5 Ayurvedic Herbs You Can Use to Support Your Pet's Health and Well-Being
An increasing number of pet parents want to take a more holistic approach to health when caring for their furry friends. It’s easy to understand this movement when considering the continual increase in both physical and emotional challenges in dogs and cats.
The most important first step on the path of natural wellness is to pay close attention to everything that is put in, or on, your pet’s body.
Conventional medicines and prescriptions certainly have their place, yet safe and effective natural alternatives are often overlooked. Many prescription treatments are effective in reducing symptoms; however, most are not intended to bring about a long lasting solution.
If you are on the path of natural health and wellness, the ancient healing wisdom of Ayurveda is an ideal guide to follow for both humans and pets. As the oldest healing system in existence, the herbs and modalities of Ayurveda have been effectively used for thousands of years.
Let’s explore a handful of go-to herbs that can be helpful and easy to provide for most pets. Of course, this information isn't meant to substitute professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or qualified animal healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding your pet's condition.
The legendary “golden” standard for supporting healthy comfortable joints is turmeric. This herb is a great choice for pets suffering from stiffness, discomfort, and other issues stemming from achy or overused muscles and joints.
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, targets free radicals, a known trigger for several imbalances. It has also been shown to support a healthy immune response and can act as a powerful antioxidant.1 Turmeric also helps to support healthy digestion by breaking down fats, which are a major part of a healthy pet’s diet.
Banyan's Turmeric powder is well-suited for use with pets because it can be purchased in various sizes and used in varying amounts for animals of all different sizes. Generally, I recommend about ¼ teaspoon daily for every 20 pounds.
It may not be the easiest to pronounce, but this natural herb is a miracle worker for some pets. Ashwagandha helps to neutralize the effects of stress, reduce anxiousness, support healthy energy, and can even improve learning and memory. This grounding, nourishing herb is a perfect fit for a pet with a vata imbalance.
Ashwagandha is considered an adaptogenic herb—essentially an overall health tonic because it benefits the body in so many ways. Ashwagandha has been used to maintain healthy blood sugar and blood pressure, help regulate healthy cholesterol levels, support robust immunity, and help strengthen muscle tone. Traditionally, ashwagandha has been used to rejuvenate the body and mind and to help restore overall health.
Ashwagandha powder can easily be added to your pet’s meals. I recommend providing about ⅛ teaspoon daily for every 20 pounds.
Neem is a go-to for alleviating various types of skin irritations. In classical Ayurveda, neem is often used to cleanse the blood, support healthy skin, promote oral health, and contribute to the proper function of the heart and liver.
With its cooling effect, neem is especially balancing for pitta dosha. When used topically or ingested, it has been shown to be helpful in repelling pests like fleas and ticks. It may also help to maintain a healthy and balanced environment internally in your pet’s gut.
Neem oil can be used externally in moderation, but due to its extreme potency, it’s essential to make sure you’re using a diluted version such as Banyan’s Neem Oil, which is made with a base of sesame oil.
Neem powder is also helpful for use in dogs and cats when used in moderation. Generally, you can provide ¼ teaspoon daily for every 20 pounds.
Another Ayurvedic staple is ginger, offering many well-renowned benefits. Since it’s common to have ginger in your pantry or fridge, it can be an easy and convenient herbal ally to use for pets when a need arises.
Ginger can be helpful in relieving joint discomfort and easing movement, and its bitter and astringent qualities may assist with drawing out excess moisture in the respiratory system. Ginger is known for being energizing and stimulating for pets and people who might be feeling lethargic, heavy, or withdrawn. In other words, those dealing with a kapha imbalance.
Ginger is a top pick for supporting healthy and comfortable digestion. It is also a mainstay for purification and detoxification, thanks to its warm and cleansing nature.
Ginger powder is good to have on-hand for pet-loving households. When the need arises, you can provide your pet with ⅓ teaspoon daily for every 20 pounds.
Speaking of digestive support, triphala can be utilized as a soothing tonic on a regular basis for a sensitive belly. Its antioxidant properties help the digestive system to release toxins and return to a state of natural balance.
Triphala consists of three fruits—amalaki, bibhitaki, and haritaki—and offers five of the six tastes recommended in Ayurveda for optimal nourishment: sweet, sour, pungent, bitter, and astringent.
Therefore, adding triphala to your pet’s meal can help optimize digestion and absorption of the nutrients being provided. Its properties can also help the respiratory and circulatory systems to function properly.
Triphala powder can be given to your pet regularly or as needed. I recommend a serving size of ¼ teaspoon daily for every 20 pounds.
Taking a Holistic Approach to Your Pet's Well-Being
In essence, pets react in much the same way humans do to natural healing. A daily multivitamin will not counteract a person’s fast-food addiction, and the same is true for animals and Ayurveda. Most important and beneficial to your pet’s health is supporting their overall well-being by providing fresh and nourishing foods, plenty of exercise, time in nature, and a safe, peaceful environment.
Empowering yourself as a pet parent to know what is truly best for your companion is an exceptional way to say, “I love you.”
*Important Note: Along with Banyan Botanicals’ powdered herbs, tablets and liquid extracts can also be useful with animals. I recommend beginning with a quarter of the suggested serving size of any herb and building up if needed. This can reduce the risk of an adverse reaction. Please consult a veterinarian or someone who specializes in herbs applied to animals with any unique situations or health conditions.