by Lorre Smith
I first acquired an interest in herbal treatments from research I had done in an effort to cure , or at least get under control, a chronic medical condition I had been living with. My sister told me of an herb distributed liberally in South American Countries that is used to dissolve cancerous tumors and put leukemia into remission. She introduced me to a client of hers that had been given just months to live due to inoperable cancer. He figured he had nothing to lose so he started to take six to eight capsules containing this herb at every meal. That will be three years ago this June. He is alive, well and in complete remission. That was all I had to hear, I have used many different herbs for myself and my family since then. Research tells me that most drug remedies are chemically altered or synthetic herbs. This way the FDA and Drug companies can regulate dispensing the drugs and making the bucks on them. Much of the time these altered drugs have little or no effect on the cause of the affliction and only serve to alleviate the current symptom, whereas the administration of the proper herb or herbal combination can cure the condition and many times does. In many states the drug companies have helped to propose legislation to completely ban the sales of herbs and vitamins without a doctor's prescription. Because of that no company that deals in the sale of herbs can or will make a claim that a certain herb will produce a certain result. Instead the herbs are sold as food supplements and it takes self education to determine which are the proper combinations for the system in the body any given person is trying to address. That is also the reason that you will not see a specific herb mentioned in this article, but I am willing to discuss this with anyone wanting specifics.
For a long time it never occurred to me to try to use herbs on my cats, but I was having trouble with two of my Queens. For several litters in a row they each had only one kitten. I spoke to a few other breeders, Bengal and otherwise, who said this was not as uncommon as it should be. The general opinion was that once it started to happen to a Queen she rarely if ever pulled out of it. I wasn't happy with this so I went to the Merck Veterinary Manual and it said that extremely small litters were usually caused by one of two kinds of bacterial infection. I immediately started administering a single herb to one of those problem Queens (the other I decided to spay because she wasn't something I needed in my breeding program any longer.) The herb is known to have antibiotic properties. I kept her on this herb for two weeks. During this period of time I also started to give her, mixed in with her wet food, an herb that addresses the female reproductive system. I kept her on this herbal until the day I put her in with a Tom (this herb must never be given to a queen that is pregnant.) A little over nine weeks later she gave birth to four kittens.
While this treatment was occurring yet another dilemma arose. I had to repossess a cat, and when she arrived back at my cattery she had a bad upper respiratory condition caused by unsanitary conditions and never having been vaccinated. After the third different round of antibiotics and trip to the vet, I was telling my tale of woe to another breeder and he suggested an herb. I don't know why I hadn't thought of that as a solution but you can be assured that I had the herb the next day. Although the herb helped, it didn't totally cure the cat. During all this time, I had to keep her totally isolated from every other cat here. So I began to look for another additional herb or combination to give her. I found something that I could administer and gave it a try, just by mixing half of a capsule in her nightly food. Two days later Jim came in astonished and said, "that cat is well." However, in this case, the cat has a chronic condition and will have to have these herbs for the rest of her life just to lead a normal life. (A good reason to give your cats timely vaccinations.)
The last thing that I want to mention here is a Queen that has been aborting her litters. She was first old enough to breed last August. I did so, or should I say one of my Toms did so, and she took. Exactly four weeks later she began to hemorrhage and off to the vet she went. He pronounced it a miscarriage and prescribed antibiotics for her. About a week later she still seemed to be growing so I took her in and the vet x-rayed her. To his surprise she still had one kitten that appeared to be alive, and two that seemed to be being reabsorbed. But about a week later she delivered that kitten still born and that was the end of that breeding. When the vet allowed me to breed her again I did so, only to have her abort the whole litter this time at exactly four weeks. The vet could offer me no reasonable explanation or expectation. By this time I had already had the positive experience of treating the other Queen and producing a larger litter using the natural antibiotic and the female system herbal, so I duplicated the process for this Queen, and then bred her. I then added one additional thing. I started administering an herb, known to prevent miscarriage in humans, to this Queen twice a day. Today, as I write this article, she is eight weeks along in her pregnancy and in good health, We should have kittens in a week and a half.
Since I have started, I have used herbs to bring a cat into heat, to cure diarrhea, as a natural calmative, to promote general health, and to increase weight gain. One very important thing to consider is that the body, whether human or feline is a series of systems working together and that a good diet, a pleasant and safe environment with everything in balance has no substitute and that treating a condition with one herb without improving the overall general condition will be of little effect.
Do the herbs work? I think they do. I have often wished that I had not spayed the other Queen that was having one cat litters when I did. Although she was not producing good quality Bengals it would have been the ideal situation to test my theory on the herbs that I have used to increase litter size. I don't have another Queen that is producing small litters, but I do have to admit to having given these herbs to each and every one of my Queens before any recent breedings, as well as administering an herb to my Toms to increase virility. I do know that every time I have used an herb to address a problem that I have been having, I have gotten a more than satisfactory result.