Herbs are plants that contain ingredients with active therapeutic properties, these active ingredients may be present in the whole plant or only a specific part. An herb may be used in various forms, including teas, granular extracts (Chinese medicine), fresh herbs, dried herbs, oils or tinctures. Herbal therapy is the use of herbs, either as single products or in combination with other herbs, for medicinal purposes. Almost one quarter of modern pharmaceutical drugs are derived from plants.
Herbal approaches have been developed for the management of almost all conditions including epilepsy, kidney failure, liver failure, chronic lameness, hormonal disease, behavioural disorders, allergic skin disease, inflammatory bowel disease and cancer. Other herbs can support the normal function of healthy organs by acting as "tonics".
Using whole plants or their extracts is believed to produce improved outcomes and fewer side effects than many conventional medicines. Plants can support normal function of the liver, kidneys, heart, and immune system; reduce inflammation and improve blood flow through damaged tissues. They have also been shown to eliminate pain. Herbal medicine may reduce or even eliminate the need for chronic medications.
Herbal vet medicine can be combined with other forms of treatment however, some herbs are very potent, so caution must be used when combining them with other treatments such as drugs. Trained veterinary herbalists have the knowledge and skill to understand the interactions between different forms of treatment and to interpret a patient's response to therapy.