Thursday, June 1, 2017

Nourishing, Energizing and Restorative Spring Herbs for Your Dog and You

Spring time is time of birth, re-birth and awakening.

Although it is energizing just by itself, the bodies of all the Earth´s creatures are tired, depleted of energy, yet longing for the re-birth and time spent outside, being active.

While I have pondered and covered a lot of the spring needs of our dogs and together with my friend Erica, who specializes in animal acupressure we have touched the spring time care in our co-authored article Acupressure, Herbs and Nutrition for Spring which follows mostly the five element theory, let´s take a bit closer look at the spring wild herbs that mother Nature offers at this time of the year.
There are obviously many more, and for each herb, there is usually an alternative one as well, so I am only going to cover a few of my favorites, that are easy to find, usually plentiful and pretty safe to use

Common Daisy (aka English Daisy)
Bellis perennis

This beautiful and hardy little flower grows pretty much all over the European continent, with the exception of my neck of the woods (northern Sweden).
Growing up in Czech Republic, being used to bind wreaths to decorate our heads, or collecting a bouquet to lighten up the kitchen table, I dearly miss this little Daisy and I always make sure to ask my parents to pick and dry some for me, to have at our home apothecary.

Common Daisy is very beneficial for the liver and gallbladder, but can also help during bronchitis or flu, so for dogs, it is useful also as part of an infusion or herbal tea blend when they suffer from kennel cough.

It can be also a useful herb to give arthritic dogs whose mobility has gotten worse over the winter time, and to improve and support digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Stinning Nettle
Urtica dioica

There is never enough space to write everything about good old lady Nettle!
This mistress of herbs is such a multi-functional healer, it is hard to know where to begin :) 
So let´s just stay on the spring care topic in this article. 

Nettle is a wonderful energizing and entire body boosting and cleansing ally and it helps to move the life force (or Qi) throughout the body. It is a true "pick-me-up" and no wonder it is one of the first plants that come out after the cold and dark times.

Nettle is a nutritional power house too. It contains a wide scale of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in good amounts, such as:
vitamin A, C, D, the entire B-complex, calcium, phosphorus, iron and magnesium

Besides its tonifying (supportive and boosting) properties, Nettle also cleanses blood, kidneys and bladder, but is gentle to the organs at the same time, which, in my opinion is very important and often overlooked when people opt for cleansing and detoxifying for themselves or their animals.

Ground Ivy
(aka Creeping Charlie or Creeping Jenny)
Glechoma hederacea

I´ve learned to know this little, fantastic smelling (and tasting) herb as Creeping Charlie so I will further refer to it as that :)

Creeping Charlie´s medicinal repertory is impressive, and for spring time care what stands out the most is its restorative and tonifying effect on the gallbladder and liver organs.

It is also rich in iodine, vitamin C and an important antioxidant rutin, and supports the immune system. 

Taraxacum officinale

Another herb that does not need much introduction and could easily fill up a whole book!

Who doesn´t know this pretty, optimistic and always smiling herb?!

I always find it amusing how so many people consider it a nasty weed and have no respect for it whatsoever. I understand that this invasive plant can be a burden in the vegetable or flower garden (I myself have both), but perhaps if we were to learn about its so many values and virtues, we might learn to co-exist.

Dandelions grow virtually everywhere. You don´t need to try to harvest only the flowers, it is the leaves that are mostly used for nourishment, but you can add a flower here and there to brighten up your dog´s dish :)

The leaves (and flowers) are rich in vitami A, C, K, D and the B-complex, from minerals you can find good quantities of iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and other trace elements.

Dandelion is an integral part of my feeding program here at Kipp d´Amundsen Siberian Husky Kennels, and in my health care for my dogs as well.
Specifically, for dogs with more sensitive digestion, for my old and a bit arthritic dogs, and the tinctured root for those with some lumps and bumps and are on an oncology protocol.

It supports the liver, gallbladder and digestive tract, while it at the same time helps the kidneys too.

Very energiziny, uplifting and tonifying herb, for the year round!

Wild Pansy
Viola tricolor

Let´s round up the quintet with the fragile, sweet, gentle, soothing and yet such a hardy and powerful little Wild Pansy.

She has very similar properties and constituents as her big sister the Violet (Viola odorata).

Wild pansies are plentiful, you can find them in your vegetable or flower beds, or in the lawn, around fields and farm land, and on the wild meadows alike.

Wild Pansy supports the immune and respiratory system, digestion and is generally soothing, especially to the mucus membranes of the intestinal walls.

She is rich in vitamin C and rutin - both valued antioxidants, important for the immune system and also bone and mobility health.
A very useful ally for your dog´s spring time care.

Well, I hope these profiles of some of my favorite herbal friends that my dogs enjoy thoroughly in their food as well as in water infusions or tinctures in times of need, and that this post has inspired you to go out in the nature and pick some of them - why not today! :)

Many blessings,

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