Devotees of Chinese herbal medicine may use four marvels canine supplement -- also known as si miao san -- to treat a variety of afflictions. It's best to use a holistic veterinarian who practices both traditional and Chinese herbal medicine and understands both your dog's diagnosis and the right herbs to use as an alternative treatment. In traditional Chinese medicine, the idea is to balance qi, or the "vital energy" flowing throughout the body -- whether human or canine.
The Four Marvels
The "four marvels" contained in the powder or pills consist of:
- Huang bai, derived from the bark of the amur cork tree. This ingredient aids fluid metabolism in the dog's lower body, including the swollen joints of arthritis.
- Cang zhu, an atractylodes rhizome, has similar qualities to huang bai.
- Huai niu xi, or achyranthes root, helps direct the other herbs to the legs. Do not use this herb in pregnant dogs.
- Yi yi ren, consisting of coix seeds, acts as a tonic to complement the other herbal properties. It is also contraindicated in pregnancy.
Because some of the four marvels herbs are dangerous for pregnant canines, do not use the combined product on expectant dogs.
In dogs, the most common use of four marvels supplement is for arthritis relief because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It also may offer support for arthritic canines who suffer from skin ailments, including yeast infections, seborrhea and allergies resulting in skin infections and hair loss.
Four marvels advocates contend that this herbal treatment can help dogs diagnosed with Cushing's disease, or hyperadrenocorticism. In addition to the traditional herbs, such dogs also require dietary changes, a form of food therapy.
The initial issue of the Journal of the College of Integrative Veterinary Therapies in June 2011 featured an article on the use of four marvels to treat an elderly Schipperke with perianal masses. While the vet had recommended surgical removal of the tumors, the owner did not wish to subject her geriatric pet to an operation. After treatment with four marvels, the masses did not continue to grow and did not become ulcerated or infected.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.