Natural remedies that support a healthy immune system in your pet

From triacontanol and docosanal to aloe vera, squalene and calendula — these remedies support your animal’s immunity while helping treat bacterial and fungal infections.

A variety of natural remedies support healthy, optimally-functioning immunity in your dog or cat, and may also help treat active bacterial and fungal infections.

Triacontanol and docosanol are fatty alcohols derived from beeswax and plant cuticle waxes. They have anti-inflammatory and anti-viral effects when given orally or applied topically.

Triacontanol prevents inflammation associated with lipid (or fat) oxidation. Lipid oxidation occurs normally in the body in small amounts, but becomes exacerbated in the face of inflammation. As a consequence, free radicals are generated, causing damage to surrounding healthy cells and tissues. By limiting lipid oxidation and preventing the formation of free radicals, triacontanol acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. More specifically, docosanol inhibits viruses from binding to host cells, preventing infection.

Both have proven effective in treating herpes virus, which commonly affects cats. Topical application has also proven to be an effective alternative to topical steroid treatment.

Other natural remedies with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects include aloe vera, squalene and calendula.

  • The complex sugars contained in aloe vera leaves support immunity and act to prevent bacterial infections. Aloe vera is effective both when taken orally and applied topically.
  • Squalene is a naturally-occurring antibiotic that can be extracted from shark livers– or, more humanely and sustainably, from plant sources like rice bran, wheat germ, amaranth and olives. When applied topically, this potent antibiotic is effective against both gram-negative and gram-positive bacterial infections. Squalene also has fungicidal activity, killing fungal cells from within by interfering with their cellular structure; and anti-protozoal effects, destroying invasive protozoal organisms via osmotic lysis.
  • Calendula, or marigold, is a flowering plant that also has anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties when applied topically. Specifically, calendula inhibits 22 strains of yeast (Candida) species.

For any disease process that causes inflammation or, more specifically, any bacterial or viral infection, adding these remedies to your animal’s treatment plan can help naturally support healing and immunity. They work to improve the effectiveness of anti-fungal treatments, limit the need for steroidal therapies, and provide additional antibacterial support. Ask your veterinarian about incorporating them into your animal’s daily regimen.

References

Gazim ZC, Rezende CM, Fraga SR. Svidzinski TIE, Cortez DAG. “Antifungal activity of the essential oil from Calendula officinalis L. (asteraceae) growing in Brazil”. Braz. J. Microbiol. 39(1): 61-63.

Hammon JH. 2008. “Composition and applications of Aloe vera leaf gel”. Molecules. 13(8) 1599-1616.

Katz DH, Marcelletti JF, Khalil MH, Pope LE, Katz LR. 1991. “Antiviral activity of 1-

docosanol, an inhibitor of lipid-enveloped viruses including herpes simplex”. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 88: 10825-10829.

Kelly GS. 1999. “Squalene and its potential clinical uses”. Altern Med Rev. 4(1): 29-36.

McBride PT, Clark L, Kruger GG. 1987. “Evaluation of triacontanol containing compounds as anti-inflammatory agents using guinea pig models”. J. Invest. Dermatol. 89: 380-383.

Pope LE, Marcelletti JF, Katz LR, Katz DH. 1996. “Anti-herpes simplex virus activity of n-docosanol correlates with intracellular metabolic conversion of the drug”. J Lipid Res. 37: 2167-2178.

Warren PR, Burger RA, Sidwell RW, Clark LL. 1992. “Effect of triacontanol on numbers and functions of cells involved in inflammatory responses”. Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 200: 349-352.