In recent years, the exposure of pill-peddling pharmaceutical companies and the dangers- such as the various toxins and the risk of dependence- that their manufactured drugs pose on the body has turned more and more people of the western world back to basics for their health care. Richard L. Nahin from the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine states that according to the institute’s latest research, "It's clear that millions of Americans every year are turning to complementary and alternative medicine."
With greener cures for themselves on the mind, many pet owners and farmers have been considering the benefits of alternative medicines on animals- two of the most popular forms being herbal medicine and acupuncture.
From working animals to house pets, all animals can benefit from using herbal remedies- notably equines such as horse and ponies. It is nature’s way of healing, evident by the fact that animals have been instinctively ingesting plants to their benefit long before man domesticated them. Herbal treatment is the oldest form of healing. Modern medical science and world history confirm that herbs are a valid and healthy way both prevent and cure disease and infection while improving the overall vitality of animals. Most all modern drugs have been developed from medicinal herbs that have been in the earliest societies’ medical practices. In fact, it wasn’t until the late nineteenth century that veterinary medicine began to use today’s common pharmaceuticals.
Traditional herbal medicine comes from many different areas of the world (Indian, Chinese, African, Western, Native American herbs, Ayurvedic and other indigenous medicines) and in most all of them they are still being used to a great extent despite pharmaceutical companies’ attempts to shame the practice as “outdated”.
Even the pharmaceutical companies’ scientists understand the healing properties inside the plants that traditionalists have used for centuries, that’s why they attempt to extract or reproduce those pharmacologically-active ingredients for their medications- what is known as pharmacognosy. Some modern herbal medical practices are also using pharmacognosy to develop their medications, despite many herbalists strong advice to use the plants as a whole. Herbal veterinarian Chris Day claims that, “A natural combination of ingredients of the whole plant tend to act in synergy and to balance each other in nature.”
Organizations for natural health care of animals support the idea that for minor issues, a visit to the vet is needlessly expensive. Treatments as simple as teas composed of a mixture of various herbs being applied to the affected area or ingested can cure common ailments such as colds, chewing problems, irritability, bad behavior, hyperactivity, periodontal disease, ear and skin disorders, diarrhea, paw tenderness, fur loss, body aches and wounds from fights with other animals.
Herbs can also be used to...