Tetraktis- Equine America, Dorwest, Excel

“We have drugs for most problems in most species; humans, dogs, horses, cats and livestock. We know the entire human genetic structure, we understand bacteria and viruses and we no longer believe in magic potions. What possible use could there be for herbs in the modern world?This is a question that strikes a lot of us when confronted, time and time again, with ‘herbs’ and ‘natural medicine’ in the media. As a vet working in practice, seeing large and small animals, I used to think this as well. But I’ve been studying herbs for years now and I’d like to tell you a bit about what I’ve discovered.

  1. Herbs were on the planet before us. If you think about it, when we were mudskippers just venturing out of the primitive oceans what else would we eat? Terrestrial plants provided food, but they also provided essential chemicals we needed for health – vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, for example. But plants provide so much more as well.
  2. Herbs contain countless chemicals. These can be isolated to make new drugs – Permethrins, derived from Crysanthemum, used in insecticidesPeriwinkle, or Vinca, used to make the potent chemotherapy agent Vincristine or the toxic drug atropine derived from Atropa belladonna, Deadly Nightshade.
  3. In the natural state, however, most herbs are non toxic, unlike some refined drug derivatives. Medicinal plants/herbs contain tempering, balancing and complementary chemical families that moderate toxicity and can even mutually enhance therapeutic effects.
  4. A century ago all vets were making up herbal pills and unction’s for their patients. This practice died as drugs took over; not because drugs were better necessarily, but because they were easily manufactured, controlled and immediate effects were easy to measure. We can now see, though, that drugs do not give us all the health answers.

Drugs are incredibly helpful. Equally, there are problems with taking a wholly pharmaceutical approach to animal health, be it livestock, equine or small animal.Modern veterinary herbal medicine is in its infancy in the UK. We’re just beginning to find our feet again. The newly formed British Association of Veterinary Herbalists (www.herbalvets.org.uk) is testament to this. Keeping livestock healthy without the use of pharmaceuticals is possible with the correct knowledge in natural healthcare and with the use of quality products. Copied from official site of VERM-X.  

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