Molly's Herbals

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What is holistic health care?

Modern Western medicine does not treat the entire animal or human. It directly address the problem, aiming to correct it as quickly as possible. In contrast, holistic therapies address the health of the entire organism by slowly and surely balancing the systems of the body, strengthening the immune system, and preventing disease.

Understanding using herbs

Understanding the proper use of herbs involves rethinking your understanding of how health care works (or should work). In today's mainstream medical profession (Western Medicine) the approach to health maintenance focuses on treating symptoms. When a person, or animal, gets sick, the conventional practice is to identify and suppress the symptoms of disease to achieve immediate relief (quick fix). The long term well being of the patient is not really addressed and to cure the real dis-ease is actually not pursued, because, financially speaking, if you actually cured the problem for good, the doctors and pharmaceutical companies couldn't get any more money.

In using herbs in a holistic manner, we look at what are the causes of the dis-ease. We take a curative approach and look for the origin and purpose. Once this is addressed, we can work toward reestablishing and maintaining the bodies' own ability to heal itself.

To use an herb, as just a replacement for chemical drugs, is not the proper way to use them. Herbs are not used like drugs, to suppress symptoms, but are used to support the bodies' own natural healing mechanisms so that the body can heal itself. Do not expect immediate results when using herds (such as all symptoms of illness or worms gone in a day), give the herbs the time they need to begin supporting the body properly.

Please always keep in mind that just because something is "natural" or an "herb" does not mean it is totally safe to use under every circumstance. Not all herbs are safe to use while pregnant. Not all herbs are safe to use on a continuing basis. Not all herbs are safe to use on all animals (or people). I often get worried that trusting people, who want to use natural products, are sometimes being told that it is safe to use them in unsafe manners. Herbs are wonderful and useful when used properly. It is up to YOU to educate yourself about the herbs (and any other products) that you are using on your animals (and yourself).

Calculating correct herbal doses for animals

How much:
The following will work as a good starting point. Adjustments may need to be made based on the particular animal.

Cats: 1/8 to 1/4 the dose for an adult human.
Dogs: Correspond to adult human dose according to weight.
Horse: 8 to 16 times the dose for an adult human.
Goats: 2 - 2 1/2 times the dose for an adult human.
Sheep: 1 1/2 to 2 times the dose for an adult human.
Cow: 12 to 24 times the dose for an adult human.
Swine: 1 to 3 times the dose for an adult human.

Initial dosages might have to be increased later to achieve the results you are looking for. An easy mistake is to think of dosing in terms of absolutes. Watch the animal being treated, understand the herbs you are using, and don't be afraid to change dosages if needed. If you need to increase a dosage, do so in 10% increments to a maximum of 50% above the starting dose. If the dosage needs to be decreased (if, for example the animal begins vomiting) cut the dose in half.

How often: Animals usually require a dose 1 to 3 times a day.
I usually give herbal treatments every day until the situation is "cured" to my satisfaction. Though, many people find herbal treatments more effective when used 5-7 days in a row ("on") and two days off, 5 days on, two days of, etc. You may want to experiment and see what works best for your particular situation.

How long: The time it takes to see results from an herbal therapy varies greatly and is dependent on the nature of the herb, the animal, and the severity of the situation. Herbal therapy does not produce sudden suppression of mere symptoms as with chemical drugs (which often passes as a "cure"). Herbs can often cure (not suppress) in weeks, but it is all dependent on the individual case. If some results aren't seen after you have maintained the maximum dose for more than 7 days, it may be time to try another herb or consult your vet. How long to give the herbs depends on the specific animal and varies according to the disease being treated. Exactly how long to maintain an herbal therapy can only be determined through knowing your own particular animal.

Doses can be given in drops, ml, tsp. etc... To help you figuring out what your animals needs, you may find this web page useful.
Measurements: Conversion Guides, Charts & Calculators

Talk to your animals

Most animals lovers don't need to be told this, we love our furry (or scaly) friends and talk to them all the time. But what I am suggesting is that you really look into their eyes and really talk to them. Speak to them in full sentences like you believe they understand you, because if you give them the chance they will. They can understand much more then you know.

When you have to treat your animals because they are ill, explain what you are doing and why you are doing it to them. Explain that you love them and want them to get better, and you are doing what you are doing to help them.

If you have to give some sort of unpleasant treatment, don't just jump out of nowhere, surprise your animals and force the thing down his throat. That is what is traumatic, not the actual thing being forced into their mouth but the surprise and unexpected action of the human.

Mable, our diabetic basset hound must have insulin shots twice a day. She doesn't like the shots (who would), but when it is time for them we say, "Mable, it's time for your shot. We're sorry, good girl, but you have to have the shot or you'll get sick." She does not run away, but waits for her shot. We say, "Here's you shot" <give the shot> Then we very enthusiastically say "Good Mable, yeah, you had your shot, now you get your vitamin pill. YEAH." And the we give her her vitamin which she thinks is a very special treat.

 

Essential Oils and Cats

To put it in very simplified, not-technical terms: Many of the compounds in essential oils are rapidly absorbed orally, through the skin, and through inhalation, by a cat. These are then metabolized in the liver. Cats are known to be deficient in their ability to metabolize and eliminate certain compounds. Lack of this important ability may result in slower elimination and thus build up of the toxic compounds in the body, thus causing liver damage. The development of liver damage can be a slow process without any visible symptoms. Use extreme caution when using essential oils around cats. Never use undiluted oils directly on cats. If using oils in aromatherapy make sure the cat can leave the room freely to get fresh air if he needs to.

The above information is drawn from copyrighted material from The Lavender Cat web site and is used with permission. Please visit The Lavender Cat for much more information pertaining to cats & essential oils.

Lavender Oil & Cats:

I use lavender oil in aromatherapy in my small home office all the time. Purknz (our 10 year old cat) often naps on the computer monitor, which is 3 feet from the oil diffuser. He has never shown any sign of problem from inhaling lavender essential oil (or any of the other oils I use). When Junior (a two year old cat) had his pelvis broken, I used lavender oil around him in aromatheropy to help alleviate the stress, and it worked nicely, with no problems. Lavender is a very safe oil and you can use it with confidence, just make sure, the cat can leave the room if he wishes (to get some fresh air). To be on the safe side, I would not use undiluted lavender essential oil directly on a cat, just as I would not use any type of undiluted essential oil on a cat (better safe than sorry)

Tea Tree Oil & Cats:

Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil) has been reported to cause serious side effects (tea tree toxicosis or hypersensitivity) in cats. There is no antidote for tea tree oil toxicosis in cats and it can be fatal. Extreme care should be taken when, and if, using tea tree oil with cats. Always avoid using tea tree oil undiluted directly on cats.

Personal note: Before I knew any better, I used straight tea tree oil on Junior, our cat, with no ill effects that I know of. BUT, I have no way of knowing if it caused any long tern liver damage and now that I have learned more on the subject I would never use it undiluted on him again (better safe than sorry).

 

Addressing concerns about garlic

I have personally never had a problem with any type of adverse reaction due to administering garlic to my own animals, but people have asked me if this is a issue they should be concerned about, so I present my findings here:

Although toxic side effects from the consumption of garlic are is quite rare in animals as well as humans, the possibility of harming with garlic dose exist (just as the possibility of harming with any herb, supplement or drug). The root of the controversy over garlic is a dangerous misconception: the belief that more garlic is always better. Moderation is the cardinal rule of all herb use, and this applies strictly to garlic, particularly when used in cats. When misused (used excessively over an extended period) garlic may cause a disease known as Heinz-body anemia. This disease is easily prevented with common sense and a few precautions.

  1. Do not give garlic to animals with preexisting anemic conditions.
  2. Puppies begin reproducing new red blood cells until after 6 to 8 weeks of age, so do not give garlic to young puppies.
  3. The possibility of Heinz-body anemia is dose dependent, meaning the more garlic fed, the greater the chances of a problem developing. Most recorded instances of Heinz-body anemia in animals involve the ingestion of large quantities of onions and other garlic relatives, many of which contain much larger percentages of enzyme-depleting constituents than a typical dose of garlic. Recorded cases of allium poisoning typically involve onion doses exceeding 0.5 percent of the animals' body weight. This means that a healthy 60-pound dog (goat) would have to eat a whole 5-ounce onion, or several cloves of garlic, just to start the Heinz-body process. Since red blood cells are regenerated quickly, this large dose would have to be repeated several times on a frequent basis to cause permanent harm.
  4. Cats are more sensitive to the side effects of garlic, so they require more caution and attention with its use. Watch for digestive upset and behavioral changes, and if your cat simply doesn't want any garlic, don't force him. Animals know their needs better then we do.

In defense of garlic, be aware that several other foods can cause Heinz-body anemia as well; large amounts of turnips, kale, rape, or anything rich in vitamin K may lead to the disorder.

In conclusion, remember, that just like humans, no two animals are exactly the same: what is fine for one, could be detrimental to the another. Before using garlic in a therapeutic way, make sure you know your own animals. Small doses of garlic added to an animals diet is probably going to be of more benefit than harm. But just remember: don't overdo it. Use common scene and moderation and to have respect for garlic, as you should with all herbs.


Information about how I produce my tinctures

Making proper Tinctures is an exacting science. Some people use a "folk" method of making Tinctures and some use the more scientific pharmacological method of extracting the herbs. I use the latter method; standards set out by the official US Pharmacopoeia.

The components of an each herb are a combination of water soluble elements and alcohol soluble elements. Each herb had different combinations of components, and so to extract the maximum "essential qualities" from each herb you really need to use the proper combination of alcohol to water. People who use the "folk" methods use vodka as the alcohol/water extractor (menstrum). This is because vodka is 40% alcohol and 60% water. By using Vodka, all their herbs are extracted with the same ratio of alcohol to water, meaning, not everything that can be extracted is actually extracted. I use the more exacting scientific method mixing a menstrum of using pure grain alcohol and diluting it the proper ratio to extra the most from the herb. Some herbs contain elements that are mainly alcohol soluble and some water soluble. The amounts of alcohol:water used are adjust accordingly to create the highest quality tincture. May some herbs want 70% alcohol, maybe some want only 22% alcohol. (at least 22% is needed to properly preserve the tincture)

There are some "low alcohol" tinctures on the market. These are made replacing the alcohol extract with glycerin. Glycerin will extra some of the alcohol soluble elements, but it really dose not work as well as alcohol. Because I want my tinctures to be of the highest quality and have the maximum herb essence, I do not use glycerin (or Vodka).

Some herbs are better extracted dry, some fresh. Each has their own specific ratio needed of alcohol to water and herb to Menstrum. Each herb has a specific ratio. Using more dry isn't necessarily better and adding more may not necessarily make a stronger extract. It's using the proper ratio that is key to a quality product.

 

Why is there a disclaimer on some of products offered on this site?

To protect you as well as me. A statement or "disclaimer" is required by law when a manufacturer makes a structure/function claim about a dietary supplement. The FDA say only drugs can "diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease". The supplements on this site are not drugs; they are herbs. The FDA doesn't recognize that herbs actually do anything and considers them "dietary supplements". Because the supplements are not drugs, the law says that if a dietary supplement label/description includes a claim, it must state in a "disclaimer" that FDA has not evaluated this claim. The disclaimer must also state that this product is not intended to "diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease," because only a drug can legally make such a claim.

 

 



* Disclaimer: The products offered on this web site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease.

The information and statements presented on this site have not been evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The use of herbs and essential oil for the prevention, treatment, mitigation or cure of disease has not been approved by the FDA or USDA. We therefore make no claims to this effect.

We are not veterinarians or doctors. The information on this site is based on the traditional and historic use of herbs as well as personal experience and is provided for general reference and educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, prescribe or promote any direct or implied health claims. This information is and products are not intended to replace professional veterinary and/or medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your vet and/or doctor. We present the products on this site and the information supplied here without guarantees, and we disclaim all liability in connection with the use of these products and/or information. Any person making the decision to act upon this information is responsible for investigating and understanding the effects of their own actions. Please read our Services and Conditions of Use and Limitation Of Liability policy.

 
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