Funnily enough, many of the herbs we sell came to be consumed by humans as Taoist herbalists observed the animal kingdom making use of the plants to bolster their own healing! These Taoist herbalists were really something. For example the Taoists discovered that Eucommia Bark was amazing for helping mend (and fortify) broken bones by observing deer with injuries consume the bark of the Eucommia rubber tree.
While we are not fans of testing on animals, unfortunately, modern science does not agree, and most studies that attempt to determine the active compounds in the mushrooms and herbs and their effects run tests on mice (poor little guys.)
We can extrapolate from the data produced by the animal studies, the literature on veterinary herbalism, and our own experience with our pets that domestic animals will benefit from tonic herbalism. Especially medicinal mushrooms!!
Medicinal Mushrooms and Pet Health
Besides being Qi tonics in general, medicinal mushrooms can support the treatment of symptoms the Chinese recognise as Excess Damp, Damp Phlegm or Damp Heat, which include oedema, diarrhoea, urinary tract infections, uterine infections, prostate problems, diseases of the kidneys and liver, and inflammatory conditions.
In addition, medicinal mushrooms contain many different vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein, and sterols. They are easily served up in your pets main meal or served in some melted coconut oil or butter, with little or no side effects. In particular, eucommia bark, reishi and astragalus. (I’ve even read about eucommia bark being given to chicken’s suffering from heat stroke!!)
How Much Do I Give My Pet?
With animals, the correct dosage of herbs can be hard to determine, as it is based on the preparation of the herb, the animal’s species, size and constitution, the unique characteristics of the disease and the animal’s tolerance and response to herbs. If your pet is ill, it is best to work with a herbalist, Chinese doctor or veterinarian who specialises in animal herbalism and pathology to obtain an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
That said, if your pet is generally well, animals love and thrive on tonic herbs, just like humans do, and for those interested in supporting their pets’ longevity and general wellbeing with tonic herbs, we recommend the following doses for SuperFeast’s herbal extracts.
As a general rule, you can give animals a dose of SuperFeast herbs at 20mg to 50mg per kilo of body weight. So for a 40kg dog you’d want to give them 1/8-1/2 tsp daily depending on the weight of the herb. In severe conditions, you can give your pet a larger dose of herbs for a shorter period of time (remembering that a tonic dose is a small amount daily over a lifetime). Your best bet when working with the herbs is to consult with a veterinary professional or animal herbalist, especially if your pet is on any medications.
When starting to feed your pets medicinal mushrooms and tonic herbs, start with 1/3 of the recommended dose twice daily for two days, and monitor for adverse effects.
If there are no adverse effects, try upping the dose to 2/3 of the recommended dose for another three days. If all is well, give the animal the recommended dose based on the table below.
Remember that our extracts are potent - a little goes a long way!
Adverse effects include: vomiting, drooling, nausea, diarrhoea, lethargy, losing interest in food etc. Please do not ignore these symptoms!
If your animal exhibits adverse effects, discontinue use of herbs for two days, and try once more at the 1/3 dose for 2 days, then 2/3 for 3 days. If the animal continues to suffer adverse effects, do not give them the herb/s. Try something else or check in with a practitioner.
Our fave herbs for our furry friends
Immune support: All the medicinal mushrooms - reishi, chaga, shiitake, cordyceps, lion’s mane, maitake, turkey tail, astragalus, eleuthero, cat’s claw, pau d’arco. (Mason’s Mushrooms is a great option for a full-spectrum immune boost)
Liver issues: reishi, cordyceps, schizandra / schisandra, astragalus (great in combination), goji
Kidney issues: reishi, shiitake, maitake, cordyceps, chaga, eucommia bark, he shou wu, goji
Lung issues: tremella, astragalus, he shou wu, goji, schizandra / schisandra
Joint support (issues with hind legs usually due to a Liver/Kidney deficiency so treat these areas too): cordyceps, eucommia bark, deer antler, he shou wu
Circulation: eucommia bark, reishi, ginkgo, cat’s claw, astragalus
Skin issues: reishi, astragalus, schisandra, Mason's Mushooms, Beauty Blend
Ageing: eucommia bark, JING, tremella
Xie's Chinese Veterinary Herbology - Huisheng Xie, 2010