Plants provide vital natural sources of vitamins, minerals, and trace elements that many of todayâ€™s commercial diets just donâ€™t provide, what with poor-quality and over-processed ingredients. And in our increasingly urbanized environment, many dogs donâ€™t have the opportunity to forage and ingest healing plants they instinctively seek out when feeling distressed.
From herbal treatments, animals can derive not only nutritional benefits, but also gentle, non-invasive medicinal therapy. Herbal medicine works by strengthening the bodyâ€™s physiological systems, rather than treating only individual presenting symptoms.
Just as in people, arthritis is probably the most common chronic health condition in older dogs. It is characterized by chronic inflammation and calcium deposits in the joints, leading to stiffness, swelling and pain.
A classic herb tea for arthritis uses equal parts alfalfa, burdock, and white willow. The first two are excellent detoxifiers, and white willow is an effective anti-inflammatory and pain relieving agent. In addition, alfalfa is full of nutrients. This is best administered as a tea, mixed in with the dogâ€™s food and water. The liquid has a pleasant taste, but if a dog refuses it, squirt a teaspoon of the mixture into his mouth two or three times a day.