Herbal Medicine

Herbal medicine is the use of plants or parts of plants as medicinal therapy.

Herbal medicine has notably been a major component of Traditional Chinese Medicine, but has been used extensively by all cultures of the world for thousands of years. It is the most similar of the complementary medicines to conventional medicine, but remedies are minimally processed and separated to allow natural combinations of active constituents to work synergistically with each other and with the patient.

Despite knowing a great deal about the pharmacological properties of most herbs, there is much more to learn about the way they help in certain conditions. There is controversy as research into herbal medicine although extensive, has come to the forefront only in the last 20 years, and many commonly used plants have limited studies on detailed effects.

Some conditions can be treated with herbs for which there are limited conventional drug options, e.g. boosting the immune system, liver conditions of unknown cause, poor kidney function, treatment of anxiety without addiction or side-effects. Many other conditions may also respond to this therapy. It can also be used where the system of orthodox diagnosis is not available to pinpoint the correct pharmaceutical.

Full text papers on herbs or herbal* or phytotherapy* or plant extract are at Pubmed (98627 references at Feb 2012)

For further information:  www.vbma.org , www.civtedu.org

It is unwise to assume that herbs alone are used to treat ill-health in our pets. Most holistic and integrative veterinarians recommend nutritional support, in addition to conventional therapy if the problem is acute, severe or life threatening. This integrated approach is designed to give the animal patient the greatest amount of comfort combined with the gentlest and most supportive treatments.