Herbs for Animals

Digressing a bit from human health…. This blog was inspired by an episode of ‘Monkey Business’ (TV series on the Monkey World Primate Sanctuary in Dorset) a current favourite of mine! So why am I telling you this & what does this have to do with Natural Health?!? Well… this episode featured a herbal remedy success story! Specifically, one of the old monkeys was suffering with crippling arthritis and unable to move around the enclosure so his quality of life was poor. Anyway, one of the keepers decided to try out a herbal remedy on him & BAM! Several weeks later, monkey was nearly pain-free and fully mobile. Now it didn’t say what the ”popular’ herbal remedy was but my guess is that it was Turmeric, Boswellia or possibly Devil’s Claw…

I do love a herbal success story – but the beauty about animal cases is that you can’t really call it the ‘placebo’ effect… Indeed, herbs are successfully used for the care of many domesticated animals, as well as extensively in the equine industry. Holistic Vets often use a combination of herbs, nutrition and pharmaceutical medications to treat their ‘patients’. I have a small section on my website for further info on Natural Therapies for Animals if this is something you would like to look into (see under Herbal Medicine Resources).

Self Medication in the Wild

This brings me onto a related area: Self-Medication in the Wild.. You see, animals in the wild have long relied upon wild plants to self-medicate and treat ailments (& prior to the 21st century so did we humans)… We now have the added luxury of written textbooks full of collective knowledge gained over the centuries to guide us, but animals rely solely upon instinct, an inbuilt sense of what they need at a given time. In fact we have much of the same ‘instinct’ but simply don’t use it these days so we’re a bit rusty around the edges. Use it or loose it as they say… The sad thing is that we not only don’t know how to tune into nature, but we fear it.

The following article is a fascinating intro into this vast and surprisingly under-researched topic.

Article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2868348/Do-animals-SELF-MEDICATE-Dogs-elephants-chimps-parrots-use-natural-remedies-treat-digestive-problems-induce-birth.html

Study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14506884 Animal self-medication and ethno-medicine: exploration and exploitation of the medicinal properties of plants. Chimpanzees using plants medicinally…

A good book I’ve dipped into occasionally is one by Cindy Engel ”How Animals Keep Themselves Well And What We Can Learn From Them” for anyone who want to learn more. I also like: ”How Animals Heal Themselves: Ingraham Applied Zoopharmacognosy” by Caroline Ingraham. Highly recommend.

Could animals teach us a thing or two about plants? I think they could!

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