Anti-Inflammatory Herbs for Dogs

Anti-inflammatory herbs for dogs may be used to help reduce inflammation associated with conditions ranging from worms, wounds and fractures to arthritis, warts and cataracts. The different types of herbs used and length of treatment will depend on the condition and the severity of it. For example, minor upsets such as inflammation caused by diarrhea may only require several doses of herbs such as slippery elm bark, while joint conditions may require several weeks or even months of treatment with herbs such as yucca root or licorice.

Common Anti-Inflammatory Herbs for Dogs

Some of the most common anti-inflammatory herbs for dogs include slippery elm bark, boswellia, and yucca root. Slippery elm is believed to help reduce inflammation of the lining if the intestinal walls after a bout of severe diarrhea. It's usually administered in powder form four times per day (or around every four hours), until the condition improves.

Boswellia is used to treat a number of conditions that cause inflammation, but it is popular for conditions that cause joint inflammation and inflammation of organs and other tissues. The acids in boswellia, also called Indian Frankincense and Boswellin, work by blocking white cell activity in damaged tissue. This inhibits the inflammatory response. Boswellia is available in capsule, tablet and cream form. The form and dosage amount will vary according to the condition.  

Yucca root has been used for according to The Vitamin Shoppe, the saponins (chemical compounds) from yucca are the major constituents in the plant. These natural chemical compounds are believed to boost the immune system and combat inflammation.

Other Anti-Inflammatory Herbs for Dogs

Other less common but effective anti-inflammatory herbs for dogs include licorice, meadowsweet and nettle leaf. Licorice contains two major components, glycyrrhizin and flavonoids. A number of studies and trials conclude that glycyrrhizin has anti-inflammatory properties and it may inhibit the breakdown of cortisol produced by the body. Licorice root is typically administered in capsule form for inflammation of the internal organs and tissues and in cream form for inflammation of the external organs.

Meadowsweet is available in dried, capsule or extract form. It contains some of the same chemicals found in aspirin, such as salicylates (salicin, salicylaldehyde and methyl salicylate). These chemicals are popular for their ability to relieve swelling, inflammation and pain. While meadowsweet contains some of the same chemicals as aspirin, it has a milder anti-inflammatory effect and it does not cause the same side effects, such as upset or sour stomach.

Available in capsule, tablet, and tincture form, nettle leaf is believed to have anti-inflammatory and antihistamine effects. Tests show that the complex sugars and lectins (plant proteins that bind to particular sugars) contained in the root prevent the body from making prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are inflammatory chemicals.

Using Herbs to Treat Your Pet

Before administering anti-inflammatory herbs to your pet, it is best to discuss your dog's condition with a traditional or holistic veterinarian. Visit the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association website at to locate a holistic vet in your area.

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