The use of specific herbs and plants for medicinal purposes has been practiced for millennia all over the world. Veterinary herbal remedies include Western herbs, Ayurvedic herbs from India, traditional Chinese herbs and other herbs from all over the world. Herbs have healing powers that are capable of balancing the emotional, mental and physical dimensions of animals.
Herbal medicine is a system of treatment utilizing whole plants and plant extracts in the treatment of disease and maintenance of health. Herbalists believe that whole plants provide a broad spectrum of desirable effects, from specialized nutrition (herbs contain vitamins and minerals that drugs do not) to synergy of the various components, which may allow lower doses of pharmacologic ingredients to be used.
Herbal medicine also recognizes that certain traditional methods have validity today. For instance, there is little but food components in modern medicine that allows the practitioner to safely strengthen chronically ill patients, while herbalists utilize tonic herbs as well as nutrition for this purpose. Herbal medicine has always recognized the whole body approach and that the mind and body interact in health and disease – this knowledge is reflected in the use of herbal adaptogens and alternatives.
Various cultural systems of medicine may be used in diagnosis and prescription, in addition to current scientific knowledge. Herbs are unique in “complementary and alternative medicine” because we have a tradition informing us in their use, often dating back thousands of years. Herbalists use ancient knowledge and modern science to develop treatment plans for their patients.
Herbal medicine requires that the herbalist be aware of the world around us, because the tools of the trade and the environment in which they grow may be endangered by indiscriminate use. Good herbalists are conservationists and are often active in sustainable agriculture and medical initiatives world wide.