Felis ISSN 2398-2950

Herbal medicine: overview

Contributor(s): Richard Allport, Tim Couzens

Introduction

  • Therapy (often referred to as Phytotherapy) based purely on the premise of plants' natural abilities to heal.
  • One of the most widely used forms of natural medicine: 85% of world population still depend on plant-based medicine as a source of healing. Most traditional remedies are handed down from generation to generation.
  • Each culture has learnt to utilize local plant-based remedies to treat specific ailments and often used in conjunction with a healing philosophy linked to the local culture. For example, herbal remedies are often used alongside acupuncture techniques in Chinese medicine. Other examples include ancient Greek and Indian medicine (the Ayurvedic system of healing), where plants supplement and help rebalance the body.
  • Until the 1900s, and reflected in medical literature until around 60 years ago, much of western medicine, including veterinary medicine, was based upon plant use.
  • Today's situation is the complete reverse. Virtually all modern day western medicine and pharmacopoeias (veterinary or human) list very few plant-based medicines.

History

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Herbal medicine and the veterinary profession

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from VetMed Resource and PubMed.
  • Ferguson B (1997) More thoughts on alternative and complementary veterinary medicine. JAVMA 210(2), 168-169.
  • Thompson F, Ashton C, Flaherty C & Crisp T (1996) Do alternative therapies (acupuncture, herbalism, homeopathy, etc) have a role in your practice? Aust Vet J 74(6), 426-427.
  • Eddington N (1982) Herbal medicine. Vet Rec 111(11), 243.
  • Walker J A, Walker J J & Blaikie S G (1982) Herbal medicine. Vet Rec 111(7), 150.

Other sources of information

  • Medical Economics Company (2000) PDR for Herbal Medicines. 2nd edn. ISBN 1 56363 361 2.
  • Schoen A M & Wynn S G (eds) (1998) Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine. Mosby, Missouri. ISBN 0 8151 7994 4.


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