Diseases of the Digestive System

Herbs For Gastrointestinal Disorders

Formulas For Gastrointestinal Conditions

The formulas below are indicated for gingivitis, stomatitis, and periodontal disease; food allergy gastritis and enteritis; gastritis and vomiting; immune-mediated inflammatory bowel disease; internal parasites (coccidia, giardia, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms); chronic active hepatitis and cholangiohepatitis; and acute and chronic pancreatitis.

Strategy

Implement appropriate lifestyle changes and appropriate diet. Monitor patients regularly, particularly if herbs are used as the sole treatment for early cases or if the animals are on conventional medication. Doses can be adjusted upwards if no changes of 20% per week have been observed. Doses of conventional medicines may need to be reviewed 1 to 2 weeks after commencing treatment with herbs.

These formulas can be made as per the recipe or adapted from other recipes according to patient needs. They are formulated to allow substitution.

Gingivitis and periodontal disease and stomatitis

Implement dental prophylaxis and teeth cleaning. Use vulnery (wound healing), antiinflammatory, and antimicrobial herbs, and consider immune-supporting herbs. Improve peripheral circulation and control pain. Use Coenzyme Q10 (30 to 100 mg).

There is some research to support the use of the following herbs for gingivitis and periodontal disease: Calendula (Calendula officinalis), Green tea (Camellia sinensis), Gotu kola (Centella asiatica), and Pomegranate (Punica granatum). Others include Chinese basil (Perilla frutescens), Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis), Propolis, and berberine-containing herbs and Aloe vera gel. Other classics include Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha), Golden seal (Hydrastis canadensis), Coptis (Coptis chinensis), and Sage (Salvia officinalis). If gums are bleeding consider Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) or Yunnan pai yao.

Calendula: Antiseptic, antiinflammatory, astringent, vulnery; 1 part.

Echinacea: Immunostimulant, antiinflammatory, antimicrobial, vulnery: 1 part.

Baptisia: Antimicrobial, antiseptic, antipyretic; 1 part.

Gotu kola: Adaptogen, connective tissue regenerator, nerve tonic, alterative; 1 part.

Bilberry: Anti-edema, antioxidant, antiinflammatory, astringent; 1 part.

For tinctures, give 1 ml per 10 pounds twice daily in food. For teas, give one-fourth cup per 10 pounds twice daily in food.

Food allergy, gastritis, vomiting, and enteritis

Identify the cause by using a food elimination trial or single protein source diet or by giving frequent small meals. Use conventional medications as necessary for symptomatic relief of pain and discomfort. Use demulcent herbs and antiinflammatory herbs, and consider carminative and spasmolytic herbs.

Chamomile: Carminative, antiinflammatory, bitter tonic, cholagogue, antiallergic, mild sedative, spasmolytic; 2 parts.

Milk thistle: Antioxidant, hepatoprotective, hepatatonic; 1 part.

Globe artichoke: Bitter tonic, cholagogue, choleretic, hepatoprotective; 1 part.

Marshmallow: Demulcent, vulnery, diuretic; 1 part.

For tinctures, give 1 ml per 10 pounds twice daily in food. For teas, give one-fourth cup per 10 pounds twice daily in food.

Inflammatory bowel disease

Identify the cause. Address possible food sensitivity and allergy, as well as stress. Use conventional medications as necessary for symptomatic relief of pain and discomfort. Use demulcent herbs and antiinflammatory herbs, and consider carminative and spasmolytic herbs.

Oral aloe vera gel was assessed in vitro on the production of reactive oxygen metabolites, eicosanoids, and interleukin-8, all of which may be pathogenic in inflammatory bowel disease. The results indicated that it may have a therapeutic effect in inflammatory bowel disease.

Chamomile: Carminative, antiinflammatory, bitter tonic, cholagogue, antiallergic, mild sedative, spasmolytic; 1 part.

Calendula: Antiseptic, antiinflammatory, astringent, spasmolytic, vulnery, cholagogue; 1 part.

Meadowsweet: Anti-ulcerogenic, antacid, antiinflammatory, astringent; 1 part.

Marshmallow: Demulcent, vulnery, diuretic: 1 part.

Astragalus: Immune modulating; 1 part.

For tinctures, give 1 ml per 10 pounds twice daily in food. For teas, give one-fourth cup per 10 pounds twice daily in food.

Parasites

Conventional treatment is safe and effective. When considering herbal treatment, fecal floats prior to and post herbal treatment are useful to monitor efficacy. Long-term use of herbal formulas is generally required for treatment. If animals are predisposed to parasites, consider improving the diet and use herbs to improve digestive function and immunity.

Calendula: Antiseptic, antiinflammatory, astringent, spasmolytic, vulnery, cholagogue; 1 part.

Astragalus: Immune modulating; 1 part.

Oregon grape: Cholagogue, mild laxative, bitter tonic, alterative, 1 part.

Thyme: Carminative, antispasmodic, anthelmintic, astringent; 1 part.

Wormwood: Bitter tonic, anthelmintic, choleretic; 1 part.

For tinctures, give 1 ml per 10 pounds twice daily in food.

Chronic active hepatitis and cholangiohepatitis

It is important to determine the underlying pathophysiology of particular hepatic disorders to tailor treatment for the individual case. Antimicrobial, antiviral, and immune-enhancing herbs may be necessary. Where fibrosis is a concern, hepatotrophorestorative herbs are an important part the of strategic treatment. Consider hepatoprotective herbs to minimize liver damage and consider using silybum and schisandra in more concentrated forms, perhaps by adding tablet forms alongside a formula. Consider immune-enhancing herbs such as Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) for chronic infection, as well as Picrorrhiza. For more acute infections consider Echinacea or Andrographis. In acute infections and viral infections consider St. John’s wort (Hypericum performatum) and Phyllanthus (Pbyllantbus amarus). Consider hepatic trophorestoratives such as Panax ginseng. For toxic insults to the liver consider Milk thistle (Schisandra cbinensis) and Silybum (Silybum marianum).

Bupluerum: Hepatoprotective, antiinflammatory, tonic; 1 part.

Schisandra: Hepatoprotective, nervine tonic, adaptogen; 1 part.

Milk thistle: Hepatotonic, hepatoprotective, antioxidant; 1 part.

Panax ginseng: Adaptogen, antiinflammatory, antiallergic, immune enhancing, hepatorestorative; 1 part.

Astragalus: Immune modulating; 1 part.

For tinctures, give 1 ml per 10 pounds twice daily in food. For teas, give one-fourth cup per 10 pounds twice daily in food.

Pancreatitic disease

Conventional treatment of acute pancreatitis is needed while vomiting is occurring (alternatively, administer herbs via enema). Use herbs that improve pancreatic function and protect against possible sequelae. Improve overall digestive function using bitters and antiinflammatory herbs. Use immune modulation when autoimmune disease is present. Consider lipid-lowering herbs.

Fringe tree: Laxative, antiemetic, liver tonic, cholagogue; 1 part.

Gymnema: Pancreatic trophorestorative, mildly diuretic, hypoglycemic; 1 part.

Dandelion: Diuretic, laxative, pancreatic secretagogue, cholagogue; 1 part.

Chamomile: Carminative, antiinflammatory, bitter tonic, cholagogue, antiallergic, mild sedative, spasmolytic; 1 part.

Astragalus: Immune modulating; 1 part.

For tinctures, give 1 ml per 10 pounds twice daily in food. For teas, give one-fourth cup per 10 pounds twice daily in food.