I’ve been promising to share the mushroom/astragalus Medicine Ball recipe, and I just made a batch to make sure my (usually eyeballed) proportions are right – so, here it is. There are loads of variations to try – I’ll share some below – but this is a basic immune-supportive, overall tonifying treat for your furry friend, and you can have some too(I prefer using cacao to carob for myself,  but even the carob is tasty.)

Now, this little medicine ball features astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) which is an ancient, medicine, a powerful immunomodulator – I’m going to tell you about astragalus in a blog post later this week. There’s a lot of science behind this one, as well as traditional use; the short version is, it is useful with many cancers, supports the cardiovascular system, liver and kidney and has few contraindications (there are some, which I’ll go into in the post).  This recipe pairs decocted astragalus root with five powdered, medicinal fungi – Turkey tail, Reishi, Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps and Chaga- again I’m working on a post that covers the differentials between various mushrooms, but this lovely combo is  wonderful to support the immune system and harmonizes beautifully with astragalus in the recipe.

Here’s how I made them.


First, I decocted the astragalus in a cup of water(8 ounces) for about an hour, till I had a very strong 1/3 cup.
Next – mix the decoction with the maple syrup and simmer gently down to 1/3 of a cup, again, so reduced by half.
Stir in the coconut oil, and set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine 2 cups ground almonds with the carob, mushrooms and coconut. (I added a Tbsp of powdered organic ginger here to balance the energetics, which were a little cool, but you don’t have to do that). Mix the wet and dry ingredients well, and chill for about a half hour. Roll into balls of about a teaspoon each; I recommend having 2-3 daily, or feed your dogs according to size:
  • 1/4- 1/3 for toy dogs, daily
  • 1/2 daily for a small (10 – 20 lb) dog
  • 1 daily for a 20 – 40 lb dog
  • 1 1/2 daily for a  40 – 60 lb dog
  • 2 per day for 60 – 1oo lbs
  • as many as 3 per day for a giant breed, over 100 lbs

This makes an unusual tasting, but pleasant tonic – a fun way to get herbs into a dog who might not like the taste of mushrooms unless masked, or who is already getting a lot of other herbs in food.

….and, a bonus –  this recipe is also a template of sorts for working with medicine balls for dogs. Some ideas might include – switching the astragalus and the mushrooms – decoct your dried mushrooms and add powdered astragalus.  Add more warming herbs – cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, for example, start small and see how the taste works(many dogs love cinnamon and ginger, and they offer their own health benefits, too). Try replacing the carob with maca, or try a single fungi instead of the blend – or try a 14 mushroom variety. Any number of herbs can be used in the decoction – I’m experimenting with Codonopsis right now(yes, I mean today, I have the medicine ball fever). If you don’t want to use mushrooms at all, you can increase the carob and nuts, and use other herbs, try Tulsi, Burdock,  any number of powdered herbs (but be sure to understand the herb’s actions, and any contraindications, before just trying things). Taste is a huge factor here, too, of course.) You can use other nuts for the almonds, I especially like a pecan and hazelnut combination.

These lovely little medicinal treats do pack a fair amount of fat, so this isn’t  the preferred method of giving herbs to dogs with a  history of pancreatitis. The maple syrup makes it not the ideal recipe for dogs with cancer, but I’m working on that (a sugar free recipe, astragalus and carob are both quite sweet on their own). This recipe is a great idea for older dogs, dogs at risk for cancer, dogs with damaged immune systems, dogs with some kinds of liver disease..and dogs battling any kind of viral infection.

Please do try,  and enjoy. I’d love to hear your feedback, too.


Lion’s mane mushroom, Hericium erinaceus.