food as medicine

KITCHEN CUPBOARD CURES

IS IT FOOD OR MEDICINE?

There is a fine line sometimes between culinary and medicinal herbs! In fact many of the ingredients of your favourite Friday night take-away were originally used as much as for their medicinal properties as for their flavour!

Ginger, cinnamon, fennel and cumin all help prevent indigestion by relaxing and warming the stomach and cardamom seeds are used as a cure for upset tummies in Indian herbal medicine. When you think how hard keeping meat fresh would have been in hot countries like India it’s not surprising so many digestive herbs found their way into meals!

WHAT DOES CURRY HAVE TO DO WITH MY PET?

Sometimes we suggest herbs which are easy to obtain from the supermarket and are more effective given in that form than as tinctures or tablets. Our favourite suggestion is adding lightly crushed fennel seeds to the dinners of dogs prone to flatulence! It really works! Give 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon twice a day depending of the size of your dog. If your dog won’t eat the seeds on his dry food steep them in hot water and add the resulting ‘tea’ to his dinner instead!

WHAT OTHER CURES ARE HIDING IN MY KITCHEN CUPBOARD?

Garlic can help with allergies, infections and parasites and is best fed raw and freshly grated. In excess garlic is toxic but 1/2 a clove on 5 days out of 7 is fine for a 20kg dog.

Ginger can enhance digestion and circulation and is especially good for travel and chemotherapy induced nausea. Again fresh grated ginger is best; 1/4 teaspoon twice daily for a 20kg dog.

Parsley is good for bad breath. You can feed as much as a table spoon per meal but be sure to rule out dental problems.

Turmeric is one of our favourites and it is added to many of our herbal prescriptions. Some owners choose to feed it raw and fresh though and it can be found in Asian supermarkets. 1/4 teaspoon twice daily for a 20kg dog but do be careful…it will stain anything it touches!

Although these are common culinary herbs if you are thinking of using them regularly for a health problem in your pet please discuss them with your vet first. Some may interact with conventional drugs or may not be suitable for animals with certain health conditions or due to have surgery.