This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.
You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.
has recently been a resurgence of interest by the public and from the medical
the healing properties of plants.
Using herbs grown in the garden or from the wild can be beneficial to
health but can also be fraught with difficulties.
Firstly the correct plant and species must be identified, any risk of
pollution eliminated, together with correct preparation and storage.
So, it is not surprising that many people prefer to buy herbs in a
manufactured form, as these should provide guarantees of quality and efficacy.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case and together with misleading
advertising jargon, can lead to disappointment for the consumer.
are different qualities of herbs, depending on the origin of the plant, how it
is dried and the conditions it is kept in before being used in the product.
This quality is extremely important because it is this that makes the herb
effective. To ensure quality and provide a standard specification for all
herbs, the British Herbal Medicine Association publishes the British Herbal
Pharmacopœia (BHP). The current 1996 edition is used by the medical and
scientific professions as the authoritative work on herb quality and
specifications. It gives definitions and purity standards
as well as macroscopical and microscopical descriptions. It defines how
each herb should be identified using laboratory techniques such as thin layer
chromatology, which is also used to confirm the continued presence of the
ingredients throughout its shelf life.
Regrettably there is no requirement for manufacturers to apply these
quality standards to the ingredients they use, nor the manufacturing controls
that are necessary for botanical ingredients, because natural variation in the
plant is normal and will depend on the country of origin, environmental
conditions and seasonal changes.
consumer is increasingly discerning about the ‘natural’ products they use,
and because of concerns about the side and long term effects of some
medications, increasingly also ask their vets to provide credible alternative
drugs prescribed today are still plant based but there are instances where
scientists have not succeeded in synthesising certain active plant principles
using the raw plant material offers a safe, effective treatment for many
common and chronic canine
This is where the consumer and their veterinary surgeon need a genuine
guarantee that the herbal products they use are safe and effective.
can be given if the product is licensed for medicinal use, where a Vm number
on the label indicates that it is controlled under the Medicines Act 1968.
It must comply with specific controls regarding its ingredients, its
manufacturing process and most importantly be effective to use.
Manufacture must be in a licensed factory where equipment, methods and
controls are checked by Ministry inspectors to ensure they conform to the Good
Manufacturing Practice Code.
Of most interest to the consumer however, is the efficacy of the
medicine and for veterinary herbal medicines this will have been proved and
approved by practising veterinary surgeons to confirm it’s effectiveness in
treating the conditions for which it is recommended.
Herbs’ Scullcap and Valerian tablets, which many readers will be familiar
with, is an example of a licensed
veterinary herbal medicine.
The label shows
the Vm Number and details of its licensed use as
“A traditional herbal remedy for
the symptomatic relief of anxiety, nervousness, excitability and travel
sickness and an adjunct in the treatment of epilepsy.”
Further label information shows the ingredients and dosage.
- buying a licensed product is the best safeguard you can have!
are many other herbal products that cannot make such remedial claims, but are
useful dietary supplements. Providing the manufacturing company gives
assurances that the ingredients comply with BHP standards and the product is
professionally manufactured, these herbal supplements can be very beneficial
for overall health.
Copyright Dorwest Herbs