What is naturopathy?
Naturopathy is an holistic approach to health and wellness. It is based upon the principle that given the right conditions and support, the body has an inherent ability to heal itself. Traditional practices are combined with scientific evidence-based medicine to facilitate optimal healing and health. Naturopathy views each patient as an individual, employing therapies and strategies to achieve the very best overall health, in addition to treating any current presenting problems.
Why choose naturopathy?
Conventional drugs and medications often only provide symptomatic relief, not addressing the underlying cause of the illness or health complaint. Naturopathy aims to identify and address the cause of illness/dysfunction, as well as treating the symptoms. Additionally, most conventional pharmaceuticals come with undesirable side effects. When quality herbs and nutrients are properly prescribed in appropriate doses, they help to enhance the overall health and wellbeing of the horse and very rarely have unpleasant side effects.
Can you tell me more about your approach?
Camilla is unique in her understanding and approach: she is a capable, experienced horsewoman, understanding the complexities of horses, their management and their individual needs and nature; she is passionate and highly knowledgeable about natural health and therapies; she is an athlete and understands the importance of health and feeling good to perform optimally; and she appreciates and supports the important role which appropriate veterinary intervention and care plays in the health of your horse. Camilla therefore works closely in conjunction with vets and other equine health professionals to ensure that all practitioners are working together to achieve the same goals for you and your horse.
Camilla likes to combine both traditional naturopathic practices with the most up-to-date scientific evidence based medicine. She works thoroughly to identify and treat the cause of the presenting conditions of your horse, and treats each horse individually. This means that two horses which may present with the same health complaint can have very different treatment plans, depending on each horse’s constitution and the factors which have/are contributing to their presenting condition.
Of upmost importance to Camilla is to follow the naturopathic principle of ‘first do no harm’. Treatments prescribed are both safe and effective for your horse.
What treatments do you use?
Camilla tailors each treatment approach to suit the needs of your horse and what is preferable for you as an owner. Dietary and management strategies are always recommended, with herbal medicine and nutritional supplements helping to effectively treat, manage and prevent relevant conditions. Camilla also uses homeopathic remedies and Bush Flower Essences where appropriate.
Can you tell me more about the herbs you use?
Herbs are a powerful form of medicine: many of our modern-day pharmaceuticals were originally derived from active constituents found in specific plants. Camilla uses only the highest quality, human grade, practitioner only liquid extracts. This ensures that the herbs she prescribes your horse have a guaranteed minimum quantity of active constituents, as well as being pure and unadulterated (many commercially available and online herbal products cannot guarantee their purity and often contain other inferior herbs and fillers, as well as having low levels of active ingredients). This ensures the safety and efficacy of the herbs she uses. Each individual herb has its own unique chemical properties and therapeutic actions. Different combinations of herbs work synergistically and Camilla blends several different herbs together to form the perfect ‘mix’ for your horse. This will usually consist of 4-6 different herbs.
How do I administer treatments?
Herbs and nutrients can be simply added to feeds- ensuring they are mixed well into the feed. Camilla finds that nearly all horses readily accept them and devour their feed. Camilla recommends dampening the feed with water, molasses water or diluted apple-cider vinegar. In cases where a horse is off its feed, or for matter of convenience, herbal liquids can be administered orally using a syringe. Herbs given orally must be diluted, and can be mixed with water, molasses water or pure apple sauce.
Bush flower essences can be given a number of ways: added to the herbal mix; given directly into the horse’s mouth; or added to their water. Homeopathic pillules are readily eaten by the horse straight out of your hand.
What if my horse is a fussy eater?
Even the fussiest of eaters tend to happily consume their herbs and supplements. If you are struggling, gradually add a small amount of the herbs and supplements to each feed-working your way up to a full dose over a few days. Ensure the feed is dampened (as above) and mixed thoroughly. Powders can be stored in the freezer which helps to minimise the flavour of them. Herbal remedies can be syringed orally, as can many powders (ensuring they are mixed with water, molasses water or apple sauce first to make a paste), avoiding the need to add them to the horse’s feed.
How long do treatments take to work?
This depends greatly upon the condition being treated, the dosage amount, the horse and its individual response. Desirable blood levels of liquid herbs are generally achieved within 7-14 days. In relation to both herbs and nutrients, as a general rule, 12 weeks is the optimum time to significantly influence a return to homeostasis. In the case of acute conditions and/or where higher doses are employed, therapeutic actions can be achieved in a much shorter period of time. Homeopathic and Bush Flower Remedies may have a very quick response time, depending on the condition they are prescribed for and the horse’s response.
How should I store the herbs and supplements?
All herbs and oils should be kept in a cool place, out of direct sunlight, with the lids tightly replaced. This prevents oxidation (which is undesirable) and helps to keep them at their most effective. In particularly hot weather, both are best stored in the fridge.
All nutritional supplements should also be kept in a cool place, out of direct sunlight, in an airtight container for the same reasons.
Homeopathic and Bush Flower Essence remedies should be kept in a cool place, out of direct sunlight and away from sources of radiation.
All natural supplements are safe aren’t they?
Whilst many believe this to be true, sadly it isn’t. Just because something is natural, doesn’t mean it is safe. Commercially available herbs are often adulterated and many herbs have cautions and contraindications. High doses of particular minerals and fat soluble vitamins can be toxic and can also disrupt the absorption and levels of other nutrients in the body. Both herbs and nutrients can also have interactions with some conventional medications which your horse may be taking.
Having said that, appropriately prescribed, natural remedies which Camilla uses are safe and are of the highest human-grade therapeutic quality. The herbs she uses are guaranteed to contain minimal levels of active constituents. As a fully qualified and accredited naturopath, Camilla knows the situations where herbs and nutrients are contraindicated and/or have cautions. She also knows when they are highly beneficial too! When taking a thorough case history and developing a treatment plan Camilla takes all factors into account- ensuring your horse’s prescription is safe, effective and beneficial.
My horse receives treatments from the vet and other health professionals. Can I still use naturopathic treatment for him?
Yes, correctly prescribed naturopathic treatment can be highly beneficial in conjunction with conventional veterinary medicine and other equine health care practices. Natural therapies can help: eliminate or reduce the need for particular drugs (thereby helping to reduce the dose and/or the duration of the use of the conventional medicine); prevent or treat undesirable side effects of pharmaceutical medications; hasten recovery and healing from surgical interventions; and support the goals of treatment. It is vital to fully disclose all medications and supplements your horse is receiving to ensure that only herbs, nutrients and pharmaceuticals which have safe and effective interactions are prescribed.
My horse is on a balancer/fortified feed. Why would he need supplements?
Whilst balancer and/or fortified feeds can play a useful part in your horse’s nutrition, they are not without their limitations. Balancers are designed to help meet the NRC nutrient guidelines for horses- which were last updated in 2007. That’s 10 years ago! Science and research in nutrition continues to evolve greatly, meaning some of the information from then is already outdated. These guidelines were also developed to help meet the minimum requirement to prevent the development of deficiency diseases– this is a far cry from the amount needed to optimise health and performance, let alone address any health concerns which your horse may have! It also doesn’t take into account medications which your horse may have received and other factors which deplete levels of specific nutrients in the body. Most fortified feeds contain a broad range of vitamins and minerals-many of which compete with each other for absorption, thus your horse doesn’t actually end up being able to utilise the amount stated on the nutrient panel. Vitamins and minerals come in many different forms- with some being much more bioavailable (the ability of the horse to metabolise, absorb and utilise the nutrient) than others. Generally speaking, the most bioavailable forms of nutrients tend to be more expensive and most feed companies will use cheaper forms to help increase their profit margin. Thus the balancer/fortified feeds may not be meeting your horse’s needs at all.
Why are you so particular about brands of forms of supplements?
As explained under My horse is on a balancer/fortified feed. Why would he need supplements?, the form of particular vitamins and minerals in supplements greatly influences their absorption and utilisation, and therefore their beneficial effect on the horse. Many supplements also contain good ingredients, but in doses far less than what is needed to achieve a therapeutic effect, therefore not being of great benefit. Some supplements also combine nutrients which compete for absorption, again minimising the benefit of the supplement. When recommending supplements for your horse, all these factors are taken into account. Camilla is an independent consultant, having no association with feed, product or other companies: you can rest assured that Camilla prescribes only what is most beneficial for your horse.