Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tea Change?

Vida's going through a liter of tea about every four days, so I'm making another batch this morning. I've adjusted the recipe a bit: Astragalus, Calendula, fresh Plantain are all the same, but I've halved the Slippery Elm and filled that in with Marshmallow Root, and brought back a little bit of Nettle Leaf instead of fresh Comfrey Leaf.

Did I need to change? Am I changing capriciously? Am I overthinking? I'm not sure, but I know that there is never one way to do things when it comes to herbs.

There are always multiple choices for supportive herbs, and while some people find that aggravating I actually find it comforting because I know that as long as I stay within certain parameters I'll be doing fine. I also feel that this gives me the freedom to make these small changes to customize it for each animal.

For instance, I've kept the foundation of Astragalus through all the changes I've made, as this is so strongly indicated for her situation with cancer (immune booster, qi booster, affinity for the stomach).

A couple batches ago I switched from Chamomile to Calendula because Calendula's anti-inflammatory and healing aspects for skin were so important to promote healing right in her mouth, and I knew that it would have the same soothing result in her stomach, though it's not often thought of for internal use.

I kept the fresh Plantain because it's such an all-rounder - good for her mouth and her digestion, and so easily picked, chopped, and added for an ideal food.

I decided to add a little Marshmallow Root in place of some of the Slippery Elm because it's a little cooler, and she's getting plenty of Slippery Elm directly in her meals. Sometimes I like the idea of herb partners, they have similar actions but slightly different energetics.

I decided to put a modest amount of Nettle back in to the mix for the mineral nutrients and support. I took out the fresh comfrey leaf because I already have it in her mouth rinse, and admit to some concern about even slight impact on her liver due to the prednisone.

I know that the issue of liver effect from Comfrey is contentious, but if the liver is under direct pharmaceutical stress I figured I'd play it safe by alternating the use of the Comfrey (the leaves are young now, which means this is more of an issue - sorry, don't want to look up the chemical particulars for you on this).

The importance right now is support.

It's always important to have a goal with your herbs. The goal might change frequently, but you always need to keep your basic goal in mind when creating teas (and other concoctions).

The goals of this tea are: support of her basic energy, support of her digestion, contacting her mouth with herbs that will help prevent burn side effects (in conjunction with a more specific mouthwash).

This is a concentrated time of support while she goes through radiation. It will all be adjusted again (and again and again...).

I don't think I'm being cavalier about the changes, and the base of the tea is in place so it shouldn't cause her to have to adjust to it.

I love experimenting on my dog, but I think I'm experimenting in a good way, not a reckless way. Believe me, it takes some herbal education combined with good observation skills to do it well.

This experience is an amazing education for me, and will result in my being able to help others with their dogs.

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