herbal me

of all the systems discussed in this section, the immune system is at once the most difficult and the most self-evident to treat. for instance, hyperlipidemia in people is surely not just a problem with the blood—it is a lifestyle problem in many cases. this is a traditional chinese herb that is used to tonify as well as “invigorate” the blood. the problem here is that most studies have been conducted in vitro or at best in experimental animals and most of these plants have not been used traditionally for immune support. extracts of this plant have been investigated in human clinical trials for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, myasthenia gravis, lupus erythematosus, graft rejection, asthma, and other immune-mediated problems, generally with positive results (tao, 2000; tao, 2002). this is a natural statin that has been shown to reduce cholesterol and triacylglycerol concentrations in controlled trials in humans (heber, 1999). this is the most popular chinese herbal formula in veterinary medicine for the control of hemorrhage. echinacea and astragalus are two of the most popular “immune” herbs in human herbal medicine. it should be noted that some of these herbs have multiple indications that magnify their effects on the respiratory tract (thyme is both antimicrobial and expectorant, echinacea is an immune stimulant and an antimicrobial, and astragalus is an immune stimulant that is specifically associated with the lung in traditional chinese medicine). herbs offer a rational potential in the treatment of cancer in animals; however, it is important to note that herbs may be used for purposes other than direct antitumor activity. herbs should be used to strengthen body resistance, and vitality is enhanced through the use of adaptogens. of 59 patients with advanced lung cancer, 95% were able to complete chemotherapy and radiotherapy with the use of cordyceps compared with 64% of controls. they are also used to improve the absorption and assimilation of nutrients. the cancer chemoprevention and anticarcinogenic effects of silymarin have been shown to be caused by its major constituent, silibinin (bhatia, 1999). the anticancer properties of curcumin have been demonstrated in cultured cells and animal studies. a review of these herbs can be found in the section on neurology, pain, and behavior. the addition of flaxseed to the diet also caused a dose-dependent decrease in tumor cross-sectional area and tumor volume. it was concluded that flaxseed inhibits human breast cancer growth and metastasis in a mouse model, and that this effect is due in part to the downregulation of insulin-like growth factor i and epidermal growth factor receptor expression (chen, 2002). the antiproliferative effects of serotonin reuptake inhibitors and serotonin antagonists have been demonstrated in prostate tumors. in vitro studies suggest that it may be useful in the treatment of patients with osteosarcoma and some soft tissue sarcomas (anderson, 1995). as to the type of ginseng, cancer was reduced in users of fresh ginseng extract, white ginseng extract, white ginseng powder, and red ginseng. turmeric or curcumin or a combination of the two was administered to hamsters in the diet or applied locally for 14 weeks, along with a carcinogen. these seeds in the diet inhibit colon carcinogenesis in rats by modulating the activities of β-glucuronidase and mucinase. it was noted that 12 weeks after initiation of treatment, 71% of treated cats were alive and in good health (sheets, 1991). the primary use of mistletoe is as a palliative cancer therapy. depending on the type and stage of the tumor, treatment in humans is based on a specific schedule that can be lifelong. however, anecdotal evidence from veterinarians who have used various versions of the formula indicates that it improves quality of life and may inhibit growth of tumors in animals. one of the primary concerns of veterinarians is how to control cancer without weakening the host; herbal therapy offers a very practical and effective solution to this dilemma. the known mechanisms of herbal actions can be integrated in a holistic approach to cancer care through a strategy that incorporates tradition and science. (see “herbs and chemotherapy” at the end of this section.) to date, a small number of herbs have been examined in humans and animals for their influences on metabolism of a small number of drugs. many of the plants discussed in this section have been used as traditional treatments for heart failure, and some have undergone scientific investigation. this chinese herb is often used as a qi tonic and has been studied for its therapeutic benefit in the treatment of patients with ischemic heart disease, myocardial infarction, and heart failure, and those who seek relief from anginal pain. king claims that it is useful in “dropsy of the thorax” (pulmonary edema). in vitro studies confirm that sanguinarine, a benzophenanthridine alkaloid derived from blood root, produced a concentration-dependent positive inotropic effect and increased contractility (108%) that was comparable with the maximal inotropic effect of ouabain. it may enhance the effects of cardiac glycosides (jellin, 1999) and may have mild antihypertensive effects. oral administration of dandelion extracts had a diuretic effect in rats and mice, and in one study, the effect was assessed as equal to that of furosemide and stronger than juniper berry and horsetail (bisset, 1994). compared with people taking placebo, a significantly greater increase was noted in left ventricular ejection fraction, exercise capacity, and the dyspnea–fatigue index, as was a decrease in the frequency and complexity of vpcs. it is important to note that the skin should not be treated in isolation but as a tissue that is intimately connected to and affected by other organ systems. related to the theory of the leaky gut syndrome is dysbiosis, which is thought to be a major contributing factor to chronic disease, including skin disorders and food allergies (fratkin, 1996). adaptogens should be considered if the patient is stressed, anxious, or depressed, in chronic discomfort, and for convalescence. it is considered a valuable diuretic to assist in the treatment of eczema, seborrhea, and psoriasis. it was recommended for use both locally and systemically in the treatment of patients with skin problems. the actions of evening primrose oil are attributable to the essential fatty acid content of the oil and to the involvement of these compounds in prostaglandin biosynthetic pathways. this traditional herb is used for the treatment of patients with eczema; it is considered to have antiallergic properties and is used to treat itchy skin conditions and insect bites. the antipruritic effects of the h1 antagonists oxatomide and fexofena-dine were only partial in this test. even in veterinary medicine in the early part of the 20th century, reference was made to the use of aloes for horses and jalap for dogs for eczema, and to the use of alteratives for urticaria. in fact, it is proposed (bone, 1997) that molecular mimicry by infectious organisms may be causative in autoimmune disease, and that echinacea may be benefical in decreasing the chronic presence of microorganisms. tea tree has been shown in human trials to be beneficial in the treatment of acne and staphylococcus infections (martin, 2003), as well as in trials in dogs with dermatitis. 11β-ohsd is a microsomal enzyme complex found predominantly in the liver and kidneys that catalyzes the conversion of cortisol (potent mineralocorticoid activity) to inactive cortisone. this herb has been used for the treatment of patients with diabetes. these herbs have been studied extensively, and data suggest that the antihyperglycemic activity of ginseng may be highly variable. lower rates of vanadate were needed in combination with fenugreek, and the combined effects were better at restoring the above parameters than was insulin (dhananjay, 1999). the dried sap is a traditional remedy for diabetes; it has been reported to reduce blood glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes and in an animal model (ghannam, 1986). experiments of hunt and seidell in 1910 presented evidence to show that the extract of this plant is a powerful stimulant for the thyroid gland (remington, 1918). a number of herbs counteract stomach acidity and have demonstrated a protective effect against the induction of gastric and duodenal ulcers, as well as efficacy in the treatment of patients with ulcers. this herb is considered to be a normalizer of acidity in the stomach. in this way, dan shen supported the integrity of the mucosal barrier and improved its defense function. the safety and efficacy of a boswellia extract were compared against mesalazine for the treatment of 102 patients with active crohn’s disease in an 8-week, randomized, double-blind study. this herb is stated to possess mucilaginous demulcent, laxative, and nutritive properties and has been used in the treatment of patients with anorexia, dyspepsia, gastritis, and convalescence (blumenthal, 1998; bisset, 1994). for example, spondias mombin has been studied in vivo for evaluation of the therapeutic efficacy of water and alcohol extracts administered to sheep naturally infected with gastrointestinal nematodes. this herb has been used in the treatment of patients with roundworm (ascaris strongyloides) and hookworm (ancylostoma caninum and necator americanus). the effect of hydrastine on the protoscolices of the tapeworm (echinococcus granulosus) has been studied in vitro and in vivo. berberine is stated to have shown significant success in the treatment of patients with acute diarrhea in several clinical studies. a stomachic is an herb that stimulates gastric function, gastric secretion, and gastric motility; the term refers to many of the bitters. in short, the action of bitters can be seen to enhance the whole upper digestive function and to improve assimilation of nutrients into the system. this herb has been shown to reduce intestinal spasms and enhance motility of the small intestine. the spasmolytic activity of licorice has been demonstrated in vivo (guinea pig, rabbit, and dog) and appears to be due to the flavonoids liquiritigenin and isoliquiritigenin (chandler, 1985). this oil has been reported to increase bile secretion and concentration of cholesterol in the bile following the administration of 0.1 ml/kg by mouth to cats and dogs (ikram, 1980). regeneration was determined in globe artichoke–treated rats, compared with controls, by stimulation of mitosis and increased weight in the residual liver when animals were sacrificed. the swelling properties of mucilage in herbs also enable it to absorb water in the gastrointestinal tract, thereby increasing the volume of the feces and promoting peristalsis. the horse with its numerous colon flexures and its decrease in diameter at the pelvic flexure benefits from this type of purgative. four-week supplementation of a fiber-free diet with ispaghula seeds (100 or 200 g/kg) was compared with that of husks and wheat bran in rats (leng-peschlow, 1991). the constituent emodin (also found in other herbs) is a potent agent in the management of clinical and experimental acute pancreatitis. it is very useful when stress is a feature of the history, and it is especially useful in german shepherds with stress-induced diarrhea. defecation occurred daily in patients with obstipation syndrome, but a combination of rhamnus frangula, citrus aurantium, and carum carvi was added to the herbal combination already described. attention to systemic hydration is important in the use of these herbs because they lead to water reabsorption into the intestine. if emaciation is due to anorexia, one should consider using gentian or some of the bitters and stomachics. a number of herbs have demonstrated therapeutic effects on the stomach and may be particularly useful in the prevention of gastritis or gastric ulcers associated with some conventional medicines. herbs with potential use in the treatment of patients with periodontal disease include antimicrobials, vulnerary herbs, and anti-inflammatory herbs.

food allergy or intolerance contributes in many dogs and in up to 66% of cats. the formulation showed significant inhibitory activity against ibd induced in rat models; the activity was comparable with that of prednisolone (jagtap, 2004). for toxic insults to the liver, schisandra and milk thistle should be considered. the primary herbs used traditionally for gastrointestinal tract ulceration are chamomile and gotu kola, which appear to enhance healing of the ulcers and should be given on an empty stomach. veterinarians are not prone to use the term rheumatism, and most are not searching for it in the clinic. this has been recommended for anti-inflammatory effects through eicosanoid modulation, as it inhibits the activity of both cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase. clinical investigations have shown that guggul reduced pain and stiffness and improved function in older patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. a preparation like this may be useful in horses, but dogs would have to be prevented from licking the gel because of its oral toxicity. this herb and other viburnum species have shown the ability to reduce smooth muscle spasm in a number of in vitro studies (cometa, 1998; calle, 1999; nicholson, 1972). capsaicin is the best known analgesic compound in this pepper, and it is the parent compound of a group of vanillyl fatty acid amides. anti-inflammatory herbs are useful if the condition is of low grade and surgery is not required. but it is not a remedy for periosteal pain due to inflammation or to organic changes in the periosteum.” merriam webster online defines rheumatism as, “any of various conditions characterized by inflammation or pain in muscles, joints, or fibrous tissue.” herbs that may be helpful for this kind of pain include prickly ash, valerian, and the viburnums (black haw and cramp bark). in no other system is it so obvious that plants and animals coevolved to use each other for conducting the business of life—beyond mere nutrition. most eclectic uses of black cohosh as a nervine were associated with menstrual or menopausal disorders in women, and it is difficult to separate the antispasmodic and analgesic effects within traditional literature. it is adapted to cases of nervous debility with irritation, nervous unrest, tendency to choreic or spasmodic movements.” the dried flower heads of chamomile are used in folk medicine to prepare a spasmolytic and sedative tea. this herb was used by the eclectics for headaches and nervous irritability. this extract exhibited significant sedative, anticonvulsant, and cns-depressant activities at a dose of 200 mg/kg in mice. this is a mild traditional nervine that was more popular in europe than in the united states. rolland and associates investigated the anxiolytic effects of an aqueous extract in mice. study of the aqueous extract detected several fractions with significant affinity for the central benzodiazepine receptor and isolated apigenin in one fraction. a study assessed the effects of acute treatment with this preparation on inhibitory avoidance learning. the anxiolytic activities of the white and red varieties of ginseng were investigated in rats and mice and compared with those of diazepam. according to sleep and anxiety questionnaires, 4 weeks of treatment resulted in statistically significant improvement. this herb has been reported to have analgesic activity (jamieson, 1990) and was used by the eclectics as a local anesthetic. king’s says that cramp bark is useful in asthma, spasms, and cramps of the limbs as well. even a single oral administration of siberian ginseng elevated na and da levels in the brain in a dose-dependent manner. the extract, when given at 20 and 40 mg/kg orally once daily for 5 days, was found to have significant antidepressant activity in models of depression that was comparable with that of imipramine (sairam, 2002). the mode of its action in these cases is obscure, but there is considerable clinical evidence of its utility.” it was also used for headache and toothache. results showed that the effect depends on the constituents present; in particular, fractions and repression of epileptic activity correlated with polarity of plant constituents. it is now clear that ginkgo is effective in the treatment of people with dementia and cognitive decline. another study investigated the effects of long-term saint john’s wort treatment on spatial learning and memory in rats. results suggested that rb(1) and rg(1) have neurotrophic and selective neuroprotective actions that may contribute to the purported enhancement of cognitive function (rudakewich, 2001). treatment led to an extended period of sexual activity and improvement of semen production in rams over the service period. extensions of dendrites and axons in neurons may compensate for and repair damaged neuronal circuits in the brain. ginkgo and lemon balm may be combined with other herbs appropriate to the patient in terms of concomitant signs and energetic presentation. the diagnosis of “epilepsy” is oversimplified in that a number of syndromes may cause recurrent seizures. the effects of chronic stress in people are well documented. vitex has also been shown to reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and mastalgia in women (schulz, 2001; wuttke, 2003). this herb was investigated in terms of the endocrine function of the ovary and the uterus. this herb is carcinogenic with long-term use, and it has been removed from the market in some countries. king’s designates this plant as a remedy for “atony of the reproductive tract” and an “excellent ‘partus praeparator.’” no studies were found to support this use. whatever the causes of the clinical signs, the herbs below have been used in women for the pain and emotional/behavioral symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and may have use if the breeder elects to experiment with them. dogs included in this study did not have the clinical signs of bph (i.e., decreased urinary flow and residual urine volume) that often occur in men with bph. it was claimed that aloe helps to drain the infection, has anti-inflammatory properties, and is a coagulant. this plant was studied through the use of in vitro and in vivo antimicrobial tests, with crude extracts and the leaf in different forms. similar to conventional medicine, symptomatic management is the mainstay of treatment, and a diagnosis assists herbalists in treating the underlying pathophysiology. in humans, cough lozenges include ingredients that work via several modes of action, but it should be noted that even the sugar in these lozenges may suppress cough by stimulating salivation and subsequent swallowing. the herb is considered both demulcent and expectorant and is used to decrease inflammation in the respiratory tract, and often as a stabilizing and flavoring base for troches or pills that included other antitussives. the proprietary product petadolex® was administered to 80 asthmatic patients for 2 months in an open trial, and the number of asthmatic attacks, peak flow, and forced expiratory volume were measured. results suggested that ginkgolides were effective in both the early phase and the late phase of airway hyperactivity (braquet, 1987). winslow (1908) recommended it for ascites from heart disease but also said it was indicated in bronchitis with “scanty secretion, or when exudation is excessive, to improve the tone of the bronchial mucous membrane.” milks said that it was a powerful and commonly employed expectorant. the dose used for trials in adults was 60 mg of the extract, equivalent to 400 mg of crude herb. intragastric administration to cats of an extract of marshmallow root, or the polysaccharide fraction, demonstrated significant antitussive activity, depressing the cough that resulted from irritation of laryngopharyngeal and tracheobronchial mucosa. unfortunately, internal use of the herb has been associated with at least four human deaths, and in laboratory animal studies, it is carcinogenic. it has been used to allay irritation of the throat and breathing passages. it is prepared in the form of a syrup …” this is traditionally used as a mild antispasmodic and expectorant, because of its volatile oil content. bronchipret®, with extracts of thymus vulgaris and primula veris, is a proprietary remedy for the treatment of human bronchitis. however, the term diuretic in herbal medicine is not the same as that in conventional medicine; it can be used in a number of other ways. a significant increase in daily volume of urine was observed throughout the study, and it has been proposed that the diuretic activity of aqueous extracts of nettle may be attributed to the high potassium content (szentmihályi, 1998). the diuretic action confirmed in animals may be due to the high concentration of potassium (2.7%) (bradley, 1992). terpenin-4-ol is also stated to be an irritant to the kidneys, although in a later review by the same author, no such statement was made, and the oil was stated to represent no hazards (tisserand, 1995). in addition, a decrease was noted in the relative supersaturation of calcium oxalate, which tended to be significantly lower than that induced by water alone. after 12 weeks, a significant reduction in pain and dysuria was observed, along with some reduction in the size of stones (singh, 1991). oral doses improve renal function in rats with experimental nephritis, and large doses are traditionally used in the treatment of chronic nephritis (chang, 1987). this combination of herbs slowed the progression of renal fibrosis and the deterioration of renal function with effects comparable to enalapril (wang, 2004). according to king’s (felter, 1898), this herb has been used for spasmodic contraction of the bladder, as well as for spasmodic stricture. cranberry juice and crushed cranberries have a long history of use in the treatment and prevention of urinary tract infection (kingwatanakul, 1996). this has traditionally been used for gravel ulcerations in the urinary tract and for kidney affectations generally. herbs may be applied to the eyes in the form of infusions, usually water infusions. instructions were given as follows: “crush 1 oz stavesacre seed well, and boil for 2 hours in 20 to 30 oz of water, making up the original quantity used, and use as a wash.” this herb may be potentially useful for managing flea and tick infestation in dogs and cats. when an ointment was prepared with the use of seeds and leaves, or when the seeds and leaves were powdered, this was said to be effective in destroying “vermin.” this was used for the treatment of scabies. this herb was used by the eclectics as mild anodyne for neuralgic pain, but also for various cutaneous problems and to relieve the pain of toothache. this herb was used by the eclectics as a mucilage to soothe oral lesions such as aphthous ulcers and excoriations, as well as for conjunctivitis. this herb was used traditionally as a caustic to remove warts and stimulate healing of indolent ulcers and ringworm. this herb is an irritant in the poison ivy family; it has been used to stimulate indolent ulcers, as well as to remove warts and corns. if these herbs are used in animals, it may be advisable to use a lower dose in the form of a spray. the isolated constituent capsaicin has been well investigated as an anodyne and is in commercial trade as capsaizin. mors and colleagues (2000) reviewed these plants and tested some of the plant constituents in a murine snakebite model. the petals for the basis for one of the most popular vulnerary herbs in trade. this herb is in popular use, both as the herb and as the homeopathic remedy. a few of these plants are irritants to stimulate healing, and the reader is advised to understand them well before using them.

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