A brief history of alternative medicine
Randy Kidd, DVM, Ph.D.
With more than half of all families in the U.S. now using alternative medicines for themselves or their pets, it’s a good time to learn the history of some of the most-used alternative medicines and find out how these medicines made their way to American households.
The history of herbal medicine is interesting because herbs have been a part of our diet and pharmacy since man began roaming the earth. Coprophytic evidence (seeds and other plant parts found in preserved fecal pellets) points to herbal use by cavemen. Early herbalists practiced their trade since before recorded history in all parts of the world including China, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Africa, England, the Americas, and Europe. Many herbs are mentioned in the Bible. Today, based on sheer numbers of folks who use one form of herbal medicine or another, it remains the most-used medicine worldwide.
Via our observations of them, animals have likely taught us how to use herbs – a departure from the usual way of man’s learning how to use medicines for himself and then applying them to the animals. In her book Wild Health, Dr. Cindy Engel explores a fascinating new field in biology, zoopharmacognosy (animal self-medication) – how animals keep themselves healthy by self-medicating and the lessons this holds for humans.
Want to read the full story? Pick up the July 2008 issue of DOG WORLD today, or subscribe to receive the best dog articles, dog news, and dog information every month!
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