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.
A consultation with our qualified animal herbalist and nutritionist includes:
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 specifically formulated for your pet and their individual needs. A 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 follow-up online consultation to review your pets progress and adjust the treatment if required
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