Following are selected posts to the Holisticat (TM) Mailing List on the subject of echinacea. There's a lot of information here, and the posts are arranged in ascending chronological order. If there is a particular word you're looking for, it's probably best to utilize the "Find in Page" function in your edit menu!
Happy hunting :)
<24 June 98 From: Elaine Re: Echinacea dosage>
<< Have any of you tried Echin. and if so did you use the liquid form, and of course how much did you give? >>
I have used echinacea off and on for years with my cats. Just remember, it's an immune stimulant and should only be used for 10-14 days at a time, then take 5-7 days off, then back on, etc. It won't hurt to do it continuously, but since it just stimulates, it won't be effective after that length of time. So it's a waste. I have used the capsules in the food. A good dosage would be one capsule daily. If you're using the extract, use .5 ml once per day.
Elaine Crews, N.D.
Up With Herbs
As has been mentioned Echinacea, and many other herbs for that matter, should not be used continuously. I wouldn't use Echinacea for times when an animal is stressed; their immune system might get so that it couldn't fight off nasty things on it's own. It should be used for a short period of time (say 5-7 days) and then off for a few days. I probably wouldn't use it continuously like this either. It is a good immunostimulant; is anti-viral and anti-bacterial. One way you can make it more palatable for kitties is to make an elixir; i.e. a few drops of herbal tincture in a small dropper bottle of spring/distilled water. When used this way, you could probably give about 1/4 teas. at a time, but if Mary W-T is out there, perhaps she could give us some guidelines???
Also, try to get organically grown echinacea, as like Goldenseal, the wildcrafted Echinacea is being wiped out. I plan to start some of my own sometime in the next year.
Leah, we're reading each other's minds this a.m. I just finished a search on echinacea sites (all my books are still packed) and here's what I came up with:
http://www.eclecticphysician.com/echinacea.shtml (one of the better sites I found)
And, for references to studies:
nice to be back....
Thanks, Leah, for saying that about Echinacea and Goldenseal being wiped out....here is the website for United Plant Savers.
As far as using the whole plant, if you're going to kill the plant by
digging the root, you might as well honor it by using it all...the
leaves,stems,and flowers are also useful, and can be put into the same tea or tincture.
We make our formulas in glycerin, so their sweet, BUT no matter
what you do to Echinacea, it's still going to cause most kitties'
mouths to foam (but that's ok, it won't hurt them)... Also, use it only at the beginning of a suspected infection---at the onset is best, because after a cold or whatever has set in, its usefulness subsides.
Mary, DIHom; Herbalist, A.H.G.
I got Mary C's permission to post this since so many of us use herbs
for our kitties. This appeared in the latest issue of "Herbs for
Add these to your ever growing list of things to be careful about when taking herbs if you are on pharmaceuticals. [snip unrelated]
Echinacea - still might counteract immune-suppressant drugs. [snip unrelated]
Before taking a herb, be sure to check with a professional, or do some research on your own if you are on allopathic medications. There are so many components to some of the herbs in use today, either by themselves, or in combinations, that it is extremely important to know what they do.
We are still finding out about a lot of these interactions. It is also vitally important to check with your doctor or pharmacist, if you are taking any allopathic medication, for side effects, interactions, or synergistic problems that can occur from your drugs. If the pharmacy is computerized, and many of them are, then have the pharmacist take a moment to input your herbal consumption into the computer to keep on file. Interactions are always coming into us, and updating each file takes seconds of care. You just have to let us know what you're taking.
Source: Herbs for Health, November/December 1998 Issue.
Mary Conely., MNH
The root should be fine as long as it's from the plant, echinacea angustifolia. I'm assuming that it's powdered. You can add 250 mg to the food, if your cats will eat it (sometimes they're soooo picky!).
You can also give them the liquid in the capsules, but instead of feeding the capsule, pierce it and squirt the liquid onto the cats' food and mix it in.
Just make sure that it is pure echinacea and not mixed with other herbs.
wendy coomber, ch
!!! Please call your state Senator or Representative (depending on progress of the bill) and tell them you support the moratorium on wildcrafting of Echinacea so that there will be seed to use to cultivate this alternative crop! And, to encourage purchase of the cultivated Echinacea crops!
GNBA Annual Conference, March 27-28, 1999, Boulder, MT. For more information, contact Bruce McCallum, 406-752-1141
Great Northern Botanical Association (GNBA)
PO Box 362
Helena, MT 59624
The best book on how to grow Echinacea angustifolia and 74 other popular
medicinal herb crops:
Medicinal Herbs in the Garden, Field & Marketplace, by Lee Sturdivant and Tim Blakley. San Juan Naturals. A Bootstrap Guide, 1998. 323 pp. ISBN 9-9621635-7-0. $24.95
Robyn Klein, Herbalist AHG
Sweetgrass School of Herbalism and
Robyn's Recommended Reading and Friends of Echinacea
mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The information I have says between 500-1000mg per day. I'd start low though because it can cause diarrhea. I use the powder form of sodium ascorbate.
For the echinacea I use 1-3 drops of tincture in the food 3x/day. If I use capsules I use 1capsule 2x/day. I do a schedule of 7 days on and 7 days off. It shouldn't be used on a long term basis.
That's what I use, but others may have different suggestions depending on what they're using it for.
As an alternative to antibiotics, CJ Puotinen recommends the following herbal immunization treatments based on Juliette de Bairacli Levy's program:
1. Fast the animal by withholding food for 1/2 day to 1 day if exposed to illness....Adapt the label directions of any infection-fighting herb or supplement, such as olive leaf extract, noni, astralgus or colostrum, to your pet's weight.
2. Give the animal 500 mg. of vit. C per 10 lbs of body weight in divided doses throughout the day....For best results, use a natural vit. C...not ascorbic acid.
3. In addition, give any of the following,
- 1 herbal antiseptic tablet or garlic-eucalyptus pill per 10 lbs body weight, OR
- 1 capsule of powdered grapefruit seed extract per 10 lbs body weight...OR
- 1 to 2 drops of propolis tincture per pound of body weight (10 -20 drops for a ten pound dog, cat...) or 250 mg powdered propolis from capsules per 5 to 7 lbs, OR
- 1 garlic capsule (Kyolic or similar brand) per 10 lbs of body weight, 1/4 tsp garlic tincture per 10 lbs or 1/8 tsp finely chopped, minced or pureed garlic per 10 lbs, OR
- 1 drop echinacea tincture per pound of body weight, 1 TBSP of medicinal strength echinacea tea per 10 lbs or 3 capsules of powdered echinacea per 10 lbs...
The above are one-day dosages which should be divided into three or more servings during the day. Use any of the above alone, use any two in combination or alternate one to another. Continue these dosages for three days as a preventive or up to 10 days to treat an active infection. (p. 285) End Quote
This is for protection against exposure to infectious disease, but if by prescribing antibiotics, the vet is trying to prevent bacteria in the blood stream from the cleaned teeth causing more kidney problems this might help. You might want to start some of this beforehand (like some people start antibiotics before getting the cat's teeth cleaned), but you probably wouldn't want to use the garlic beforehand as it is a blood thinner.
I'm sending Sammy smooth-teeth-cleaning vibes for Weds!
Welcome to the list, Fern. I'm so glad to hear Macha pulled through
her recent health crisis. I give my cat George (felv+, prone to gingivitis)
20-30 mg CoQ10 (soft gels) per day in his food, but you might have to wait
until Macha gets her appetite back to try this. Did your vet have
an idea about what caused the goopy right eye/corneal ulceration? (ie herpes,
chlamydia) I know cats can get these ulcerations just from something as
simple as an eyelash scratching the eye and the scratch then becoming
infected, but since Macha's gums/mouth on the right side also became inflamed
it just makes me wonder. It probably hurts her to eat and that's
why she's become picky...which you prob already know. Do you think
the black secretions are dried blood from mouth ulcers? Is her mouth
perhaps dried and cracked there at the corner? (This has happened to me
before and it
really stings to open the mouth.) Would some kind of lubricant help there? Maybe some aloe vera gel? For her picky appetite, you might try sprinkling a bit of dried catnip on top of her food if Macha is a catnip gal, that is. (Just heard about this on another list.) Since Macha has been on antibiotics (and if she is now off of them), you also might want to give her some acidophilus or plain unflavored organic yogurt (with live cultures) to replace the good bacteria the antibiotics have eliminated.
Richard Allport in _Heal Your Cat: The Natural Way_ has a few suggestions
for the problems Macha is continuing to experience.
On page 70, Allport offers the following herbal suggestions for corneal ulceration:
"An infusion of Greater celandine may be applied directly to the eye to help relieve symptoms of redness and irritation. An infusion or tincture (the tincture to be diluted by adding three drops to 10 ml [2 tsps] sterile water) of Eyebright or Goldenseal may also be used in this way, or given orally."
On page 95, Allport gives the following herbal suggestions for gingivitis (gum inflammation) or stomatitis (inflammation of the mouth lining:
"Echinacea, Myrrh or Goldenseal, in the form of a tincture, may be applied
directly to the gums and mouth. Sage and
Rosemary may be given by infusion. Garlic is a good remedy, and should be given as 1/3 chopped clove daily, or alternated w/ 250 mg Vitamin C."
Allport also notes that to prevent recurrence of mouth problems, etc. a raw-food-based diet is recommended.
Oh, and in case you don't know how to figure out dosage for the herbs listed above (at least if you want to dose Macha internally), here's some information on how to dose w/ herbs from the _Encyclopedia of Natural Pet Care_, p. 136:
"SUGGESTED DOSE FOR THE FIRST-TIME USE OF ANY HERB
ANIMAL'S WEIGHT TINCTURE SIZE00 CAPSULE TEA(Infusion)
2 drops 1/2 cap
10-20 lbs 4 drops 1 cap 2 tsp.
All preparations should be given 3 times daily. "
I don't know if any of this will help Macha, but I sure hope so!
I have been applying echinacea topically on Ty's ringworm. I make
him sit still for about 10 minutes (not easy) with a very warm washcloth
on it so the heat will help it penetrate. After I let him go, he licks
it off, and since he's been doing that I have noticed that his chronic
eye discharge and stuffiness have all but disappeared, so I believe it
really helps his immune system. Could you wrap him in a towel to
give it to him orally? Or would that stress him out too much?
When I have given it to mine orally I have
boiled about 1/2 cup of water (in glass, not aluminum or non-stick) and put about 10 drops of the extract in that, let it cool and then given them approx 1/4 dropperful about three times a day. Are you wanting to give it just as a supplement to boost the immune system in general or is it for a specific problem that your kitty is having? Mine don't like the drops given orally either, but it only takes a second to do if you can get them in the pill giving position. Could you put a drop or two on his wrist and let him
lick it off? Ty doesn't seem to mind the taste of echinacea so much, I think it smells good, kind of like coffee. It's goldenseal that he really hates. He tries to run away from it when I put it on his ringworm and he makes terrible faces if he gets some in his mouth. Both of them stain the fur, though. Good luck to you and your kitty!
Debbie and my furtribe-Ty, Marilyn, Adrieanna and all the ferals who live on
There's a method for making an herbal tincture into an elixir which shares some similarities to making a homeopathic preparation. The idea is to increase the therapeutic effects while decreasing flavor. It's in Anitra Frazier's book:
"Into a new one ounce glass dropper bottle, put 3 drops of an herbal tincture and fill the bottle 2/3 full of distilled or spring water. Cover and shake vigorously 108 times, hitting bottle against a thick rug or padded arm of a chair each time. Shake 12 times before each use. Dosage is 1/4 dropperful 20 minutes before meals. Keeps in refrigerator 7 days."
This works on the idea of potentizing the remedy, just as you would with a homeopathic preparation. I haven't read much about potentization of herbs in liquid *in this manner* so would be interested in knowing if others have heard of something similar to this. I used this method (didn't shake it quite 108 times - where *do* they come up with those numbers?) for giving Giddy some golden seal several years ago and it made it slightly easier to get it into him. I wrapped him in a towel, though, because he can be a wild lion when being dosed with something he doesn't want to take! I think Kathy's suggestion of using just a *little* bit of honey might work well too.
<< On the echinacea stuff....how many drops would one apply to the skin? How much of the tincture should be applied internally? What about the alcohol? Do we need to use hot water to dissipate the alcohol or can we just give it to them directly? >>
On the skin, just a few drops and rub it in. Internally, I give about .5 ml, depending on the size of the cat/kitten. I don't worry about the alcohol. If you are concerned, just put the dosage in a small amount of warm water and wait about 2 min. The alcohol will dissipate. But when you are giving merely "drops", how much alcohol can they possibly be getting?
Hope this helps.
I got this information from a Natural Care Health Letter. Personally I would have the teeth removed that the vet wants to remove. One of the symptoms of feline leukemia is gingivitis. I've had several cats die of this and I built an outdoor enclosure with a pet door that leads into my house so my other cats don't run loose, fight "neighborhood bullies" and become infected. Good luck with your cat.
1/8th cup distilled / spring water
2 drops tincture of myrrh
Myrrh is anti-microbial, astringent and vulnerary. It is beneficial for gingivitis, mouth ulcers, glandular and fungal infections and sinusitis. A good natural antibiotic, it not only has a direct anti-microbial effect but also stimulates leucocytosis. Also beneficial to tighten the gums in loose teeth.
1/8th cup distilled / spring water
1/4 teaspoon of liquid chlorophyll
Liquid chlorophyll is cleansing, deodorizing and soothing for inflamed gum tissue. Use it also for for healing gum absesses and mouth sores. In addition to being a powerful antiseptic, it relieves sore throats, soothes ulcer tissue, reduces pain, helps improve anaemic conditions and asthma, purifies the liver and improves nasal drainage.
Aloe Vera Gelly (FLP)
For debridement and tissue regeneration, this gelly is excellent and may be used regularly to clean to clean the teeth and gums. It removes calculus build-up, assists with gingivitis, pyorrhea and mouth cuts. In cases of pus and contamination, after cleaning the area including the teeth, an extra amount of gelly may be applied to the junctures where the teeth and gums meet. Reduces infection. Sloughs dead and infected tissue.
Assists with bleeding gums, gum inflammation and tooth sensitivity, reduces swelling and pain, eliminates tooth discolouration. Massage into gums with a cotton bud soaked in the solution. A powerful inhibitor of strep mutans bacteria (which causes plaque).
The following are a few internal treatments to consider:
<< The other kitten had been having red rimmed eyes. Yesterday, it looks like the top inside of his eyelid is like a little balloon. When you examine it, the top inner eyelid looks ulcerated(?). >>
I am sorry to hear of your kitties problems! I (unfortunately) have lots of experience with feline ocular herpes. My 10 yr. old Siamese was diagnosed with this when he was about 18 months old. Started with chronic upper respiratory infection, led to ulcerated eye. The ulcer looked horrible! Almost like a scabby hole on his pupil! After lots of $$$ and no "magic cure" I tried this eyewash from Anitra Frazier's "New Natural Cat"...add 5 drops of herbal tincture or extract to 1/2 cup normal saline eyewash. Choose from one of these listed -
Jennifer and the gang
Paul, My FeLV+ kitty George (on a homemade diet) has a tendency
toward gum problems; for that we give him about 20-30 mgs of Coenzyme Q10
per day (he still has a bit of bad breath, but his gums are healthy and
pink and don't seem
to give him problems now--it's been almost a year--I do however, take a day or two off per week and stop giving supplements including coQ10); also try to give Olive 250-500 mgs of Vitamin C powder (sodium or calcium ascorbate, not ascorbic acid, which would sting) per day. You can also give Olive one drop per pound of body weight of bee propolis tincture twice daily
for 2 months. Then cut back to half that for two months. You can also stir in finely minced fresh greens to Olive's food--all the green grasses--wheat, barley, rye..etc, help with gingivitis. I'd just stir the supplements into Olive's food. You can also make some echinacea tea, let it cool, then apply the tea to Olive's gums with soft gauze. This will help the healing process.
The advice above is based on suggestions listed in _The Encyclopedia of Natural Pet Care_ (1997) (pp438-39) by CJ Puotinen.
Richard Allport, in _Heal Your Cat the Natural Way_ notes that "Echinacea, Myrrh or Goldenseal in the form of a tincture, may be applied directly to the gums and mouth. Sage and Rosemary may be given by infusion. Garlic is a good remedy, and should be given as 1/3 chopped clove daily, or alternated with 250 mg Vitamin C."
I have to say, tho, I wonder about applying an undiluted tincture directly to sore gums, but I suppose Allport wouldn't recommend it if that were the case. (My husband takes tincture of Myrrh for his gums, but he dilutes it w/ warm water as per the label instructions.)
I agree with you about antibiotics and Olive's digestive tract; I believe if there are viable natural options, we should use antibiotics as infrequently as possible, anyway.
While I'm here, I might as well give you Dr. Cheryl Schwartz's recommendations for "Mouth inflammation and restoring healthy gums" (from her book _Four Paws, Five Directions: A Guide to Chinese Medicine for Cats & D*gs_ pp206-08).
Along with the Chinese herb formula Niu Huang Shang Zing Wan (1 tablet once daily), Golden seal (as *diluted* tincture) and yarrow tea as a mouth wash, Schwartz recommends:
I hope some of this helps Olive's gums heal, Poor baby!
I found the Herbs For Health March/April 1998 issue. Here are some excerpts from Dr. Kidd's Pet Corner column. The column focuses on maintaining a healthy immune system using herbs. Lots of good info here worthy of discussion.
"I like to protect my pets with a few herbal immune-system boosters on a regular basis, and I always give them these herbs when they have a minor illness to keep it from becoming more serious."
"An easy way to help your pets stay one step ahead of a cold or infection is to incorporate immune system herbs into their diet. It's easy to do---just sprinkle culinary favorites onto their food, including thyme, garlic, oregano, turmeric (all antibacterial), and cayenne (it enhances the activity of immune system cells). Don't worry about doses---your pet will eat only what it needs and ignore the rest."
"The most notable herb for supporting and stimulating the immune system is echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia and E. purpurea). ...if you can catch an infection early, you can often stop it with low doses (1 or 2 drops) of a nonalcoholic tincture of the whole herb, given 3 to 4 times a day for a week. For prevention and general immune care, I recommend a low dose once a day for five days each week."
"...when I treat a specific disease with any pharmaceutical, I also include appropriate herbal immune-system 'balancers', or adaptogens. Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is my favorite adaptogen because it supports nearly all organ systems. ....an anti-inflammatory and also helps fight bronchial and abdominal problems. Most pets like the taste,...so it's an ideal pet medicine to sprinkle on food. Use it with caution, though, because licorice root may cause sodium retention, especially dangerous for pets with renal failure or those on heart medication."
"When a specific part of the immune system is weakened, I recommend an adaptogen as well as an herb with healing properties specific to that system."
"My favorite detoxification herbs are burdock root (Arctium lappa) and red clover (Trifolium pratense). Both of these herbs are well tolerated by most pets. They also work well against dry scaly skin (a common place for immune diseases to manifest)."
"When it comes to pets, herbs and dosages, we just don't have all the answers. That's why I prefer to mix food with a weak herbal tesa or small amounts of chopped whole fresh or dried herbs. But when I do use tinctures, I adhere to the following guidelines:
I use less of the herb. Read the product label, then adjust the dose down to the animal's size, assuming that the dosage on the label is meant for a 150-pund human. For puppies, kittens and elderly pets reduce the adult animal dose by half.
When I suspect a pet is getting sick, I administer 1 or 2 drops of a tincture every 2 to 3 hours for the first 2 or 3 days then reduce to 3 to 5 times a day for about a week.
Remember, a cat's enzyme system is highly sensitive, so be careful with your kitty."
Be well, Nancy and the furkids