Herbalism is a traditional medicinal or folk medicine practice based on the use of plants and plant extracts for both preventative and curative purposes.

Although written records about medicinal plants dated back at least 5,000 years to the Sumerians, who described well-established medicinal uses for such plants as laurel, caraway, and thyme [ 1], archaeological studies have shown that the practice of herbal medicine dates as far back as 60,000 years ago in Iraq and 8,000 years ago in China [2, 3]

Today, many practitioners of “conventional” medicine do not hesitate to recommend herbs, herbal products, or complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapy to their patients for the effective treatment of certain diseases [ 4, 5]

There are three main medicinal herb traditions which derive from herbal use in ancient times.

Western, based on Greek and Roman sources. The Greeks and the Romans theorised that four humours permeated the body and that these fluids and their ratios affected health. Greco-Roman civilization passed this medical theory on to Europe where it carried on through the Middle Ages. It only started to fall out of favour during the Renaissance.

Ayurvedic from India. Ayurvedic medicine, or Ayurveda, is a holistic approach to healing that originated in India around 1500 B.C. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Dating back 2000 to 3000 years, TCM is based on a belief that your health is the result of constant battling between opposing forces (yin and yang).

A canine herbalist and integrative vet were consulted in formulating Bonza to ensure both the safety of the herbs and adaptogens used and their efficacy in supporting your dog’s health and wellbeing.

The following herbs, spices and adaptogens, often referred to as nutraceuticals, are included in Bonza food for their health-supporting qualities.



Ashwagandha is an incredibly powerful medicinal herb. Ashwagandha which in Sanskrit translates to "smell of the horse," referring to both its unique smell and ability to increase strength

Ashwagandha has been used by Ayurvedic practitioners for over 3,000 years and features flavonoids and steroidal lactones called Withanaloides. Withanaloides are believed to help support a healthy response to stress, to bolster mental and mood outlook, immunity and energy levels.

Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that helps the body adapt to fight the effects of stress, including the stress hormone cortisol, which has been implicated in numerous health issues. 

Ashwagandha also provides many other benefits for your dog’s body and brain including increased energy, better sleep, less fatigue, lower blood sugar levels, healthy lipid profiles and helping to fight symptoms of anxiety and depression.

11 Science Informed Reasons to Include Ashwagandha in Your Dog’s Diet

Reishi Mushroom:

Ganoderma lucidum, known as Reishi in Japan and Lingzhi in China, is popularly known as the “Mushroom of Immortality.”’ or ‘10,000-Year Mushroom’, has been a go-to for over 2,000 years in the Asian region. In fact, 16th century Ming Dynasty texts say that reishi can “mend the heart.” In Traditional Chinese Medicine Lingzhi represents a combination of spiritual potency and essence of immortality and is regarded as the "Divine Mushroom of Immortality" symbolizing success, well-being, divine power, and longevity. 

Reishi are considered to be one of very few adaptogens, herbs which act as biological response modifiers (BRMs) and restore the body’s innate https://www.bonza.dog/the-importance-of-the-immune-system-for-dog-health/ and help the body adapt to different stressors.

While Reishi has a rich history of benefits, it now has a more global reach and recognition of its health benefits.

These amazing fungi are noted due to their unique collection of compounds, which include triterpenes, alkaloids, sterols and a variety of essential polysaccharides.

Reishi also features antioxidants, beta glucans, and triterpenoids. They are a very rich source of organic Selenium, which is critical for the immune system and a key element in metabolism.

4 Science Informed Reasons to Include Reishi Mushroom in Your Dog’s Diet:

Siberian Ginseng (Eleuthero):

Siberian Ginseng, also called Eleuthero, has been used medically for at least 2,000 years. It’s a distant relative of another herbal remedy you may already be familiar with, Asian ginseng. Proponents of the Siberian version believe that it may be even more adaptogenic!

One of the most commons uses of this herbal remedy is as an adaptogen. This is why many athletes love it for boosting endurance and reducing fatigue. It’s also used for chronic heart conditions, blood pressure management, diabetes, kidney disease, chronic fatigue, ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, colds and flu.

9 Science Informed Reasons to Include Siberian Ginseng in Your Dog’s Diet:


Turmeric may be the most effective nutritional supplement in existence.

Native to the southwest of India, turmeric root has been a staple of Ayurvedic medicine and Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for more than 4,000 years. It is one of the most clinically studied herbs today.

The turmeric root possesses natural oils, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and phytochemicals that combine to provide healing properties for almost every area of the body. Phytochemicals are naturally occurring plant compounds that boost the healthy functioning of cells, tissues, organs, and systems. These compounds include antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, analgesics, and a wide variety of protective, preventative, and health-promoting derivatives that help support the natural functions of the body.

These compounds are called curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin.

Curcumin is strongly anti-inflammatory. In fact, it’s so powerful that it matches the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs, without the side effects.

The powerful phenols contained within the flesh of the turmeric root not only help combat germs, bacteria, and viruses but also help aid in digestive processes, support immunity, improve energy, maximize metabolic functioning, cleanse the blood, regulate blood sugar, and increase mental processes.

Piperine, an active compound found in Black Pepper, enhances curcumin absorption by 2,000%. Without this substance, most of the curcumin just passes through the digestive tract.

10 Science Informed Reasons to Include Turmeric in Your Dog’s Diet:

Herbs and Botanicals

Echinacea Purpurea Root:

Echinacea, also called purple coneflower, is one of the most popular herbs worldwide.

Echinacea was discovered and used as a traditional herbal remedy for more than 400 years by the Great Plains Indian Tribes. Today, it’s best known as an over-the-counter herbal remedy for the common cold or flu. However, it’s also used to treat pain, inflammation, migraines and other health issues.

Echinacea plants contain an impressive variety of active compounds, such as caffeic acid, alkamides, phenolic acids, rosmarinic acid, polyacetylenes and many more

Echinacea benefits health and well-being like few other plants on the planet.

6 Science Informed Reasons to Include Echinacea in Your Dog’s Diet:

Ginger: https://foodstruct.com/food/ginger

Ginger is one of the very few "superfoods" worthy of the name.

The history of Ginger goes back over 5000 years when the Indians and ancient Chinese considered it a tonic root for all ailments. Roman, Greek and Arabic texts also documented the use of ginger root to help improve health and well-being. 

It is loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have powerful benefits for your body and brain.

The health benefits of ginger are largely due to its antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties and content of therapeutic compounds like gingerol, shogaol, paradol and zingerone.

Ginger contains the digestive enzyme zingibain, which is a protease. It may aid digestion by helping food move faster through the digestive tract and boosting the body’s own production of digestive enzymes.

10 Science Informed Reasons to Include Ginger in Your Dog’s Diet:

Chamomile: https://foodstruct.com/food/roman-chamomile

Chamomile is one of the oldest, most widely used and well documented medicinal plants in the world and has been recommended for a variety of healing applications.

Traditionally, chamomile has been used as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, mild astringent and healing medicine.

Chamomile is especially helpful in dispelling gas, soothing the stomach, and relaxing the muscles that move food through the intestines.

 It is rich in some powerful antioxidants that may have a variety of health benefits, including reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease.

Chamomile has some unique properties that may benefit the quality of your dog’s sleep.

6 Science Informed Reasons to Include Chamomile in Your Dog’s Diet:

Parsley: https://foodstruct.com/food/parsley

Parsley is native to the Mediterranean region of Southern Europe. While it has been cultivated for more than 2,000 years, parsley was used medicinally prior to being consumed as a food.

Even when eaten in small amounts, there are numerous parsley health benefits because it’s packed with beneficial nutrients, essential oils and antioxidants — to the point that it’s often called a superfood.

The impressive health benefits of parsley come via its active ingredients, which include phenolic compounds, antioxidant flavonoids, essential oils like myristicin and apiol, and various nutrients like vitamins K, C and A.

12 Science Informed Reasons to Include Parsley in Your Dog’s Diet:


Sage is an herb with several very promising health benefits.

It’s high in antioxidants and may help support oral health, aid brain function and lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Botanically known as Salvia officinalis, it is native to the Mediterranean region. Sage's botanical name comes from the Latin word "salvere," meaning "to be saved."

Once highly prized for its medicinal value, in ancient Rome, sage was considered to have substantial healing properties and the Chinese used sage to treat colds, joint pain, typhoid fever, and kidney and liver issues.

12 Science Informed Reasons to Include Sage in Your Dog’s Diet:

Basil: https://foodstruct.com/food/basil

Though holy basil is typically added to herbal teas and supplements, studies suggest that sweet basil may provide similar health benefits, such as stress reduction and blood sugar control.

Basil is not only a popular folk remedy for ailments like nausea and bug bites but also widely utilised in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Ayurvedic medicine and other holistic medicine systems.

12 Science Informed Reasons to Include Basil in Your Dog’s Diet:

Rosemary: https://foodstruct.com/food/rosemary

Rosemary is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, along with many other herbs, such as oregano, thyme, basil, and lavender.

The herb has been hailed since ancient times for its medicinal properties. Rosemary was traditionally used to help alleviate muscle pain, improve memory, boost the immune and circulatory system, and promote hair growth.

6 Science Informed Reasons to Include Rosemary in Your Dog’s Diet:

Oregano: https://foodstruct.com/food/oregano

Oregano is an outstanding health-promoting herb that has been used for thousands of years.

It is high in antioxidants and may help fight off bacteria and viruses, potentially reduce the growth of cancer cells and help alleviate inflammation.

Not only does oregano provide flavour for food, but it has also been noted for its powerful phenol antioxidants and their microbial-balancing benefits.

Two of the most important components of oregano are rosmarinic acid and thymol, both of which are powerful antioxidant compounds that can help support a healthy immune system.

Oregano has another powerful compound, carvacrol, which can help with healthy microbial balance, and acts as a major phenol antioxidant.

Oregano naturally contains a slightly stimulating agent that can positively influence microbial balance to keep the body in equilibrium.

Oregano contains pinene, limonene, ocimene, and caryophyllene to help support healthy microbial balance and healthy immune system function.

5 Science Informed Reasons to Include Oregano in Your Dog’s Diet:

The most important contribution you can make to your dog’s health is supporting their overall well-being by providing premium quality food packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients, lots of exercise, fresh air, mental stimulation, and a safe and peaceful environment.


Are herbs safe for my dog?

The herbs included in Bonza are considered as non-toxic and safe.

As with all ingredients there is a possibility of an allergic reaction - as an example garlic may interact with those taking anti-coagulant drugs like warfarin or aspirin.

If your dog is pregnant/nursing we recommend not feeding while they are pregnant or nursing.

We recommend not feeding to puppies under 8 weeks of age.

Not to be used if your dog is known to be allergic/reactive to any of the ingredients listed or if your dog is taking blood thinning medication (anticoagulants) /blood modulators.

For dogs pre and post operation stop feeding 5 days prior to anaesthetic. Resume feeding post operation based on your vet's advice

Please check with your own vet or VidiVet (if you are a meal plan subscriber) if your dog is taking any medication as some herbs may interact with certain drugs.

The following is a list of potential interactions between herbs and conventional drugs:

Herb Conventional drug Potential problem
Echinacea used longer than 8 weeks
Anabolic steroids, methotrexate, amiodarone, ketoconazole
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Inhibition of herbal effect
Feverfew, garlic, ginseng, gingko, ginger
Warfarin sodium, aspirin
Altered bleeding time
Phenelzine sulphate
Headache, tremulousness, manic episodes
Oestrogens, corticosteroids
Additive effects
St John's wort
Monoamine oxidase inhibitor and serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants
Mechanism of herbal effect uncertain. Insufficient evidence of safety with concomitant use—therefore not advised
St John's wort
Antiretrovirals, digoxin, theophylline, cyclosporin, oral contraceptives
Decreased clinical effect
Additive effects, excessive sedation
Kyushin, licorice, plantain, uzara root, hawthorn, ginseng
Interference with pharmacodynamics and drug level monitoring
Evening primrose oil, borage
Lowered seizure threshold
Shankapulshpi (Ayurvedic preparation)
Reduced drug levels, inhibition of drug effect
Kava kava
Additive sedative effects, coma
Echinacea, zinc (immunostimulants)
Immunosuppressants (such as corticosteroids, cyclosporin)
Antagonistic effects
Iodine content of herb may interfere with thyroid replacement
Antagonism of diuretic effect
Karela, ginseng Insulin, sulfonylureas, biguanides Altered glucose concentrations. These herbs should not be prescribed in diabetic patients
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