Herbal Encyclopedia

Gathering, Storing, and Using your Herbs

1996-1998 Rev. Dr. EarthAngel

GATHERING: When gathering or harvesting your herbs, first be absolutely sure you know what you are gathering! This is very important when gathering plants from the wild. Be absolutely certain you know what the plant is before you attempt to use it. If you are not sure of a particular plant, or it "looks like" something but could be something else, leave it alone. You would be better off to purchase the herb through a store or mail order. The alternative may leave you dead. If you care about our natural plants, you will prefer to purchase or grow what you need. Today's herbal needs are creating quite a strain on the numbers of medicinal plants in the wild.

Know what part of the plant you need. Some plants are used in their entirety, others only specific parts. When you are gathering plants from the wild, remember not to take all of a particular species you may find in an area. Leave some to grow and seed and flourish for the next time you need them. Removing all of a group of plants is rude, and the Goddess would not be pleased. Give thanks to the plants you take for your uses. Sprinkle around some of their seeds, to help them propogate. Give them an offering, i.e. some natural fertilizer, a prayer, etc. in return for your uses. When taking leaves or branches of a plant, leave plenty for the plant to survive. You should offer the same respect to those plants you gather from your own gardens. Be kind to the Mother and all She has to offer, and She will reward you for your efforts.

The parts of the plant above ground should be harvested in the morning, before the heat of the sun has a chance to wilt them. It is preferable to do so when the dew is still on the plants. Leaves should be harvested before the buds and blooms appear, and flowers should be harvested before the fruits and seeds appear. Bark and roots should be harvested in the early spring, just as the plant is beginning to show its leaf buds, or in the fall, just as the leaves are turning. Don't strip bark from around a tree trunk, as this will kill it. Instead, strip bark from small patches, or particular limbs, to preserve the mother plant for later use, and to preserve its life.

When using an entire plant, it is customary to hang the plant upside down in a dry area free from pests to allow the plant to dry. Make sure your herbs have dried thoroughly before storing them for further use, or you may discover that you have a moldy mess instead of a medicinal herb. Roots should be carefully washed, scraped, and chopped into small pieces to be sure they dry uniformly and thoroughly. Bulbs are tied together and strung up to dry.

The dried portions can then be stored according to your needs. Roots are usually ground into powder for use, or left in small chunks for uses in decoctions, tinctures, and syrups. Leaves are stored in their entirety, or crumbled for use in teas. The same applies for blossoms. Store your herbs in air-tight containers. The best containers to use are colored glass. The herb then does not pick up impurities from plastics, and does not eat through your plastics, as can happen. Store in a dry, cool area, and keep out of the light. This is the reason for using colored glass. Light can often break down the healing properties of your gathered herbs, shortening their shelf life and rendering them nearly useless after a short period of time. If stored properly, the shelf life of dried herbs is approximately one year. Tinctures can be stored for up to two years. Capsules should be used within one year. Once an herb has been ground, it shortens the amount of time the herb is effective. So do pay careful attention to when you have purchased or stored an herb, for maximum effectiveness.

When you use one of your herbs, whether for healing, cooking, or for magick, you should once again give thanks to the Mother for Her bounty.


The herbs that will be used for herbal teas are generally the cut and sifted form, or the crumbled dried leaves and/or flowers. Herbs should always be prepared in nonmetallic containers. Steep the herbs in a nonmetallic container with water that has just been brought to a boil. This is an infusion, and is used for the more delicate herbs to prevent destroying their healing agents.

A decoction is used to extract the healing agents from herbs that are roots and barks. The herbs are simmered in a nonmetallic cooking container for about one hour. Simmer uncovered until the amount of water is reduced by one half. Those herbs that contain important volatile oils should be simmered in a tightly covered pot.

Don't add table sugar to herbal teas. If a sweetener is needed, use pure, unmolested honey for its nutritional benefits, or use stevia.


A bolus is a suppository. It is made by combining powdered herbs with cocoa butter. The two are mixed together until it is the consistency of stiff pie dough. It is then refrigerated to harden and preserve. Allow to come to room temperature before use. Roll into strips and cut into pieces about one inch long. Boluses are inserted into the rectum for treating hemorrhoids, and into the vagina for treating vaginal infections and irritations, as well as tumors. Boluses are used at night. The cocoa butter will of course melt with your body heat, so take precautions to protect clothing and bedding. Residues of the bolus should be rinsed away the next morning.


Oil extracts are made from fresh herbs that contain volatile oils used for healing. Fresh herbs are necessary for the extraction of the oils. The fresh herbs are crushed with a mortar and pestle. Olive or sesame oil is then added, at the ratio of one pint of oil for every two ounces of herbs. The mixture is allowed to stand in a warm place, out of direct light, for three days. The oils are stored in dark, glass containers. After the three days, add one capsule of Vitamin E to each bottle for preserving the extracted oils. This is another process that is best done on the new moon.


Syrups are used for treating coughs and sore throats, and make it easy to give herbs to children. Two ounces of herb are added to a quart of water in a nonmetallic container, and boiled down slowly and gently until about a pint of liquid is left. Strain while it is still warm, and add two ounces of honey and/or glycerine. Lemon oil or juice can also be added for flavor. Store in a dark glass container.


Capsules are the best way to take herbs that do not taste good. They are also the best way to take herbs that need to be ingested over a long period of time, or for those of us who don't have time at work to make herbal teas. It is best to purchase finely powdered herbs for this purpose. The small "0" sized capsules are used, or the larger "00". The powdered herbs are blended together, if an herbal combination is desired. Then separate the two halves of the capsule, and fill each half. Then carefully put the two halves back together. Take according to the needs of the treatment.


Tinctures are easy to make, and a very convenient way to make use of the healing herbs in today's fast society. They are made with the more potent herbs that are generally not taken as herbal teas.

Tinctures are made by combining 1 to 4 ounces of a powdered or thoroughly crushed herb with one pint of alcohol. The alcohol most often used is vodka. The amount of liquid should be more than the herbs can absorb, so you may need to add more as the days go by. It is shaken daily and allowed to stand in a warm place, out of direct light, for two weeks. The liquid is poured through a cloth, such as layers of cheesecloth. The herbs that remain are squeezed thoroughly to remove as much of the liquid from them as possible. Keep the tincture stored in a dark glass bottle or jar. Tinctures are used by the drop. Don't be afraid of the alcohol content - if you want to be sure the alcohol won't affect you, or you are a recovering alcoholic, drop the recommended number of tincture drops into a cup of hot water, wait a few moments, and then drink. The alcohol will evaporate. Tinctures can be made of single herbs, or herbal combinations, depending upon your needs. It is traditional magick to begin your tinctures on the night of the new moon, and strain on the full moon, so that the waxing powers of the moon extract the maximum amount of healing agents from the herbs.


Creams are used to treat skin conditions of all kinds. They can be made by melting petroleum jelly and adding the herbs, although that is rather messy. A better method is to boil approximately 1 cup of the herb(s) to be used in 3 to 4 cups of water, in a non-metallic container, for about 15 minutes for leafy herbs and 30 minutes for root herbs to extract the volatile oils. You can then strain the herbs out, or leave them in if you so desire, depending on the cream you are making. Add 5 ounces of sesame or olive oil to the water remaining and continue to simmer over low heat until all of the water has evaporated. Melt 2 ounces of beeswax, and stir into the oil mixture. TIP: try to have the wax and the oil near the same temp, and stir like crazy! After the mixture cools a bit, add 2 teaspoons of Vitamin E oil as a preservative, and mix it in well. Pour into containers and allow to cool completely. Most creams will keep for up to one year.


Healing herbs are often used in combinations when combatting an illness. Herbs are combined to give the benefits needed from each, some to give a boost to others, some to boost the body with healing energies. Below are some of the more popular herbal combinations. The herbs can be taken singly for these illnesses as well, although the suggested combinations are best. Don't fret if you don't have all of the suggested herbs for any given combination - use what you have, and add the rest as soon as you can. These combinations can usually be in any form you choose - teas, tinctures, capsules, etc. You will want to use equal parts of each herb, or use more of the herb most needed, with equal parts of the booster herbs.

Remember that in any herbal healing undertaken, diet is also very important. These combinations are not meant to be used in the place of a doctor's advice. Also realize that you should not take herbs continually over a long period of time on a daily basis, as your body may build an immunity to the herb itself, or you may experience side effects. The exception to this would be when treating a chronic illness, but even then, there should be time off for your body from the herbs on a regular schedule. Herbs are medicine, and should always be treated as such.

Often, when taking antibiotic herbs, or prescription antibiotics, the natural bacteria in our digestive system is destroyed, making digestion difficult (and sometimes causing constipation) for several days to several weeks. To combat this, eat fresh real yogurt daily (not the stuff with lots of sugar and flavors, and make sure it has active cultures), or take acidophilus or probiotic capsules, to restore the natural digestive bacteria. This can also help to alleviate vaginal yeast infections in women.

When using an herb or herbal combination to combat an illness or strengthen various systems in the body, it is best to start with a small amount, and then wait a few hours to be sure you are not going to have an adverse reaction, before continuing with the therapy. Stop any ingestion of herbs at the first sign of any adverse reaction.

This is of course not a complete list, this is only to give you a general idea of what may be needed for common ailments. My book has more information on additional illnesses, and there are plenty of naturopathic doctors available, including myself, to answer questions about other ailments. This listing is not meant to diagnose, only to inform. Your body and medical history may dictate that you need very different combinations from these to treat your specific ailments.

Herbs Used: Evening Primrose Oil, Raspberry Leaf, Nettle, Dandelion, Lemon Grass

Recipe for Acne Help

Bring to a simmer in a non-metallic pan 2 quarts water, 3 tablespoons Witchhazel bark, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 1 tablespoon ground cloves; let simmer for 5 minutes. Then add 1/2 cup chopped fresh thyme, 1 cup fresh chopped peppermint leaves, and 1/2 cup fresh chopped marjoram. Simmer 5 more minutes, set aside until cold. Mix 1/2 cup of the simmered mixture with 2 teaspoons cider vinegar, 2 ounces grain alcohol(vodka is best), 4 drops lemon oil, and enough water to make one pint. Apply with cotton to acne prone areas after washing. A good aloe moisturizer afterwards is recommended.

Herbs used: Blessed Thistle, Scullcap, Goldenseal, Cayenne, Marshmallow, Lobelia, Burdock.

Other uses: Colds, Hay Fever, Upper respiratory infections

Herbs Used: Red Beet, Yellow Dock, Lobelia, Burdock, Nettle, Mullein

Other uses: Energy, Fatigue, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease

Herbs Used: Cayenne, Garlic, Hawthorne, Parsley

Other Uses: Blood Pressure, Heart

Herbs Used: Yucca, Comfrey, Alfalfa, Yarrow, Cayenne, Lobelia, Burdock, Chaparral, Black Cohosh, Cat's Claw, Lemon Grass

Other uses: Bursitis, Rheumatism, Gout, Blood Cleanser

Herbs Used: For the acute phase of CFS, a combination of echinacea, goldenseal, and licorice. If this combination is needed for more than seven days, add potassium-rich foods and/or herbs to your diet. For the chronic phase, a combination of goldenseal, astragulus, licorice, ginseng, and evening primrose oil. One month on, one month off is the recommended usage frame.

Other Uses: The combination of herbs for the chronic phase is being studied for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis.

Herbs used: Chamomile, Slippery Elm, Cayenne, Goldenseal, Myrrh, Peppermint, Sage, Lemon Grass, Rose Hips, Garlic

Other uses: Bronchitis, Ear infections, Fevers, Flu, Tonsillitis

Herbs Used: Alfalfa, Peppermint, Fennel, Catnip

Other uses: Digestive disorders, Heartburn, Appetite

Herbs Used: Aloe Vera, Slippery Elm, Barberry

Other uses: Cleansing, Colon

Herbs Used: Elecampane, Wild Cherry Bark, Licorice, Comfrey Root, Lobelia

Other uses: Hay fever, Sore throats

Apply cream made from calendula, or a cream made from aloe.

Herbs Used: Chamomile, Ginseng, Licorice, Cayenne, Gotu Kola

Other uses: Endurance, Energy, Memory

Herbs Used: Oil of Mullein, Garlic Oil, or Lobelia Extract drops directly into the ear.

Herbs Used: Cayenne, Ginseng, Gotu Kola

Also add: Bee pollen, bee propolis, royal jelly

Other uses: Endurance, Fatigue, Memory

Herbs Used: Goldenseal, Bayberry, Eyebright

Other uses: Eyewash, Allergies, Hay fever, Cataracts

Herbs Used: Black Cohosh, Ginger, Raspberry Leaf, Blessed Thistle, Dong Quai

Other uses: Hormonal balance, Vaginal problems, Uterine infections

Herbs Used: Ginger, Cayenne, Goldenseal, Licorice

Other uses: Nausea, Motion sickness

Herbs Used: Comfrey, Horsetail, Alfalfa, Slippery Elm

Other uses: Fingernails, Hair, Joints, Teeth


Before bed, mix together the juice of 2 lemons, 4 ounces olive oil, 6 ounces Coke Classic; drink. Upon rising, take 10 ounces of magnesium citrate (available in drug stores). Do not eat until you have had your first bowel movement. Bowel movements will continue sporadically for several hours, so do this on a day you are at home!

Herbs Used: Goldenseal, Myrrh (both internally and as a mouthwash)

Herbs Used: Hawthorne, Cayenne, Garlic

Other uses: Arteriosclerosis, Cholesterol, Circulation

Herbs Used: Anise seed, Fennel seed, Peppermint, Cinnamon, Lavendar

Herbs Used: pau d'arco(taheebo), Echinacea, Burdock, Spirulina, Kelp, Cat's Claw

Herbs Used: Echinacea, Goldenseal, Cayenne, Myrrh

Other uses: Colds, Earaches, Fevers, Flu, Measles, Mumps

For repelling insects on skin: Mix 1 teaspoon each of essential oils of pennyroyal, citronella, eucalyptus, rosemary, and tansy. Shake oils in 1 cup of vegetable or olive oil. Store away from light in a sealed container. Use by rubbing a small amount between the palms of your hands, and then apply to any exposed skin. Avoid applying to the face to prevent eye contact. Reapply as necessary. Discontinue using if a rash develops(some people are sensitive to pennyroyal oil. Test on a small area first). Also safe for animal use. DO NOT INCLUDE THE PENNYROYAL OIL IF PREGNANT OR NURSING!!

Herbs Used: Valerian, Scullcap, Hops

Other uses: Headaches, Stress, Hyperactivity

Herbs Used: Juniper, Uva Ursi, Marshmallow, Ginger, Goldenseal, Dandelion

Other uses: Bladder, Urinary problems

Herbs Used: Dandelion, Parsley, Horsetail, Blessed (or Milk) Thistle, Chamomile, Lobelia, Wild Yam, Ginger, Sassafras, Kelp

Other uses: Cleansing, Kidneys, Spleen, Gall Bladder

Herbs Used: Comfrey, Fenugreek, Marshmallow, Mullein, Chickweed

Other uses: Asthma, Bronchitis, Coughs, Hay Fever, Pneumonia

Herbs Used: Gingko Biloba, Gotu Kola, Ginseng

Other Uses: Energy, Circulation, Tinnitus

Herbs Used: Black Cohosh, Licorice, False Unicorn, Ginseng, Squaw Vine, Blessed Thistle

Other uses: Hormone imbalance, Menstrual problems, Hot flashes, Uterine problems

Herbs Used: Cramp Bark, Ginger root, Raspberry Leaf, Yellow Dock, Vitex, Wild Yam

Herbs Used: Fenugreek, Thyme, Lobelia, Wood Betony, Feverfew

Other uses: Fever, Flu, Headache

Herbs Used: Wild Yam, Dandelion, Ginger, Vitex

Herbs Used: Black Cohosh, Cayenne, Valerian, Ginger, St. Johnswort, Hops, Wood Betony

Other uses: Headaches, Anxiety, Stress

Herbs Used: Burdock, Mullein, Yellow Dock (bathing in a peppermint tea bath will relieve the itching as well as aid in drying up the oak/ivy)

Other uses, Itching, Insect Bites

Herbs Used: Evening Primrose Oil, Dong Quai, Vitex

Other uses: Menstrual regulation, Painful breasts

Herbs Used: Black Cohosh, Licorice, Kelp, Gotu Kola, Ginger, Cayenne, Juniper, Uva Ursi, Taheebo, Saw Palmetto, Cat's Claw

Other uses: Bladder, Liver, Spleen

Herbs Used: Chickweed, Licorice, Safflower, Echinacea, Black Walnut, Hawthorn, Papaya, Fennel, Dandelion

Other uses: Energy, Cleanser

Damiana, Ginseng, Saw Palmetto, Gotu Kola
Hops, Scullcap, Valerian

Herbs Used: Horsetail, Sage, Rosemary

Other uses: Hair, Nails

Herbs Used: Marshamallow, Fenugreek

Alternate: Cayenne, Ginger mixed with honey and lemon

Herbs Used: Hops, Scullcap, Slippery Elm, Valerian, Lobelia

Other uses: Cough, Nerves, Stress

Herbs Used: Irish Moss, Kelp, Parsley, Black Walnut, Sarsparilla

Other uses: Fatigue, Glands, Lymphatic System

Herbs Used: Chaparral, Red Clover, Taheebo (Pau d'arco)

Other uses: Cleansing, Blood Disorders

Herbs Used: Cayenne, Goldenseal, Myrrh, Marshmallow, Calendula

Other uses: Indigestion, Heartburn

Herbs Used: Cayenne, Garlic, White Oak Bark, Marshmallow, Mullein (all mixed together and used as a bolus)

Other uses: Leuchorea, Vagina

Herbal Healing for Pets

I will begin by stating that you should not attempt herbal healing for your pet unless you have a good understanding of what is ailing your pet. And a good understanding of the healing herbs. Don't guess.....check with a veterinarian first! There are now a lot of holistic/natural vets out there - call around and see who you can find. This advice is not meant to replace the diagnosis and advice of a licensed veterinarian. That said, I will share with you the herbal treatments that we use on my ranch. Most are simple, safe, and effective.

Remember first and always that cats and dogs and other small creatures have much shorter digestive systems than us human caretakers. Fresh herbs are not digested as they are in humans. Therefore, the tincture form of an herb will work better for them. An acceptable alternative would be a stronger herbal tea than you would use for yourself. Doses need to be compatible with your pet's weight - small amounts for small animals, larger amounts for large animals. When in doubt, consult a holistic or natural healing veterinarian. Administering several doses throughout the day, rather than one big dose once a day will speed the herbs into your pet's system and boost the immune system much faster. And as with ourselves, no herb should be given to any animal on a continuous basis. Like us, their bodies will begin to build an immunity, and once that happens, that herb becomes useless medicinally.

A good rule of thumb for any herbal remedy for your pet is two weeks on, one week off. That gives the body time to work on its own, and gives you time to determine if the herbal treatment needs to be continued. There are exceptions to this rule, as with all rules, as in herbs that take a while to build up in the body to be effective. Don't give herbs you wouldn't take yourself, internally or externally. Just about any herbal remedy that you use for yourself can be adapted for use for your pet - just remember to use tinctures whenever possible, stronger teas when necessary.

For overall general good health, as with ourselves, you should of course look to diet. There are many natural diets being recommended today for all sorts of pets. Do a little research, or preferably a lot, into the natural dietary needs of your pet. Raw meat added to the diet of a cat or dog, natural carnivores, can often clear up a lot of mysterious ailments, as can the addition of fruits and vegetables. If you feed a commercial diet, feed the best you can afford, and add to it when you can. For pet birds, there is a lot of debate about diets these days - seed vs. pellets. Neither is a complete diet in itself. Fresh fruits and vegetables are necessary for the overall good health and nutrition of a pet bird. For many finch species, live food in the form of various insects is a requirement. This is where your research into proper diet for each animal is so important. Years of healthy life can be added to your pet when diet is properly looked after!

When you are changing your pet's diet, do so gradually. Add one new item at a time, and space out those additions. That way if there is a negative reaction, you can quickly pinpoint the culprit. Not every food agrees with every animal.

Sunlight is also necessary for the health of your pet. Sunlight helps the body convert the nutrients in the foods you feed into the necessities for their systems. In place of sunlight, use full-spectrum lighting, like Vita-Lites, or an equivalent. These are ideal for your indoor pets, such as birds, reptiles and amphibians.

Here are some herbal remedies for those common problems:
A strong tea of eyebright, used as a wash, is perfect for irritated eyes on all pets. Also administer orally to boost the internal mechanisms to fight infection from the inside. Alternatively, you can make a saline solution. Dissolve 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt in 1/2 cup boiling water. Add 1 drop of goldenseal extract to 1 tablespoon of the saline solution, once cooled, when you are going to use it....it shrinks swollen tissues and disinfects.

The common cause of itching is due to fleas and flea bites - some animals are actually allergic to the flea bites, compounding the problem. Brewer's yeast is often recommended, 1 teaspoon or tablet per day, as a deterrent. A word of caution here - some animals are allergic to the brewer's yeast, or react to it with dry patches of skin that itch just as bad as the fleas do. If you use brewer's yeast, keep an eye out for these sorts of skin problems to develop, and discontinue the brewer's yeast if necessary as soon as one of these symptoms appear. A good remedy for those dry itchy skin patches is tea tree oil, rubbed over the patch. The bitter taste will discourage the animal from digging at his skin, and the oil works well to heal the dryness. Do not use it near the eyes or genitals, however. Aloe is also good for those dry patches. Another method is to put a slice of raw cucumber over the "hot" spot, holding it there for a few minutes, and then rub aloe or tea tree oil over the area.

The shampoo you use, or the flea collar you use, may actually be causing the itching. Bathe the animal in an all natural shampoo, preferably something that has aloe in it, and find an alternative to that flea collar!! Would you wear chemicals around your neck? Neither should they!

You can make an herbal dip for your pet as follows: 2 cups packed fresh peppermint, pennyroyal, or rosemary; 1 quart boiling water; 4 quarts warm water - - Prepare an infusion by pouring the boiling water over the herbs and allow it to steep for 30 minutes. Strain the liquid and dilute it with the warm water. Saturate the animal's coat thoroughly with the solution, allowing it to air dry. Use at the first sign of flea activity. This remedy will need to be repeated everthree to four days, but it is totally safe.

If the itching persists, and fleas or poor diet are not the culprit, use a mixture of Licorice Root, Dandelion Root, and Cat's Claw in equal drops of each tincture for two weeks. The licorice is a natural cortisone, and will help to jumpstart the immune system.

To get rid of fleas in your carpet, after removing pets from the room, sprinkle Borax over the carpet and rub it in. Wait a while, then vacuum as usual. This is a safe, non-chemical method of flea control. Reapply the Borax once a week until the problem is gone.

Fresh aloe is an excellent application for those strange cuts and scrapes we can never figure out how our pet got. It is a natural antiseptic, and will keep the area moist until the cut can heal. Another good product is Bag Balm, available at feed stores everywhere. It keeps the skin moist and pliable, so that the skin can repair itself, and new hair can grow back. It prevents scarring when the area can be kept moist, but not wet. (Hint: Bag Balm, when rubbed into your cuticles, can also help you grow strong fingernails! It is also excellent for those very chapped lips we get in the wintertime). Alternatively, you can clean the wound with a wash of goldenseal, and apply aloe or other herbal treatments that are your favorites.

First you must lance the abscess. I mix a betadine solution with water until it looks like tea, and then fill an eyedropper with the solution and squirt it into the hole. Do this several times per day, at least three. The important thing is to clip the fur away from the abscess and don't cover it with any bandage, or it can't drain properly. It has to heal from the inside out. If it is extremely deep, you may need a vet to put a drain in it. I also begin to administer antibiotic herbs orally, to help fight any infection that may occur. Another course of action is to use chamomile in the wound to prevent infection. I have had a lot of success with these methods, which my vet recommends. However, I also know that if it doesn't begin to clear up within a week, I need professional help to combat the infection.

Does your pet get carsick when you take him for trips? Try giving a few drops of ginger root extract prior to the trip to settle his tummy. If it is a long trip, you may want to administer the ginger again halfway through the trip.

Does your pet clear the room without barking? Two courses of action can be taken to give relief on that front (or should I say "behind"?!). One is to give a tablespoon of plain yogurt mixed into their food once per day. Another method is to give a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar on the food daily. Try one method, and give it time. If it doesn't work, then try the other. If the problem persists, look into his diet.

Give a tincture of equal drops of echinacea and goldenseal. If the illness persists after two weeks, try a combination of different herbal antibiotics after careful diagnosis by your vet. If the animal recovers quickly, continue giving the herbs for a few days after, to aid in healing completely.

I generally give a capsule of garlic oil in the food once per week. It helps keep the biting insect critters away, and helps keep the immune system healthy.

When a pet is dehydrated, due to illness or injury, you can give them Pedialyte, available in the baby food section of any grocery store. Alternatively, you can substitute Gatorade. However, the sugar content in Gatorade is rather high, which is not good for long term use with our pets. If using it, cut it in half with plain water. There are also powdered electrolyte solutions available in most feed stores that work just as well, and are less expensive. Electrolyte solutions given in place of water for the first 24 hours will also help new pets that were shipped to deal with the stress of shipping. This is especially important with reptiles, amphibians, and birds of all types.

If your pet is suffering from ulcers, give him two drops each of Calendula, Comfrey, Knotgrass, and Nettle twice per day. Couple this with a bland, easy to digest diet until the ulcer has healed.

Anxiety, Stress:
When your pet suffers from stress or anxiety, try a combination of the extracts of Oats, Valerian, and Chamomile. Rub a little lavendar oil near the animal's muzzle, or place some on a cotton pad in the pet's bed or in his sleeping area. And remember that if you are stressed, the animal will be too, so sniff a little of that calming lavendar for yourself as well.

To raise an orphan, first find some goat milk - the fresher the better - to use as the replacement for mother's milk. Goat milk is high in butterfat content, and is infinitely better to use than those powdered replacements found in stores, and miles ahead of cow's milk. This applies for human babies, as well. Many a colicky baby has had their stomach soothed with goat milk.....and goat milk is usually easily used by those considered lactose-intolerant. Goat milk can be found in your health food store, and often in your grocery store, but the very best source is of course directly from the goat. Find a dairy goat farmer in your area. The prices will be better, too! We have raised everything from puppies and kittens to colts and calves on goat's milk, and have observed or experienced none of the weight-gain problems or vitamin deficiency or immune deficiencies that occur often when using substitutes. Remember to feed the milk warmed. For puppies and kittens, it is often helpful to rub the face and anal area with a warm swab, to stimulate their system, much as the mother does after the baby feeds from her. Once per day, add a little spirulina (powdered) to the milk. It boosts the immune system, so needed in orphaned babies, and provides many necessary vitamins and nutrients.

Raspberry leaf administered daily throughout a pet's pregnancy (mammals) will help tone the uterus and aid in the healing of the uterus after birth, as well as help to stimulate milk production in the mammaries.

Milk thistle and turmeric is the preferred treatment for this disease, and most liver ailments, in most pets.

Diarrhea, vomiting:
Powdered slippery elm bark is useful for treating diarrhea, vomiting, and sensitive stomachs for pets.

Shiny Coats:
One teaspoon (less for very small animals, such as ferrets) of cod liver oil dribbled over the pet's food once or twice per week will give a thick, shiny coat, as well as provide many nutrients needed by your pet's body.

Bee Pollen:
1/4 teaspoon for every 15 pounds of animal, given two to three times weekly, helps to slow the aging process. It will also restore hormone balances, regulate the digestive tract, and calm the symptoms of common allergies. Give bee pollen daily during times of stress, illness, or disease to give a boost to the body.

Vitamin C:
Giving 1000 mg to 2000 mg per day for three months to puppies from large breeds can help prevent hip dysplacia. Give 500 mg to 1000 mg daily to ease arthritis in dogs and cats. 500 mg each day can prevent urinary tract symptoms and problems for cats.

Do not give white willow to cats or kittens. Many felines are allergic to salycin, the active ingredient in both white willow and the drug that is derived from it, aspirin. Substitute meadowsweet as a pain reliever instead.

Does your horse suffer from laminitis, founder, or heaves? If so, there is a way to treat them with herbal medicines and natural therapies. Contact me for more information.

I would like to thank the New Zealand Holistic Animal Therapists Association for their printing of my article Herbal Healing for Pets (from this page) in the First Quarter 2000 edition of their magazine! I am honored!

I would also like to thank The Chamomile Times for their use of this article for their Herbs for Pets issue, December 2000.

Herbs and Menopause

The following is a guide for those of us experiencing the changes of menopause, and wish to turn to herbal treatments instead of the traditional medical treatments.

As with all herbal healing, diet is just as important as the herbs being ingested. This is all the more true when dealing with menopause. Nutritional support can go far to aid us in dealing with the affects of menopause on our bodies.

At this time in our lives, calcium becomes very important. Get your daily amounts from natural organic dairy products (especially yogurt), calcium supplements, seaweeds (such as kelp and spirulina), dark leafy greens such as spinach, and herbs that provide additional calcium. If using supplements, try to obtain those that are from natural sources, rather than synthetic, as the body will assimilate them more completely, and make better use of the supplement. Additional iron is nessary, as is Vitamin E. Do your best to avoid alcohol, caffeine, refined sugars, processed foods, and salt. A high fiber low fat diet is best.

And very important - don't forget to get adequate exercise!!

Ginseng and sage, taken daily as capsules or teas, can help alleviate hot flashes.

Chickweed, nettle, and uva ursi helps alleviate water retention. Don't stop ingesting fluids due to retention - your body still needs liquids! Not doing so can cause problems for the kidneys. Cranberry juice is also effective in aiding retention.

Estrogen replacement doesn't have to be in the form of synthetic medicines. Try using a combination of 2 parts wild yam, 2 parts licorice, 3 parts sasparilla, 2 parts spirulina, 1 part vitex, 1 part ginger, 1 part false unicorn root, 2 parts sage, 1 part cinnamon, 2 parts gingko, 2 parts gotu kola, and 1/2 part black cohosh, daily. This can be made in tea form, or the powders can be blended and made into capsules, or you can mix together the tincture forms of these herbs, and take 1/2 to 1 teaspoon daily. Take plenty of Vitamin E, 400 to 800 milligrams (half that if you have diabetes, a rheumatic heart, or high blood pressure). Two capsules daily of dong quai, bee pollen, royal jelly, and/or ginseng, along with the above formula, can be very effective.

Do remember that growing older doesn't mean growing slower. Stay active. Find new interests. Don't be afraid to be sexually active! Think of yourself in a positive manner, and the effects will be wonderful!

Pregnancy and Infertility

The following is help for those trying to get pregnant, already pregnant, or about to experience the blessed event. Once again, please seek the assistance of a qualified person before taking these herbs. Use at your own risk.


The first place to start is at the beginning. Below are some things that will help to improve your fertility when the decision is made to go from a couple to a family.

First, you need to check with a physician to determine where the infertility problem lies. Many things can affect fertility for both the man and the woman. A few tests will go a long way to preventing a lot of hair-pulling and finger-pointing. If sperm count is low, a quick solution is to wear boxers instead of briefs. Sperm needs to be cooler than the body temperature to form properly.

Uterine fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, stress, age - all have a factor in fertility for women, and these situations need to be addressed and treated before embarking on an herbal treatment for fertility. You should not be in such a hurry to get pregnant that you put yourself or your fetus in any kind of danger.

Fertility Tonic

2 parts ho shou wu
1 part astragalus root
1 part dong quai root (substitute ginseng for men)
2 parts false unicorn root
3 parts wild yam root
1 part vitex berries
1 part squaw vine
1 part cinnamon

The tonic may be used in tincture (3/4 teaspoon daily), capsule (3 capsules twice per day), or tea (one cup three times per day) form. Use daily for up to 3 months. During this time, change your lifestyle to include plenty of exercise, rest, and above all, a healthy diet. Take a multivitamin every day, as well as bee pollen, propolis, and/or royal jelly. Your life is a direct reflection of what is going on in your body, both male and female. Take stock and change what you should to aid in overcoming the infertility. And remember - sometimes trying too hard can make it difficult to conceive!

Herbs During Pregnancy

These are herbs that will help the mother and baby in the early development stages.

Black Haw - used in the early stages of pregnancy to help prevent miscarriage

Blessed Thistle - used in the latter stages of pregnancy as a liver tonic and builder, as well as a stimulant of blood flow to the mammaries, and used to increase milk production; also reduces hemorrhaging during childbirth

Burdock Root - has a high concentration of vitamins and minerals and is a liver booster

Chamomile - lifts the spirits and calms the nerves, used for digestive disorders during pregnancy, is combined with ginger to help morning sickness, and has a high calcium content as well as an anti-inflammatory aid

Cramp Bark - a remedy to have handy in case of spot bleeding during early stages of pregnancy, and helps prevent miscarriage due to stress and anxiety

Dandelion - greens and root - a high source of vitamins and minerals, aids digestion, nourishes and tones the system, diuretic, useful for fatigue and exhaustion, liver booster

Ginger Root - used for morning sickness and digestive problems, safe during pregnancy for treating colds, sore throats, and congestion

Kelp - high in vitamins and minerals, aids thyroid

Nettle Leaf - rich in many vitamins and minerals, especially iron, so it is very useful for those suffering from chronic fatigue and exhaustion due to low iron, aids in enriching and stimulating flow of milk; good for use throughout all stages of the pregnancy

Red Raspberry Leaf - tones and nourishes the uterine muscles, rich in vitamins and minerals, enriches and increases milk flow, restores the system after childbirth; good for the entire pregnancy

Spirulina - high in vitamins and nutrients

Bee Products - many nutritional benefits

Always remember to eat a very healthy diet when pregnant and/or nursing!