How much medicinal herbs are important for the nutrition of our dogs and cats?
Nature has gifted us some plants with healing properties, that man has learned over the millennia to appreciate and use take advantage of in order to treat or mitigate a number of health issues.
Even our four-legged friends have learned in the natural environment to select specific herbs and berries able to improve their well-being, and the veterinary practice has also shown how other ones, not strictly included in their natural diet, may have significant beneficial effects on their health.
Here is 10 out of the herbs, plants and berries with medicinal properties for our dogs and cats:
- Aloe vera (Aloe barbadiensis). Gel extracted from the fleshy leaves of the aloe is rich in muco-polysaccharides, vitamins, minerals and plant hormones. This special blend of nutrients (suitable for both external use and ingested in the form of juice) has been shown to have healing, anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, immunostimulant, detoxifying and anti-tumor properties. A real panacea for our dogs and cats!
- Chamomile (Matricaria recutita). As well as for man, also for dogs and cats the infusion of chamomile flowers (given at room temperature) can soothe in case of gastric and intestinal problems, having antispasmodic and also anti -helmintic properties. The infusion can also be used locally in case of irritations and skin infections, as well as to keep eye area external ear clean.
- Milk thistle (Silybum marianum). Milk thistle is a natural source of silymarin, a powerful blend of flavonolignans that have liver as a target organ. As an antioxidant, silymarin is highly effective in protecting liver cells (hepatoprotective function); it improves liver function, promotes the formation and regeneration of liver cells, protects new ones and reduces inflammatory processes.
- Chicory (Chicorium intybus). This plant is particularly rich in inulin, a special molecule belonging to the fructans, and which represents the ideal substrate for the proliferation of good bacteria present in the intestine, thus acting as prebiotic.
- Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis). Excellent adjuvant for the digestive process, lemon balm helps the relaxation of the stomach and the secretion of gastric juices, therefore improving overall digestion and absorption of nutrients from food.
- Blueberries (Vaccinium myrtillus). Blueberry contains a high antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic power, which acts in particular on the urinary tract, helping to reduce the onset of cystitis and subsequent relapses. It also acts at the oral cavity level, fighting plaque formation and reducing inflammation process of the gums.
- Psyllium (Plantago psyllium). Psyllium seeds contain a mucilage, which grows in volume when in contact with water; the gel that is formed in this way, stimulates the transit and evacuation in the intestinal tract, as well as having an anti-inflammatory and soothing effect on the mucosa of the guts, so it is specifically recommended as supplement in case of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or colitis.
- Black currants (Ribes nigrum). Oil extracted from black currant seeds has a content and a ratio in essential fatty acids Omega 3 & Omega 6 that is ideal for support in case of dermatological diseases, in particular of atopic dermatitis (scientific papers show that its use may reduce significantly the symptoms). The precious Omega 3 & Omega 6 of the currant are also very useful in case of infections with allergic cause and otitis by yeast proliferation.
- Rosehips (Rosa canina). Rosehips are a concentrate of very important nutrients – in particular vitamin C and from group B, but also calcium, microelements, pectins and carotens. The benefits can involve numerous districts: immune system, cardiovascular system, skin, bones and aldo for the prevention of tumors and diabetes.
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). A powerful natural antioxidant, rosemary helps reduce the damaging effects of free radicals, responsible for aging. It also has soothing and invigorating properties on the digestive system, and in particular it prevents and reduces the effect of intestinal disorders.
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