Phytotherapy is the practice of promoting wellbeing by means of plants. The word ‘phytotherapy’ is derived from the Greek phyto meaning ‘plant’ and therapeuein meaning ‘to take care of, to cure, to heal’.
The Veterinary Phytotherapy Course is open to veterinarians, veterinary nurses and animal health technicians. These professions have the necessary skills and training to safely and effectively integrate phytotherapy into their work of promoting animal wellbeing. No previous experience in phytotherapy required.
This course is designed for those wanting to integrate plants, especially indigenous plants, in their work with animals of all species. Phytotherapy can take a wide variety of forms including as nutritional supplement, medicine, first-aid remedy and environmental enrichment aid. The course content is relevant for all animal-care contexts including research, conservation, welfare and healthcare.
The primary goal is to provide veterinary healthcare professionals with the confidence, knowledge, skills and resources required to, where appropriate, safely and effectively integrate phytotherapy into their work.
This integration could manifest in many creative ways:
- employing plants as herbal supplements and medicines in practice.
- collaborating on research and further developing shared resources.
- establishing a herbal pharmacy & retail nursery with the most useful indigenous plants.
- creating a herb garden at your work place or community park.
- promoting appropriate plants to safely enrich animal environments.
- contributing to the development of a veterinary phytotherapy association.
- teaching colleagues, clients and your local community the benefits of plants.
- writing news articles, blog posts and books on the benefits of plants to animals.
- consulting to industry and government sectors including nutrition, agriculture, pharmaceutical and healthcare.
- investing in plant-related product research and development.
- farming useful plants for local and international markets.
- supporting the integration of phytotherapy into the veterinary curriculum.
- facilitating conferences, courses, workshops and talks on phytotherapy in your area.
- what do you see yourself doing?
Veterinary phytotherapy is a synthesis of traditional herbal wisdom and modern scientific knowledge and is informed by a wide variety of disciplines, including botany, phytochemistry, ethology and ethnoveterinary medicine. All perspectives are presented while emphasising the knowledge and skills required to professionally integrate phytotherapy into modern practice.
The evidence-base supporting the use of plants in animal healthcare is broad. There is a rapidly growing body of ethnobotanical, phytochemical, pharmacological and clinical research to inform plant use in animal healthcare. The experiences of all those that use plants to promote animal wellbeing, either currently or in the past, also guides practice.
By its nature, phytotherapy is interdisciplinary and the course allows for partnering and collaboration with a wide variety of experts and organisations. Course delegates are encouraged to share their expertise and experience, and support each other in the successful integration of phytotherapy into practice.
Phytotherapy training has the potential to transform animal healthcare and create many innovation opportunities. The integration of useful, indigenous plants into mainstream veterinary care has the potential to significantly contribute to the local economy and create meaningful jobs; while also supporting conservation and welfare goals. Veterinary phytotherapy also has a lot to contribute to challenges like climate change, rising antibiotic resistance, increasing degenerative and stress-related illness. Course delegates are supported as they are inspired to co-create innovative solutions that meet current needs.
Introduction to Veterinary Phytotherapy
- Explore the history and development of phytotherapy.
- Learn about ethnobotany and ethnoveterinary medicine.
- Hear how animals use plants in the wild.
- Consider the philosophies and medical models underlying the great herbal traditions of the world.
- Discover how veterinarians are integrating phytotherapy into clinical practice, and the roles veterinary phytotherapists are playing in research and industry.
Botany & Horticulture
- The study of Botany provides useful tools for the veterinary phytotherapist.
- Acquire a working knowledge of botanical terminology, taxonomy, plant morphology and physiology.
- Learn how to identify, propagate and harvest useful plants.
- Understand the process of commercialising a useful plant for market.
- Learn how to design and create your own useful plant garden.
- Go on field visits to famous herb gardens, farms and factories.
Phytochemistry & Pharmacology
- Biochemistry and pharmacology are foundation sciences in phytotherapy.
- Explore the theories explaining medicinal plant activity.
- Uncover the complexity of plant biochemistry.
- Learn about the structure, properties and functions of the chemical constituents of plants.
- Investigate the absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of plant medicines.
- Explore the ways plants affect an animal’s physiology, psychology and behaviour.
- Consider the safety of plants, their toxicity, contraindications and potential side-effects.
- Compare the actions of plant medicines to pharmaceuticals.
- Learn about herb-drug interactions.
Pharmacognosy & Dispensing
- Learn how to assess the quality of plant materials and medicines.
- Evaluate the effects that various growing, harvesting, processing and storage techniques have on herb quality.
- Explore the ways of selecting plants and formulating plant remedies for veterinary use.
- Visit a plant processing and medicine manufacturing facility.
- Learn how to determine the appropriate dosages of plant-based medicines.
- Gain experience at creating useful remedies from plants.
- Discuss the details of setting up a herbal pharmacy.
- Learn about the regulatory bodies and laws affecting the practice of veterinary phytotherapy.
- Explore the role of reflective practice, research and clinical audits in veterinary practice.
- Examine the personal and professional challenges of practicing veterinary phytotherapy.
- Understand the role of healer, and the responsibilities of practicing veterinary phytotherapy.
- Examine the professional/client/patient relationship and effective communication and counselling skills.
- Discuss the process of successfully integrating phytotherapy into veterinary practice.
Nutrition & Nutraceuticals
- Explore plants as food and nutritional supplements, and the role of diet in veterinary phytotherapy.
- Examine the basic principles of the various nutritional models and how they apply to animals.
- Discuss possible interactions between foods and plant medicines.
- Learn about nutrition for disease prevention and to support treatment.
- Learn about the role of plant extracts in veterinary medicine.
Economy & Ecology
- Discover the benefits of promoting indigenous plant use.
- Discuss the issues surrounding the conservation and sustainable use of plants.
- Critically assess the various sources of plant-based medicines including wild crafting and commercial farms.
- Learn about the substitutions available for threatened or endangered plants.
- Visit local plant biodiversity hotspots and plant conservation habitats.
Psychology & Ethology
- Learn how plants affect consciousness, emotions, cognitive functioning and behaviours.
- Explore the evolution of plant-animal interactions and the variety of plant-animal relationships.
- Examine ways animals self-medicate in the wild.
- Discover how plants can be used to enrich animal environments.
- Materia medica is a core subject in veterinary phytotherapy and contains the profiles of useful plants.
- Examine useful plants and discuss the botanical, pharmacological, pharmacognostic and therapeutic aspects of each, along with its clinical indications, contraindications, formulation and dosage.
- Discover useful plants from a modern scientific and traditional therapeutic perspective, with additional understanding from related disciplines, clinical experience and research.
- Experience organoleptic qualities and properties of useful plants in practical sessions.
- This section deals with the clinical application of plants in veterinary phytotherapy.
- Adopting a systems approach, common diseases and syndromes are explored by means of case studies.
- Learn how to select appropriate plants, individualise treatments, modify prescriptions and evaluate the response to treatment.
- Explore ways of integrating treatment strategies by modifying drug treatments, introducing nutritional changes and other treatment strategies.
- Learn how to dose appropriately in different individuals and different species, and recognise side-effects and adverse reactions.
- Explore complex disease patterns and learn how to prioritise goals – addressing symptoms as well as underlying causes of disease.
Resources & Research
- Discover the wealth of resources available to veterinary phytotherapy.
- Explore the growing evidence-base for veterinary phytotherapy.
- Learn how to research and access clinically relevant information quickly and easily.
Introduction (1 day)
A 1-day introduction to veterinary phytotherapy.
Open to veterinarians, veterinary nurses and animal health technicians. No prior experience with plants or phytotherapy required.
Greater appreciation of veterinary phytotherapy and awareness of the benefits and risks; sources and resources; possibilities for integration and application; the evidence-base.
- The potential of phytotherapy in veterinary practice.
- An overview of the primary disciplines informing veterinary phytotherapy.
- The evolution animal healthcare and history of using plants to promote animal wellbeing.
- Ethnoveterinary medicine.
- Plant qualities, actions and benefits.
- Animal self-medication and it implications.
- An overview of risks and benefits of plants to animals.
- The evidence-base for application of phytotherapy to promote animal wellbeing.
- Herb-drug interactions.
- Plants to enrich animal environments.
- Current legal framework governing the use of plants in animal healthcare.
- flavours and qualities – seasonal nutritious and medicinal plants
- propagating bulbine
Overview of resources available and recommended for the rest of the course.
- complete plant profile – artform
- Bulbine – grow, propagate, harvest, apply in practice
- Case Study
- Multiple Choice Questionnaire
Book Your Place
There are no upcoming events at this time. Foundation (3 days)
An information-packed, clinically-based, 3-day course on the science and art of veterinary phytotherapy. The foundation course focuses on wounds as a theme, and presents the fundamental knowledge and skill required to begin integrating veterinary phytotherapy into practice.
Attendance of the 1-day Veterinary Phytotherapy Introduction course.
By exploring the role of plants in wound healing, the foundation course provides a broad overview of veterinary phytotherapy and an introduction to the core subjects and the various related disciplines.
- The nature of wounds.
- Plants that promote wound healing.
- Plant actions that promote wound healing.
- Plant preparations that promote wound healing.
- Strategies to promote wound healing.
- Preparations from plants that promote wound healing.
- Case studies to practice applying strategies.
- Cultivating plants.
- individual assignment – plant profile
- group assignments – plant application
- completed assignments
The foundation course is scheduled for three days, running from Friday morning to Sunday afternoon. Friday (10am-4pm), Saturday (9am-4pm), Sunday (9am-3pm).
Book Your Place
There are no upcoming events at this time. Certification (18 days)
The six-module course explores the properties of plants and their usefulness and application in veterinary practice. Each 3-day module focuses on a different organ system.
Attendance of the 3-day Veterinary Phytotherapy Foundation course.
The certification course provides a the information and skills required to safely and effectively practice veterinary phytotherapy.
Module 1: Gastroenterology
Module 2: Rheumatology
Module 3: Cardiology, Respiratory medicine
Module 4: Genitourology, Oncology
Module 5: Behaviour, Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI)
Module 6: Dermatology, Gerontology, Neonatology & Complex Cases
In the materia medica section of each module, the primary plants affecting that organ system are studied. The biochemistry, mechanisms of action, clinical indications, preparation, dosage, toxicities and herb-drug interactions of each plant are presented.
On each module, the plant qualities and pharmacological actions relevant to that organ system are explored.
In the therapeutics section of each module, the diseases and syndromes affecting that organ system are discussed. Through the use of case studies, assessing available research, and discussing our clinical experience, a variety of plant options are explored.
Practical sessions on each module include opportunities to explore the action of various plants; to prepare and dispense plant-based remedies; to grow, harvest and store plants; and take daily walks in to identify local plants.
- individual assignment – plant profile
- group assignments – plant application
- completed assignments
The certificationcourse is scheduled as 6 x 3 daymodules, each running from Friday morning to Sunday afternoon. Friday (10am-4pm), Saturday (9am-4pm), Sunday (9am-3pm).
Book Your Place
There are no upcoming events at this time.