Herbs & Homoeopathy for People and their Pets

Old Apothecary

Background

Galen’s Garden originated as a specialist company designing and producing herbal products for small herbivorous pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas and degus, using mainly the plant ingredients they would eat in the wild.

Working with stockmen breeders, breed experts, holistic vets, commercial feed companies, and of course the pet owners themselves, the person behind Galen’s Garden, Belinda Francis, accrued a lot of information on herbs and homoeopathy which is now comtained on this site.

Most of the information is based on herbs and homoeopathy for small furry pets, but more will be added as the months go by for people and other pets.

The Current Debate

There’s much debate in veterinary circles about whether homoeopathy actually works and whether homoeopathy should even be used on animals.  In humans the placebo effect has been suggested as a reason why homoeopathy ‘works’, but with animals there is surely no such effect other than perhaps their owners altered behaviour and observations.  The Faculty of Homoeopathy is the best place to check out the latest research.

The use of herbs also has it’s detractors, despite the fact that a huge percentage of over the counter and prescription drugs and medications were originally extracted from plants.  So are all the herbal, homoeopathic and other pills and potions such as food supplements major industries based on a myth and placebo effect?

Herbs versus Homoeopathy

For the unitiated, homoeopathy is where a substance is diluted so many times that there is nothing of the original substance to be detected in the liquid, pill or tablet.

Herbs are used in their fresh or dried form, or extracted using alcohol, water or other solvent.

Homoeopathy is based on the principles of ‘like cures like’, so if a substance causes diarrhoea, it would be used in homoeopathy, diluted as described earlier, to treat diarrhoea.

If you were using herbs, you would certainly not use a herb which caused diarrhoea to restore the balance of a person or animal which had diarrhoea.

The Placebo Effect

When our children fall and graze their knee, we ‘kiss it better’.  Is there some magical ingredient in parental saliva that acts as an analgesic?  Does the child’s body produce endorphins in response to the kiss on the knee?  Is it simply the power of distraction?  What matters is that it works.

When an animal or person gets better because they’ve been given a herbal or homoeopathic remedy, does it matter if it is a placebo, a distraction or they’d have got better anyway?  Humm, perhaps a bit of a grey area because they might have wasted money on something unneccessary.  If they’ve self-treated at the expense of foregoing professional medical consultation and advice and that’s delayed important professional treatment then that is potentially even life threatening.

Safe Use

Used sensibly however, in the right place, at the right time, in the right way, natural remedies, be they those of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, or the subtle remedies such as homoeopathy or flower remedies, do have a supportive role to play.  Never more so than in the care of small herbivorous pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas and degus who we’ve removed from their natural environment and fed a largely artificial diet to.

For these animals, the plants which form a natural part of their diet such as grass and wild plants can help keep them in good health.  Should they stray from the path of good health, then other herbs, herbs which they would eat in the wild only when they felt unwell, should be brought into play.

Homoeopathy is often used by veterinary homoeopaths for chronic conditions which have not responded to conventional veterinary treatment.

As for homoeopathy, as in all things I would recommend personal experience and discretion.  I’ve used it and seen it work.  I don’t know how it works, or even if it always works.  There was a time when it was a heresy to believe that the World was round rather than flat, or that the Earth moved around the Sun rather than the other way round.  So as long as Rule 1 is “First, do no harm.”, Rule 2 is “Try it on yourself first!”, and Rule 3 is “Use your common sense and discretion.” then the information on this site might be of interest.