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Zoopharmacognosy refers to the process by which animals naturally forage and self select plants and plant extracts to self medicate. The Ingraham method of applying this to domesticated animals is a growing area of interest in animal wellbeing, and is the subject of a number of scientific studies.

Applied Zoopharmacognosy provides a behavioural method of helping animals. It involves offering choices of essential and macerated oils, and dried plants for self selection. Animals utilise the plant extract as they need it; via inhalation, ingestion or sometimes topically.

The animal’s body language indicates appeal or lack of appeal for the plants and oils they are being offered. It is therefore vital to be aware of facial and body language responses when offering.

Animals do not choose to overdose on pure raw plant oils and powders as long as certain rules and understandings are adhered to. Education is required for the person offering these choices, so that are aware of the types of oils and plant extracts that are appropriate to offer, and understand the method of application. They must also recognise self medicative behaviour in animals.

Animals with a wide variety of issues have responded well to this method, including behavioural / emotional problems, physical problems, poor digestion, poor coat, skin problems and low immune system.

Jo has used this method with champion show cats, Crufts qualifiers and advanced event horses amongst others.

Training in Applied Animal Herbal Choices
As a nutritional therapist, herbalist, and Applied Zoopharmacognosist, Jo brings together a wide variety of knowledge in this behavioural approach to help health and well-being. She has produced a training course in Applied Animal Herbal Choices course, which focuses primarily on herbs and dried plants, with key essential oils. The courses provide student with information on hedgerow herbs, dried plants, practical foraging, preserving and producing products to offer for self selection, and the practical side of working with animals and their owners.

On completion, graduates can gain insurance to charge a consultation fee for this method.

Modules on foraging for wild plants and making products are part of the certificate course, but are open to all.