Pet Corner

Making Herbal Remedies At Home

| July/August 2006

As a holistic veterinarian, I’ve long been an advocate of making your own herbal remedies, either from purchased herbs or from the weeds and cultivated plants you grow in your own back yard. There are several advantages to making remedies at home.

It’s cheap. For just a few dollars, you can buy several ounces of fresh or dried organically grown bulk herbs. With a little work (and perhaps a few dollars invested in carriers, such as olive oil, or tincturing agents, such as glycerin) you easily can have homemade remedies worth several times what you would pay for them ready-made from the grocery shelves. Or better yet: For a couple of pennies invested in seeds, you can grow herbs and make herbal products that would cost hundreds of dollars in the commercial marketplace. Admittedly, there will be some investment of time, but if you look at it as I do — as time well spent, doing something I enjoy — the time spent is better than an even trade-off for the amount of money I’d spend for a night on the town.

It’s easy. Making herbal remedies at home is about as easy as it gets. True, it’s not effort-free, but when I’m gardening, I get the added benefit of an exercise program in the great outdoors.

It’s toxin-free. When you make your own herbal remedies, you know exactly what goes into the finished product, and when you grow your own, you are absolutely certain there were no herbicides or pesticides used in the process. (There is almost never a reason to use herbicides or pesticides when growing herbs; they are some of the easiest plants to grow organically.)

It’s fun. I enjoy my time spent playing alchemist — boiling water in my cauldron, stirring in the herbal brews, watching the transformation from plant to liquid (cackling evilly all the while, of course). But the real time of recreation, for returning to our nature and mankind’s primal work, for once again reuniting with Mother Earth, is that time I spend in the garden, hoe in hand or simply standing there, meditating with the plants.

Note: Herbal dosages for really sick animals often rely on a concentration of chemicals that requires more stringent “manufacturing” methods than the home-brewer can muster. See a qualified holistic veterinarian whenever your animal needs very potent medication.

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