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Some Frequently Asked Questions about Applied Zoopharmacognosy (AZ)

Q. What conditions can Applied Zoopharmacognosy help?

Just a few examples…

  • Behavioural – timidity, fear, anxiety, aggression
  • Emotional – past abuse / trauma, separation or loss (change of yard, field-mate, owner, death of companion or owner), aggression…
  • Physical – numerous conditions – pain, lameness issues, skin problems – rain scald, sweet itch, mud fever, parasites, poor hooves, laminitis, thrush, navicular, digestive upsets, wounds, breathing problems, growths, sarcoids


Q.  Why are there no feeding guidelines on any of the products in your online shop?

The reason there are no ‘feeding guidelines’ for any of the products on this website is because Applied Zoopharmacognosy is based on the principle that the animal instinctively knows which herbs or herbal products, in what quantity and in what order the animal needs to bring health their back into balance.  More information on our About page


Q. My horse, cat, dog, goat, parrot (in fact any animal) isn’t quite right, but I can’t put my finger on it…

Almost all animals will benefit from an AZ consultation, even if apparently healthy; they may need to top up with a few things to restore & maintain their body’s natural balance and therefore avoid illness


Q. “My dog / horse / goat is greedy and eats everything!” “Won’t my pony / dog / sheep just keep eating something because he likes the taste?”

In the animal kingdom there are 2 types of plants – food (primary metabolite) and medicine (secondary metabolite). Medicine plants (herbs) are unattractive to a healthy animal, but when the animal is sick its tastes change so the plant(s) that it needs smell & taste attractive. As soon as enough has been eaten, the animal’s tastes revert to normal – so the animal knows the dosage too!

Often an animal needs herbs in a certain sequence – which is one of the advantages of being able to leave out a selection of herbs. Many times I’ve watched animals (at home in our ‘herb bar’ & when out on consultations) refuse a herb(s), take another herb, then go back to consume some of the herb(s) they refused earlier.


Q. “I always mix herbs with my animal’s feed – why is this not a good idea?”

There are some very good reasons why it’s not a good idea to mix herbs with food. The animal

    • is unable to select the particular herb(s) required & cannot control the dosage
    • may be forced to eat things which can be harmful when not required (eg garlic)
    • may eat more than required of one substance trying to get what is needed of another in the mixture or vice versa

It usually works out cheaper to offer the herbs separately – although an animal may consume a large amount of one or two herbs initially, once their body is back in balance they may not select those again or take only small quantities occasionally to maintain health.

Allowing an animal to maintain his body in balance (ie healthy) by selecting herbs, oils & other secondary metabolites is likely to result in fewer vet visits & lower bills.


Q. “Why do you sometimes offer herbs not native to this country & not in their natural form?

Applied Zoopharmacognosy in UK does use herbs & powders not native to the UK, but it has been found that animals detect the chemical constituents in the plant (eg phenols, linalool, terpenes etc) & select herbs according to the chemicals they need. The chemicals found in native herbs occur in herbs around the world – it’s simply the outer (leaf form, habit, flower) that differs from country to country and from continent to continent.

In an ideal world our animals would have access to the full range of herbs they need to maintain health but sadly we don’t live in an ideal world and many of the herbs that our animals would have had access to during their evolution are no longer available in modern pasture, hedgerows etc.

Also by drying herbs (& so offering not in the form in which they would find them in the wild), we are able to provide them out of season – in the wild that animal would have had to cope with the body being out of balance & the ramifications of that (illness, maybe even death) until the plant it needed was available again. I suppose this is nature in its true form – population control at its (in our eyes) most cruel – in the winter when not many herbs are available, the weather is not conducive to survival of any animals that are not in full health.

The other way herbs may be offered not in their natural form is of course in the form of an essential oil (EO). The use of EOs in Applied Zoopharmacognosy is a way of being able to offer a herb which may have been needed, but lacking, for a very long time and so the animal has become very depleted. The EO provides the ‘essence’ of the herb (as above, it’s the chemical that the animal recognises) in a very concentrated form and depending on which way the animal chooses to take it (inhale, lick with back or front of tongue, applied to an area) channels the herb (in its essential form) to the area where it’s needed. Usually once an animal has taken a herb in this form and corrected the depletion, it will then choose the ‘simple’ herb form for continued maintenance of health.


Q. Does using Applied Zoopharmacognosy / Animal Aromatics/ Animal Aromatherapy contravene the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966?

Allowing an animal to self-medicate with plant extracts which are freely available does not contravene the Veterinary Surgeons’ Act 1966 since practitioners do not diagnose or prescribe. A practitioner will, of course, recommend that you inform your vet.

Always give an animal the opportunity to choose or refuse!