A few weeks ago I decided to add another one of my “tried & true” traditional herbal recipes to our product line; a simple blend of ground organic raw pumpkin seeds, fresh raw organic garlic & food grade diatomaceous earth we’ve decided to name PUMPKIN PARASITE POWDER. It is available for sale this week at the warehouse for $15 for an 8-oz. container that we suggest storing in the freezer. If you like garlic, you’ll think it smells really yummy. Most pets find it palatable and will readily consume the powder when it’s added to their food.
After making the decision to produce this new product, we happened to see parasites, pumpkin seeds & garlic pop-up a few different places in the media (a Dogs Naturally Magazine article & Dr. Oz show)– being the start of spring, parasites and intestinal health/cleansing do seem to be regular topics of discussion. We just thought it was pretty nifty that others were featuring the topic & these remedies during the very same week after we had just made plans to put this product into production at SFRAW.
In the past, I’ve incorporated other herbs (such as wormwood, oregon grape, aloe and fennel seed) to this blend, but have found that combining these three simple ingredients is the most elegant and well-tolerated solution. For example, wormwood should not be used long-term and can be contraindicated for pets with liver disorders/issues – and I wanted to make something even puppies, kittens, geriatric and pregnant/lactating pets could consume.
When to use PUMPKIN PARASITE POWDER:
* If your pet is young or newly adopted and you have not yet used a chemical worming medication.
* If your pet’s coat condition is a little dull, appetite is either ravenous or inconsistent (particularly if you notice fluctuations in their appetite relating to the lunar cycle), weight or digestion are not in tip-top shape and you suspect these minor issues could be because of parasites, but have not seen any evidence of them or received a formal diagnosis yet.
* If your pet has obvious signs of intestinal parasites: you had a fecal float test done by your veterinarian confirming parasites, you have found worm segments or worms in their stool or vomit, or dried worm segments near their anus, but they do not have ANY serious complications or symptoms such as fever, frequent vomiting or GI distress, low-energy, anemia, pale colored gums, severely hard and/or swollen abdomen, you can use our PUMPKIN PARASITE POWDER first before opting to employ a chemical wormer. This treatment protocol is an option because most relatively healthy pets do remain clinically stable and reasonably healthy, even with the presence of common intestinal parasites.
When to use chemical anti-parasitic or anthelmintic medications instead:
If you do not see improvement after a few months on our product, or if your pet ever becomes unwell/sick or experiences any serious symptoms, please immediately consult with your veterinarian for advice and diagnostics. If parasites are the diagnosis, you will want to consider using a chemical anti-parasitic medication – Panacur (Fenbendazole) or Droncit (Praziquantel) are the two I recommend. I like that they are “old” standards, having a long history of being commonly prescribed, inexpensive drugs; because of this, we can refer to years of experience and information available to us about their safe use. Panacur can be used for everything other than tapeworms; Droncit is the drug to use for tapeworms. These drugs are both safe and effective. If your pet’s health is suffering, please do not hesitate to employ these chemical remedies.
While I recommend using a herbal remedy to keep parasite numbers at bay and chemical worming medications to be used when a pet’s health is clearly suffering from a high parasite load in the gut, I hold the controversial opinion that all parasites are not necessarily bad for our pets (or us). If kept to low numbers, some common intestinal parasites may even provide us & our pets with a protective effect against inflammation and lower the risk for chronic autoimmune diseases such as asthma, Crohn’s disease, colitis, arthritis and allergies. There is some interesting research supporting this idea (simply Google ‘parasites autoimmune disease’ to find more). The idea even has a name: Helminthic therapy.
I do not think being 100% parasite-free is necessarily healthy; humans, dogs, cats and other animals are complicated mammalian beings that co-evolved with various organisms (including parasites). Our systems have adapted to enjoy and thrive on symbiotic relationships with many different organisms – including bacteria and parasites – and I agree with many researchers and others that think these “bugs” may have a protective effect on our immune systems.
This is not a popular mainstream viewpoint, and I understand it is controversial (the Hygiene Hypothesis has been in the media lately, too); but I do believe that a “little dirt won’t hurt” and some microbes and bugs can actually assist us in keeping our bodies functioning just as they should.
Now that you understand my position a little better, you can see why one of the things I really like about the PUMPKIN PARASITE POWDER is that it probably does not eliminate the parasites entirely. Does this mean it is not effective? It is not, if your goal is to eliminate parasites from the gut completely. However, if your goal is to gently keep parasites at bay and reduce the load in the gut to a level that supports the overall health of the animal, I think it’s pretty perfect for this. In my experience, this combination of ingredients seems to lower the number of parasites to a level that eliminates any outward symptoms of infestation while allowing for pets to enjoy good health.
Additionally, the ingredients we use in our PUMPKIN PARASITE POWDER provide some nice nutritional and health benefits:
Pumpkin Seeds are considered an anthelmintic (a substance that helps expel intestinal worms); they do not kill the worms like a poison, but the high levels of cucurbitins may paralyze the worms so that they can be expelled from the body. Pumpkin seeds are also good source of minerals: magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, iron, copper and zinc; they also provide antioxidants such as lutein & the gamma-tocopherol form of vitamin E. In Chinese Medicine, pumpkin seeds are considered to have a sweet and bitter taste, which influence the Large Intestines and Stomach.
Garlic is a potent antimicrobial. Fresh, crushed cloves are an excellent source of allicin, which is anti-parasidic. Garlic can strengthen immune and cardiac function; if your pet’s immune system is stronger, they will be more resistant to infections – including the adept handling of common parasites and microbes. Garlic is a health promoting powerhouse rich in antioxidants, selenium, helps improve iron metabolism, and has shown to be protective against various cancers. In Chinese Medicine, garlic is considered “warming”, providing many benefits for the digestive system.
Diatomaceous Earth is a a fine powder made from mined shells of ancient marine life (diatoms). It is an excellent source of silica, which has many health benefits and is a nutrient lacking in our depleted modern soils. Silica promotes healthy, thick hair and strong nail growth, and helps make calcium and phosphorus more absorbable. The diatoms also likely bind with and absorb fungi, protozoa, viruses, endotoxins, pesticides, drug residues, harmful bacteria, and heavy metals such as mercury and aluminum, then helps to draws them out for elimination from the body. We consider DE to be a useful, health promoting daily supplement.
Enjoy in good health!