Angelica: The “Angel of Herbs” has The Power To Heal

Many of the herbal formulas used here at Natchez Trace Veterinary Services contain angelica as one of the main ingredients, so we thought you may be interested in the history, use and effects of this amazing herb. One of our popular herbal formulas is ANGELICA HARMONIZE JOINTS. This Traditional Chinese herbal blend helps maintain healthy joint function.

From the Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, joint discomfort results when there is an obstruction in the flow of energy, also called “Qi” through the tissue of the joint along with an invasion of external factors such as damp, cold and wind. The obstruction and invasion may come from trauma, overuse of limbs, poor genetics, prolonged exposure to wind and damp, etc. Chinese theory recommends a blend of herbs that moves Qi and blood in and around the joints to reestablish and maintain healthy function.  Angelica is an herb that helps do this.

The history and folklore behind angelica is really interesting, so we have included it here for your reading pleasure.

According to one legend, Angelica was revealed in a dream by an angel to cure the (bubonic) plague. Another explanation of the name of this plant is that it blooms on the day of Michael the Archangel (May 8, old style), and is on that account a preservative against evil spirits and witchcraft: all parts of the plant were believed efficacious against spells and enchantment. It was held in such esteem that it was called ‘The Root of the Holy Ghost.’ -A Modern Herbal: Angelica


Angelica is a tall, stout woody perennial that thrives best in slightly acidic, damp soil in light shade and is fairly easy to grow from seed. It is believed to be a native of Syria, then spreading to many cool European countries. The name angelica comes from Midieval Latin herba angelica , which means “angelic herb”, reportedly named so because of it’s special powers against poison and plague.  This herb was once considered one of the earth’s most powerful herbs and was even at one time given the nickname “Root of the Holy Ghost”. It was thought to be under the protection of Michael the Archangel because it blooms on his feast day, and it’s roots, leaves and seeds have been used as a culinary and medicinal herb for centuries.

Angelica is used extensively in herbal medicine. The main constituents of Angelica are volatile oils, valeric acid, angelic acid, angelicin, safrole, scopoletin, and linoleic acid, making it useful in the treatment of fevers, colds, coughs, flatulent colic and other stomach disorders. A medicinal infusion made from stems, seeds, and root is carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, sedative, stomachic and tonic. Angelica is used for obstructed menses and should not be taken in large quantities by pregnant women.   -Alternative Nature Online Herbal


Medicinal Benefits

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Angelica sinesis is called “Dang Gui”. It is also known as female ginseng and Dong Quai. The channels influenced by Dang Gui are Heart, Liver and Spleen. In Traditional Chinese Medicine this herb is used to regulate menses, tonify blood, harmonize blood, disperse cold, unblock bowels, moisten intestines, reduce swelling, expel pus, stop pain, and generate flesh. Traditional Chinese Medicine always recommends combining Angelica with other herbs.

In Western herbal medicine the roots, stalk, and leaves are commonly used and possess carminative, stimulant, diaphoretic, stomachic, tonic and expectorant properties. It is often used to treat fevers, colds, coughs, colic, rheumatism, urinary diseases, wind and as a stimulating expectorant.

Are you interested in improving your pet’s health with Herbals and/or Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Please call us!

  • Natchez Trace Veterinary Services (Belle Meade) (615) 750-2248
  • Natchez Trace Veterinary Services (Franklin) (615) 790-8100


Zeel: Homeopathic Arthritis Pain Relief for Dogs and Cats

Natchez Trace Veterinary Service strives to combine the best of Eastern, Western, and Alternative Medicine to create unique treatments that are gentle yet effective and will maintain balance and harmony in your pet’s body. Because we offer so many options, we often see clients with geriatric pets that are not getting relief from standard veterinary treatments.

One of the challenges that many of our clients face is arthritic pain management as their pets age. Many older pets already have compromised immune systems and decreased organ function creating the need for something gentle and less toxic than standard pharmaceuticals for use on a daily basis.  Our clinic has found success in providing homeopathic arthritis pain relief for dogs and cats with a product called Zeel.

Zeel is manufactured by Heel, a company originating in Germany.  This homeopathic formula was originally created for (and is still used in) treating humans, but has been found to also be an effective remedy for dogs and cats.  This remedy is a homeopathic blend that supports healthy connective tissue function and provides pain relief inflammation, stiffness, arthritis, and osteoarthritis while helping the body recover from damage to connective tissue, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. It is available in several different forms including injectable, ointment, tablet and oral vial. We use the tablets most often in our clinic as they are small and easy for our clients to administer to their pets.

Zeel has been clinically tested and found to be a virtually side-effect free, non-habit forming, safe and effective treatment for general arthritic pain relief as well as a treatment for arthrosis (gonarthrosis in particular), polyarthritis, spondylarthrosis, scapulohumeral, and periarthritis. It is considered to be an excellent alternative to Vioxx and Celebrex and has been found to work as well as COX 2 Inhibitors. Because patients taking COX 2 inhibitors have reported undesirable effects including dizziness, diarrhea, vomiting, edema and gastric complaints, Zeel appears to be a nice holistic alternative with practically no side effects.  Studies have even found Zeel to be safe for children. Zeel is only available through licensed professionals.

The Key Ingredients in Zeel

Each 300 mg tablet contains: Silicea 6X 3 mg, Arnica montana, radix 1X 0.6 mg, Rhus toxicodendron 1X 0.54 mg, Sulphur 6X 0.54 mg, Sanguinaria canadensis 3X 0.45 mg, Cartilago suis 4X 0.3 mg, Embryo suis 4X 0.3 mg, Funiculus umbilicalis suis 4X 0.3 mg, Placenta suis 4X 0.3 mg, Dulcamara 2X 0.15 mg, Symphytum officinale 8X 0.15 mg, alpha-Lipoicum acidum 6X 0.03 mg, Coenzyme A 6X 0.03 mg, Nadidum 6X 0.03 mg, Natrum oxalaceticum 6X 0.03 mg

Read The Pet Owner’s Guide to Dog Arthritis

If you are interested in learning more about how this product can help your pet, please call us at:

  • Natchez Trace Veterinary Services (Belle Meade) (615) 750-2248
  • Natchez Trace Veterinary Services (Franklin) (615) 790-8100


  • (n.d.) Extracted July 19, 2012 from
  • Heel: Healthcare Designed by Nature. (n.d.) Extracted July 19, 2012 from


Ginseng: The “Man Root” Explained

ginseng for pets, ginseng for cats, ginseng for dogs, the man root explained Practically everyone has heard of ginseng – it is available in herbal supplements, teas, and even skin and hair care products.  But do you know what ginseng really is and exactly what it does?

Many of the herbal formulas used here at Natchez Trace Veterinary Services contain ginseng as one of the main ingredients, so we thought you may be interested in the history, use and effects of this amazing herb.


The ancient Chinese believed that the root of the plant was the crystallization of the essence of the earth in the shape of a man and that this plant had rejuvenating, recuperative, and curative action.
-Symmetry Herbal


Chinese ginseng was discovered over 5,000 years ago in the mountains of Manchuria, China. The ancients believed that its human shape was powerful symbol of divine harmony on earth and that the herb had strength-giving and rejuvenating powers. American Ginseng was later discovered in North America by a Jesuit priest working among the Iroquois Indians in Canada.  He had heard  reports of the amazing herb that the Chinese were using and, deducting that the French Canadian environment was similar to that of Manchuria, started searching for a  North America version of the same herb. American Ginseng was soon discovered growing near Montreal, Canada.

A mature root is shaped  like a human, earning it the name “Ren Shen” which means “Man Root” in Chinese. The term “ginseng” actually refers to all eleven of the species within Panax, which is a genus of slow growing perennial plants with fleshy roots of the family Araliaceae.  This herb is broken into two main species in herbal medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine: Chinese and American Ginseng, each with it’s own unique effects on the body.

The differences between American and Asian ginsengs are well documented not only by Chinese traditional doctors, but also by modern scientists, It is found that the differences in the active, constituents may account for the differing medicinal uses of American and Asian ginseng. Shibata’s group and Staba and his colleagues found that the types of saponins in American ginseng are similar to those in Asian ginseng, the exceptions that ginsenosides Ra and Rf found in Asian ginseng are absent from American ginseng. There are some differences in quantity of ginsenosides Rg and Re groups between American ginseng and Asian ginseng. Furthermore, the relative abundance of panaxadiols and panaxatrios differs in the two ginseng species. American ginseng contains very few ginsenosides with central nervous system stimulating activity, it is regarded as a “cooling agent”.
Symmetry Herbal


Asian Ginseng (Panax Ginseng)

Asian Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) is considered “warming” and is named Ren Shen in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is a Qi tonic found in many herbal formulas and has been found to strengthen the lung, spleen and stomach.  This herb especially helpful for those suffering from IBS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, chronic diarrhea, and diabetes. Panax ginseng is also used for anxiety, depression, boosting the immune system, and certain infections in cystic fibrosis. Asian Ginseng should not be taken constantly but on a schedule of two months of taking the herb then two weeks without. The side effects or overdose symptoms of Asian Ginseng are high blood pressure, insomnia, headaches, and heart palpitations. In China, Mung Bean Soup is often used to treat the overdosage symptoms of Asian Ginseng.

American Ginseng (Panax Quinquefolium)

American Ginseng (Panax Quinquefolium) is considered “cooling” and is named Xi Yang Shen in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is often found in herbal formulas to treat Yin Deficiencies and has been found to strengthen the lungs, heart and kidneys. This herb especially helpful for those with insomnia, night sweats, nervousness, and hot hands and feet. The side effects or overdosage symptoms of American Ginseng are high blood pressure, headaches, insomnia and anxiety.

General Benefits

Both Chinese and American varieties are known to be adaptogenic herbs. Adaptogens are substances that help the body restore itself to health without side effects.

Below is a list of benefits that both types of this herb have been shown to provide:

  • Improve health when recovering from illness
  • Increase well-being and stamina
  • Improve mental performance
  • Improve physical performance
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Increase energy
  • Increase endurance
  • Reduce fatigue
  • Reduce the effects of stress
  • Help prevent infections
  • Alleviate some effects of aging
  • Decrease degeneration of the blood system
  •  Increase mental capacity
  •  Increase physical capacity

Ginseng for Pets

The Center for Integrative Animal Health considers ginseng to be the supreme tonic in chinese medicine, stating this herb increases longevity, energy, bone strength and muscle tone. They also indicate that American (panax) ginseng is the top choice for older pets and female pets. According to CIAH, you calculate the dosage by weight from the human products used to the weight of your pet. “For instance if it is in a capsule and the recommended dosage in two to three capsules twice a day for an adult person and you have a fifty pound older dog, one may give one capsule twice a day. If you are administering tinctures, be careful with cats, because they often times have too high an alcohol content for cats, so you would want to boil off the alcohol before administering or dilute it greatly. Again, consult with a naturally trained veterinarian. If you are using ginseng long term, use for only two to three months at a time and then give a break and stop it for a few weeks.” 


The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that while ginseng side effects rarely occur, they might include high blood pressure, headaches, insomnia and anxiety. Talk with your doctor before taking any type of ginseng supplement if you suffer from type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or bipolar disorder. American ginseng might interact with the effectiveness of anticoagulant medications and certain kinds of antidepressants known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or MOAIs. Asian ginseng might affect calcium channel blockers and increase the effects of stimulants. Livestrong



Veterinary Compounded Drugs

What are veterinary compounded drugs? Veterinary compounded drugs are “a unique, custom-made product that fills a prescription written by a doctor when there is no commercially available alternative.” Simple enough! Compounded drugs in veterinary medicine have come under scrutiny lately. The reason is the ever-present concern with quality control. I use a compounding pharmacy from Arizona, Roadrunner Pharmacy. Verifying methods of  quality control is of utmost importance in choosing a compounding pharmacy.

In small animals, especially dogs, the best use of compounded drugs is in the treatment of ear infections. Owner compliance in otitis is often poor! Painful ears and dosing frequency make traditional otic medicines difficult to administer. This is one reason why so many dogs have chronic ear infections. The owners either won’t, don’t or can’t treat the ears the way they need to be treated to control the infection.

How do we combat compliance issues? We use compounded medicine for ears! The compounded medicine we use is a lanolin- based delivery system. We apply this medicine in the office and, therefore, no treatment is needed by you at home. The lanolin dissipates over a 7-10 day period. At  the end of the 7-10 days, we recheck the ears to see if the infection is gone. If not, we re-treat in the office. If so, great, the infection is gone. Some of the different medicine on the lanolin based delivery system include; Dexamethasone for inflammation, Enrofloxacin for rod bacteria, Ampicillin for cocci bacteria, and Itraconazole for yeast. There are really no complications with using this otic preparation.

This is just one example of the benefits of compounded drugs in veterinary medicine. Other medicines that are commonly compounded include: opthalmics, transdermal gels for hyperthyroid in cats, endocrine agents, analgesics and seizure medications. Compounded medicine can also come flavored to your pet’s delight.


Best Dog Flea Control Product?

Scratching from Fleas

Fleas are a constant source of frustration, anger, and torment for our beloved family pets. During the warmer months, fleas are the main reason pet owners seek veterinary advice. What is the best dog flea control product? Comfortis wins without a doubt!! Comfortis is a pill given every thirty days that virtually eliminates fleas and the clinical signs associated with flea allergy. No more messy top spot applications! No more fears about chemicals being spread all over the house. No more worries about bathing your pet in the presence of a flea infestation. Why is Comfortis the best dog flea control product?

Reasons Comfortis is the best dog flea control product:

1. Comfortis is a pill! Easy to administer!

2. Comfortis is the most natural product! Click here for review of spinosad!

3. Comfortis has few side effects, if any!

4. Comfortis is still effective after a bath!

5. Comfortis starts killing fleas after thirty minutes!

I have used Comfortis in my practice for all kinds of flea problems. I have yet to see an adverse event associated with its use. There are reports of side effects when using Comfortis in conjunction with extra-label use of Ivermectin. Most commonly, this scenario might be present when treating a puppy for Demodectic mange while also using Comfortis. Again, I have never seen this in practice but it has been reported.

Clients will often ask me the following: “What happens if my dog vomits after I give the medicine?” Great question! I have seen this and it usually occurs if we give the medicine in the office. Oftentimes, these dogs are excited and vomiting occurs not because of the pill but because of the excitement. In this scenario, the drug company Elanco will reimburse you the dose of medicine. Pretty good deal!

Comfortis, in my experience, is the best dog flea control product and is highly recommended!