Posts

It’s that time of year, when the flowers are opening all around us, spring greens sprout up in our woods and gardens, the weather gets more mild, and for some, the allergy symptoms begin, or come on full force. Fortunately there are some great tools in the natural world for helping alleviate these uncomfortable symptoms so you can enjoy springtime more. Below, you’ll find my recipe for a ginger-nettle-lemon spring tonic that can be made hot, or cold with sparkling water.

Ginger tea or fresh juice – approximately 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger (or 1 heaping tsp dry) or approximately 1 Tbsp of fresh juice.
Lemon juice, preferably freshly-squeezed – approximately 1/2 lemon or more to taste.

Raw local honey – approx 1-2 tsp to taste
Nettle Glycerite – 2 dropperfuls (approximately 50 drops)
Oregon grape Glycerite – 1 dropperful (approximately 25 drops)

If making tea, gently simmer fresh or dry ginger root in 2 cups of water with lid on for 10 mins, then strain. Add honey, lemon juice, and herbal glycerites to a mug of the ginger tea and drink warm. Or, the tea can be cooled to room temperature and other ingredients added. A large batch can be made and stored in the refrigerator for daily consumption also.

If using ginger juice, you can add all ingredients to 8-12 oz of hot or sparkling water and mix well.

Drink 2-3 cups daily to help stave off allergy symptoms.

Helpful benefits of these ingredients:

Ginger root – anti-inflammatory and supportive for the immune system as the oils in the root contain some antimicrobial benefits. Also a wonderful digestive system support herb.

Raw local honey – high in minerals and some flower pollens that can help the body not be so reactive to pollen that is inhaled.

Lemon juice – high in vitamin C, flavonoids, and supports gentle liver detoxifcation.

Nettle leaf – alkaline, high in minerals, and has antihistamine properties that can help prevent and ease allergy symptoms.

Oregon grape root – bitter digestive aid, containing berberine that can help reduce inflammation and swelling in the sinuses and mucosal membranes.

Abby the Shop Dog at Herban Wellness

Many of you know my dog Abby or have seen her when you’ve come into Herban Wellness. I have taken her to a holistic/natural veterinarian since day one, because I apply the same principles to my animal companion as I do to myself. Start with the foundations: healthy diet, exercise, minimal exposure to toxins. Then I move to support from nutritional and herbal additions when needed. Finally, I only use pharmaceutical or surgical interventions when absolutely necessary.

I have incorporated herbal remedies into Abby’s routine as needed for flea treatment and prevention, for minerals and skin health, for calming her (or attempting to) when she’s anxious during a storm or fireworks, and in the last few years, anti-inflammatory and joint support as she gets up in years. I have also helped other dog and cat parents (and horse caregivers also!) find appropriate herbal remedies for supporting organs such as the liver, kidneys, and adrenal glands. Herbs can help greatly with seasonal and skin allergies, skin inflammation and irritations, and other chronic issues you may find your pet facing.

Now, I often do say how I am more comfortable in using herbs with dogs because they have less sensitive systems overall than cats, and also they are easier in general to administer natural remedies to. I have no qualms forcing a couple of milliliters of herbal tincture/glycerite into Abby’s mouth for acute situation, like when she somehow contracted kennel cough one winter. She was completely healthy in one week, which even her holistic vet was quite impressed with. I gave her lung, cough, and immune herbs that I would use for humans, and I got them in her several times a day. I also can easily disguise herbal and nutritional powders and tinctures in her food.

When choosing herbs for dogs, cats, and horses, I always check my herbal pet resources to make sure the herbs I’m considering can be safely used. My favorite quick-reference guides are by a holistic veterinarian who practiced for decades and wrote two books: Herbal Cat Care and Herbal Dog Care, respectively, by Dr. Randy Kidd, and The Encyclopedia of Natural Pet Care by CJ Puotinen. These generally give guidance on dosing as well, since that’s important and is generally determined by the weight of the animal when it comes to dogs and cats. Liquid extracts are easy to dose by the drop, where powders can be added by the part of a teaspoon. Some people also make herbal teas and mix them with the food.

Some of my favorite herbs for pets:

Turmeric – yep, a good anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antioxidant, just like for humans. Quantity ranges from 1/8 – 1 tsp per day for the powder and 10-30 drops for the tincture.

Kelp – mineral-rich and nutritive, this sea plant is beneficial for skin and fur health, and is generally added to food anywhere from 1/8 – ½ tsp of powder.

Alfalfa – high in minerals and chlorophyll, this herb is also used for reducing overall inflammation in dogs and cats, 1/8 – 1 tsp/day of powder.

Nettle leaf – high in minerals and chlorophyll and supportive to kidney and urinary tract health, ¼-1 tsp/day or 5-30 drops for the tincture or glycerite.

Chamomile – calming and soothing to the nervous system, while anti-inflammatory to the GI. Give 5-30 drops of the tincture or glycerite. Or ¼-1/2 cup chamomile tea.

Burdock root – helps gently detoxify the system and is particularly useful for skin issues and for healthy digestive and liver function. 1/8 – 1/2 tsp of the powder or 5-30 drops of the tincture.

Neem leaf – excellent for the health of the skin, as well as being an antifungal and antibacterial, and a flea preventive internally as well as topically. 1/8 – 1/2 tsp of the powder twice/day.