I'm thrilled to have been invited for a chat with Judy Francis and Hal Abrams, who host America's hugely popular "Animal Radio" show. One of my main goals is to spread the word about zoopharmacognosy as this wellness protocol can be so immensely helpful for animals, and yet is still so little-known. So being able to introduce my favourite topic to their 350,000 regular listeners makes me very happy indeed - thanks guys!
My media page has details of broadcast times, or you can get a sneak preview of written interview content below, lifted from their website which is choc-full of interesting animal-related interviews, information and latest news: http://animalradio.com/weekly.php
Can Animals Really Heal Themselves?
Siobhan Pestano, Zoopharmacognosist
Siobhan Pestano is a Zoopharmacognosist based in London. This is someone who facilities zoopharmacognosy. A way to explain zoopharmacognosy is botanical self-healing.
Zoopharmacognosy is a scientific term coined a few years ago when the behavior first started getting recognized. If you break it down into three parts: zoo (animal), pharma (medicine) and cognosy (knowing), it literally translates as "Animal Medicine Knowing," referring to animals' innate knowledge and ability to heal themselves using plants as they do in the wild.
Naturally, an animal in the wild is free to roam and forage and eat a little bit of this or that. They are able to address challenges as soon as they occur, whereas if someone has a dog, cat or even a horse in a field of full of grass rather than mixed herbs, they don't have the freedom to seek their own medicines. It doesn't serve an animal well to appear sickly or weak, so they tend to hide it from us. By the time we can look at our pet and see that they are ill, they've already been ill for a while.
As a zoopharmacognosist, Siobhan doesn't diagnose or treat animals, she enables the animals to self-select their own cures by offering pure, natural plant extracts in a safe and species-appropriate way.
Siobhan's kit includes dried herbs, powders, etc., but she states the most powerful part of her kit is single plant extract essential oils. These oils are very powerful and can do a lot medicinally simply through the animal's sense of smell and that they don't necessarily have to ingest them.
This is not aromatherapy. It may sound like it because aromas are involved and it is therapy, but it isn't inasmuch as if you went to an aroma therapist and had an aromatherapy massage or consultation. This is because you would tell them what the problem is and they would decide what's best for you according to their knowledge about plant extracts. While this does have its place and can be helpful, what zoopharmacognosy (or self-medication) does or provides is individualized medicine.
Siobhan says, for example, she could have many things with anti-biotic or anti-bacterial properties on hand. If she offers eight of theses to an animal with an infection, it might select three or four of them. All animals won't select the same dosages, as they're not going to select the same types of remedies. It is the individualization of being able to select how much of what it is, and how they want it, and whether it is applied or inhaled. Surprisingly, she states, animals will show you what they want.
The one example of this that most people can relate to is if they see their dog or cat eating grass. This is a form of self-medicating. Sometimes they do it to purge, but not always. The first reaction from most pet owners is they get their dog or cat away from it, because they think it will make them sick. This is a little bit anthropomorphic, because we think being sick is not good. However, the animals are thinking that they have something in their gut that they would like to get rid of. They believe if they eat the grass, they will be able to bring the contents of their gut back up and then feel so much better!
Siobhan states that this is all counter-intuitive to our culture of believing we know what's best for our animals and that sometimes we just need to listen to them.