Medicinal approach suggests new health advantages for dogs
The use of medicinal plants in dog food ingredients revives a long awaited antediluvian health practice. For centuries ancient medicine has utilized medicinal plants in the treatment of heterogeneous health maladies in animals and humans with notable success. Although the implementation of medicinal plants in dog food ingredients is considered a newer concept, it has been practiced for centuries.
“Phytomedicine” is the name given to natural medical practices used by ancient civilizations. It is the earliest and most universal system of plant medicine. Also called “Botanical/Plant Medicine,” Phytomedicine is established in scientific research with a long proven history of curative results.
Pet Bistro’s mission is to use a holistic approach to ameliorate and remedy ailments and diseases in dogs using organic whole foods, spices and herbs in dog food. The secret to dog health is maintaining homeostatic elements in the body by way of a circadian process through medicinal whole food consumption. Dogs have nutritional requirements that are not met by just consuming meat. A dog’s best defense against illness and disease is a healthy immune system. Phytomedicine is a natural way to achieve a healthy immune system and revive homeostatic elements in dogs.
Pet Bistro conducted pilot studies in Phytomedicine on the benefits of organic medicinal plants in dog food ingredients for dog health. Already applying medicinal plants in dog food ingredients, Pet Bistro’s Organic Dog Food contains fresh organic ingredients including parsley, which offers health benefits, making it the “chicken soup for dogs”.
Some dog owners may argue that parsley is already a common food used in dog food ingredients and offers no benefits. Fresh organic parsley, like that found in Pet Bistro’s dog food, contains various health benefits both for dogs and humans. There is no comparison in the quality of Pet Bistro organic dog food ingredients to the typically used by-product deficient dog food ingredients. Whole food dog food ingredients and the quality level of those ingredients consumed are key factors in the health and wellbeing of your dog. The herb parsley is just one of many medicinal foods utilized in Pet Bistro’s dog food ingredients. Mint is another medicinal herb that is healthy for dogs.
Read on to find out why these key ingredients can improve dogs’ health.
Parsley’s Benefits in Dog Food Ingredients
Parsley is high in fiber, contains NO cholesterol, is low glycemic index (GI) and supplies a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and chlorophyll. Parsley is also a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Parsley is rich in polyphenolic flavonoid antioxidants, including api-in, apigenin, chrysoeriol, and luteolin packed full of quality antioxidant activities.
Parsley’s volatile oils—particularly myristicin—have shown to inhibit tumor formation in animal studies, and particularly, tumor formation in the lungs. Extracts from parsley have been used in animal studies to help increase the antioxidant capacity of the blood. Studies in animals reveal parsley is a natural cancer inhibitor by eliminating cancer causing toxins through cleansing the liver, kidneys and bloodstream altogether improving and stimulating the dog’s immune system to work more efficiently and prevent disease.
The high vitamin C content in parsley is just one of the vitamins vital for the healthy function of a dog’s immune system as well as a key in preventing and halting recurring colds and ear infections; a common occurrence in dogs. Vitamin C offers many vital functions in the treatment and prevention of a wide variety of diseases, including colon cancer, atherosclerosis, asthma, and diabetes. Dogs deficient in vitamin C are more likely to develop various forms of arthritis, ear infections and cancers. Folic acid is another critical nutrient in parsley; it also plays a crucial role in the prevention of certain cancers.
Studies with animals show that the parsley extracts ability to increase the antioxidant capacity of the blood, acts as a natural diuretic due to its anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce and prevent edema. Its diuretic capabilities are significant in the treatment of swelling, cystitis, kidney, bladder and urinary tract infections. This is due to a mechanism in parsley which blocks the re-absorption of sodium and potassium causing a greater urinary volume.
The anti-inflammatory properties offer relief in the treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The vitamin B in parsley plays a critical role in cardiovascular health by converting the dangerous molecule homocysteine into benign molecules. Homocysteine at high levels directly damages blood vessels and increases the risk of strokes in animals and humans with atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease. Therefore, parsley is helpful in relieving heart maladies, asthma, dyspepsia, bruising, itching, bone health and the prevention of arthritis.
Parsley also contains health-benefiting essential volatile oils that include myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene. The essential oil, Eugenol, in parsley has been used medicinally in dentistry as a local anesthetic and antiseptic for teeth and gum diseases in dogs as well as humans. It has also been proven to reduce blood sugar levels in dogs with diabetes. In studies, the component myristicin contained in parsley’s volatile oil has proven to inhibit tumor formations particularly in the lungs. Myristicin has also shown to help increase antioxidant capacity of the blood.
Well known to improve the oral health of dogs, Parsley eliminates microbes that cause bad breath and help digestion. The addition of fresh organic parsley to dog food ingredients offers significant therapeutic properties that benefit dog health including:
- Anti-asthmatic – aids in relieving asthma by relaxing acute asthmatic spasms and its anti-inflammatory properties which reduce inflammation
- Anti-allergen – Parsley juice mildly inhibits the secretion of histamine, helping to alleviate and treating hives and relieve other allergy symptoms
- Coagulant – allows blood coagulation – to not bleed uncontrollably
- Analgesic – pain killer and local anesthetic reduces inflammatory pain
- Antimicrobial – Chlorophyll in parsley is slightly anti-bacterial – destructive to or inhibiting microorganism growth – antibacterial activity against natural micro flora, coli forms, yeast and molds, and S. aureus
- Anti-inflammatory – inflammatory polyarthritis, reducing inflammation thus reducing pain
- Antiseptic – Leaves, stems and roots of parsley contain antiseptic properties as a poultice
- Antispasmodic – reducing spasms of involuntary muscles easing the severity of stomach aches
- Cardiovascular Disease – parsley contains Potassium, a chief component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure by countering the effects of sodium
- Carminative properties – promotes Intestinal microbes – prevents constipation, reduces irritated bowel syndromes, alleviating bloating and gas and the severity of stomach aches
- Repellant – juice or poultice serves well as a mosquito repellent. Can mix with apple cider vinegar
- Stimulant – vitamin K aids in memory diseases by limiting neuronal damage in the brain and raises physiological and nerve activity
- Antifungal – Chlorophyll in parsley is slightly antifungal in the treatment of mycosis, these properties also help in counteracting asthma
- Bone health – Vitamin K, aids in bone health preventing and aiding to reverse osteoporosis
- Eye health – in older dogs it helps eye health through its anti-oxidant and ultra-violet light filtering functions
- Antipruritic – relieves itching – juice or poultice will relieve itching and stinging of insect bites
- Diuretic – causes more water to flow via osmosis, cleansing and eliminating toxins from the body
- Anticarcinogenic – blocks new blood vessel formation in cancer tumors – aids to prevent various types of cancers – reverses and prevents oxidative cell damage – neutralize certain carcinogens such as benzoprenes
- Oral health – 2 main reasons for bad breath is oral hygiene and gastrointestinal health. Parsley cleanses the palate and freshens breath after meals and promotes digestion
- Parsley is also a good source of antioxidants.
Other Benefits of Parsley in Dog Food Ingredients
Total antioxidant strength (ORAC) of fresh Parsley is 1301 µmol TE/100g.
- The herb Parsley has low calories (36 calories per 100g) and zero cholesterol.
- Rich in numerous antioxidant vitamins, like a good source of vitamin-A (through its concentration of the provitamin A carotenoid, beta-carotene), vitamin-C (critical in bone health), vitamin-E, zea-xanthin, lutein, and cryptoxanthin also an excellent source of vitamin-K1, iron and folates. Zea-xanthin aids in the prevention of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) in the retina of the eye through its antioxidant and ultra-violet filtering abilities.
- Parsley is the richest herb source for vitamin K – 1640 µg of vitamin K.
- Fresh parsley leaves are rich in numerous essential vitamins like pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), riboflavin (vitamin B-2), niacin (vitamin B-3), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and thiamin (vitamin B-1) which play a vital role in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism by acting as co-enzymes inside the body.
- The elements of Parsley’s volatile oil contain flavonoids that include chrysoeriol, apigenin, apiin and luteolin also included is limonene, eugenol, myristicin and alpha-thujene. The activity of this volatile oil qualifies it as a “chemoprotective” food, helping to neutralize particular types of carcinogens (like the benzoprenes) Myristicin activates the enzyme glutathione-S-transferase, which attaches the molecule glutathione to oxidized molecules that do damage in the body.
- Parsley inhibits cancer tumor formations in the lungs.
Cautions for Parsley in Dog Food Ingredients
Parsley is not recommended for use in dog food ingredients for dogs in treatment for or with severe kidney disease or on oxalate restricted diets, on blood thinners, blood clotting disorders or on prescription medications.
Talk to your veterinarian before feeding parsley to your dog if:
- There are existing or untreated kidney or gallbladder problems
- On a no or low Oxalate diet. Oxalates interfere with calcium absorption in the body and increase crystallization in urine contributing to infections, kidney stones and problems urinating and possibly painful arthritis – very high in oxalic acid, 1.70 mg per 100 g
- Diagnosed with any kidney function anomaly or other diseases
- Has blood coagulation disorders or bleeding disorders
- Diagnosed with absorptive hypercalciuria type II, enteric hyperoxaluria, and primary hyperoxaluria
Mint’s Benefits in Dog Food Ingredients
Mint known as “Mentha”, is a genus of plants in the family Lamiaceae (or M. balsa mea wild). There are various species and hybridizations in the mint family, including about 220 genera and 3300 species. Mostly familiar is wild mint (Mentha arvensis), peppermint (Mentha x piperita) and spearmint (Mentha spicata). Mentha genera make up just a small fraction of plants known as “mints.” Additional mints common in the mint family (Lamiaceae) include basil, bee balm, cat mint, apple mint, pineapple mint, horehound, horse mint, hyssop, lavender, lemon balm, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory (summer & winter), thyme, and other various hybridizations.
Peppermint has a long history of medicinal treatment and curative uses. Archaeological evidence indicates its use as far back as ten thousand years. Mentha genera is highly prized for their strong antimicrobial properties as well as nutritive and medicinal qualities in the treatment of diseases, ailments and other health modalities in addition to innumerable culinary uses. All species of the Mint family are known to inhibit fungal infections. This includes dog-related fungi such ear infections, external fungal infections and other internal fungal infections.
Mint and peppermint tisanes offer exceptional health benefits due to their significantly higher ferrous ion chelating ability. For dogs, chelation is a vital aspect for health in removing toxic heavy metals from the body. This method of naturally removing poisonous heavy metals from the bloodstream is paramount, considering the toxic by-product ingredients and other chemical muck commonly utilized in today’s dog food ingredients. Studies also show that mint’s tisanes chelating properties offer some ability in removing calcium deposits within the walls of coronary arteries in the treatment of arteriosclerosis. Mint properties overall, offer significant health benefits in curative and preventative treatments for dogs with these types of diseases or illnesses.
These medicinal properties that benefit dogs are offered by many of the Mentha species herb plants including, Peppermint and Spearmint. Although not a member of the Mentha genus, Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii) is also a member of the mint family. Various herbs in the mint family have medicinal properties and specific uses, the majority of all mints share the following medicinal actions:
- Analgesic – pain killer and local anesthetic reduces headaches and migraines
- Antimicrobial – destructive to or inhibiting microorganism growth
- Antiseptic – germicide
- Antispasmodic – reducing spasms of involuntary muscles easing the severity of stomach cramping
- Diaphoretic – increases perspiration
- Digestive – promotes digestion – reduces irritated bowel syndromes and alleviating the severity of stomach discomfort
- Repellant – Peppermint oil or poultice is a natural insect repellent
- Stimulant – raises physiological activity – metabolic
- Antifungal – fungicide to treat mycosis fungoides, these properties also aid in relieving asthma and other allergic conditions
- Inhalant – peppermints essential oil helps congestion problems, sinus infections and common colds by soothing nasal receptors and reducing inflammation in the chest, head, sinus and body.
- Antipruritic – relieves itching from rashes, insect bites and hives
- Diuretic – cleanses and eliminates toxins from the body
- Anticarcinogenic – anti-cancer properties aids to prevent skin, lung and colon cancer
- Oral health – breath freshener reduces oral microbes and whitens teeth
Mint alleviates a multitude of modalities including the reduction of bacteria growth and fungus in the body. Mint contains a phytonutrient, called ‘perillyl alcohol” a carcino preventive agent with antineoplastic activity that counteracts the effects of a carcinogen by inhibiting the development of cancer, through impeding malignancy cells in the G1 phase of the cell cycle. This makes peppermint a valuable option as a dog food ingredient in the treatment of canine cancer or aiding in the prevention of canine cancers.
Peppermint’s Use in Dog Food Ingredients
Peppermint is a powerful medicinal herb that is extremely healthful for use in dog food ingredients. This is due to its naturally high flavonoid antioxidant content and high concentration of vital oils. Peppermint has a strong Mentha flavor therefore usage should be limited to small amounts when adding to dog food ingredients. A small amount of peppermint is all that is needed to provide a substantial amount of beneficial antioxidants.
Mint is an outstanding choice for dogs on a low oxalate diet or being treated for diabetes. Mint has a very low (immeasurable) oxalate and purine content and a very low glycemic index. The leaves inhibit fungal infections, larvae infections, biting and sucking insects, minor infections and aids to sooth pain of neuralgia, eczema, stings hives and other minor wounds. Mint is a natural pain reliever that is successful in the treatment of sore throats, sinus infections, chest congestion and headaches.
Peppermint helps to protect the liver against cancer causing toxins, ease the symptoms of indigestion, bloating, cramps, flatulence, nausea, and heartburn. Peppermint’s healing properties have a calming effect on the nervous system and are commonly used as an antispasmodic. A cancer study on animals supported that peppermint shows to have radio protective effects in animal patients undergoing cancer treatment. Significant studies conclude peppermint is effective in the reduction of abdominal pain associated in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), easing diarrhea and colonic spasms. Peppermint is also used as a cleanser for hair, to stimulate hair growth and used as a natural insect repellent to ward off bodily mites and other biting insects.
Peppermint contains beneficial essential oils of menthol, menthone and menthyl acetate. When applied to skin or inhaled, these compounds help reduce airway inflammation and other inflammation; alleviates microbes and has a natural cooling sensation that affects sensory nerve receptors in the skin, throat and mouth. An excellent treatment in gum health, cold & sinus infections and the alleviation of malodorous breath in dogs makes it a good source in dog food ingredients.
Other Benefits of Peppermint in Dog Food Include:
- Total antioxidant strength (ORAC) of fresh peppermint herb is 13978 µmol TE/100g.
- The herb Peppermint has low calories (48 calories per 100g) and zero cholesterol
- Peppermint is a superlative source of minerals like iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium and manganese. 100g of fresh peppermint provides 569 mg of potassium that is a principal element of cell and body fluids which helps control blood pressure and heart rate. Copper and Zinc function as cofactors for its antioxidant enzyme, superoxide-dismutase (protect cellular components from being oxidized by reactive oxygen species)
- Peppermint is rich in phyto-nutrients and contains numerous antioxidant vitamins, including vitamin-C, beta carotene, vitamin E and vitamin A. Mint leaves are rich in vitamin-K and contain many key B-complex vitamins like pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), riboflavin and folate
- Peppermint has a very low GI (glycemic index) and immeasurable oxalates or purines
- Peppermint is low in saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol
- Peppermint contains omega-3 fatty acids and is a very good source of dietary fiber, calcium, potassium, copper, iron magnesium, and manganese and a good source of phosphorus, niacin and zinc
- Mint’s essential oil contains up to 48% Menthol, up to 30% Menthone with additional constituents
- Treatment for stomach gas or upset is one drop of quality food grade mint oil in dog food ingredients or water bowl will help ease these issues.
Cautions for Mint in Dog Food Ingredients
Peppermint may have adverse reactions for some dogs in its use for stomach ailments. Intolerant dogs can try Spearmint, Basil or Lavender. Consult veterinarian before using mint if your dog is on any medications or has an undiagnosed illness. Do not use mint in the following situations:
- During pregnancy or breeding, as it may also slow lactation in mother dogs.
- As a pure essential oil. For external use, consult a veterinarian prior to usage.
- If you notice adverse side effects from any herb, spices and other foods, it is advisable to discontinue use (take note). Always try small amounts in dog food ingredients to rule out allergies or other reactions.
- Do not use excessive quantity due to potency of the flavor.
Herbs/Spices Poisonous To Dogs
English pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) – Also referred to as European pennyroyal. Due to its high chemical content of Pulegone (up to 90% with Menthone) and other components, is toxic to dogs and humans. The chemical Pulegone is known to cause liver damage and organ failure in both animals and humans.
Perilla Mint (Perilla frutescens) – is not a member of the Mentha genus, but considered a member of the mint family. Perilla mint is extremely toxic to dogs although it is used widely in Asian cuisine. (Do Not Feed Any Asian Foods to Dogs)
Spearmint’s Use In Dog Food Ingredients
Spearmint is a Mentha species of the mint family. There are various hybrids of spearmint, some other names for spearmint are green mint, garden mint, our lady mint, curled mint, Mackerel Mint, fish mint, Spire Mint, lamb mint, menta verde, Menthe Verte, Menthe Douce, Mentha spicata, Mentha à Épis, Mentha crispa, Mentha cordifolia, Mentha viridis, Mentha Crépue, Mentha Romaine, Menthe Frisée, Menthe des Jardins, Huile Essentielle de Menthe Verte, Hierbabuena, Putiha, Pahari Pudina, Yerba Buena and Sage of Bethlehem.
Spearmint leaves are known for their therapeutic properties and have been utilized medicinally by ancient cultures for well over 3000 years. Spearmint has been used with much success in the treatment and curative measures of numerous illnesses and diseases as in such organisms as Eukaryote, Parazoa, Eumetazoa, which adversely affect dogs, humans and other animals. This medicinal herb is nutritionally loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients offering therapeutic health properties that are extremely beneficial for use in dog food ingredients and other culinary applications.
Spearmint is high in vitamin A and C with a long history in the curative and prevention of scurvy. Spearmint also has good total phenolic and flavonoid contents and exhibits excellent antioxidant activity responsible for its salubrious properties. A synthesis of chemical compounds in spearmint exhibits significant bactericidal activity against such disease agents as Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, and Helicobacter pylori. Studies in animals reveal that spearmint also works as an anti-carcinogenic protecting against tumors and protecting the cells and organ systems by counteracting oxidative damage from free radicals in the body. Spearmint is a great choice for dogs and other animals in the treatment of illness and preventative health. Naturally sweet, spearmint has a mild taste that dogs love, making it an ideal therapeutic option to combine in dog food ingredients.
Spearmint can also be added to dog food ingredients as a carminative in the treatment of various gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea and nausea. Other therapeutic uses of this herbaceous plant range from halitosis, sore gums, toothaches, sore throat, colds & flu, headaches, sinus infections, digestive disorders including flatulence, skin conditions including urticaria & pruritus, hirsutism, arthritis, muscle & nerve pain, memory & cognition, nausea, colic in babies, cramps and to ease labor.
Spearmint exhibits gustatory and olfactory properties and also used as an aid in decreasing sugar cravings. The essential oil of Spearmint is beneficial and is used in many different ways from a soothing aroma, massage oil, lotions, fragrances, perfumes, soaps, shampoos and numerous tinctures. Spearmint exudes a distinctive pleasing aroma attributed to the chemical I-Carvone – makes up to 56% of the primary constituent of the volatile oil. Other important components that make up the essential oil of spearmint are Dihydrocarvone, Limonene, Terpenes, Phellandrene and often Cineol and Linalool.
Spearmint’s medicinal actions include:
- Analgesic – pain killer and local anesthetic reduces headaches and migraines
- Antiemetic – treatment for nausea due to illness or pregnancy
- Antimicrobial – natural antibiotic destructive to or inhibiting microorganism growth
- Antiseptic – germicide
- Antispasmodic – reducing spasms of involuntary muscles easing the severity of stomach aches and cramps
- Diaphoretic – inducing perspiration reduces fevers
- Digestive aid – promotes digestion – Reduces Abdominal discomfort, spasms, and reduces irritated bowel syndromes and alleviates the severity of stomachaches, and is a gall bladder stimulator
- Insecticidal – natural insect repellant
- Stimulant – raises physiological – metabolic activity
- Antifungal – fungicide to treat mycosis these properties also help in curing asthma and other allergic conditions
- Anti-catarrhal – Inhalant, essential oil helps respiratory problems, chronic coughing, bronchitis, inflammation from sinus infections, common colds and a great stress reliever
- Antipruritic – relieves dry skin and itching
- Diuretic – eliminates toxins from the body and treatment of kidney and urinary problems
- Anti-carcinogenic – anti cancer properties inhibits tumor growth and aids to prevent skin, lung and colon cancer
- Anti-Inflammatory – Reduces inflammation of the body resulting in a reduction of pain and edema.
- Mucolytic – loosens and clears mucus from airways relieves respiratory difficulties
- Metabolic – Increases metabolism aiding in weight loss
Spearmint is a strong source of antioxidants. Total antioxidant strength (ORAC) of fresh Spearmint herb is 540 µmol TE/100g.
Additional benefits of the herb in dog food ingredients include:
- Spearmint has low calories (43 calories per 100g) and zero cholesterol
- The herb spearmint is rich in many antioxidant vitamins, including vitamin A (provides 4054 IU) vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), foliates, thiamin and riboflavin. A great source of Protein, Niacin, Thiamin, Zinc and Phosphorus
- Excellent source of Dietary Fiber, very low in saturated fat and no cholesterol
- Spearmint is high in minerals like potassium, copper, calcium, iron, magnesium and manganese. Iron is essential for enzyme proteins in cellular metabolism and synthesis of hemoglobin. The mineral Potassium is a type of electrolyte and a major component of cellular activity, crucial in the function and control of heart rate, blood pressure, kidneys and other bodily organs. Manganese is utilized by the body as a cofactor for the powerful natural antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD)
- Spearmint is rich in other important chemical components like areα-pinene, β-pinene, carvone, cineole, linalool, limonene, myrcene and caryophyllene. These compounds in spearmint are known to relieve fatigue and stress
- Spearmint contains a much lower level of menthol, unlike in peppermint the leaves compose 0.5% menthol, a small amount in comparison to 40% in peppermint. This makes spearmint leaves less pungent and more desirable for use in dog food ingredients. It exudes a distinctive pleasing aroma attributed to the beneficial chemical I-Carvone.
Cautions For Spearmint in Dog Food Ingredients
Do not feed spearmint to dogs that are pregnant. Spearmint has been used as an emmenagogue (stimulating blood flow provoking menstruation) and an abortifacient (inducing abortion).
Do not use spearmint in the following situations:
- If your dog is on any medications or has an undiagnosed illness.
- During pregnancy or breeding as it may also slow lactation in mother dogs.
- Do not use externally any undiluted essential oil of any spearmint – ask a veterinarian prior to external use.
- Introduce small amounts in dog food ingredients to rule out allergies or other reactions.
- Avoid large quantities may cause digestive upset.
Dog Food Ingredients and Phytomedicine 101
The use of any medicinal herbs, plants or botanicals in the treatment of illness and disease should not be indiscriminately added to dog food ingredients. It is recommended prior to treating with medicinal plants in dog food ingredients or combining with prescribed orthodox medicine – consult with your veterinarian. Thoroughly research the plant(s) effects on your dog’s health in addition to dosage and possible side effects.
Medicinal plants are powerful therapeutics and your veterinarian may not be well versed in the field of Phytomedicine. Be prepared. Diligently research prior to consulting with your dog’s veterinarian. Provide research copies. The information will better enable your veterinarian to research the choice medicinals. A informed decision is a safe healthy decision. Healthy ingredients in dog food are safe dog food ingredients. A healthy dog is a happy dog.