This invaluable herb has been used for many centuries to treat a variety of conditions from diarrhea to sore throats and gastric issues. It is always useful to have on hand as a safe remedy for diarrhea in both cats and dogs and is available as a tincture, capsule, tablets or as a loose herb. Slippery elm contains mucilage, which forms a gel when it is mixed with water. It is rich in antioxidants and can help relieve inflammation and it also helps to coat and soothe the digestive tract or throat. Slippery Elm causes reflux stimulation of nerves in the digestive system which causes increased mucus secretion and so can help treat conditions where excess acidity is a problem. All in all a very useful herb and definitely worthy of inclusion in the top 10 natural remedies.
Rescue Remedy is a proprietary blend of five flower essences made from plants, developed by Dr. Edward Bach in England in the 1930’s. It contains equal amounts of Rock rose, Impatiens, Clematis, Star of Bethlehem and Cherry Plum flower remedies. It is useful for any situation where there is stress or anxiety, from traveling in the car, to surgery to nervousness and separation anxiety. Rescue Remedy can help with shock and supporting the body after any kind of trauma, as well as in recovering from seizures. Dr. Bach developed 38 flower essences all of which have specific uses, and there are other essences available that are also equally helpful. Rescue Remedy is available for animals in a glycerin base.
Goldenseal is a complementary herb to Echinacea and acts like a natural antibiotic to treat many types of infections such as upper respiratory infections, bladder infections or cuts and wounds. It is a powerful but effective herb but has a bitter taste so is easier to use as a capsule rather than a tincture, which can be somewhat bitter for animals, especially cats. It can also be used to treat liver infections, eye problems and many other kinds of infections and is an extremely useful and versatile herb. It is anti-microbial, and also helps increase the production of health mucous in respiratory infections, for example, which helps with healing and relief of symptoms. Combined with Echinacea is it very effective in these types of infections.
This underrated extract from the Yucca plant is helpful against several conditions from skin disease to arthritis. It is safe and effective, and is a natural anti-inflammatory. It helps with allergic skin conditions and stiffness and joint pain in particular and is also used for digestive problems. It almost acts like a natural cortisone and is soothing, and is analgesic without the side effects of a steroid or anti-inflammatory. In combination with other natural products for joint support it helps with pain relief and inflammation as well as increased mobility, and it can be combined with medications as well if extra relief is needed. Yucca is very useful and should be used more than it is!
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 Fatty Acids are essential for the body and overall health, and cannot be manufactured in the body. They are anti-inflammatory, and also help with joint function, skin health and are even protective in kidney disease in dogs and cats. Omega 3 Fatty Acids help support the body when dealing with cancer, and are important for health organ function as well as overall immune support. In the wild dogs would eat a diet rich on Omega 3 Fatty Acids, and low on Omega 6 Fatty Acids and it is important to choose diets rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acids or supplement as needed to ensure adequate levels in the diet. It is important to use fresh, stable sources of Omega 3 as it can be unstable and oxidize. One of the supplements I recommend all cats and dogs be on for optimal health and wellness.
Arnica in homeopathic form, as opposed to the herb, is an amazing natural remedy for any kind of bruise, or traumatic injury, including blows to the head. It is an important remedy for a holistic first aid kit and one of the first to look for when there is any type of acute injury and shock. While it cannot replace acute emergency medical care it can help support the animal while emergency care is sought. Homeopathic Arnica (also known as Arnica Montana) is very safe and effective and can be used internally to treat many of the conditions mentioned above. It is important to differentiate it from herbal Arnica which is not safe to be taken internally. Homeopathic remedies will have a potency or strength like 30 C and should state they are homeopathic medicines.
Aloe Vera is a well known natural medicine produced from the Aloe Vera plant which produces a gel that is very effective in the treatment of various kinds of skin irritations when used topically. It can be useful in the treatment and healing of wounds and burns and is in addition very soothing and cooling to inflamed and irritated areas. It is anti-inflammatory and is also used for digestive tract problems. Aloe Vera juice can be mixed with hydrogen peroxide in equal proportions to help treat gum and dental disease, and control inflammation and redness of the gums. Used straight from the plant this is something easily available and very useful for many different health problems in both people and animals.
Milk Thistle is wonderful herb for the liver and has been used for over two thousand years in people and animals to treat liver and gall bladder problems and is a well known liver tonic. It contains Silymarin, the main active ingredient as well as fatty acids. While Silymarin is sold alone, many herbalists believe the use of the whole herb is far superior as the various components act together and as such are considered synergistic. Milk Thistle is beneficial for detoxifying the liver, as well as for helping to heal various liver conditions in animals. It can also be used to support the body when an animal has to take medications that might affect the liver such as chemotherapy. So a great herb for overall liver support and detoxification!
Echinacea is a well renowned herb that is actually composed of three different species of Echinacea, Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida, and Echinacea purpurea and any or all may be present in a particular formulation. This potent herb helps support the immune system and provides support for the body when dealing with many types of bacterial or viral infections. It is often combine with Goldenseal which acts like a natural antibiotic to enhance and stimulate the body’s own innate healing powers. Echinacea is available in tinctures, capsules, tablets and teas, and is a safe and effective herb for both dogs and cats as well as other species of animals, from rabbits to horses.
Coenzyme Q10, also known as ubiquinone was discovered in 1957 and while not a naturally occurring herb like some of the examples here it is nevertheless a very useful natural medicine. Found naturally in cells it is a powerful antioxidant and is helpful in the prevention and treatment of various chronic diseases including cancer. While there is not one cure for cancer the support of the body with natural remedies extends both length and quality of life. In addition CoQ10 is also important for a healthy cardiovascular system and is used in the treatment of heart disease in both cats and dogs, as well as people. CoQ10 also helps treat gum disease and inflammation such as periodontal disease and gingivitis.
Dr. Anna Maria Wolf is a holistic veterinarian, based in Washington State, and practices acupuncture and homeopathy, herbology and other holistic modalities. She lives on the Olympic Peninsula with her teenager and a lot of rescue animals including one dog, six cats, four goats, guinea-pigs, two cockatoos, a donkey, a horse, a flock of chickens, geese and a dozen rescue ducks and several reptiles.