In the coming weeks, I’d like to share a bit of information about herbs for dogs. This series will concentrate on the more natural applications of herbs for our canine friends, with information coming from sources like Herbs for Pets by M.L. Wulff-Tilford and G.L. Tilford.
The Benefits of Herbs for Dogs
Conventional wisdom can be hard to shake, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t value in taking unique approaches to issues like dog health. As we all know, conventional medicine for dogs usually includes some variety of suppression and invasive action. This approach, much like the same approach in human beings, serves to handle the symptoms and discomfort of health concerns without digging deeper. The thrust of herbal medicine is to answer the “why” of certain illnesses.
At the core of the herbal approach is a holistic design on treating the totality of the patient, human or animal, and this means moving beyond treating the symptoms to understanding “the harmonious checks and balances.” Dogs have a need for continual nutrition in order to have the necessary building blocks of healthy, balanced living. Without these building blocks, the balance is off.
Different Herbal Approaches
There are many different approaches when it comes to safe herbs for dogs. Different cultures bring different paths to wisdom to the table. For now, we’ll draw on three different approaches.
This style of medicine is generally associated with India and the Middle East. It focuses on metabolic body types, called doshas, and takes into account the entire constitution of an individual patient when designing healing approaches. Herbal treatments, dietary considerations and even meditation are all built in to the holistic approach.
This approach is more than 7,000 years old and has a lot in common with Ayurvedic medicine. It treats the body as a series of channels or rivers of energy and deals in natural flow. Getting healthy through traditional Chinese medicine is a matter of getting rid of any blockages to the body’s natural flow or “life force” and restoring balance to the yin and yang. The yin and yang are opposites that cannot operate independently of one another.
Finally, the approach of Western herbalism takes its ingredients from European herbs and medicinal plants. This approach comes from a balance of other approaches and life philosophies, making use of the science and synergy of herbalism.
What to Know About Herbalism
For one thing, herbs are slower acting than other drugs. Many people are thrown off herbalism because the usual rapidity of conventional medicine is not present; the approach is more holistic and long-lasting in nature, which can exasperate our fast-and-ready culture.
Another thing to note is that there is an incredible wealth of knowledge and study on the subject. There is no easy or fast way to explain all the benefits of herbalism in one place, but cracking the shell is a good start Anything discussed in these articles is meant to serve as an introduction and as a way to get the ball rolling.
The field of herbs for dogs is an exciting and rich path. Along the way, we’ll explore the benefits and details of various herbs and holistic healing principles to get at the root of a more complete, loving approach to healing.
Information from this series will come from a host of sources, including Herbs for Pets – M.L. Wulff-Tilford and G.L. Tilford (Bowtie Press, 1999).