasite) with a hair-like tail. Your dog can pick up giardia by drinking water contaminated with giardia from the faeces of infected animals or humans. Many dogs don’t get any symptoms from giardia, but others may develop chronic, intermittent diarrhoea. The signs are usually more severe in puppies.

Coccidia

Coccidia (Wikipedia) (Coccidiosis) are also protozoans that live in the intestinal walls. Coccidiosis can be quite common in puppies. In young puppies coccidiosis can cause serious diarrhoea and may even cause death from dehydration and malnourishment. Most adult dogs don’t show symptoms but can spread the infection through their faeces, which contaminate the soil.

Preventing Worms

The starting point for preventing and treating worms (or any other disease) is always a healthy immune system. A dog or cat with a strong immune system is less likely to be an attractive host for any kind of parasite.

Many dogs get some intestinal worms occasionally, but if your fur kids are healthy with a strong immune system, they probably won’t make them sick. In this case you may never know they even had the worms because they will probably just expel them naturally, and you won’t see any symptoms.

Approximately 80% of the immune system is in the gut, so giving your fur kids the best diet you can will help keep worms away. Feed your fur kids a natural, whole foods, preferably biologically, species appropriate raw meat based diet. Support your fur kid’s overall well-being by avoiding pharmaceutical drugs like antibiotics and vaccines as well as pesticides such as flea, tick and heartworm medications.

All these drugs contain toxic ingredients that can harm your dog’s organs, causing serious disease and even death. Keeping your yard free of poop will also help prevent your dog from picking up intestinal worms.

References & Articles

The following articles will further assist you with your research:

  • How to Identify Different Dog Worms (Ref);
  • Natural Treatments for Deworming Puppies (Ref);
  • Natural Remedies Against Worms in Dogs (Ref);
  • Eliminate Tapeworms in Dogs Using Natural Remedies (Ref);
  • Preventing and Treating Heartworm in Dogs (Ref);
  • Eradicate Dog Worms Holistically (Ref);
  • DIY Natural, Herbal Dewormers for Dogs and Cats (Ref);
  • Safe and Natural Treatments for Internal and External Parasites (Ref);
  • Herbal Options For Your Dog’s Worms (Ref);
  • Preventing And Treating Worms In Dogs (Ref);

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