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Botanicals Are Drugs


Botanical medicine was the mainstream medicine used in medical practice for millennia. Designer drugs emphasizing single compounds revolutionized medicine in the twentieth century. Over the past decade botanical medicine, which took a back seat but never wholly disappeared, has made a comeback. It is now growing rapidly in popularity.

Botanical medicine, like other modalities such as acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy and Bach flower treatments have been broadly referred to in veterinary practice as alternative or complimentary to “conventional” mainstream veterinary medicine.

Many popular new modalities may indeed be alternative or complimentary because they are new – but not botanical medicine. It is the designer drugs that are the upstarts and it is they that are alternative or complimentary in western veterinary practice.

Glossary Comments

Pharmaceutical has the generally accepted meaning:
“of or relating to pharmacy or pharmacists.”
“of or relating to drugs used in medical treatment.”
Nutraceutical has the generally accepted meaning:
“a foodstuff fortified with adulterants or supplements that are held to provide wellness or medical benefits in addition to nutritional value”.
“any foodstuff enhanced by adulterant additives and held out to provide health and/or longevity”
Supplement has the generally accepted meaning:
“an addition to the diet to make up for a deficiency”
Botanical Medicine has the generally accepted meaning:
“plants or plant extracts used for medicinal purposes”

Botanical Medicines are frequently erroneously referred to as nutraceuticals or supplements. Botanical Medicines are properly referred to as pharmaceuticals not nutraceuticals or supplements. Devotees of designer drug pharmaceuticals resist the inclusion of botanical medicines as drugs or pharmaceuticals. Their motivation frequently is a demotion of botanical medicines to a lower status than the position they bestow mentally upon designer drugs.

When this view is presented to me I, as tactfully as I can, submit that penicillin and aspirin are botanical medicines. This has never failed to catalyze a more favorable view of botanical medicines and to emphasize the fact that botanical medicines are drugs.

The FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine views botanicals and their extracts as drugs and defends their authority to regulate them. At the present time the CVM leaves it to the veterinarians to administer and monitor the use and determine the efficacy of Botanical Medicine in their practice as an official policy.


We did not invent botanical medicines and we do not recommend that the use of botanical medicines should be undertaken on the strength of our restatement of historical usage and documented research.

We do restate well documented traditional efficacy and the results of ongoing research. Personal experience is included where deemed appropriate.

Regardless of the merits of any plant medicine, side effects do sometimes occur. These may be real or imagined. Always seek the counsel and advice of qualified medical professionals and use caution with any medication, plant derived or otherwise. We do not accept responsibility for the use or misuse of any product put forth or any information provided.


  1. Oral dosages as given are for carnivores by body weight. It is advised to dose low initially and adjust upwards as the circumstances direct.
  2. Do not scale up dosages for large herbivores by their weight! Large herbivores, such as cattle or horses, usually require approximately twice the dosage of a 200 lb. carnivore.
  3. Terrence S. Fox, Ph.D., the founder of Buck Mountain Botanicals, Inc. is a life member of United Plant Savers, a member of the American Holistic Veterinary Medicine Association, a member of the Veterinary Botanical Medicine Association and is Treasurer of the Veterinary Research Council, Inc.
  4. Dr. Fox is deeply involved in researching the global literature on botanical medicine and their efficacy in veterinary practice. This research is expected to result in: identifying needed clinical trials, establishing standards for botanical medicine, recommended dosages of botanical medicine and recommended clinical procedures for their use.

This research is being conducted by the Veterinary Research Council, Inc., of which, Dr. Fox is Treasurer.

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