Several herbs have been shown to provide relief to pets.

When it comes to combating cold and flu symptoms, nature has provided us with a wealth of antiviral herbs.

These botanical wonders possess powerful properties that can reduce symptoms, boost the immune system, and aid in the recovery process.

Recently, there has been a lot of media attention about a mysterious respiratory disease affecting many dogs in the U.S. In this article, we will explore the properties of some important antiviral herbs that can help treat the disease. Affected can be used to help our dogs, or in some cases, prevent it. These include thyme leaf, andrographis, peppermint leaf and oil, and calendula.

Thyme Leaf (Thymus vulgaris):

Thyme leaf is a popular herb known for its culinary uses, but it also has antiviral properties.

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It contains compounds such as thymol and carvacrol, which show antiviral activity against various strains of influenza and the common cold. Thyme leaf can help reduce coughs, relieve congestion and support respiratory health. Thyme can be added to your pet’s diet as a supplement with the whole plant or made into a tea and added to food.

Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata):

Andrographis, also known as the “king of bitters,” is a powerful herb widely used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine. It contains andrographolides, which have been extensively studied for their antiviral properties.

Andrographis can help reduce the severity and duration of cold and flu symptoms, including fever, cough and sore throat. A look at several studies in PubMed shows that it is quite safe for use in pets. A study using a mouse allergic asthma model in a pharmacological test concluded that andrographolide inhibited lung NF-κB expression by inhibiting allergen-induced inflammation, airway cellular infiltration, and airway inflammation. May reduce the hyperresponsiveness of the pathway.

My holistic colleagues use the tablet/capsule form of this supplement (available online) to treat their critically ill patients without any problems.

Peppermint Leaf (Mentha piperita):

Peppermint is a refreshing herb known for its cooling and soothing properties. It contains menthol, which acts as a decongestant and can help relieve nasal congestion and coughs associated with colds and flu.

Peppermint oil can be used to relieve headaches and muscle aches caused by viral infections in humans, but it can be irritating to the GI tract of dogs and cats, so the oil Should not be spread, sprayed or applied near your pets. However, it should be safe to add a few fresh mint leaves to your pet’s food.

Calendula (Calendula officinalis):

Calendula, also known as marigold, is a vibrant flower with powerful antiviral properties. It contains compounds like flavonoids and triterpenoids, which have antiviral and immune-stimulating effects.

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Calendula can help soothe inflamed mucous membranes, reduce fever, and promote healing of respiratory infections. It is used primarily in many pet products but can also be used internally. The best way to administer is to use it as a tea and add it to your pet’s food.

Adding these herbs to our pet’s daily routine, whether as a tea, tincture or fresh herb can provide symptom relief, boost the immune system and aid in the recovery process.

However, it is important to consult a veterinarian before using these herbs, especially if your pet has an underlying health condition or is taking medications.

Mitsy Vargas of Orchid Springs Animal Hospital in Winter Haven is a Fellow of the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture and author of “Alt-Vet: The Revolutionary Pet Care and Longevity Solution.” www.osahvets.com.

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