Posts Tagged ‘dogs’

What I made today – Xiao Feng San – dispel wind powder for itching

Monday, October 1st, 2012

I made this one for my own dog Alli, who is prone to getting itchy especially when she goes to the dog park, eats too many treats, or finds a hot dog bun in the bushes. Most of the time this is fairly under control through her grain free raw diet but occasionally she has a super itchy day. I did get a look from her yesterday when she was eating her food with herbs in it slower than normal, “why you put stinky herbs in my food mom, yuck!?”, so next time I may stick them in gel caps for her.

Xiao Feng San is one of the first formulas that I learned about from my first herbal teacher, Richard Panzer. At first I had a lot of disappointment with the formula. It can be a great formula for itchy dogs however I thought it would be my cure all. Since then I have found that I wasn’t using it in a high enough dose and that it doesn’t work that well for the very bad chronically itchy dog.

Where it does work well is for the dogs that are itchy but their skin is actually in pretty good shape. However they still bite or scratch at themselves like they are being attacked by invisible bugs. Usually the itchiness is shifting, a little itchy on the ear and then the belly and then the side.

Where I have found it doesn’t work well is for those dogs with bad skin infections or inflammations who have thickened skin, oozing sores, and massive hair loss. For those guys you really need to work closely with an herbalist and also focus on nutrition. See Itchy Dogs the link between inflammation and diet. Most of the dogs I work with who have severe skin disease get started on Si Miao San or Qing Ying Tang and often both together. Occasionally I will use Xiao Feng San in combination with these formulas.

So in Chinese medicine shifting itching is said to come from wind that moves through the skin. It is often worse in the windy seasons of fall and spring, which are also our allergen seasons. This formula helps to dispel wind from the body and also has an effect to tonify blood, so there is good blood flow to the skin and decreased inflammation. It also helps to cool down the skin. Wind doesn’t effect an animal without some imbalances or it wouldn’t be able to get inside. Similar to folks with suppressed immune systems being sick more often, animals with deficiencies are more prone to itchiness. By the way there is a great formula for those who always get sick called Jade Wind Screen (more about that later). Additionally Xiao Feng San also has a mild effect in improving leaky gut and helping digestion.

I do have to say this is one of the most beautiful and diverse formulas. Just look at the colors and textures.

So how does this formula work?

First what is in it

Jing Jie (schizonepeta stem)
Fang Feng (siler root)
Niu Bang Zi (greater burdock fruit)
Chan Tui (cicada molt)
Cang Zhu (atractylodes root)
Ku Shen (sophora root)
Shi Gao (gypsum)
Zhi Mu (anemarrhenae rhizome)
Sheng Di Huang (rehmannia root)
Dang Gui (chinese angelica root)
Hei Zhi Ma (black sesame seeds)
Gan Cao (licorice root)
Mu Tong (akebia)

Let’s start with Jing Jie, I love the smell of schizonepeta stem. It also has a lovely green color. With Fang Feng , Niu Bang zi and Chan tui it helps to open the pores and release wind – aka stop itching. Yes you read that right, this formula contains chan tui, the molted exoskeleton of cicada. If there is one thing is my pharmacy that makes people feel like they have walked into a witch’s apothecary it would be the cicada. My son used to like to impress visiting guests by showing them off and often eating one. He learned early on what was ok to eat in my pharmacy. And these little ghosts of insects really do help with itching.

Cang Zhu helps to drain inflammation and support digestion. Ku shen and Mu tong both decrease inflammation and clear heat. Shi gao and Zhi mu take that one step deeper and clear heat at a deeper qi level. In other words they are trying to get rid of the core or root of the heat that causes inflammation and keep it from getting worse.

Sheng Di Huang and Dang Gui help to tonify the blood, increasing blood production in the bone marrow and keeping a healthy blood volume to nourish the skin so that it stays healthy. Hei Zhi Ma aids in this process also keeping the skin moist. Some anti-inflammatory herbs can be drying and these ingredients help to balance that out.

Finally Gan Cao or licorice comes in and to harmonize the other herbs. Gan Cao also supports the adrenal system and removes toxicity in the body.

This formula should never be used in very old or sick animals unless they are under the care of a veterinary herbalist. Available in my etsy shop Kingdom of Basil.

What I made today – Zhi Xie San – anti-diarrhea formula

Monday, September 24th, 2012

If you have had a dog you have probably had to deal with diarrhea at least once. Dogs love to find things on the side of the road and eat them quickly before we can take them away. Just last night I was fighting Alli over an old hot dog bun she had found in the bushes across from the 7-11. To her it was the greatest delight ever, to me it was a night with an itchy dog.

While Alli tends to get itchy from finding random things to eat, a lot of dogs will get diarrhea. This is not always a bad thing if it only lasts for a day. Diarrhea is the body’s way of getting rid of bad things fast. I always say better out than in. However sometimes the diarrhea continues. This can be a great formula for getting it under control fast. Also see my article Natural solutions to treat acute diarrhea.

So on to one of my favorite herbals, Zhi Xie San is a great anti-diarrhea formula. I learned this one from my wonderful acupuncture teacher, Richard Panzer, and it works like magic in many dogs.

It contains six simple yet effective ingredients
Shan Yao (chinese yam)
Yi Yi Ren (job’s tears)
Ge Gen (kudzu root)
Fu Ling (poria rhizome)
Bai Zhu (atractylodes rhizome)
Mu Xiang (costus root)
Lian Zi (lotus seeds)

Shan Yao is a great anti-diarrhea herb. In addition to this formula I often add a little of this to any formula that is moving if I am using it in a dog prone to diarrhea. Shan Yao is a tonic which helps with digestion, in addition it is a qi tonic and one of the herbs that makes this formula safe to use in older and sicker animals. Bai Zhu is also a qi tonic which helps support digestion and pairs well with chinese yam.

Yi Yi Ren has so many uses, it is good at draining dampness and often used for arthritis and cancer in addition to diarrhea. Ge Gen also has actions to help stop diarrhea and adds in the ability to expel pathogens. Fu Ling is also a great drainer of dampness, in addition its sweet nature helps with digestion.

Mu Xiang helps with food stagnation and treats pain in the gut. It helps relieve straining in the intestine and helps to regulate the other herbs in this formula. It makes sure that the other herbs which drain dampness do not hurt digestion of lead to stagnation in the gut.

Last is lotus seeds, these are often used in malas but they also have uses in herbal medicine. Lotus seeds help to support the digestion of the body and stop diarrhea. They also can help with anxiety and calm the spirit of the heart. They are said to lighten the body and slow aging. Not a bad addition.

This formula has a wonderful almost white color and it is light and soft to the touch. It feels to me like it could work as a sponge to soak up liquid and in fact that is what it does in the body. It is a great alternative to kaopectate or peptobismol.

I have used this formula in a number of animals however I do not use it if there is a lot of blood in the diarrhea or if there are know parasites. In many chronic inflammatory bowel disease cases this formula can help but often I use different formulas depending on how animals present.

Now available in my etsy shop Kingdom of Basil.

Reposted: Fireworks and your animal friends – Is the sky falling down?

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

This is an article I wrote last year that deserves to be posted again with the 4th approaching.

The 4th of July is rapidly approaching. Unfortunately for many of our animal friends this can also be a stressful time because of the loud fireworks that many people set off when the clock reaches midnight. For many animals, fireworks can seem like the world is ending and every year animals injury themselves by trying to escape out of houses or by running away and getting lost or hit by cars.

If you have an animal who is afraid of fireworks or a new animal in your household this is a good time to be home with them if at all possible. Here are some things you can do to avoid stress and injury to your furry companion. Not everything works for every animal and many of these suggestions can be used in combination. Some animals get such severe anxiety that they need to be sedated with medication, so if your animal falls under that category this is the time to call your veterinarian. Most of the suggested products below can be purchased at natural pet supply stores.

1. Put on loud music or turn up the television to cancel out the noise. If your animal is prone to stress I would suggest classical or other calming music.

2. Use pheromone sprays such as Feliway for cats and DAP for dogs to calm them down.

3. Spray a natural lavender product around the house. Lavender can be very calming but make sure you use a natural product and not one full of chemicals. Do not spray directly on your animal.

4. Bach flower remedies such as Rescue Remedy can be very helpful for stressed animals. If you are working with a holistic veterinarian they can make you up a custom remedy for your animal. These are homeopathic in nature and very safe for even the oldest of animals. Put a few drops in their mouth or on the ear and a few drops in all the drinking bowls in the house.

5. Animal Apawthecary has a great line of herbal essences. Tranquility blend works well for many animals however check with your veterinarian if your animal is on any medications or has any major health issues before using this.

6. If you are home, talk to your animal calmly and rub them gently. If they become agitated try to stay calm. Your stress will only make them more stressed.

7. Make sure all windows and doors are closed. Do not leave your animal outside.

Have a wonderful 4th and thank you for visiting!