Animal Herbal Choices is a behaviour led method based on animals' innate ability to self-select herbs for their health ('applied zoopharmacognosy').
What is zoopharmacognosy?
In the wild animals naturally forage in their local environment for plants, minerals and other medicinal compounds to self-medicate, either to prevent or treat disease. The study of this process is called zoopharmacognosy from the ancient Greek words 'zoo' (animal), 'pharmaco' (remedy) and gnosy (knowing).
Research studies have observed self-medicative behaviour in domesticated and farm animals too. Most often domesticated animals don't have as much access to local plants for foraging as their wild cousins. The practice of providing plant extracts to domestic animals for them to instinctively select is called 'applied zoopharmacognosy', and was developed by Caroline Ingraham. It is an area of growing scientific research and interest.
What happens in a Herbal Choice session?
A herbal choice session utilizes the applied zoopharmacognosy method by offering in sequence a range of plant extracts to your dog or cat to self-select. These extracts include dried herbs, floral waters, herbal oils and powders. The client animal may choose to sniff, inhale, ingest or sometimes apply topically by rubbing against the plant extract.
Each session is prepared according to your animal's requirements, based on the information you provide on a pre-filled form. This helps structure the session, although ultimately the animal provides indication of what they want by their behaviour. At the end of the session, samples of the extracts selected by your dog or cat are provided for you to continue offering at home. A consultation includes guidance on this method, how to recognise the behavioural signs of self-selection, and the properties of the plants chosen by your pet, as well as a post-session summary report.
How many sessions will I need?
This depends on the issue, and how your dog or cat responds. They can benefit from one session with continued work at home. Sometimes follow-up sessions are needed to maximise effects. To achieve best results, it is essential that you are committed to continue offering the chosen extracts regularly as advised.
What if my pet is having veterinary treatment?
Your vet must always be your first contact if your dog or cat has a health problem. With your vet's agreement, an Animal Herbal Choices session can be complementary to veterinary treatment and may support recovery. Before a session can commence, we require you to inform your vet of the use of gentle herbs and oils. If your pet is receiving medication, there may be some restrictions with offering herbal extracts.
A herbal choice session does not prescribe, diagnose, or replace conventional veterinary treatment. Always consult your veterinarian first.