Dorwest Omega Star
Nicolas Culpepper is a bit of a hero of mine (not to be mistaken for his relative Thomas Culpepper who lost his head over rumpy pumpy with Henry VIII’s wife Catherine Howard). Nicolas Culpepper was a botanist, physician and herbalist in 17th century England who felt that medicine for the people should be freely available, vocal in his condemnation of the greed and ignorance of other men of medicine he didn’t make a lot of friends in the metropolis of the day. His book, The Complete Herbal was originally written as a self help guide and is still referred to today by professional herbalists.
Culpepper had to rely on as he put it “Doctor Reason and Dr Experience” but we now have the ability within a laboratory environment to find out not just if these plants and their extractions work, but why. When I was contacted by Dorwest Herbs to trial its new supplement Omega Star I jumped at the chance as I know the company to be trusted in producing well researched products using quality ingredients and I’m always interested in the use of 100 per cent natural products with our companion animals.
Omega Star is liquid so I found it easy to measure and add to food, the UK sourced natural oils come from flax seed, blackcurrant seed and borage. Let’s see what my old friend Culpepper had to say about borage, ‘…expel pensiveness and melancholy… clarify the blood … mitigate heat in fevers,’ in modern terms we would say that it offers a feeling of well being, mildly anti-coagulant and has anti-inflammatory qualities. Culpepper does also suggest you can find it growing in ditches from Rotherhithe and Deptford but today you are likely to find it grown commercially in fabulous swathes of blue in the English countryside. Borage, also known as starflower, has one of the highest sources of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) at 20 per cent, we have been told for years that omega 6 and omega 3 oil is essential to our diet and it certainly is necessary for inflammatory response, seems Mr Culpepper was onto something.
The first dog I tried on Omega Star was Nellie. At 14, Border Terrier Nell is slowing down. She has had an easily irritated skin for some years, her diet is simple and raw and she is regularly shampooed with a product free of any chemical nasties. Like most BTs, loss of appetite is a rare occurrence so it’s no surprise she slurped up the measure of Omega Star with gusto. Within a week I did notice a difference in the quality of her coat and skin, under her elbows has always been a potential sore area where the hair is less dense, the skin looked cool and pliable and as the weeks passed hair growth was apparent. Her coat remained greasier than in a normal Border but the rather unpleasant smell diminished, after a bath on the third week I felt her coat was actually thicker and on closer inspection her undercoat which had been sparse for years was actually making a comeback!
I was astonished at how much research has been undertaken on the use of the two omega oils 3 and 6, startling claims that the balance between the two can affect ADHD in children, control autoimmune disorders and even improve eye health are still being researched but the bottom line is balance of the canine or human system does depend on the right ingredients in the correct proportions. You may well choose to use Omega Star as a coat enhancer, the science is there to back up why it works but this little blue bottle could do so much more.
One would think that our dogs have no need for supplements if the diet is right but so many external things can affect the suitability of a dog’s diet, and if you are one of those people who have no loyalty to a particular food and move from one food to another then you may well be unbalancing your dog’s use of the available oils.
Meanwhile back at the ingredients, blackcurrant seed oil is an unusual source of omega 3, we usually have to go to oily fish for this polyunsaturated but there is already research that appears to show that a plant sourced omega 3 has benefits over the more usually used fish for heart health. The third ingredient is flax seed oil or linseed oil as I knew it in the days when I made the Monday evening linseed and bran mash for my horses. I’m not surprised to find this oil within Omega Star, even linseed prepared in the old way by boiling had a super effect on horses’ coats. With the more modern way of extracting oil by cold pressing more of the essential components are preserved and a quality oil is produced that can be easily digested and absorbed.
The second dog to step up as guinea pig was my veteran Irish Setter Cyril, I chose him not because his coat lacked lustre but because he does have a very sensitive tummy, Omega Star would need to be not just palatable but I really didn’t want to have to redecorate my kitchen! It was great to have an active support line at Dorwest for advice (www.dorwest.com) and within a week Cyril was happily on the correct dose without any drama.
I spoke to MD Jo Boughton-White about the formulation of Omega Star, she told me the calming, nourishing effects on skin and coat were being enthusiastically received and it was exciting to be able to offer a balanced supplement that with continued use could offer a great deal to the well being of your dog. I think the benefit to owners should not be underestimated here; watching my dogs with the sun on their lustrous coats, glowing with health and vitality is quite a boost to my morale and does my heart good too! Thank you Dorwest, the traditions of Culpepper with the ingenuity and research of today.