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Black Walnut and Other Safe Herbal Heartworm Treatments for My Dog

Even a few heartworms can kill a tiny dog.
Even a few heartworms can kill a tiny dog. | Source

Among the alternatives for safe heartworm treatment, herbal therapy is available.

When the test results come out positive, and your dog does not yet have any sypmtoms of heartworm disease, herbal treatment is an option you might consider. It may not be as good as slow kill treatment but it is a lot safer and less painful than the Immiticide injections. The potential benefit of this treatment, as with the slow kill ivermectin therapy, is that the heartworms do not die all at once. They will never create a potentially fatal blockage in your dog´s vascular system.

This therapy appears to be quicker than the ivermectin method but has only anecdotal evidence to support its use. All of the comments on other websites give glowing reviews of this therapy, but when reading those sites that are selling the therapy it is impossible to find out if negative comments have been deleted. The main component of the treatment is black walnut. Black walnut hulls have been used for many years to treat intestinal worms. Juglone, the chemical component of black walnuts that prevents other plants from invading its territory, is probably responsible for its effect against worms.

Mugwort, a herb used in heartworm therapy.
Mugwort, a herb used in heartworm therapy. | Source

What is involved in herbal therapy?

1. Black walnut

2. Wormwood

3. Cloves

4. Mugwort (Artemesia)

5. Garlic

6. Coenzyme Q10

Wormwood, one of the ingredients of herbal heartworm therapy.
Wormwood, one of the ingredients of herbal heartworm therapy. | Source

How do I use herbal therapy?

Doses vary considerably but I will try to give the safest levels from the various sources that I have read.

1. Black walnut hull: One drop on the food once daily, for each ten pounds of body weight. One source suggested giving only one drop the first week, another drop the next week, etc. I read of one dose considerably higher (a full dropper full for an 85 pound dog) and the owner did not report side effects.

2. Wormwood: Most of the brands on sale are between 300-500mg. The number of drops or the number of capsules is imprecise; one capsule twice daily seems to be a common suggestion.

3. Cloves: One capsule once daily. The strength varies considerably, depending on the brand.

4. Mugwort: Two to three artemesia capsules twice daily. (Some capsules are sold with a 500mg label, some do not list the amount of herb contained within.)

5. Garlic: One clove per ten pounds once daily. If the active component of garlic is to be given the herb should be fresh, not encapsulated.

6. Coenzyme Q10: This enzyme is present in the body at all times and is sold so that it can improve the function of the heart. It is dosed around 100mg per day but the capsules can be opened and divided for smaller dogs. (Some holistic vets recommend this for heartworm prevention. There is no proof of its efficacy.)

Black walnut still on the tree.
Black walnut still on the tree. | Source

Are there side effects?

Coughing: The coughing may be due to the fluid in the lungs, a direct result of the heartworm infestation, or it might be a side effect of one of the herbal therapies. If you want to try an herbal therapy, yucca may be helpful.

You should find a veterinarian that works with holistic medicine for consultation if you decide to try this therapy. This therapy is controversial and I cannot guarantee you will find a veterinarian to support you.


The saddest part about reading all of these stories on the internet is knowing how easy it would have been to prevent this disease. Many of the visitors who post at the herbal sites complain about the costs and their dogs suffer when they could have been protected for only a few dollars per year. Treatment of any sort is an expensive process, but much worse is the pain the dogs go through for an easily preventable illness.

One of the products sold over several of the sites warns that their product should be used as a preventative and ivermectin should not be given at the same time. This is an irresponsible statement. If someone wants to try the herbal therapy that is fine but to tell the client to stop using the ivermectin is wrong.

Is this effective? Many vets have tried it and the results that have been reported are good. No scientific studies of its effectiveness are available, however.

I do not want to be too negative but can tell you for sure that some other methods, like slow kill, definitely work. I am sure that there are plenty of “steroid” vets who think alternative therapies for allergies are incorrect, so at this point I am keeping an open mind and hope that others will tell us about their successes and failures.


Using the herbal heartworm therapy instead of the slow-kill method (ivermectin) may not be wrong. If you do not have a problem with giving your dog a small amount of an anti-parasite drug each month, the ivermectin will definitely work and your dog can eventually be free of this parasite. It is definitely less painful and does not cause as much stress as the Immiticide injections.


If there is any research published in this area that might help your dogs, I will add it to this article.

This video discusses juglone, the chemical produced by the black walhut tree.

More by this Author


Comments 10 comments

DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil Author

The directions on doses are in the article "Heartworm Prevention for your dog for less than 10 dollars a year". I bought a bottle of the cattle dewormer for my dog and she only gets one drop a month. The sheep dewormer is less concentrated but it is still a very small amount. Take a look; it is really affordable.


Daughter Of Maat profile image

Daughter Of Maat 4 years ago from Rural Central Florida

Mosquito season is pretty much March through the end of October lol

What's this sheep drench alternative? Hubby's on workman's comp at the moment till he heals from surgery, and it's almost time for her treatment... every little bit helps!


DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil Author

Thanks for your comment. Again, I want to emphasize that the black walnut hull seems like an effective antiparasitical but not a heartworm preventative. I apologize if I am harping on the issue but the conventional preventative is so cheap and effective, and the failure to prevent the disease can be so terrible for the dog.


jcevans2009 profile image

jcevans2009 4 years ago from Boise, ID

Lots of valuable information here! I did not know about black walnut hull as an anti-parasitic. Glad you published this article!


DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil Author

I agree that the black walnut hull tincture looks like a great natural remedy for intestinal parasites, but the heartworm preventative is such a small dose, just one drop once a month during mosquito season (which is all year down here, not sure about Florida), that even the ivermectin sensitive dogs like Shelties and Aussies can handle it. Most of the posters on the internet complain about the high price too, which is true if you are supporting the big pharmaceutical corporations. If you buy the sheep drench alternative though it is less than 10 bucks a year. I live frugally, but I can´t see anyone who owns a dog thinking that is too much.


Daughter Of Maat profile image

Daughter Of Maat 4 years ago from Rural Central Florida

Fascinating read! I've actually been looking for an herbal remedy to treat intestinal worms, the treatments from the vet make my cats violently ill and I wonder if they were given an improper dose. So the black walnut may prove beneficial.

I agree with you that for heartworms the best treatment is prevention. One shot every year is a much better alternative to the suffering of a dog, or any animal. Unfortunately, Sekhmet does get sick a few days after treatment, and I've been looking for a safer preventative that actually works. I don't trust pharmaceuticals mainly because we really don't know exactly what they do in actual practice. We only know what they do in a lab. But sometimes they are unavoidable.

I suspect the best route for natural prevention would be mosquito repellant lol. But I have yet to find a decent herbal that works. At any rate, this is a step in the right direction. It does make me wonder again about vitamin C... :D


DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil Author

I don't see how. The brewers yeast boosts vitamin B levels, garlic (fresh, not capsules) has allicin, a chemical that in some way repels external parasites. I really think ivermectin is the only safe way to go for prevention.


wetnosedogs profile image

wetnosedogs 4 years ago from Alabama

Interesting, indeed. Would the garlic in brewer's yeast and garlic tabs work against heartworm?


DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil Author

I really appreciate the kind words. If you are interested in natural health solutions for your dog I have published a lot of articles on the subject. Unfortunately I do not think this is the best alternative for heartworm, but we have to keep searching.


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 4 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

Thanks for the great information here. I love dogs and anything we can do for them is my mission in life. I enjoyed this very much. You have this laid out beautifully and it is easy to understand. Keep up the great HUBS. I gotta give this an Up ONE AND very INFORMATIVVE . I'm now your fan!

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