After relative decline for several years, interest in the use of plants for medicinal purposes – for both humans and animals – is growing at an amazing rate.

herbsOf course, herbs and plants were used for centuries by people to promote their own health and that of their animals and archaeological evidence indicates that plants were being used for medicinal purposes some 60,000 years ago!  Herbs are mentioned in Egyptian papyri, the Greeks wrote about herbs in the 4th century B.C, ancient India made use of herbs – herbalism played an essential part in all the advanced ancient cultures. Even today, some parts of the world continue to use herbal medicine for their primary health care – and of course, plants and herbs were the basis of modern human and animal pharmacy and important discoveries continue to be made today. The W.H.O (World Health Organisation) estimates that by 2020 80% of all medicines will be derived from plants.

A considerable amount of work has been undertaken investigating self-medication by horses and researchers have spent hours and hours studying individual animals and their grazing habits.  Owners responsible for managing paddocks will be especially aware that horses graze very selectively choosing to eat particular herbs whilst totally ignoring others.

Zoopharmacognosy is the name given to animal self-medication – it’s very neat: zoo = animal; pharma = drug; gnosy = knowing.  Ingestion of certain plants is thought to be therapeutic and/or preventative. It was suggested that only herbivores have the ability to self-medicate but recent research indicates this is a false premise.

paddockHorse owners make themselves aware of plants that are poisonous to horses but most are less knowledgeable about those that are beneficial to horses. Being able to recognise plants that can benefit horses and/or humans is a fascinating subject.

The Rural Business Group at Hadlow College is hosting a joint presentation by STUART ATTWOOOD and CAROLINE JACKSON entitled MEDICINAL SUPPORT FOR HORSES AND HUMANS on WEDNESDAY 27th APRIL.

Stuart has lectured in equine science at higher education level and is a qualified herbal medicine for horses practitioner. Caroline has lectured in medicinal horticulture at higher education level.  The evening will include practical demonstrations and there will be plenty of time for questions and discussions.  The venue is Hadlow College Rural Regeneration Centre, Blackmans Lane, Hadlow, Tonbridge, Kent TN11 OAX.  The evening will commence with a buffet supper and networking at 6.15pm followed by the presentations at 7.00pm. Admission is free but donations are invited. Prior booking is essential – register by calling 07771 635684 or emailing pat.crawford@hadlow.ac.uk

HADLOW COLLEGE (Ofsted Outstanding) offers several degree programmes (BSc (Hons) in Equine Training and Management, and BSc (Hons) in Equine Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation), a range of Further Education programmes, BHS courses, et cetera. Telephone: 0500 551434 for details.

Leave a Reply