Four Winds Holistic Animal Services

– gentle effective healing for body, mind, and spirit –
Herbology – An Overview
Western herbs act synergistically with the body's own innate healing mechanisms to fight disease. Most herbs work gradually and so must be taken over a period of time to help restore body processes to normal functioning. Herbs contain vitamins, minerals, and other natural components which provide the body with substances needed for healing. Herbs can be taken internally or used externally in the form of poultices, sprays, ointments, etc. Leaves, flowers, roots, and seeds can all be used to produce herbal products. The most common herbal preparations used with animals are capsules and extracts, both of which are easily administered.

If herbs are used when they are not necessary, they can unbalance an animal's system, leading to discomfort and alterations in normal body processes. Healthy animals who are eating a natural diet or a good quality natural commercial food supplemented by raw veggies do not need herbs on a continuous basis. Not all herbs which are used to treat people can be safely used in dogs and cats; e.g., some herbs used for parasite control (like pennyroyal) are toxic if used excessively. Before beginning herbal therapy, it is important to consult a veterinarian experienced in herbal treatments. While some herbs are compatible with some drugs, this is not universally true so it is wise to have any guardian-prescribed herbal therapy reviewed by a knowledgeable veterinarian. Animals generally know what they need to help them heal. It is best to offer herbs or other supplements separately in a small amount of food rather than to mix them into the whole meal. That way, if an animal does not need the added items, s/he does not have to choose between going hungry and eating food containing substances which are not beneficial.