Natural medicine and herbal  (which includes flower essences etc.) in particular is a booming industry hauling in almost as much money as the pet food industry.  And why not?  If you stop to take a look at history, you’ll find the Native Americans, Romans, Egyptians, Persians and Hebrews used herbs to cure just about every known (and some unknown) illnesses.   Did they have success?  Evidently they did or the industry wouldn’t be flourishing to the extent it is today. 

Think about it!  You can find herbal remedies in hundreds of forms such as herbal baths, capsules, compresses, douches, electuaries (drug mixed with sugar and water or honey into a pasty mass for oral administration), extracts, implants, oils, poultices and plasters, salves, teas, infusions, ointments, decoctions (an extract from a plant by boiling it in water), essences, lotions, candles, sprays and wraps.   Of course along with all these remedies comes the increase in popularity of the therapeutic healing technique as well. 

There’s a rip-roaring debate about using herbs in their complete form.  Should pharmaceutical companies extract the potent ingredients from the herbs and synthesize their own man-made herbs?  Or should herbs and plant extracts etc. be prescribed in their purest form.   Any highly trained herbalist will tell you they prefer the pure form, and they also insist most herbs are just as effective as drugs, but without the side effects.

Now if you have been following this debate to this point, you’ll remember that many of the traditional drugs we take are derived from plants etc.  So it’s rather of an oxymoron to say most herbs are just as effective as drugs isn’t it?   It’s also rather odd to say most herbs don’t have side effects when the whole premise of homeopathy is to treat like with like (evil with evil).  Remember the premise of giving a disease a disease to heal?  Giving the herb and its effects etc. to the person with the disease to produce the same symptoms to drive it out.  So really, which is it?? 

Just because you are dealing with an herb does NOT mean it is NOT toxic.  Ever heard of deadly nightshade or poisonous mushrooms? These are drugs and must be used with caution, but if they are used properly then they will benefit your canine buddy.  Of course your holistic vet or practitioner will be able to tell you immediately what to use and when.  For the best natural care for your dog, always consult a holistic vet.

In general it would be perhaps best to say herbs and plant extracts can have reduced side effects. Rule of thumb:  if it’s bitter-tasting, it’s a medicinal herb.  If it’s pleasant-tasting it’s still an herb, and less toxic with the ability to be used longer and more often. 

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