Milk Thistle For Pets
|Consider Milk Thistle for:
|MILK THISTLE FOR PETS|
|I would like to tell you about a wonderful herb and a must for every pet owner’s natural medicine chest. Milk thistle, known in Latin as Silybum marianum, is one of the most effective herbs for detoxifying and regenerating the liver. I have used this herb in virtually any type of liver problem. It has saved many pets from what appeared to be a fatal condition. The liver is responsible for breaking down and eliminating most toxic substances. These include drugs, preservatives in food, artificial flavoring and coloring agents, flea sprays, dips and shampoos, environmental chemicals, chemicals found in tap water, household cleansers, air pollution, tobacco smoke and poisonous plants. Hundreds of scientific studies have demonstrated that milk thistle can protect the liver from potent toxins such as poisonous mushrooms, heavy metals and alcohol.How does it work? When the constituents of milk thistle are absorbed, they selectively accumulate in the liver. The herb has several mechanisms of action.
Milk thistle is a potent anti-oxidant (more potent than Vitamins C and E). This means it can counteract free radical damage that can cause degenerative diseases including cancer.
Many drugs used today have significant liver toxicity. If your pet has been medicated with antibiotics, cortisone, chemotherapy, anti-seizure medications, heartworm preventive / treatment, anti-inflammatory, etc. or has had other liver problems, you should consider a course of milk thistle. Of course, it is also important to reduce your pet’s exposure to liver toxic substances. Most drugs can be eliminated under the supervision of a holistic veterinarian through the use of natural alternatives. Toxic additives in the food and water can be reduced significantly by feeding balanced, home-prepared foods and purified water. A low toxicity flea control program can be instituted until the pet is healthy enough to no longer require it. (That’s right, healthy pets don’t have significant flea problems.) For household cleaning, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide are two safe alternatives.
When shopping for milk thistle, I prefer a standardized (70 or 80% silybin) product. A typical adult human dose is 100 – 150 mg. of silybin, which is approximately 200 mg. dry herb three times daily, or the equivalent in a liquid. For pets, simply use their body weight as a percentage of the human dose. For example, a 30-pound dog would get 30% of a human dose and a 10-pound cat would get 10%. Most products purchased at health food stores have the recommended human dose on the label. Give it for 2-3 months. Medicinal herbs should not be used continuously for extended periods. I suggest 5 days on then 2 days off for 6 weeks. Skip 1 week and begin again. It could be used one week each month as a little extra protection in otherwise healthy pets.
by Russell Swift DVM
|SILYMARIN (MILK THISTLE)|
Milk thistle is a flower, more specifically a member of the aster family. Its seeds and roots have been used for an assortment of medical purposes for thousands of years. Three biochemicals of interest have been isolated from the milk thistle: silychristine, silydianin, and silybin. The mixture of these three substances is called Silymarin. Silymarin has been traditionally used in the treatment of liver disease and, while it has recently been advocated for use in pets, all scientific information available concerns human use. The biological mechanism of action is yet unknown but several theories exist:
How This Medication Is Used
Silymarin is regularly used for an assortment of liver diseases including cirrhosis and viral hepatitis in humans. The only actual studies conducted in dogs have concerned mushroom poisoning as above and other uses in pet species are inferred from human use. Milk thistle extracts appear to be safe to use; however, their benefit is not well defined scientifically.
Interactions with Other Drugs
Concerns And Cautions
Milk thistle products should be stored at room temperature.
Because herbal medications are not held to the same purity and efficacy standards as other medications, there may be tremendous variation in strength between brands or even between batches of the same brand.
THE PET PHARMACY
|Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum )|
|Constituents:flavolignans, silymarin (silybin, silydianin, isobilybin), bitter, amines, tannin, polyactylenes.Energy: pungent, warm, bitter, dry.
Western uses: Stimulates digestion, reduces liver congestion, promotes bile flow, vitalizes blood, promotes tissue repair, reduces hepatotoxicity (autotoxicity and ingested toxins)
Veterinary Examples: All animals with any form of hepatotoxicity or hepatic damage may benefit from Milk Thistle. Patients on hepatotoxic drugs, those with hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, liver degeneration, and functional biliary obstruction can be helped by this powerful herb. What do you currently know as medical options for pathological changes in liver tissue? Milk thistle may also be used as an adjunct detoxicant in any condition that is currently treated with toxic drugs. For example, if heartworms are a problem in your region, the USDA approved monthly heartworm preventatives (e.g. HeartgardTM, InterceptorTM) may be given while using milk thistle to protect the liver. Milk thistle also may be used as part of a regular detoxification program due to our inhabiting, even on the best days, a toxic planet. Lastly, during the healing and “clean-up” phase of tissue repair, the liver has extra work to do and can be benefited by Milk Thistle as a dietary addition.
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