Pet Corner: History of Herbs

Folklore teaches lessons for your pet's care

| November/December 1999

  • Herbs can help animals cope with infections and anxiety.
  • Herbs can help animals cope with infections and anxiety.
    Photo courtesy of W. Morris

Mullein was considered the “herb of protection” and the “herb of love” 

Herbal mythology is fascinating, and it’s a good way to gain an understanding about herbs when you first decide to start using them with your pet. Virtually every medicinal herb has mythical stories, but the few that follow especially caught my eye.

Echinacea (Echinacea spp.) grows wild in Kansas, where I live, and it was once the “medicine cabinet” of several prairie Indian tribes. Native Americans and frontiersmen used echinacea to cure snakebites and rabies, although I’m suspicious about its ability to heal those afflictions.

It was also used for coughs, colds, sore throats, infections, chronic conditions, and arthritis—all maladies for which I might recommend echinacea with the pets I treat today. Echinacea is my favorite immune ­system balancer, and I recommend it often because many of my “pet patients” have immune system imbalances.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is another of my favorite herbs. It’s truly a magical healer, and I enjoy poking fun at my urban friends who use chemicals to rid their yard of one of nature’s most potent medicinal herbs.

Dandelion’s name may have come from the proclamations of Wilhelm, a surgeon in the 1400s who thought its powers were as potent as “lion’s teeth,” which translates to dens leonis in Latin. Or the name may have come from the fact that the leaves resemble the canine teeth of a lion—dent de leon in French. I also like the French common name for dandelion, pissenlit—or “pee in the bed,” so named for its diuretic effects.



May 16-17, 2020
Nashville, Tennessee

Join us in Music City to explore ways to save money and live efficiently. This two-day event includes hands-on workshops and a marketplace featuring the latest homesteading products.


Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

click me