One of the things I love most about dogs is their joy of life- there is always something they want to do, see, sniff out, or play with. And when it comes to play, sometimes accidents can happen. And if there are cuts and wounds that occur, this herb is one of the best to have on hand. Let’s take a look at this gorgeous herb today and how it can help your dog as one of your first aid kit herbs so stay tuned to learn more.
So what herb am I talking about?? Yarrow or Achillea millefolium. The most common parts of this herb that are used are the flowers and leaves and this herb has anti-inflammatory, analgesic or pain relieving properties as well as being antiseptic. But more than this, it is what is known as a styptic herb. What does styptic mean? A styptic substance is something that can stop bleeding which makes it so beneficial to have on hand. Now anyone who knows me knows that when I am in the kitchen working with knives, I can be a bit clumsy. And yes, I have cut my fingers many times. I remember a few years ago almost cutting the top part of my finger off with a knife. Immediately I went into my dispensary and pulled out my bottle of yarrow and mixed a little in warm water and basically stuck my finger in there. Now I am a bit of a bleeder but after a few minutes I could see the bleeding was starting to ease and clot and fortunately, with the addition of some calendula this healed up well.
So what is it in yarrow that makes it such a great herb to use for any type of bleeding (and this includes internal bleeding too). It is the astringing properties of this herb that help stop the bleeding. Yarrow contains a naturally occurring alkaloid chemical known as achillein which has been found to actually reduces the clotting time of blood. Actually in Greek mythology it was said that the Greek hero Achilles used yarrow on the wounds of his soldiers to stop them bleeding and to aid in fighting off infection and in wound healing.
It certainly is one of my go to herbs when it comes to healing wounds. Many years ago owned a beautiful saluki named Rabi. At one point in his life he had to have a small lump removed from his chest and of course this entailed stitches post surgery. Although he had a cone on his head (which by the way, I hated to put on him), he still managed to somehow get to those stitches and pulled them out. So straight back to the vet to have it checked. The vet told me we would have to leave it as an open wound and it would take 8 weeks to heal. So I brough him home and got straight onto the yarrow along with some calendula bathe the area 2-3x daily and within 2 weeks the wound had sealed and was healing up well.
Yarrow is also rich in antioxidants so this is helpful in aiding further for wound healing. When using it to stop bleeding on your dog you can use either a powder and sprinkle this directly over the wound or bathe using a fluid extract or tincture. It will usually stop the bleeding almost immediately in most cases.
Yarrow is just a really good all round herb for general skin issues too so if your dog is prone to bites, rashes, burns, dermatitis, as well as strains and sprains within joints, yarrow can be a great herb to add into the diet in small amounts regularly. It can even be helpful as a spray for mosquitoes. You can simply make the dried yarrow into a strong tea blend and put it into a spray bottle and spray onto the skin to help repel mozzies.
And internally, yarrow can also help stop bleeding which is associated with conditions such as nose bleeds, gum bleeding, excessive menstrual bleeding etc – basically yarrow helps to slow down the bleeding anywhere in the body and because it has astringent properties, it is also great for dogs that suffer from diarrhoea and other gut inflammation including irritable bowel or IBD (inflammatory bowel disease).
And of course yarrow has many other known benefits aside from its ability to help stop that bleeding wound including aiding in sleep, boosting the immune system, helping fight eye infections, improving overall digestion, can reduce anxiety and depression and also aid in cognitive or brain function.
Externally I love to use have it as a fluid extract and bathe the affected area as needed . Internally you would work on a dose of 1-2 drops per kg bodyweight 2x daily and this might be double that amount in acute cases of internal bleeding. This is truly a herb to have in your first aid kit for your pets and for yourself too and its certainly one I use frequently.