Addressing the cause of Inflammation and Oedema - McDowell's Herbal Treatments

Addressing the cause of Inflammation and Oedema

We already know that increased permeability in the cell wall and poor elimination of the lymphatic system result in oedema. We also know that toxins, immune reactions, bacterial infections, vitamin c deficiency, trauma, liver and kidney failure are often a cause of this increased permeability. (Biognosis article Baroque Horse volume 27)

What we may not be aware of is that if the above causes have been ruled out, we need to look at normal metabolic process and a sluggish elimination (include skin and lung as well as bowel, liver and kidney) system as a possible cause. The slower the elimination system, the more likely the system is burdened with parasites ( and their waste ), myco-toxins as well as a myco- micro-biome that contains parasitic microorganisms that proliferate in the gastrointestinal tract.

The extra burden this creates on the systems of elimination is huge impacting the general wellness of any organism. The result can be allergy, lumpy skin issues and itching, laminitis, lowered immunity and a compromised metabolism predisposing the organism to chronic disease as well as damage to the gut itself by way of inflammation and ulceration. This can cause pain, which results in tucking up, behavioural issues, anxiety and even compensation injury.

Detoxification is always the first step on the road to recovery.

The idea of Detoxification is a very confusing subject – so I have broken this down into several categories familiar to most people.

Fasting (used therapeutically in the cases of human and dogs it is not advised for horses or cats)

Best applied in situations of digestive upsets, liver issues, pancreatic problems, diarrhoea and vomiting.

Keeping up nourishing fluids are essential, and herbal teas like Chamomile, Rosehips, Ginger and Peppermint are ideal.

Prolonged fasting needs to be supervised appropriately and is not recommended in many situations.

Knowing when to apply this method of detoxification is critical to the success. Periodic fasting in humans when healthy has numerous benefits, as studies are now showing. Dogs also benefit from fasting as their digestive systems have evolved coping for periods of time without food.

Horses cannot be without roughage for any longer than 12 hours otherwise chemical changes can occur not only within the gut and microbiome, but also can impact blood sugar levels negatively.

Clean Foods – in this day and age of fast foods, a simple whole food eating plan is now considered detoxing. By simple I mean keeping to whole foods and eliminating foods known to cause digestive issues. . Foods like Wheat, Sugar, Coffee and Alcohol. I promote this kind of diet as a standard way to eat, incorporating the idea of 80-90% is whole food, and 20-10% can be “cheats” so long as you’re generally healthy. You can’t cheat if you’re trying to achieve a healthy outcome in a specific period of time, or if you’re chronically ill.

For horses a clean diet is actually proving to be much harder to achieve - this is due to lack of clean natural grasses and an oversupply of hard feeds that are usually grain or lupin based. High fibre/low GI is best, preferably free of chemical herbicides.

Using herbs is ideal and is preferable for the mono-gastric herbivore that has evolved grazing on grasses and herbs

Colon Cleansing (people and dogs) - Colon Cleansing is very useful for people ( and dogs) who are prone to constipation and inflammation such as Irritable Bowel . Toning up the colon with a cathartic cleansing program can have wonderful benefits. Clearing out stagnant waste improves the overall bowel ecology, settles excessive mucus and helps to promote cleaner nutritional uptake by helping to repair the “leaky gut” syndrome.

It’s useful to consider the whole Gastro Intestinal tract as you would your external skin. Even though the system is well moistened, the skin and mucosal lining suffer from irritation, blisters, parasitic damage and atrophy. Herbs like Wormwood help to make the lining very unattractive to parasites, and the lovely slippery elm powder will add a pre biotic benefit as well as protect an irritated GIT from ulceration. Raw Apple cider Vinegar which has been used a base for all our herbal extracts of garlic, wormwood, chinses rhubarb and tansy are ideal to create the desired environment for a healthy Myco-Microbiota.

Soothing herbs like slippery elm and Chamomile are critical if doing a cleansing with Senna and Cascara otherwise these herbs can also irritate an already sensitive lining adding to the problem.

In horses soothing the gut is essential, as studies are now recognising that upward of 80% of our domesticated horses have gastric ulceration.

The prebiotic and soothing benefits of slippery elm powder make this the most critical treatment for the horse’s microbiota and repairing leaky gut, responsible for all kinds of chronic disease processes.

Giving Chamomile supports the parasympathetic nervous system – it’s important to shift from the sympathetic nervous system ( high awareness flight /fight) to a resting parasympathetic responsive suitable for healthy peristalsis.

Organ Support - when an herbalist discusses ideas of stimulating elimination, it’s essential that the organs that are responsible for this task are well supported. The kidney and liver are the most obvious to support, and both respond well to the right herbs.. Dandelion, Rosehips and St Marys Thistle are considered the easiest and cheapest to source and use as teas.

How well we breathe (and our horses) to make use of the oxygen in our blood and the elimination of carbon dioxide is also important, so lung health is critical. The process of energy release and the subsequent metabolic waste are areas often overlooked when considering elimination. Through iridology and appropriate questioning you can see find weakness and therefore provide the most relevant support .Elecampane, Nettle, Rue and Hawthorn may be prescribed for lung strength and heart health with the aim of improving overall metabolic waste elimination by improving oxygenation in the blood stream.

Blood Cleansing - This is where we start to become a little medieval. The term Blood Cleanser is certainly one of those terms that seems like a medieval myth, and gives rise to the idea of the “quackery” with herbal medicine.

Blood Cleansing simply means that certain herbs (classed as alterative) nourish the metabolic process to increase elimination and stimulate the immune functions of cleaning up viral debris, bacterial debris and of our own cells that are dying off all the time. Specific lymphatic herbs like Violet leaves and Fenugreek are also used.

It’s not known really how these herbs work, but it can be assumed that the nutrition the herbs provide are essential for these functions. What we do know is that blood cleansing herbs contain high levels of iron and sulphur and seem to help the immune system clean itself. Consider herbs like Echinacea, Garlic, Horsetail, Red Clover and Burdock as some of the more popular Alterative.

Recent study I have undertaken suggests that the microbiota actually is responsible for stimulating certain functions of the metabolism ( via the microbes residing in the appendix of humans or in the caecum in horses) and it is my assertion that herbal tonics enter the gut and stimulate these areas first, preparing the system via messages to all other parts of body involved- triggering the healing response.

I make a beautiful equine herbal alterative tonic for horses that contains stimulating alterative herbs which I prescribe regularly for the purpose of clearing oedema, endocrine balance, infection and metabolic waste. The results speak for itself when infections are cleared, lumps and bumps disappear and animals are healthy and glowing.

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McDowell's staff Herbalists can not diagnose your disease or illness. What they can do is offer a herbal program to assist with healing, after you have had advice from your doctor or specialist. If you have unexplained pain or symptoms, seek medical advice.

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