Role of Ayurveda in Pet Care.
During ancient times, the great sages of Ayurveda knew the importance of healthy animals and birds too. At that time, medical science was divided into three main categories- Ayurveda (for the health of mankind), Pashu Ayurveda (for animal welfare) and Vriksha Ayurveda (for plant health). Ayurvedic herbs and treatments have been in use for thousands of years for maintaining the health of animals.
Medicinal herbs contain a variety of pharmacologically active ingredients and each herb has its own unique properties.
Herbs useful for animals are:
1. Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia): Giloy is widely used in various Ayurvedic formulations. It protects the animals from various infections as it is immune-modulatory in nature. Being an anti-endotoxic, it stimulates phagocytosis and useful in immuno-compromised conditions. Guduchi is a wonderful herb for the treatment of fever and inflammation in dogs and cats.
2. Ginger (Zingiber officinale): Ginger is considered as a gastro-intestinal tract in Ayurveda. It provides relief in various digestive disorders like Dyspepsia, Flatulence, Indigestion etc. Ginger restores the disturbed ruminal motility in animals and also stabilises the ruminal pH. It also stimulates the production of saliva and induces the growth of the ruminal microbial population.
3. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): Ashwagandha is a unique herb known for its adaptogenic and anti-stress properties. The use of ashwagandha for cats and dogs helps in increasing their physiological endurance. It also helps with behaviour problems in animals such as restlessness, hyperexcitability, aggression etc. Ashwagandha also acts as an anti-oxidant and accelerates cellular regeneration and repair.
4. Jambira (Citrus limon): To protect the pets from bad odour, natural herb Jambira is of great use. It helps the pet to smell great. It is a natural way to have a clean, cool and citrusy animal coat as it helps the pets to remain free from bad odour and insects. Jambira is very useful for pets especially puppies up to 2 months of age.
5. Neem (Azadirachta indica): Neem is useful for pets as it relieves itching and irritation. It also fights against bacterial and fungal infections of the skin. Water boiled in neem leaves is also very effective for the treatment of skin infections in animals. Neem water helps in removing dirt and dust from the skin and improves overall skin hygiene. Neem leaves also provide relief in dandruff on the pet’s skin and hair coat. Other skin conditions such as pyoderma and pruritus are also effectively treated with neem in animals.
6. Mukta Shukti: Mukta Shukti is a natural source of calcium and phosphorus which is derived from oyster shell. This compound ensures the formation of strong bones in animals. Mukta Shukti is useful for optimal bone development in puppies and as adjuvant therapy for rickets and for the formation of strong teeth and bones in adult cats and dogs. Phosphorus plays a major role in synthesising proteins in the body.
7. Kasani (Cichorium intybus): Kasani is commonly known as Chicory. It is a natural appetite stimulant which increases appetite in pets. This herb is highly useful for the treatment of enlarged liver and protects against the liver damage by regenerating liver cells. It is beneficial in jaundice and ascites in animals. This herb can be used as an adjuvant in the treatment of canine and feline viral hepatitis and parvovirus infection as well.
8. Ajamoda (Apium graveolens): Ajamoda commonly known as celery is a herb which corrects digestive disturbances associated with bloating. Ajamoda cleanses urinary bladder, relieves bladder pain, improves strength and useful Worm infestation, Vomiting, Hiccups, Anorexia i.e. lack of interest in food. It also exhibits anti-inflammatory activity and reduces oedema.
These herbs for veterinary use can be given or prepared in a number of ways:
• Fresh herbs can be chopped and mixed with food as it is the ideal way to give herbs when they are available.
• Dried herbs can be administered by adding them to food.
• Decoctions or infusions can be prepared by adding hot water for external or internal use.
• The oil infusions of herbs can be applied on sore joints.