With just a couple of days until the doors open on the new course, I am entering  course material this morning, and thinking about how exciting this journey has been so far.

Some herbal friends have asked me why I am entering the whole MM – Materia Medica – on my own, when there are so many available in books…and recently I’ve realized that most of my new students do in fact have books, and a few of them! This is time consuming to say the least, but I feel it’s worthwhile, and here’s why; aside from Greg and Mary Wulff-Tilford’s (excellent) book Herbs for Pets, we have very, very little literature on using herbs for animals, from the perspective of someone who does it both personally and professionally, all the time. I know everyone can look up which family a plant belongs to, or what it’s list of actions consist of, but  it’s harder to find practical stories of usage, application, dosing and formulation. When Lila tore her dewclaw half off, way out in the field… I was so glad to have a bottle of powdered yarrow in my backpack…. when I finally realized the triggers for zhou zhou’s flare-ups (feline respiratory disease) I was able to make sure I always had goldenrod and ground ivy tincture here, low alcohol both …when Jasmine had seemingly intractable anal gland infection and incontinence, there was major relief for her in the form of internal and topical formulations specifically developed for her constitution as well as the conditions – and in 7 months we have had no recurrence…. the many client cases wherein very specialized herbal formulas made all the difference  – plantain for IBD? you mean that – weed over there? Yes indeed. And of course,  insights from my own usage – when comfrey, arnica and many others failed to relieve a large hematoma on my shin, mallow leaf just swept it away – herbs can have unexpected results, as well as the ones we have come to know them for. I feel that excerpts from the notebooks of an animal herbalist is what makes this course unique, along with the nutrition information and amount of information offered, specially for an Introductory/Intermediate course. Anyone can look up a plant, but using it, living with it and working extensively with it’s properties and energy cannot be learned from a dry list of constituents and indications.

So, I’m busily entering the Units of study AND the MM at the same time. It’s taking longer, but I am so sure students will finish this course with much enrichment and an enhanced passion for working with other species, it’s worth burning the midnight oil.


madame zhouzhou awaits her respiratory herbs, mostly because I serve them up in salmon. 🙂