You know, some people love fine wines. Some people appreciate fancy truffle oil. Our dog, she loves goose poop. I don’t know what it is, but she seems to think it is the tastiest of all delicacies. Yuck.
And of course, here in Boston, there’s no shortage of goose poop. Which makes Elsie very happy, but also has landed her with tapeworm three times this summer. The first time was just a couple weeks before the wedding and I admit it: we went to the pet store and got the white powder dewormer. It seemed to work, but I can’t say I felt good about it. I promised myself I’d come up with a real answer before it happened again. But then we were back from the wedding and our honeymoon and busy catching up and here was Elsie with tapeworm again. And of course, there was some pressing thing I can’t remember now, so off I headed to the pet store again. Not that you should think that because I’m an herbalist I always get everything right and have all the answers ahead of time and never …you know.
The third time, enough was enough. I put everything else aside and determined that I’d deal with this problem once and for all. I expected some big complicated rigamarole, but actually, it was really easy – and really effective!
How do you know your dog has tapeworms? In the city, where you have to scoop every poop, it’s very easy. When there are tapeworms, the poop has wiggley dancing rice in it. They’re simultaneously really gross and oddly cute: you can just imagine a little smiley face on them, and there they are dancing around like some animated internet gif. Then you remember: this is really gross, and the cute evaporates.
When you see the tapeworm segments, take action right away. By way of disclaimer: no, I don’t guarantee this will work for you, but it worked beautifully for us, so if it seems like a good idea, try it!
It’s worth noting that we only feed Elsie GRAIN FREE, DAIRY FREE foods. That’s tricky – you really have to read every label, because the foods labeled grain free are not always dairy free, and even two different flavors of the same grain free brand might not both be dairy free. It makes a big difference in overall health though, so it’s worth the trouble. If you’re having trouble with tapeworms, I really recommend that you make the switch; getting the grain and dairy out of your dog’s diet improves intestinal health. I also feed Elsie kombucha sometimes, or lactofermented kimchi or sauerkraut, for the probiotic effect. I’m not certain that a dog’s gut flora is the same as a human’s, but we’ve been cohabitating for a long time: while I wouldn’t give a dog capsules of human probiotics, giving my dog traditionally fermented probiotic foods seems like a reasonable way to introduce probiotics.
Immediately when I saw the tape worm segments, and now also any time I suspect she may have munched some goose poop, I add the following into her food bowl:
Ground Pumpkin Seeds: She likes them, so I just sprinkle a tablespoon or so on top of her food. The idea here is that the rough seeds create a very hostile environment for the tapeworms. The downside is that it’s also rough on the gut, so I only do this for a few days at a time.
Dried Garlic Granules: Elise really doesn’t love garlic, so I have to hide this in clumps of wet food. Garlic has a long history as an “anti-parasitic” though, and does seem to be quite effective for tapeworm, so it’s worth the effort of hiding the flavor. I’ve been told that putting garlic in dogs’ food all the time is a good way to repel fleas and ticks, but Elsie doesn’t like it and we don’t have problems with fleas and ticks, so I don’t go that far.
Elsie’s Gut Heal tea: Roughly equal parts calendula, plantain, chamomile, sage, and fennel. Calendula and plantain are great for healing over any irritation caused by the ground pumpkin seeds, and both may have secondary action against the tapeworm as well. Chamomile is a nice relaxant, we use it regularly to calm her down when she has the puppy wiggles, but also it’s great for crampy guts (also in humans!). Sage has mild “anti-parasitic” effect, and fennel is good for preventing gas. Elsie likes this tea just fine, so I generally put a cup or so in her food bowl. I use it when she has diarrhea as well, along with pumpkin or squash, to very good effect.
We tried some other things that we didn’t continue: powdered turmeric, which she hates, and a homeopathic dewormer from the pet store, which may or may not have had any effect. We also used a tincture of calendula, sage, and other mildly “anti-parasitic” herbs, which did seem useful and which she didn’t mind in her food, but when we ran out, we found the tea seemed to do the job sufficiently.
We find this to be as effective as the white powder tapeworm de-wormer from the pet store: within one day there were no more tapeworm segments; We continued for about a week afterwards. Now, anytime she might have munched some goose poop, we use this protocol for 3 or 4 days, and so far, no more tapeworm!
You can tell a lot about a person from what’s in their teacup. Here’s a peek into ours!
Love muffins? Tired of eggs and bacon for breakfast? Committed to sticking to your paleo* diet? Then you, my friend, have come to the right place.
[For the purposes of this discussion, let's use fire cider to refer to the traditional herbal medicine preparation, "fire cider" to refer to the term, and Fire Cider® to refer to the company who have trademarked the term.]
I first became aware of this issue when I read Michael Blackmore’s Facebook post about the trademarking of the term “fire cider” by Shire City Herbals of Pittsfield, MA and the subsequent action taken by Etsy to remove a product with that name from the Etsy store of The Withered Herb, an herbalist out in Washington state.
I checked out the Fire Cider® website and found contact info there, so I wrote the following to email@example.com:
- materia medica
- Tapeworm? No problem! – October 7th, 2014
- Tea of the Month: April – April 13th, 2014
- Muffin Madness! – March 26th, 2014
- Trademarking Tradition: the Fire Cider® Controversy – January 25th, 2014
- Paleo Pumpkin Muffins! – November 21st, 2013
- Men’s Cycles and Self-Reliance – October 9th, 2013
- The Beauty of Imperfection and a Tea for Gracelessness – May 7th, 2013
- Gut-Heal Tea – April 2nd, 2013
- Enough. – March 31st, 2013
- On the Merits of Plain Speech – February 8th, 2013
- Green Cleaning – January 9th, 2013
- On the Merits of Fluctuation – November 20th, 2012
- Classroom Experiment: Kadha (Fried Dumplings) – November 19th, 2012
- Chai for a Busy Day – November 6th, 2012
- Tips for Staying Sane in a Stressful Time – October 16th, 2012
- Movement Patterns and Heartburn – September 24th, 2012
- Family Reunion Cookies – September 4th, 2012
- Raising Healthy Children, part 6 – August 14th, 2012
- Raising Healthy Children, part 5 – August 8th, 2012
- Raising Healthy Children, part 4 – August 2nd, 2012
- Raising Healthy Children, Part 3 – July 17th, 2012
- Raising Healthy Children, Part 2 – July 9th, 2012
- Raising Healthy Children, Part 1 – July 5th, 2012
- Linden and Tulsi: Two Great Herbs that Go Great Together! – June 19th, 2012
- Offal: It’s Not Awful! – April 22nd, 2012
- Interview with a Paleo Kid – April 10th, 2012
- Bone Broth Demystified – April 4th, 2012
- Cod with Greens and Kumquats – March 9th, 2012
- Successful Self-Experimentation, part 5: Putting it in Practice – February 10th, 2012
- Successful Self-Experimentation, part 4: Connection – February 8th, 2012
- Licorice Oil for Eczema – February 7th, 2012
- Successful Self-Experimentation, part 3: Reflection – February 6th, 2012
- Successful Self-Experimentation, part 2: Perception – February 2nd, 2012
- Successful Self-Experimentation, part 1: Introduction – January 31st, 2012
- Solomon’s Seal: Beyond Sprained Ankles – January 22nd, 2012
- Holiday Trimmings – Allergen Free! – December 21st, 2011
- Egg Nog – December 19th, 2011
- Appetizers – December 16th, 2011
- Caveman Desserts for the Holidays – December 12th, 2011
- Is That Meat Made of Wheat? – December 2nd, 2011
- Totally Caveman Pumpkin Pie – November 21st, 2011
- Surviving the Holidays with Food Allergies – November 19th, 2011
- Snake Oil – November 12th, 2011
- Sit on the Floor! – October 17th, 2011
- What’s For Lunch? – September 7th, 2011
- No Cure for Cancer: Healing This Client – August 24th, 2011
- Nettle and Friends – Nutritious Miracle Tea – August 22nd, 2011
- Two Teas for Tense Times – August 16th, 2011
- “Cure” vs. Health – August 7th, 2011
- Sage: a Favorite Nervine – August 2nd, 2011
- Rooted & Ready – July 17th, 2011
- Varicose Veins – A Solution! – July 12th, 2011
- The Importance of Unstructured Time – July 11th, 2011
- Almond Honey Cake: Low Carb and Grain Free! – July 10th, 2011
- Avocado Oil Mayonnaise – June 23rd, 2011
- Homemade Baby Formula – June 21st, 2011
- Dealing with Jetlag – June 17th, 2011
- Seven Herbs for Summer Health – June 15th, 2011
- Why the Acorn? – June 12th, 2011
- Vital[ist] Lifestyle Interventions – June 8th, 2011
- Grain-Free Granola! – June 7th, 2011
- Almond Meal Pancakes – June 6th, 2011
- Weaving Our Way Fourward – May 16th, 2011
- Proud Mama – April 29th, 2011
- Spring Root Salad – April 28th, 2011
- French Eggs – What to Eat for Breakfast! – April 21st, 2011
- Herbal Relief from Seasonal Allergies – April 4th, 2011
- Seaweed as Food and Medicine – March 31st, 2011
- Save the Whales, See an Herbalist! – March 1st, 2011