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Herbalism for Animals

"Herbs are the benevolent medicines and allies of all creatures: two-legged, four-legged, and winged." –Unknown

    Herbalism is the study of plants used for healing and maintaining health. Plants are extremely important in our lives. They provide oxygen for the air we breathe. They give us our food. We also get medicines from plants. Before there were supermarkets or farms, people picked wild nuts, fruits, berries, leaves and roots of certain plants for food. Plants also provide beverages, clothing, soap, dyes, paper, cosmetics, culinary spices, and many other things.

    Using herbs with animals is not new. The use of herbs has been well documented in old veterinary and herbal texts. Many cultures have used herbs to keep their animals happy and healthy. From the Native American tribes to the Gypsies of Europe, herbs have played a main part in their animals’ health and well-being.

    Many of the world’s cultures still use botanicals as their predominant form of medical treatment.  Herbs have been used from the beginning of time and are our oldest form of healing – aka medicine.  Between 1900 and 1935 veterinary surgeons used herbal remedies extensively and successfully, as part of their treatment.

    By the 1930s, western medicine was turning toward synthetic drugs as replacements for herbal preparations. It’s interesting to note that 70-80% of synthetic pharmaceutical drugs are made from plants.  One cannot deny the benefits of conventional medicine, especially in life-threatening condition, but now, more than ever, there is a need to look back to the benefits that herbs can have on the animals in our care.  Herbal medicine can work side by side with conventional medicines and has often been effective as a cure when all other avenues have failed.

    Kelley is one of only a few individuals in Vermont to offer Herbal Consultations for pets and other animals!


How do Herbs work?

    It is said that humans learned to use herbs for medicinal purposes by watching the animal eat certain plants when they were sick. We figured out what the animals already knew, that herbs support the body’s ability to heal itself by cleansing and strengthening body systems.  Herbs can range from food herbs to medicinal herbs.

    Food herbs nourish and tone the body. They provide vitamins and minerals in plant form that are highly absorbable, and support and maintain the body’s own efforts to defend itself from dis-ease. They are mild in action and can be eaten raw, cooked, etc., in salads and food dishes (ex: nettles, dandelion).

    The strong medicinal herbs are specific in action and provide quick results. Certain plants can be toxic for both animals and humans.


The best ways to use herbs to help your animals are:

  • As a preventative measure for specific complaints.
  • To rebuild the body after an illness or major stress. (ex: surgery)
  • As a nutritional feed supplement in managing a long-term or chronic illness.


 Herbs can be used in many forms for animals.  Herbal teas are the most common. Herbal powders, capsules, tinctures, infused oils, flower essences, and essential oils are other forms commonly used.  The best medicine is to be able to go out into your back yard, harvest a plant and make your own preparations!   Kelley makes her own line of Animal Herbals for the specific needs of your pet. 

    As an herbal educator it is important for me to teach people how to make and use their own medicine.  I teach people how to identify plants, use the correct plant part, and show them how to make and use their herbal preparations for both themselves and their animals.  It is important to teach people the importance of protecting all plant species so that we can ensure their survival and continued availability.

   In helping to heal myself, and others, I have found the plants to be invaluable as healers, teachers and friends.   As I help others in my work, it is my goal to teach and empower them to take charge of their own bodies and health.

    As we walk through the gardens and fields we create a strong path of connection to the natural healing power of the Mother Earth.  Herbs have many special gifts. They are like secrets waiting to be discovered. Once you learn the special secrets of each, they are your friends for life.

For a complete description, see "Herbs Commonly Used for Animals" under Health Articles or...

Please view the Consultations page for information on Kelley’s comprehensive animal consultations and to make an appointment!


Pella the dog communing with KelleyCoreopsis plant in bloomHenry the catLemon vetch or sheep's sorrel?Spike the pony