Q. What is the herbal preparation I provided to Doc?
A. Corn silk (Zea mays)! This herb has a strong affinity for the entire urogenital system (consisting of the reproductive organs and the urinary system). It is indicated anytime there is inflammation in a dog or cat's urinary tract or kidneys. It has anti-inflammatory and diuretic qualities as well as astringent and soothing benefits.
What makes corn silk such a great choice for your pet in this instance is its gentle, yet effective actions. Unlike other herbs used as diuretics or astringents, corn silk does not contain harsh volatile oils that may aggravate existing kidney issues. It is a wonderful choice for nurturing the kidneys early in the disease process and is safe for long-term use such as in FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disease). Because of its astringent qualities, corn silk can tighten and strengthen tissue making it a good choice for urinary incontinence issues. Combine with marshmallow to ease the passing of kidney and bladder stones. If infection is present try combing corn silk with echinacea and yarrow.
Because we are dealing with the urinary tract, it is preferable to use a strong aqueous solution so we can be sure that the herbal preparation is flushing through the urinary tract sufficiently. I made a decoction for Doc. An infusion can be sufficient, but because of the fiber-like nature of the herb I wanted to make sure I would get the most beneficial constituents out of the herb that I could. So to make the decoction I added two tablespoons of the herb to two cups of filtered water in a covered sauce pan. I then heated until just starting to boil and then turned down the heat to a simmer for twenty minutes. The preparation is then ready to use when cooled. I leave everything in the container until the evening, it doesn't hurt to let the herb sit longer because the mixture will just strengthen with time. Then I strain the herb into a glass bowl (preferable to plastic), and squeeze out the remaining liquid into the bowl before the used corn silk is discarded. I then place the herbal preparation in the fridge. I make enough so it will not be stored in the fridge longer than 48hrs. Suggested dosage is 1/4 cup per 35 pounds or so 2-3 times per day. I like to give most of my herbal preparations before my animal's meals on an empty stomach for best action, but you can mix with meals if needed.
Within three days Doc's kidney inflammation had apparently subsided and he was jumping up on us again. What caused the problem, we aren't sure, but it helps to be able to handle this type of siituation on your own. A visit to the vet can not only be expensive but most likely would have resulted in a course of antibiotic treatment. Once you start down that road of using antibiotics to treat urinary tract issues you are traveling down a very slippery slope. Of course, if the situation does not rectify itself in a few days after at home natural pet care, or if the animal's condition worsens, then a trip to the vet's office would be necessary. Since we feel that Doc's kidneys are a weak area, and corn silk is a safe long-term remedy, we will most likely keep him on this natural protocol for the rest of his life, maybe switching to twice a day instead of three times per day, to support his kidney health.
Tilford, Gregory L., & Wulf, Mary L. (2009). Herbs for Pets: The natural way to enhance your pet's life. Irvine, CA: BowTie Press.