Herbal Medicine feature

Herbal Medicine

Veterinary Surgeon Rachel Smith is qualified in herbal medicine. If you are interested in finding out more about herbal medicine and how it can help your pet please contact our Blackford surgery, 01934 712229 to make an appointment. Rachel is currently on maternity leave.

What is Herbal Medicine?

Herbal medicine is a holistic approach that uses plant remedies combined with nutritional and lifestyle advice to promote optimum health and to prevent and treat disease.

Herbal medicine has been used as a preventative and treatment for disease, for both humans and animals, over thousands of years. In modern times we have become reliant on artificially produced medicines that give a quick fix but often have unwanted side effects too. Herbs can be good at treating conditions but they also contain other chemicals that can counteract any side effects.  

At Axe Valley we mainly practice modern western herbal medicine and incorporate a small amount of Chinese and ayurvedic herbs too.

How does it work?

Herbs can be used in different ways; either the whole plant, or its roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits  or seeds. These can be used in their fresh form, dried, or made into, for example, infusions, decoctions, tinctures, creams and oils. Some herbs contain specific chemicals that are known to do a certain thing; for example comfrey contains the chemical allantoin which causes cells to proliferate and therefore it is good for wound healing. Other herbs have traditionally been used for a condition but it is not yet known how they work.

What is it used for? 

Herbal medicine can be particularly useful for chronic conditions where conventional medicine is either not achieving good results or the animal is having a bad reaction to the treatment. Conditions include chronic skin, intestinal or osteoarthritic conditions. Herbs can also achieve things that conventional medicines are not capable of such as stimulating the immune system, giving the animal more energy and stimulating the circulation to help get drugs to a certain area of the body. Herbs are very useful in wound management, for example, calendula(marigold) has very good antibacterial and wound healing properties. The uses for herbs are endless and further uses include the support of kidney, liver and heart function, in the management of epilepsy and to help treat infections. Herbs can safely be used alongside conventional medicines.