Principles & Practices of Herbalism


Herbs as Alternatives to Conventional Medicines


Like drugs, herbs can be used to treat the symptoms of disease. Unlike many drugs herbs are relative safe and gentle - they are forgiving, offering a much greater margin of error and fewer adverse side effects.


The key difference between conventional drugs and herbs, is that drugs are composed of specific chemical compounds (often isolated from a  herbal source). To the herbalist the presence of scientifically proven compounds is only part of what makes a plant useful. "The whole plant is always greater, and usually safer, than the sum of it's parts".


A number of herbs are frequently used as substitutes for conventional drugs, such as:

  • St John's Wort used as a natural substitute for Prozax

  • Senna used as a natural laxative


Things to bear in mind, however, when changing to herbal remedies:

  • Herbs are slower acting than most drugs. The difference between a herbal therapy and a shot of a traditional drug often amounts to a day or two of patient waiting. This is why herbs are better suited to treating chronic, rather than acute, conditions

  • When using herbs don't expect results beyond those you would expect from drugs that you are replacing. The curative depth of the therapy remains the same


A Few Words About Toxicity


Serious, adverse reactions are rare, but when used outside the parameters of common sense and moderation any plant can be toxic. Although herbs are generally weaker and gentler than most drugs they still demand respect. "More" is not necessarily "Better". 


Toxicity is dose dependent. If a body receives a substance in quantities or concentrations taht cannot be effectively dealth with by its natural functions, the excess must be dealt with by vomitting, diarrhoea, and other purgutive functions. If this fails, systemic shutdown or damage may occur.


The herbs we have selected are commonly used in veterinary practice as they are safe and forgiving. Our dosage recommendations are based upon best available veterinary advice and practice, and are based upon the theory of proceeding with caution. 


We advise wathcing the animal for any signs ofo adverse reaction. In most cases where an animal is hypersensitive (or allergic) to an herb or has received too much they will vomit shortly after administration. Other indicators of toxicity include itching, photosensitivity and diarrhoea.


When to Take your Pet to the Vet


Our products are aimed at enabling you to be somewhat self sufficient in ensuring the health and welfare of your canine companions.  However, there are some problems that caregivers should not attempt to treat on their own at home.


This includes:

  • Any life threatening situation such as poisoning, major trauma, bleeding, broken bones,

  • Immediate pain relief should always be dealt with through conventional medicines. Although there are herbs with pain relieving action, they are nowhere near as effective as conventional drugs and no pet should be left in pain in any instance.

  • Any instances were treating at home doesn't get better in a few days

No medicinal properties are claimed for any of these items but they can help in the maintenance of good health. Whilst we are happy to discuss any problems you may be experiencing with you or your dogs, we are not allowed by law to either offer a diagnosis or prescribe any treatments and may only give general information and teach you how to look after your own pets. If you are in any doubt about the health of your animals you must always consult your vet in the first instance. 

 If you or  your pets are either trying to conceive, pregnant or lactating or taking prescribed or over the counter medicines or suffer from any allergies, sensitivities or on-going health problems then it is essential that you contact your vet or doctor as appropriate for advice before using any of the products

© 2019 by Holistic Hound.  Cromane Cross, Cromane, Killorglin, Co. Kerry V93 N273. Tel: 00 353 871 164656  email:

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