Archive for the ‘general information’ Category

Making more herbal ointments

Monday, January 20th, 2014
An herbal ointment for warts and topical viral infections - St. John's wort, licorice root, cat's claw bark and echinacea purpurea root.

An herbal ointment for warts and topical viral infections – St. John’s wort, licorice root, cat’s claw bark and echinacea purpurea root.

Wart ointment and hot spot ointment herbs ready to go, with coconut oil from mountain rose herbs

Wart ointment and hot spot ointment herbs ready to go, with coconut oil from mountain rose herbs

Both herbals with coconut and sunflower oil in a water bath.  They sit at low heat for 3-5 hours.

Both herbals with coconut and sunflower oil in a water bath. They sit at low heat for 3-5 hours.

Grated beeswax to add to the strained oils

Grated beeswax to add to the strained oils

Back in the water bath to melt the beeswax

Back in the water bath to melt the beeswax

Final ointments cooling in their tins.  The brown is the anti-viral and the bright yellow is for hotspots.

Final ointments cooling in their tins. The brown is the anti-viral and the bright yellow is for hotspots.

The final product!

The final product!

So far these are just for my clients and family but will sell them at the new store, Kingdom of Basil when it opens and hopefully also on my herbal store .

Helping anxiety in an old friend – Calm and Peaceful Formula

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

calmphotoOne of the older dogs I work with recently developed severe separation anxiety, involving doing injury not just to the house she lived in but also to herself. Her western vet had put her on Xanax and Prozac but the Prozac didn’t seem to do anything and the Xanax sedated her so much she acted like a zombie dog on it.

On a recent visit in, her human mom brought in a tooth she had pulled out on her crate while she was away at work. We were very concerned that she would contain to injury herself if nothing was done. In addition not only did she have separation anxiety while her person was working but she also had quite a bit of anxiety at night making it so no one was sleeping well.

We started her on a calming formula to try to settle her nerves and anxiety yet let her still be herself and not always sedated. So far she has been much calmer throughout both the day and the evening and can now stay by herself when her mom is working.

Her formula included the following ingredients

  • Hops – I’m sure most of you are familiar with this important ingredient of beer. Hops is known to help with anxiety and insomnia
  • Passionflower – helps to calm the nervous system and has anti-anxiety actions as well as being a mild sedative. This plant is also used in some epilepsy treatments.
  • Valerian Root – This herb is often paired with passionflower for treatment of anxiety and insomnia. It also is mildly sedative.
  • Skullcap Root (Huang Qin) – Skullcap helps to calm the nervous system and also supports the liver.
  • Chamomile – Calming and so much more. We all know about taking a cup of chamomile tea.
  • Ginkgo Leaf – Did you know that Ginkgo trees are 270 million years old and one of the oldest species on earth? They were around when the dinosaurs where. Did you know that they were the only plant to survive the hiroshima atomic bomb, staying alive and thriving to this day? Pretty cool trees! They also help with memory and dementia by supporting blood flow to the brain. Makes seen that something that old would help with memory! If there is a blood flow issue causing anxiety in your dog friend, this is the herb to help.
  • Catnip – Calming and a great anti-anxiety herb for humans and dogs. Not so much with cats.

calmphoto2I’ve added this Calm and Peaceful Formula to my etsy shop, Kingdom of Basil.

As it can cause sedation it should not be used with other sedating herbs or drugs without veterinary direction. It also should not be used long term in young dogs as a replacement for training. It can be used at a low dose long term in older dogs.

A herbal ointment for hotspots

Sunday, December 29th, 2013


I have long wanted to experiment with making a hotspot ointment for dogs. Recently I found a tea I really liked that I modified from one of Jeremy Ross’s recipes, however a tea takes time to make and needed to be poured over the whole dog. In addition it is sometimes hard to get on hot spots that are on the underside of a dog like armpits.

This wonderful Christmas break gave me just the time I needed to make something up.

Starting with my tea recipe I mixed up 33g each of Oregon Grape, Da Huang (chinese rhubarb root) and Huang Qin (skullcap). These herbs help treat damp heat, inflammation and bacterial and yeast infections.

I put these herbs in a mason jar and added in half sunflower oil and half refined coconut oil. Yesterday I put the mason jar with the oil and herbs in it in a water bath and keep the temperature a little over 100 degrees for several hours.

Today I drained the herbs from the oil and added in grated beeswax to my mixture, put it all in a warmer water bath and waited for the beeswax to melt. When it did I experimented with cooling a little more of the mixture, ended up adding additional beeswax so it would be a little more solid and then placed the finished ointment in small mason jars to cool.

herbalointmentAnd the finished product – a nice soft and soothing ointment for hot spots and skin infection.

Many thanks to this the wonderful book The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook for the recipe on how to make an ointment. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to make their own herbal products.

There has been so much going on!

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

You’ve probably noticed I haven’t been writing lately.

There’s been a lot going on in my life.

First of all I finished the first draft of the cancer book!! I’m so excited about this! However there has been such a push the last six months to get it done, that I feel like now that it is, it is hard for me to refocus on what else I should be writing about. I’m also a little overwhelmed by the vast amount of editing I need to do to get it into shape. I want it to be in a form that you can hold in your hands.

At the same time I started looking for a space to finally have my healing center for animals and people and herb shop and we may have found a space. It is a small former medical clinic right next to the center of a cool little multicultural neighborhood on the peninsula I live. Hopefully we will be putting an offer in on it soon – going to talk to a real estate attorney on Monday. It’s a little outdated and may stay that way at first but I think with love and a little bit of decorator touch it is going to be awesome.

I can not wait to have a space where I can share my love of herbs and healing with others!

So far we have a small group of practitioners that I just love involved with the clinic. On the human side we have a naturopath Cheryln, acupuncturist and chinese herbalist Joleen, and massage therapist Kim. For the animals the same massage therapist, Kim Rogers, also does animal massage and then my friend Lisa Reising and I who do animal acupuncture and herbal medicine. And of course I will still have my wonderful assistant Diane helping, who holds my world together in so many ways and those of my clients as well. Once I have a space I will be seeking one or two more practitioners to join us. I feel like not only will we be able to offer an oasis of healing for two and four legged being but also share ideas with each other and become better practitioners because of it.

My herb shop Kingdom of Basil on etsy has been getting more and more orders and I am so excited to see the same people order again and again. I feel like I am able to make a difference in these animals’ lives. A few weeks ago I was able to get my longtime friend and human naturopath, Cheryln Crowl to come in on Mondays and spend a few hours making herbs for me. I am thrilled to have not only help but help from a human doctor who has loved herbs and understands how important it is to handle them well and put love into how you work with them.

I have always believed that love and intention put into a formula are important. Many of you have probably noticed the little hearts that get hand drawn on every tincture and powdered formula I make.

Dr. Cheryln will be part of the healing clinic Kingdom of Basil and I am so looking forward to working with her more and being able to share my human clients with her. She lived with me during my lovely cat Basil’s reign of our home and understands what it means to live in the Kingdom of Basil and have a supportive and healing center. Did I mention that we have been friends since we were three years old? Funny how we both ended up in the healing arts.

So back to this blog. Here are some thoughts on articles I want to write
Liver disease and elevated liver enzymes and herbs to treat them with
Inflammatory bowel disease
Calming herbs
Is there other articles that would be helpful?

I’ll keep you all updated on what happens. I’m feeling like everything is circling into place, the book, the clinic, the herb shop and all the wonderful practitioners. It all just needs to come together now! Wish us luck!

Want to take a reiki class?

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

My friend Rose DeDan is an amazing healer and reiki and shamanic practitioner. We often trade acupuncture and reiki session for our animal companions and she has done work on me as well. She also teaches Reiki classes and still has some openings in her level one class this weekend. If you have never taken a reiki class before I highly recommend it.

Reiki energy healing restores the balance between the physical, emotional, spiritual and mental levels for all living beings, enabling the body to do what it does best, heal itself. It can also affect reconnection between spiritual beings and the universe around us (if you thought animals liked you before wait ’til you experience their response to Reiki!).

Reiki training offers important benefits for self-healing and as well as for healing for people, animals, trees and plants.

A Reiki Level 1 training incorporates a series of attunements and hands-on training. The attunements open energy channels enabling the student to connect with the Reiki healing energy. This is an important aspect of Reiki—energy comes through the person, not from them—making this form of healing a safe one.

For more information or to register for this class check out Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing’s Level 1 Reiki class.

A world of sharing and trust – why everything on Path With Paws is free and sharable

Friday, August 30th, 2013

I believe that information that can help people or animals should be available for free. I believe that knowledge is powerful and that this should not be held by a few but available to anyone. The more people who can be helped by what I hold in my brain the better. I am one person; I can only share with a few of you if everything stays in my brain.

The internet is a powerful tool. It reaches out to people all over the world. Rich people, poor people, people who speak the same language as me, people who speak other languages. We are no longer a world where we must memorize knowledge but a world where we share knowledge. I want to be part of this sharing.

I believe in the fair exchange that happens naturally in life. As people, I believe we generally want to give for things that are of value to us but that we don’t like being forced to give. And if we receive a gift we want to be able to use it in whatever way we see fit and if we love it we want to share it with friends. What if someone gave you a beautiful cooking pan but told you that you could only make food in it for yourself?

We are delusional if we believe that when information or art is sold that people do not share it. As humans it is natural for us to share. Why not embrace that sharing instead of fighting it?

From Cory Doctorow:
Finally, let’s look at the moral case. Copying stuff is natural. It’s how we learn (copying our parents and the people around us). My first story, written when I was six, was an excited re-telling of Star Wars, which I’d just seen in the theater. Now that the Internet — the world’s most efficient copying machine — is pretty much everywhere, our copying instinct is just going to play out more and more. There’s no way I can stop my readers, and if I tried, I’d be a hypocrite: when I was 17, I was making mix-tapes, photocopying stories, and generally copying in every way I could imagine. If the Internet had been around then, I’d have been using it to copy as much as I possibly could.

So how do artists and writers survive in a world of sharing and giving? What if we let our readers and fans put a value on our art? What if you as the reader only gave what was possible and only if you were inspired to and it felt right? What if there was no requirement to give anything? How would that change the availability of art and information?

One of my favorite performers Amanda Palmer, in her recent TED talk said
A lot of people are confused by the idea of no hard sticker price. They see it as an unpredictable risk, but … I see it as trust.

“I think people have been obsessed with the wrong question, which is, ‘How do we make people pay for music?’ What if we started asking, ‘How do we LET people pay for music?”

The same holds true for my work. There is a donation button in the upper right hand corner. If my work speaks to you and you feel inspired to give something back I deeply appreciate it. If my work can help you or your animal companion that warms my heart.

Please share any of my information, pass it on to your friends, your family, anyone you know that could benefit from it.

Everything I write is licensed under creative commons noncommercial.

What does this mean?
Any of my work can be shared, translated, copied, given out in classes, put on your blog, passed on in anyway as long as it is not sold for money. The creative commons license must follow if you republish it. And I ask that you either link to Path With Paws or add in the website URL when you do use the material.

What if we could change our world to a system of trust? What if we didn’t cling so closely to mine but opened things up to make knowledge and art all of ours? I want to live in this world!

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Kingdom of Basil – a healing clinic for animals and their people

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

I have long dreamed of having a healing clinic filled with many different skilled holistic practitioners for both humans and animals and a small retail herbal shop. A couple of weeks ago I began looking for the space to finally bring my dream to life. And so Kingdom of Basil is in the first stages of being born.

I picture a little brick storefront with large front windows full of plants. When you walk in the smell of herbs meets you at the door. For those of you who have never walked into a Chinese pharmacy it is hard to explain the wonderful delight of so many flavors mingling together.

Behind the herb shop will be a healing practice full of wonderful acupuncturists, naturopathic physicians, massage practitioners, and other healing workers for animals and their people. Maybe a massage therapist who can massage a sick older dog and then ease the tension in the shoulders of his caregiver who has been worried and having to carry him up and down the stairs. Somewhere that a cat can get acupuncture as her human sits with her and then she can sit on the comfortable couch as her human companion gets a treatment also.

If I can find a large enough space I would love to have classes in the evenings on herbs and different types of healing and support groups for those who have recently lost animal companions or are working with an animal with illness. Maybe a lending library for those who want to come in and look through books on holistic health.

Let me tell you a little more about the herb shop. As many of you know herbs are one of my true loves. My pharmacy has grown to almost 300 herbs over the years and I would love to have a place to show them off. Can you imagine dog treats infused with herbs for health? Chocolates for humans with calming herbs such as lavender in them? Tinctures for when our animal friends have to go under anesthesia. Ground herbs to mix in homemade food of older dogs. Herbs to ease some of the pain and discomfort of growing old. If I can get a human practitioner involved I could also expand more of this out to humans. I started my online herbal shop Kingdom of Basil late last year; this would give it a home and bring it to life.

I picture this clinic as a kind of third place for those with companion animals. Somewhere that folks could meet up and get care and knowledge and share experience. Somewhere that brings to life the idea that we live in a system, that treating the dog or cat is treating the family and that treating the humans is treating the animals. We are all connected and care should not be separated by species. I want to bring this idea to life!

I know that it may take awhile to be able to do all this fully, but I am ready to begin. If you are in the Seattle area and are interested in joining us please let me know. I am looking for practitioners who would want to run their own businesses but share space and resources. kingdomofbasil (at) gmail (dot) com .

InteroSTOP – help for calming dogs and cats too

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

I recently attended the ACVIM veterinary conference for internal medicine specialists. This is by far my favorite mainstream medicine conference because there are always many lectures on the new cutting edge medicine being developed.

This conference I was able to attend lectures on using stem cells to regrow and repair damaged and failing kidneys, using modified viruses to target cancer, using proton pump inhibitors to help chemotherapy work in resistant patients, and some of the new cancer drugs that are safer to use and target cancer cells better without as many of the side effects of traditional chemotherapy. It is all very cool stuff and while more study and development needs to be done it is clear to me that medicine is going to be moving and changing in the next 10-20 years.

At any big conference there is always a large exhibition hall with vendors showing off their latest drugs and products, many of them I walk by as they are not things that I actively use in practice. However a new product called InteroSTOP caught my eye this year with its claim to help calm dogs and cats with a synthesized pig pheromone. I have long been a fan of Feliway and DAP that work in the same way but have found less success with DAP. The company that makes InteroSTOP happily gave me a free product to try.

My own dog Alli is very reactive to the UPS trucks that come to our house on a daily basis (both my husband and I have businesses from home). We have done quite a bit of behavior modification but unless we have treats in front of her the whole time the truck is parked she is jumping up and down and barking. I thought this is the perfect place to try this new product.

The InteroSTOP spray combines a loud sound with the pheromone. The sound interupts the behavior and the pheromone calms. The pheromone they use is something released during pig mating. The first time I used the spray Alli jumped a little but stopped barking, she then run to the window and woofed again but not as loud. I sprayed the InteroSTOP a second time and she stopped barking and sat watching the UPS truck calmly. She has never watched a UPS truck calmly. Wow! We have since repeated this and are hoping with time she will associate the UPS truck with the calm she feels from the pheromone.

While this product is synthesized and not completely natural I like that it is based on a natural pheromone and is not a drug. It seems like a wonderful aid in behavior training especially in dogs that can be reactive. The company also sells a collar called Nurturecalm for both dogs and cats which I have not tried but I imagine would also be helpful. I will definitely be recommending InteroSTOP to clients.

(Just in case you are wondering I haven’t gotten anything from the company beyond my one free sample, just am impressed with this product and think it could help others)

Medical marijuana for pets

Monday, June 17th, 2013

I have had so many questions about medical marijuana in animals lately, especially with it becoming legal in Washington state where I practice. This is probably one of the best articles out there about medical marijuana use in pets and the legal issues that come up with it. See Veterinary Marijuana in the recent JAVMA journal.

Marijuana may become something we reach for often in the future for chronic disease, cancer, and pain in both our dogs and cat. The largest issue now is that it is a federal crime for me to talk to clients about how to use it, because as veterinarians we are regulated by the federal government and the state protections that extend to MDs do not apply to use. However it is legal in Washington state for people to buy and use marijuana in their companion animals without our guidance. Go figure. I am hoping that the laws soon change so we can offer guidance and even prescribe it. Meanwhile if anyone has a good article or wants to write one on the proper use of marijuana in dogs and cats I would be happy to publish or share it here.

Why we should open up information and find common ground with herbal use in animals

Monday, June 17th, 2013

When I did shelter work years ago we hated pet stores, absolutely hated them. Pet stores sold animals, many from puppy mills and sometimes sick animals. They didn’t spay or neuter. They sold animals to people without any guidance, often these animals had worms or even worse broke with distemper or parvovirus when people would get them home. People would get these animals and not be able to deal with them and drop them at the shelter and we would kill them because there were too many. You can see why we hated them so much.

We talked about getting the legislator to ban the sale of animals in store, we tried to get people to boycott these stores and we told them how wrong and bad they were and nothing changed. People still bought animals from pet stores and we still killed them when they were brought to us.

But one day someone asked what if we figured out a way to partner with them and in doing so either increase their profits or at least not hurt them. We figured out that the best way to do that was by approaching them and talking to them, figuring out what they wanted and what we wanted and finding common ground. Instead of seeing them as evil we joined forces.

Today in Seattle there are very few pet stores that sell animals but many pet stores have cages that are used by local rescue groups and shelters to showcase animals up for adoption. People adopt animals in the pet stores but from the rescue groups and then buy their new pet supplies from the store. Who does want a new color and bowl for their new little love? The stores makes money, fewer animals die. Everyone wins.

On to herbs and animals –

In the veterinary community there is a huge concern about people treating their animals with supplements and herbs without the guidance of a practitioner. This is not because we do not want people’s animals to do well but for the exact opposite reason, that we fear that harm will be done that hurts these animals.

The truth is there are plenty of people giving out information that are not trained in herbal medicine or veterinary medicine. It makes me cringe to think of some of the things I have read online that are simply not true and even worse, harmful. If we as the veterinary community do not share information on the safe use of herbs and supplements someone else will and the chance of harm or the wrong supplements/herbs being used for the wrong conditions goes way up.

There are many places where there are simply no holistic vets. Do we insist that someone drive a sick animal 4-5 hours each way to see one? Move to a larger city? Not have access to something that could help their animal?

We need to realize that people self diagnosing and treating animals with herbs is not going to go away no matter how much we fight it. So let’s stop fighting.

What if we tried a different approach by making sure that people have access to safe herbs and good information about how to use them? What if we gave them, with that, references to vets in their area who worked with herbs and supplements?

There is a fear if we “give out free information” people will not come and see us, our business will die out. I view this as sharing not giving. When I have people contact me through my herb store with questions about using herbs I always recommend they find a holistic vet – if they don’t have one close I try to help as much as I can without crossing the line of treating without seeing an animal. But what I have found is that about 50% of those people I talk to go out and find a holistic vet to work with, even if they order herbs through my store. People want someone to trust, they want safe access to herbs, and they want someone to guide them. Just like with the shelters and pet stores, we are on the same side, we want people’s animals to do well, and people want their animals to do well. When we freely share information we are introducing more people to our holistic veterinary community and bringing in more business not turning it away. We share information and people share their animals with us.

Most of our best herbal mixtures are restricted to veterinary or practitioner use only, yet formulas that have the same herbs but are maybe contaminated with pesticides or have other purity issues are readily available. Why are we complaining about herbs not being safe let making it so the safest ones are not readily available to everyone? What would happen if we made access to herbs open to everyone (except very dangerous herbs like the aconites and ephreda)? What if we developed herb formulas that were similar to the formulas with potentially dangerous herbs that could be used without toxicity?

What if we became one group with one goal? What if we followed the lead of the shelters and opened up communication with the places selling herbs for pets? What if veterinarians, herbal companies and people with animals they love worked together, sharing information? What if we made it our mission to make sure our animal companions and their people had the best access possible to information and safe herbs? What if we shared what we know so that it can expand out beyond the few animals we can see, beyond our local community and out into the world?