Ashwagandha – Support for Lyme Disease

In this discussion, I am sharing information about Lyme disease. Our goldens are so outdoors-oriented, so active, and so furry, that Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses can be an issue. Here I highlight some info about a plant called ashwagandha, used in many health conditions.

What is ashwagandha?

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health shares information about ashwagandha, noting it is an evergreen shrub with many bioactive compounds. One of these compounds is withanolides, known for anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

What does ashwagandha do in the body?

The Herbs for Pets book shares some of ashwagandha’s medicinal activities including adaptogenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and anti-hypertensive. (Contact me for assistance navigating these.) Among other conditions, it is often used as part of a Lyme disease support protocol.

And, the Treat Lyme website praises ashwaganda for its ability to help the body fight off stress, stimulate white blood cells to fight infection, and decrease inflammation.

When should I use it or not use it?

Ashwagandha is not a cure for Lyme disease. But it is used in many Lyme cases, including chronic Lyme disease. This is due to the discussed properties, including adaptogenic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant. It is often one of many botanical products used to help the body in the healing process. But it is not the only available option, and it may not be the best one for your own golden. After all, they are all individuals, right? (PS – that is another reason why a healthy homemade diet is the best choice! Let me help.)

I usually suggest starting with a low dose for any supplement, and slowly increasing. This is for two reasons:

1) You can keep an eye on any negative effects like stomach upset, fatigue or any allergic reaction.

2) You can see how much your dog may actually need. Using the lowest effective amount is a great goal –  how much do you actually need to use in order to get the desired result? Every dog is different, so the effective amount can vary as well.

In us humans, ashwagandha is not recommended in certain situations. To be cautious, I suggest avoiding ashwagandha for dogs in these cases as well. These include pregnancy, before surgery, or in dogs with thyroid or autoimmune issues. It is also not generally suggested in high blood pressure, diabetes or hormone sensitive cancers. And it is not suggested for those on immunosuppressive drugs, anti-seizure meds, sedatives or thyroid medications.

If you decide to try ashwagandha as part of a Lyme support protocol, please order directly from the company or a reputable third party vendor. Amazon and some others have had counterfeit problems. It would be sad to get a knock off or a lower quality (expired, exposed to the elements, etc) product. This will not help your dog get better.

If you need assistance finding a reputable product or company, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you! ~ Sarah
Founder, Dog Food Coach & Golden Retriever Diet