Marshmallow Root and Slippery Elm Bark -- for nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation. Great for IBD cats to help rebuild
intestinal mucosa as well as for cats with CRF. Give at least 30-60 minutes prior to feeding to avoid nutrient absorption concerns.
Stinging Nettles -- for sneezing/hay fever and inhalant as well as contact allergy symptoms
Dandelion Leaf -- for cats with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
Aloe vera juice/gel (inner leaf/fillet only and without additives such as sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate as listed toward the end of this article) -- to help intestinal villi and heal the digestive tract.
Catnip –- appetite and mood stimulant
Turmeric or curcumin –- anti-inflammatory, emmanagogue/blood-moving for conditions such as cancer, and heart benefits.
Safe Short-term for medicinal purposes:
Raspberry leaf –- for queens, if needed
Arjuna –- a cardiotonic and beta-blocker
Andrographis Paniculata –- for sinus/URI problems
Astragalus –- immune booster, also helpful for thyroid and kidney conditions
Blackberry Leaf -- diarrhea
Boswellia Serrata-- arthritis
Cayenne –- arthritis (some formulations can cause stomach pain)
Cinnamon (water-soluble extract only), and not Cassia -– can lower blood glucose levels
Cranberry –- there isn't much reason to use this herb for cats with FLUTD. A better option is D-Mannose for a few days.
Dandelion leaf -– a diuretic containing some potassium for pulmonary edema and pleural effusion
Echinacea –- at the first signs of a cold
Fennel –- digestive upset including gas and bloating
Ginger -- nausea, and to increase stomach motility
Ginkgo Biloba -– blood-thinner good for circulatory problems
Ginseng – American and Siberian -– immune system; colds; physical and mental stimulation
Goldenseal -- antibacterial, particularly good for topical use
Hawthorne berries -- cardiotonic beta-blocker
Parsley – diuretic, however it can cause potassium loss so dandelion leaf is a better choice
Milk Thistle – liver problems
Peppermint Leaf – nausea and indigestion
St. John's Wort - depression/mood
Valerian – appetite stimulation and can be helpful for high-strung cats (though beware it can in some cases have the opposite effect)
Herbs containing salicin -- White Willow Bark, Feverfew, and Meadowsweet; cats have trouble metabolizing these causing "salicylate intoxication" and bleeding. With salicylate build-up that a cat's kidneys have trouble excreting, the typical presentation is symptoms of kidney failure with severe metabolic acidosis and breathing trouble. Cats much like humans with this condition have a high fatality rate.
Alfalfa -- an ingredient in it - canavanine - can lead to abnormal blood cell counts and spleen enlargement as well as interfere with arginine uptake in the body. Arginine (abundant in meat) is critical for cats, and inadequate amounts of arginine can cause serious problems. See article titled "Why does the cat require a high protein diet?" by Rogers QR & Morris JG (1980) Journal of Nutrition 109, 718–723 for details on the deleterious effects of inadequate L-arginine in kitten diets. Last but not least, Alfalfa contains coumarin derivatives that can inhibit blood clotting. There is no reason to use this herb, none.
Garlic -- causes heinz body anemia
Mistletoe -- detrimental effect to the heart
Pennyroyal -- can be fatal to cats, and even in very diluted amounts can cause irreversible liver, lung, and brain damage. Check for this herb as one of the ingredients in those ubiquitous "flea collars"
Strong bitters in "worming" formulas such as Rue, Feverfew, and Wormwood which can cause kidney and liver damage.
Comfrey -- can cause liver damage (okay to use PA-free brands e.g. Herb Pharm's for external use on a strictly short-term basis)
Chapparal -- can cause kidney and liver problems
Lobelia -- can cause nausea and vomiting even in small doses
Herbs that can be okay but only if used with extra caution:
Juniper Berries -- should not be used long-term because it irritates the kidneys/urinary tract.
Uva Ursi -- has a strong astringent action, and should not be used long-term because it irritates the kidneys/urinary tract. Uva Ursi should only be used with alkaline urine. Even though we do not know for sure if cranberry acidifies the urine, do not use Uva Ursi together with cranberry.
Horsetail -- long-term use can elevate blood pressure
Licorice -- can lead to water retention and raise blood pressure. Best not to use on a long-term basis.
Ginkgo -- Do not use with allopathic heart medication/blood thinners
Hawthorne Berry -- Do not use with allopathic heart medication/blood thinners
Red Clover (one of the constituents in Essiac Tea formula) -- Contains coumarins which could affect bleeding problems in cats. Should not to be taken with allopathic blood thinning drugs
Goldenseal, Barberry, and Oregon Grape Root -- Strong astringent action; can kill off beneficial bacteria, so best for short-term use only.