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PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:58 pm 
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Herbal Veterinary Medicines - Alternative Treatments - Scroll down for Links

Herbal Medicine has been used for thousands of years to support and treat animals, and is increasing in popularity today. For many reasons animal owners are choosing herbal treatments and therefore it is appropriate to have information here to inform people about the topic. After weighing up the risks and the benefits some of us may choose these treatments. When conventional treatments are both safe and effective, I believe they should be used. However, there are times when that is not the case and herbal treatments offer an alternative.

I plan to post information on various herbal treatments and link those pages here. As I am not a Herbalist, the best I can do is to access the best possible sources, preferably writings from those who are involved in research and teaching within the area in reputable universities and organisations. Then people can make their own choices. I am happy to be corrected if (perhaps I should say 'when') I make an error. I will also include a small number of treatments that don't fit under the banner of 'herbal' as they have become commonly used in the poultry world.

Firstly, some introductory comments. Then the links.

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The Myth of 'Natural'
Popular modern herbalism has achieved much of its popularity through claims such as its therapies are safer, holistic, or more 'natural.' Many promoters of natural herbal products promote the myth that they are somehow superior to the same products produced synthetically in a lab. No scientific basis exists for such claims. A chemical is a chemical. The word 'natural' implies only the source and does not indicate that the product is superior. It appears to be used mostly as a marketing term. Nor does 'natural' imply that herbal medications are safe. Many people think that herbal medicines, because they are natural, are harmless. Nothing could be further from the truth. The toxic potential of an herbal remedy does not depend on its origin; rather it is related to the pharmacologic characteristics and dose levels of its active ingredients.

Use of Whole Plants
Herbalists tend to use products that contain several different constituents. The rationale for this is that the use of the whole plant allows the plant to work synergistically, that is, the effect of the whole herb is greater than the summed effects of its components. There is some uncertainty here.

Lack of Quality Control
Herbal products intended for preventive or therapeutic use present problems for quality control. Purchased products are not regulated in the same way as regular treatments, labels are often inadequate, often the contents and potency are not accurately described and it's virtually impossible to know what the animal is being given. Many environmental factors such as soil type, altitude at which the plant is grown, seasonal variations in temperature, humidity, day length, rainfall, shade, dew, and frost, may affect the levels of components in any given lot of plant material. Even other factors such as insects, infections, planting density, plant species, and plant genetic factors have important roles in the variability of herbal products. Herbal products may also be contaminated, adulterated, or misidentified. This seems to be a particular problem in herbal preparations from Asian sources (eg heavy metals).

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Possible Reactions and Interactions
It is also worth noting that although most herbal medicines are generally considered safe, herbal medicine presents a greater risk of adverse effects and interactions than is associated with any other 'alternative' therapy. Allergic, toxic and other reactions are a possibility. Eg. germander with acute hepatitis, ephedra with fatal cardiovascular events, and comfrey with veno-occlusive disease. (Essler, 2000) For this reason I will attempt to include toxicity information in the posts. As always, the BYP disclaimer applies:

Disclaimer
All threads listed in this Index are the opinions of caring forum users. Backyard Poultry takes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information contained within, and if in doubt, always refer your poultry queries and problems to your vet.


Links to Herbal Treatment Pages

Herbal Treatments

Aloe Vera

Astragalus

Chamomile

Cinnamon

Comfrey

Echinacea

Garlic

Milk Thistle

Neem

Slippery Elm

Turmeric

Wormwood

Other Alternative Treatments

Apple Cider Vinegar - A Review of the Facts and the Myths - Main Post/Conclusions
Apple Cider Vinegar - Acidity Discussion/background - Appendix A
Apple Cider Vinegar - Avian Digestion/background - Appendix B

Diotamaceous Earth (DE)


A-Z Herbal/Alternative Index by Condition
These are quick references - go to Herbal Treatment pages for further information including dosages, contraindications and potential drug interactions.

Abscesses - Aloe Vera

Allergies - Aloe Vera

Analgesic - Aloe Vera

Arthritis - Turmeric

Bruises - Comfrey (see page for caution)

Burns - Aloe Vera

Cancer/tumour preventive - Garlic, Turmeric

Coccidiosis - Wormwood (?), Turmeric (?) see reference pages

Colic (mild) - Cinnamon

Dermatitis - Aloe Vera

Diarrhea - Cinnamon, Neem

Digestion (upper digestive tract only) - Apple Cider Vinegar

Digestive upsets - Cinnamon, Slippery Elm (no research)

Eye Wash - Chamomile

Feed Conversion Improvement - Cinnamon, Turmeric, Garlic

Fungal Infections - Aloe Vera

Glucose control - Neem

Immunity - Neem, Apple Cider Vinegar (negligible), Echinacea
Astragalus

Inflammation - Turmeric

Laxative - Aloe Vera

Liver protection - Turmeric, Milk Thistle

Parasites (external) - Neem

Rheumatism - Neem

Skin Inflammation - Aloe Vera, Chamomile

Skin Infection - Neem

Thrush (oral) - Apple Cider Vinegar, Echinacea

Worms - Garlic (reduces worms), Neem, Wormwood (reduces)

Wounds - Aloe Vera, Neem, Chamomile

Sources:
Wynn, S.G. & Fougere, B.J. (2007) Veterinary Herbal Medicine. Mosby Elsevier. Sydney
Ritchie, Harrison & Harrison (1997) Avian Medicine: Principles and Application. Abridged Ed. Wingers Publishing Inc. Florida


Topics suggested for future posts:

Cleavers (New Feathers)
Quassia or quasia (Infoaddict)
Cod Liver Oil (Sydneyside)
Star Anise (New Feathers)
Epsom Salts (rcumming)
Olive Oil (Infoaddict)

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 9:58 am 
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Chicken07, can I raise a point for clarification?
It's about the question of 'natural'. My understanding is that because of patenting requirements, not all synthetic chemicals are exactly the same as naturally occurring ones. I've read that many (like the oestrogen used in the contraceptive pill) have been very discreetly altered to make them patentable. These alterations don't change the chemical's apparent effects, which is why the 'identical' claim is continually made. However a pedant would say it's inaccurate to claim identical status when a chemical is subtly different.
I hope this isn't intrusive (or incorrect) — just want to be clear.
This is a great topic and terrific round up of the need for caution whether using synthetic or naturally occurring remedies.
Jennie


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:08 am 
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Great Game
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some of the herbal ideas interest me but as i see it till these are made pass the solid testing drugs undergo i would not touch them.Some of Grandmas remedies and cure alls work some
my Grandparents taught me i use.One thing i would never offer a animal is the dreaded
SPOONFULL of castor oil (pardon the pun)but it is foul,vile and above all human beleif that if it taste bad it is good for you(very untrue GRAN)


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:51 am 
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Jennie, I'm not a herbalist or a patenting lawyer, so in trying to provide information for people on here I'm relying on the best quality sources that I can get. I've read widely and sourced recent research and opinions from around the world. That definition is based on the views of a Pharmacologist and an Herbalist who is based in the US. I can't make any comments about legal opinions or patents - I just don't know. I can send you my sources if you are interested in them, but it really doesn't matter. From my point of view, I'd be happy if people understood that 'natural' doesn't necessarily mean safe, or effective. It's playing with semantics really. If you have a look on the labelling on these 'natural' products you'll find that very often the important information about what's in it and at what strength is missing. That's a concern, and I think those that market products should take a responsible approach to informing customers about the product. Splashing 'natural' across the label has great marketing appeal, but I fear the customers take it to mean something that it's not. I know there will be alternative opinions, but as long as people understand that herbal treatments can be unpredictable and toxic then I think they will take care when using them. I'm not against the use of herbals, but I am against misinformation or lack of information. I'd like to see people treat herbals with the same caution as other pharmaceutical products. My goal in tackling this whole topic is to try and find out which herbals treatments have real value and what dosages or methods are safe. I hope that's helpful to people.

Feel free to raise any points you like Jennie. I think the time has come to have a closer look at these things and comments and opinions are fine.

Cheers,

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 11:18 am 
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Colin, I understand your concerns. It's so hard to find out what's real and what are just stories with no basis. We've been looking at this for a while to try and get quality information. Actually, there is some solid testing that's been done already, it's just not widely known and there's so much poor quality information to wade through to get to it. It all takes a lot of time, but there are some good herbal treatments out there if you go hunting and don't just accept all the stories without looking into them. For example aloe vera is looking like a great topical treatment, and even apple cider vinegar (which turned out to be useless for worms) has other uses that we were unaware of.

At the moment I'm working on 'cinnamon' which is also proving more interesting than I thought it would be.

If you have any particular requests on topics that you want looked into, just let us know. :thumbs:

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 2:02 pm 
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There are some claims about tumeric that I'd be interested in investigating - it was your cinnamon reference that suddenly made me think about it. I'll go find the claims and that might provide enough background to work from as regards its actual active contituents.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 5:54 pm 
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yes, I have heard tumeric is used as an antiinflamatory. I tried it with one of my chook actually but I don't know if it helped as the chook died.

NellyG

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 5:58 pm 
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:rofl: Now I'm intrigued. I've heard the old wives tales as well, although have never tried it. It's definitely worth looking into.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 9:20 pm 
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I haven't found turmeric mentioned in either Jackie French's Chook Book, Alanna Moore's Backyard Poultry Naturally, or Earth Garden's Chook Wisdom. Thought I'd seen it in one of those.

This is a random page outlining the various health claims for turmeric: Turmeric

I've found the abstract to one article on turmeric in poultry health: Poultry Health

I'm now doing a PubMed search to see what research might pop up ...


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:11 am 
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Off topic - I know little about the underground parts of Turmeric but can vouch for the foliage being a useful poultry fodder plant as well as providing shade. I have lots of it in my garden. The flowers are attractive and it is worth growing just for its ornamental use. :wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:59 am 
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It's more mineral than herbal though!!


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 6:42 pm 
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hi all, denis that was as dry as usual!
Couple of links for info you might find useful.
http://www.herbsforhealth.com
http://www.herbsarespecial.com.au
The first one purports to be in conjunction with the american botanical council the second one the author has a book for sale but has excerpts on various herbs you can look at for free. Aint that always the way.
Cheers for now
Julie

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 7:25 am 
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I'd be interested in some info on Cod Liver Oil and its uses. Particularly recomendations on quantity and frequency to use it.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 7:30 am 
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I'll put it on the list Sydneyside. Actually, so people can see what is already on the list, perhaps I'll add to the bottom of the first post to include those topics that have been suggested, but not done yet.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:04 am 
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I have added an A-Z Index by Condition to the first post for those who wish to find options for their birds. I will continue to add to that.

The Turmeric page has been posted and the Chamomile is under way (Tks to New Feathers).

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