In naturopathy, health is a state of wellness in which the body is not only without disease, but is also energetic and balanced mentally and physically. Natural therapies, which include nutrition plans, herbal medicine and flower essences are drug-free therapies used by our Naturopath to support self-healing from ailments that frequent our pets and assist the body return to full health. These therapies restore your pet's health holistically by working together to achieve an optimum balance within the body’s functions from an internal to external perspective.
Herbal medicine involves the therapeutic use of plants to create remedies to help prevent or treat disease or illness, as a natural alternative to chemical parasite control and enhance or maintain general health and wellbeing. Herbs also have nutritional properties, e.g. fibre, vitamins and minerals, and can be used to add extra nutrition to your pets diet. Read our article on What is Herbal Medicine?
Herbal remedies are used to treat physical illness and many conditions including immune related illnesses, chronic illness, diarrhoea, fungal infections and skin problems. Herbs work by stimulating the body's own natural responses so they have a more gradual healing effect than orthodox medicines.
Herbal Remedies for Dogs and Cats
Animals have been using plants for food and medicine long before the evolution of man. Dogs eat grass and plants today when they are either not feeling well or to gain nutrients they are not receiving in their daily food. Herbs also have healing and detoxifying actions and can be used as an effective medicine in the treatment and support of certain conditions.
While some herbs work very quickly (especially those with laxative actions), other herbs may take several weeks before you see an improvement in the health of your pet as herbs work to improve the natural function of the body rather than suppressing symptoms. As a body requires complete nutrition before the healing effects of herbal medicine will begin to provide curative results, poor nutrition will hinder the recovery process.
Many herbs (but not all) may also be used in conjunction with many conventional medications as they can assist the body to build immunity and remove toxins. A qualified herbalist must be consulted prior to administering herbal remedies (even off the shelf products) to your pet to ensure they do not interact with veterinary medicine in undesirable ways and are not contraindicated for a health condition e.g. a heart problem or lead to miscarriage.
How We Use Herbs in Our Treatments
Dried or fresh herbs may be added to your pets food or made into an infusion (similar to making a cup of tea but using herbs), decoction (usually made from the root of a herb that is boiled then simmered in hot water to extract its properties) or used to make a skin rinse. Fresh herbs make a better remedy but they can be hard to obtain and store. Where a herbal tincture is required, these may be purchased from Suppawtive Health Solutions. A few drops of the tincture is given orally or added to your pets food or water bowl each day.
Flower essences are a system of emotional healing that corrects emotional imbalances and releases negative beliefs causing behavioural and emotional issues including shyness, stress, anxiety and fearful responses; and have been used to heal the emotions for more than 3,000 years.
Anxiety and stress can lead to physical illness in pets including diarrhoea, urinary tract infections, skin issues and behavioural problems. Reducing stress and anxiety in pets enables us to focus on healing the physical illness in your pet.
Flower essences work by unblocking emotions and returning an animals or persons emotional state back to a place of balance with the body and helping to prevent disease or illness developing. As each emotion affects a different body part by dealing with the emotions flower essences help the body to heal itself. Flower essences do not heal illness, they are not medicine but they assist the body to heal itself.
Flower essences work well with behavioural and emotional problems especially when combined with positive reinforcement training and proper nutrition; and if required changes to the living environment.
As flower essences address specific emotional imbalances it is better to deal with one issue at a time for maximum effectiveness. It is important to note that flower essences do not change the inbred characteristics or personality traits of a breed, that they are very safe and can be taken alone or in conjunction with traditional veterinarian medicine and herbal remedies.
A consult with Suppawtive Health Solutions will include:
An assessment of your pets emotional, physical and behavioural state
A discussion about your pets health and diet, which herbs your pet needs nutritionally and/or for the treatment of various illnesses
If required, we will recommend a herbal remedy and/or flower essence specifically formulated for your pet and their individual needs. A herbal remedy maybe advised in the form of dried herb either added to your pets food or made into an infusion or decoction, a tincture or a skin rinse.
A followup assessment to review your pets progress and adjust the treatment plan if required. Once treatment for that issue is complete another underlying problem may present itself. If this occurs the treatment plan will be revised.
As Flower essences support and heal emotions they are appropriate for use when:
You bring a new animal home (to help the new animal and other animals accept the change)
Your pet is exhibiting behaviour issues or needs help learning boundaries
You pet has had or is due to have surgery or a vet visit
Your pet is fearful, shy, timid, doesn't like being touched
You pet is scared of fireworks or thunder (or both), or strangers
There has been a death in the family (either human or animal)
You have moved house or about to travel with your pet
You pet is attending a training class (e.g. obedience, dog sports)
Your pet has anxiety or separation anxiety
Your pet has resource guarding issues
Your pet is ageing, has had an accident or injury or is ill.
Greek Medicine, Galen: Greatest Physician of the Roman Empire, n.d., http://www.greekmedicine.net/whos_who/Galen.html
Griggs, B, 1997, Green Pharmacy, The History and Evolution of Western Herbal Medicine, Healing Arts Press, Vermont, USA