Topical Herbs that Relieve the Itch
To heal a pet’s skin problems from the inside-out with good food and supplementation can take a few weeks. In the meantime, the itchy misery can be reduced with topical remedies. One of the most effective approaches is herbal astringents that work by quickly tightening skin and subcutaneous tissue, reducing inflammation and redness.
This herbal extract can be purchased as a clear liquid at any drugstore. It’s also the primary active ingredient in many commercial hemorrhoid ointments, as it reduces inflamed membranes very quickly. A dab or two of witch hazel applied with a cotton ball can work wonders against flea or mosquito bites. It’s important to know that most products are made with isopropyl alcohol, which is quite toxic if ingested in large amounts. Therefore, this extract should be reserved for situations in which only a few dabs are needed (i.e., don’t use it as a rinse). Better yet, look for witch hazel extract made with ethanol (grain alcohol) or vegetable glycerin, an edible palm oil derivative used in natural soaps and cosmetics for its emollient, skin-soothing qualities.
With its antibacterial properties, aloe vera gel works especially well when spot-applied directly to hot spots or insect bites. However, unless combined with an emollient, the drying and tightening properties of aloe vera could further exacerbate discomfort caused by dry, chapped skin.
Calendula officinalis, small marigold, is easy to grow or purchase in dry bulk form at natural product retailers. Cooled calendula tea, liberally applied to an animal’s skin and coat, can bring fast relief to inflamed skin and accelerate the healing of open sores. To make a soothing skin rinse, simply infuse two to four tablespoons of dried calendula flowers into a quart of near-boiling water. Allow the tea to cool completely, drench the pet with the tea and allow it to drip dry.
Peppermint, chamomile and green teas are great for relieving itchy skin. Infuse four to six tea bags of any (or all) of these herbs into one quart of boiling water. Cool thoroughly and rinse the animal. Not only will it feel better, it will smell great, too.
From allergies to liver deficiency to diet, many factors can itch, inflame and irritate the skin of our pets. Here are herbs that can help comfort and relieve an itchy dog or cat. Read More »