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My Top 5 Herbs To Strengthen Your Dog's Immune System

On my channel I am often talking about autoimmune conditions and the need to dampen down an overactive immune system. But what about dogs that might need a boost to their immune system. As a crucial system in keeping your pet healthy, our dogs immune systems need to stay balanced and there are many things that can weaken that system. So lets look At my top 5 herbs today to help strengthen your dogs immune system so stay tuned to learn more.

We all know its important to have a strong, healthy and responsive immune system for our dogs. After all, the immune system plays a critical role in defending the body against pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.

In addition, the lymphatic system which is a crucial part of the immune system has equally important functions including maintaining fluid balance in the body, helping to activate the immune cells, acting as filters to help trap and remove foreign particles and pathogens from the lymph before it returns to the bloodstream, And assisting in the absorption of dietary fats and fat-soluble vitamins from your dogs digestive tract. So as you can see this busy system needs to be kept in balance and health to help keep your dog healthy.

So lets jump straight into my top 5 herbs:

1. Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus)- this traditional Chinese herb is use to stimulate the immune system as well as raise general vitality and help with wound and general healing. It is very much a true immune tonic as it can raise both what is known as humoral and cellular immunity. Humoral immunity and cellular immunity are two interconnected parts of your dogs immune system that work together to defend the body against pathogens.

It can be helpful for general low immunity, to help prevent infection and also for dogs that have been experiencing chronic or recurring infections,  particularly viral infections and this is achieved due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In the fluid extract I would recommend 1-2 drops per kg bodyweight 2x daily in food. Avoid if your dog is pregnant or lactating.

2. A combination of Reishi and Shitake mushrooms- this combination of medicinal mushrooms is excellent for dogs that have been plagued by chronic infections or for those dogs that generally have a low immune function. Both of these medicinal mushrooms can help to regulate the immune system whether it is over or underactive so beneficial either way.

Both of these mushrooms are active against a wide range of pathogens including yeasts – and yes, these are safe to give if your dog does have a yeast infection. In addition their a numerous compounds found with both mushrooms that have a powerful antioxidant property as well as immune boosting beta-glucans.

I like to give these in a fluid extract form but you can also find them in powders. Look for a product that has either just the fruiting body or a combination of both fruiting body and mycelium. The fruiting body is the stalk and the cap of the mushroom while the mycelium are a network of threadlike fibres beneath the surface that help the growth of the mushroom so both parts have their nutritional benefits. Always start slowly when giving any mushroom- if using liquid extracts start with 1 drops per kg bodyweight 1-2 times daily in food.

3. Ginger (Zingiber officinale)- not only does ginger taste great in cooking but it is also a powerful immune boosting herb to add in small amounts to your dogs diet. Ginger is a great source of vitamins and minerals, including iron, magnesium, vitamins B6 and C, and zinc. These vitamins and minerals along with ginger's antioxidant properties can help strengthen a dogs immune system.  And Ginger has powerful antiinflamamtory compounds including Gingerols that can help combat and reduce inflammation which in turn will help boost and strengthen the immune system. And Gingerols are also known to help fight infections such as bacterial and viral which further support the immune system.

One of the easiest ways to add this in is fresh grated ginger or powdered ginger. This can also be combined with fresh garlic for added immune boosting. If using the fluid extract I would only recommend from ½-1 drop per kg bodyweight once daily as it is quite strong.

4. To have a strong immune system your dog needs to have good liver function, so number four today is Milk thistle or St Mary's thistle. (Silybum marianum). As a primary detoxing organ, the liver is responsible for detoxifying the body by metabolizing and eliminating toxins, pollutants, and metabolic waste products.

By supporting liver function, we can help our dogs body's to rid themselves of harmful substances which can reduce the overall burden on the immune system. The liver also helps to proteins including globulins that are essential for immune function. And liver helps regulate the body's inflammatory response by producing proteins and enzymes involved in the inflammatory process. By helping to maintain balance in this way it can helps prevent chronic inflammation, which can weakens your dogs immune system overtime.

The active compounds in Milk thistle known as Silymarin which is a powerful antioxidant that can help to strengthen, protect and regenerate the liver, improve its detox capacity and reduce any inflammation present. In fluid extract look to use 1-2 drops per kg bodyweight 1-2 times daily.

And finally today, number 5 is Holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum).  A strong balanced immune system is dependant on the healthy functioning of your dogs adrenal glands as these two systems are closely linked. The adrenal glands produce hormones such as cortisol, commonly known as the stress hormone. When your dog experiences any stress, cortisol levels rise to help them cope with the stressor. While cortisol helps regulate inflammation in the short term, chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels suppress the immune over time, making the body more susceptible to infections and impairing immune responses.

Holy basil or Tulsi as it is sometimes referred to is an Ayurvedic adaptogenic herb that helps to rebalance cortisol in addition to helping support healthy inflammation levels that can play a role in hormone imbalance and adrenal fatigue.

But is also has specific actions on the immune system too. including antimicrobial action, Holy basil contains bioactive compounds that can modulate the activity of immune cells, such as lymphocytes (T cells and B cells), macrophages, and natural killer cells. In this way it helps to keep a balanced functioning immune system as well as having antioxidant and antimicrobial actions. I would use a dose pf 1-2 drops per kg bodyweight 1-2 times daily in food. And Avoid in pregnancy .

So there you have my top 5 herbs to help strengthen and boost your dog low or weak immune system. And as you can see we have also focused on herbs that support both the adrenals and liver too as these are intricately linked in with a strong immune system.

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