By Are S. Thoresen DVM
Veterinarian acupuncturist homeopath osteopath agronomist
Herbal therapy is one of the oldest forms of therapy; it has been used for millennia. Many of the traditions and the knowledge that we had in Europe were lost during the dark age of the Inquisition. Today we are rediscovering and applying the knowledge clinically to a great degree, especially in Germany and in France. It is most important to regain this knowledge, as foreign (especially Chinese) herbs are being used more and more.
By herbal therapy we mean the administration of effective medicinal herbs. They are given according to the same thinking process – the same philosophy – as any other holistic therapy. Their purpose is to influence, stimulate or subdue specific Processes in the body. They are not given as a part of the diet in the usual sense.
Administration of specific plant-derived extracts or medicinal substances, for example digoxin, is not herbal therapy; it is conventional medicine. The given substance acts alone, not in the same way as the whole plant. In contrast, when we give the whole plant, the effect is different than if we gave the single substance, even if this substance is the main active ingredient. The effect of a plant is holistic and the action is regulatory in the organism. Like AP or homeopathy, it stimulates holistically the autoregulation mechanisms of the body. Then the effect is greater, more complete and lasts longer. This effect seems to be somewhat like AP, for example stimulating or sedating the specific organ systems.
Herbs with potent effects have toxic potential if overused, or used wrongly. They often taste foul or strong, or have other special traits. Therapeutic herbs usually contain volatile (aromatic) oils. These herbs can be given as a complete plant or in extract. I have experimented with extracts from the volatile (aromatic) oils from different herbs; the oils function well. I usually administer drops of the volatile (aromatic) oils on a sugar cube. Most animals, especially large animals, will eat this. Generally, a dose for a horse or a cow is one small handful of crude herb daily. The dose for small animals (for example, dogs and cats) is 1-2 pinches of the herb. The dose of extract (tincture) or volatile oil is 1-5 drops for small animals and 20-50 drops for cows and horses. [In homeopathic and herbal dosage, 1 ml = 20 drops].