The metaphysical doctrine that living organisms possess a non-physical inner force or energy that gives them the property of life. Vitalism has a long history in medical philosophies: most traditional healing practices posited that disease results from some imbalance in vital forces.
When I asked one of my mentors and idols what the difference between a Vitalist and a Naturopathy is... she responded with, "A Vitalist believes that the body was created to function properly and given the right nutrition the body WILL return to health. It is a process of thought and belief more than herbalist or naturopath."
Simplistically, herbalism is the study or use of the medicinal properties of plants for health and healing. Originally, the term herb only applied to non-woody types of plants. Later, it came to be used to refer to any part of any plant used for flavoring or medicine. In the field of complementary and alternative health care, it is now used to mean any plant, in whole or in part, having nutritional and/or medicinal value... individual or combined parts of the plant that may used include: seed, fruit, bark, flower, leaf, stem, or root/rhizome.
As a remedy, a herb may be used alone, or in combination, working synergistically to enhance each herb's properties. There are multiple ways to dispense herbs: aromatics, decoctions, infusions (hot or cold), juices, liniments, lotions, medicated oils, pills (tablets or capsules), poultices and fomentations, powders, salves and ointments, syrups, teas, tinctures or extracts (alcohol or glycerol bases), and whole herbs (dried or fresh). The choice of form by the herbalist takes into consideration the nature of the imbalance and the method to best take full advantage of the healing attributes of the specific herb. To increase effectiveness, herbs may be used both internally and externally.
The use of herbs is to treat the actual cause of the symptoms and not the symptoms themselves.
Cleanse and Nourish
This is another basic understanding of herbalism that I hear and read over and over again as I continue on this path of natural healing; Cleanse and Nourish. In order to naturally heal it is critical that you look at the whole body to restore balance and well being. You cannot just treat the symptoms and expect healing results. All you are doing is masking the true illness or disease when you treat the symptoms.
Herbs for Goats
For the most part, any natural herbal remedy that is used for mankind can be used as well with goats. And while there is no formal schooling for a 'Goat Herbalist' there are a great many herbalists whom have experience with the natural healing of goats. A few of my idols are; Kristie Miller, Tracy Obereck Shiftlett, Christine Abbey, Katherine A. Drovdahl and Pat Coleby. I am very blessed to have a few of my idols as my mentors. As well, I am blessed that it there is very little difficulty in finding local or online training to be a human herbalist. And well, since goats have many of the same organs as humans and experience many of the same problems and diseases too, that same education and experience can be applied to my goats within reason. Knowing that there are some differences with specific problems that only goats can present will help me to support my goatlings with natural healing.
There is no prescription tag that comes attached to your herbs... especially those that have been wild-crafted. One of the benefits of herbs is that you cannot typically overdose when using non habit forming and non toxic herbs. A conventional rule of thumb that I've seen here and there to determine herb dosages for goats (and children) is by calculating according the goat's body weight as compared to an adult human's dosage:
Goat's Weight in Pounds = the fraction of the adult human dose to use
|Form of Herb||General Dosages|
|Bulk Herbs||3-9 grams (1/9 0 1/3 oz)|
|Teas||1 oz herb/1 pint water. Drink 1 c 3 x a day|
|Tinctures||20-60 drops, 3-4 x a day|
|Capsules||2-4 caps, 3-4 x a day|
|Extracts (Dried Concentrated/Freeze Dried)||3-5 grams, 3 x a day|
|Tablets/Caplets||Follow Label Directions|
|Powdered Herbs||1 tsp 3-4 x a day|
|Standardized Extracts||Follow Label Directions|
|Syrups||1 Tbsp, 3-4 x a day|
|Compress/Fomentations||1-2 x a day for 20-60 minutes|
|Poultices||Replenish 2-3 x a day for 3 days|
|Essential Oils||Add 1-2 drops to an oil & apply locally|
|Salves, Creams, Oils, Sprays, Ointments...||As Needed (prn)|
Dosing more Specific to our Nigerian Dwarfs
For my goatlings, they currently get about 1/4 tsp of any powdered/dried/bulk herbs. For extracts, tinctures and essentials Oils, they receive approximately 2-3 drops and no more then 5 drops. Some herbs/blends they only get once a day. For chronic situations, they may get their doses three times a day and in acute situations, they get them every 15 minutes for the first hour and then hourly after that until showing signs of improvement. From there, if holding their own, I will go to every 3-4 hours working our way back to a chronic dosage for approximately 2-3 more days.
The Herbal Parasite Control Formula I use on our critters gets a completely different rule for dosage with animals five (5) pounds or less get 1/16 teaspoon, then 5# - 10# = 1/8 tsp, 10# - 20# = 1/4 tsp, 20# - 75# = 1/2 tsp,75# - 100# = 3/4 tsp, and 100# - 150# = 1 tsp. Every additional 50#s add an extra 1/2 tsp
(A work in progress...)