Lung Tonic

Native Americans of the Midwest used this tonic to alleviate bronchial coughs and congestion.

2   tablespoons pleurisy root
1   tablespoon mullein root
2   tablespoons elecampane root
1   tablespoon cramp bark
1   teaspoon licorice root or ginger
2   tablespoons osha root, optional; take only if there is congestion or a productive cough
2   tablespoons yucca, dried and split, optional; take only if there is wheezing

Simmer in 2 cups of water, covered for 15 minutes.  Strain when cool and drink half a cup daily to facilitate the lungs or drink half a cup three times daily to alleviate congestion. For wheezing, add dried and split yucca, and add half a cup to coffee or drink alone up to 3 times daily.

Can Dogs Get Colds?

Can Dogs Get Colds?

  • Nicolas, selected from petMD

Winter isn’t the only time of year we have to worry about “catching” a cold, but it is the primary time for it. We’re spending more time in closed quarters, with windows and doors shut tight and no way to escape the germs. It is only a matter of time before someone in the house becomes sick. It could be you, but did you know that it could also be your dog that comes down with this common respiratory infection?

While there are differences in the types of viruses that infect humans versus dogs, the symptoms are basically the same: sneezing, coughing, runny or stuffy nose, watery eyes. What can you do to protect your dog from catching cold, or if your dog does come down with a case of the cold, what can you do to treat it?

Different Germs, Different Viruses

As mentioned above, the type of cold a dog suffers from is different from the type a human suffers from. The illness is not communicable between species — at least, one has not yet been discovered — so there is no need to worry about catching your dog’s cold, or vice versa.

You will need to differentiate a common cold from a more serious health issue. For example, a common cause of dry cough is a condition known as “kennel cough.” This contagious type of cough, as its name suggests, is typically contracted through a kennel or boarding facility. This cough is most easily recognized by its characteristic honking sound. If your dog has recently been boarded or has had contact with a dog that has been boarded recently, this will need to be considered, and will need to be treated by a veterinarian.

There are other highly contagious, cold-like illnesses to be familiar with, as well. The influenza virus, parainfluenza virus, adenovirus, and tuberculosis are all illnesses that can be transmitted by infected dogs.

Another potentially life-endangering viral illness is canine distemper. A dog exhibiting symptoms of distemper will usually have coughing, vomiting, high fever, and a thick discharge from the eyes and nose.

 

When a Cold is Not a Germ or a Virus

There are several types of parasites that can get into the lungs, heart and trachea, and which can also cause symptoms that mimic a cold infection. Coughing and other breathing problems are the main symptoms. Fungal infections are also commonly found in dogs, and can sometimes lead to life threatening conditions, when the fungal parasite sets up house in the lungs, causing ongoing, repetitive coughing, scarring of the lung tissue, and eventually, in some cases, pneumonia.

More difficult to distinguish in many instances, but just as common in animals as in humans, are allergies to environmental triggers and/or food products. An undiagnosed asthma or allergies that trigger respiratory symptoms can also bring on coughing and sneezing fits in dogs.

How to Care for a Pet with a Cold

If your dog is coughing or sneezing, but is in otherwise good health, you may be able to treat the condition as you would a simple human cold — with lots of liquids, healthy foods (Chicken soup, even? But of course! Just make sure to leave out the bones.), warmth, and maybe even some time in a warm and humid room. This can be done by placing a humidifier near his rest area or by filling the bathtub with steaming water and letting the dog hang out in the bathroom for a bit (not in the water), just to let the steam loosen up his sinuses and lungs.

It is important to note that while most respiratory conditions will begin to improve within several days from the time of onset, some dogs’ immune systems are not as prepared for an infection and may need a course of antibiotics or other medications in order to fully recover.

If your dog is either very young or very old, it is best to have her looked over by your veterinarian, since dogs at either end of the age scale tend to have less capable immune systems and can suffer more as a result.

You can help to prevent a cold by keeping her indoors during cold, wet weather, with just brief trips outside for relief. It isn’t the cold temperature that creates the illness, of course, but over exposure to unfriendly temperatures or environments can create a physical situation that makes it easier for a bacterial or viral germ to latch on and take hold in the body. And making sure the physical body is at its healthiest is the main preventative for a host of diseases, not just the cold. Provide your dog with plenty of fresh water — even if there is water still in the bowl, make sure to change it out at least once a day, ideally with a clean bowl every day — and healthy foods so that your dog’s immune system can keep up with whatever germs come his way, and so that he has the strength to exercise at a level that is normal for his age and breed. If your dog is of a breed that typically has respiratory challenges, your veterinarian may suggest keeping a humidifier in your dog’s rest area as a matter of course.

Finally, it can be challenging enough to have one pet who is as “sick as a dog,” you certainly don’t want a house-full of them. While your dog is ill, make sure she is separated from the other dogs in the house so that the infection is not passed along, and if symptoms don’t improve or appear to worsen, consult with your veterinarian.

Cold and Fever Tonic

Tonics are generally not recommended in acute disease. This tonic is meant to be taken at the onset of symptoms and repeated every few hours until symptoms abate. It is very safe for children and adults.

  • 4   tablespoons spearmint leaves

  • 1   tablespoon yarrow flowers

  • 1   tablespoon basil or elder flowers

  • 1   tablespoon lemon balm leaves

In 2 cups of boiled water, steep the above herbs for 15 minutes, covered. Strain and serve warm or cool. Drink half a cup at a time.

Mild Energy Tonic for Fatigue

This is an excellent tonic for travelers or those recuperating from chronic illness or surgery.

1   tablespoon Siberian ginseng root

1   tablespoon ho shou wu (foti)

1   codonopsis dang shen root

2   slices (or 2 tablespoons ground root) astragalus yellow vetch

1   tablespoon suma root (optional)

Simmer all in 2 cups of water, covered, for 1 1/2 hours, or tincture in brandy to cover for 1 month. Drink 1/2 cup of tea daily or dilute a teaspoon of tincture in boiled water. It is safe for elderly folks and children in half doses. For elderly folks, drink 1/4 cup of tea twice daily. Children over 10 years old may drink 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of diluted tea daily for 1 to 2 weeks of the month. If suma and Siberian ginseng are not available as roots, use a tablespoon of dried herbs or buy a tincture (an alcoholic tincture of these roots is often available in health food stores) and add a few drops to your tea.

Attunement

Before choosing a tonic for yourself or a loved one, allow yourself to attune to the needs of the recipient. First, choose a tonic that most suits the symptom.

Is the symptom acute or chronic and recurring? Acute symptoms need quick acting, bitter, sedating, or cooling tonics. Chronic, recurring symptoms require warming and nurturing herbs. Roots and barks often have nurturing qualities. Leaves and flowers are cooling  and can reduce the vitality of one with chronic symptoms if used without building roots and soothing barks. Plan a tonic with long-term results for long-term or recurring problems. Stimulating herbs and spices may be used sparingly to allow the system to accept their warmth. Long term and heavy detoxification is not recommended for chronic disease.

Choose herbs that support the personality and awareness of the recipient. It is normal to have emotional manifestations when the body’s chemistry is not in balance. If the individual is displaying anger, choose herbs that will not overstimulate or heat up their system such as spearmint or chamomile. Do not choose a heating root like ginseng in the combination. If the individual is weepy, choose herbs that promote diuresis. When the kidney flush, they will move out excess fluids and metabolic wastes. Use the tonic long enough to achieve the desired  effect. Longer uration is only acceptable for longevity tonics recommended by an experienced practitioner. If someone tells you “it;s natural, it can’t hurt you,” run homme and make a tension reliever tea. You probably know more about herbs and have been blessed with greater common sense.

Become acquainted with as many herbs as you can grow organically or obtain locally. It is better to be well acquainted with a few herbs than to know little about many. When in doubt, use local compresses, external application, and aromasignatures before ingesting a questionable tonic.

Hearsay and whaat works for your neighbor is not the safest way to choose a tonic. We wouldn’t think of sharing a prescription drug. Make sure you use tonics as a good and not a drug. Each individual has a body that knows hoe to heal itself. Give yourself that chance as you enjoy the rapport you will experience from growing organic herbs and cooking a tonic, as an elixir for radiant health.

Attunement

Before choosing a tonic for yourself or a loved one, allow yourself to attune to the needs of the recipient. First, choose a tonic that most suits the  symptom.

Is the symptom acute or chronic and recurring? Acute symptoms need quick-acting, bitter, sedating, or cooling tonics. Chronic, recurring symptoms require warming and nurturing herbs. Roots and barks often have nurturing qualities. Leaves and flowers are cooling and can reduce the vitality of one with chronic, symptoms if used without building roots and soothing barks. Plan a tonic with long-term results for long-term or recurring problems. Stimulating herbs and spices may be used sparingly to allow the system to accept their warmth. Long-term and heavy detoxification is not recommended for chronic disease.

Choose herbs that support the personality and awareness of the recipient. It is normal to have emotional manifestations when the body’s chemistry is not in balance. If the individual is displaying anger, choose herbs that will not overstimulate or heat up their system, such as spearmint or chamomile. Do not choose a heating root like ginseng in the combination. If the individual is weepy, choose herbs that promote diuresis. When the kidneys flush they will move out excess fluids and metabolic wastes. Use the tonic long enough to achieve the desired effect. Longer duration is only acceptable for longevity tonics recommended by an experienced practitioner. If someone tells you “it’s natural, it can’t hurt you,” run home and make a tension-reliever tea. You probably know more about herbs and have been blessed with greater common sense.

Become acquainted with as many herbs as you can grow organically or obtain locally. It is better to be well-acquainted with a few herbs than to know little about many. When in doubt, use local compresses, external applications, and aromasignatures before ingesting a questionable tonic.

Hearsay and what works for your neighbor is not the safest way to choose a tonic. We wouldn’t think of sharing a prescription drug. Make sure you use tonics as a good and not a drug. Each individual has a body that knows how to heal itself. Give yourself that chance as you enjoy the rapport you will experience from growing organic herbs and cooking a tonic as an elixir for radiate health.