What Are Horses Saying About Gemmotherapy?

By Stephen R. Blake, CVA, CVH, DVM


What is gemmotherapy?

Gemmotherapy, pronounced JEM'-mo-ther-a-py, is the use of specially-prepared plant buds to stimulate the various excretory organs and systems of the body, promoting detoxification. Gemmotherapy (gemmo = to put forth buds; to bud, gem) is a 'drainage' system developed in Europe over 30 years ago. Detoxification is often referred to as 'drainage' because the body uses fluids as a primary way to carry out toxins. Preliminary research on using plant buds therapeutically was started by Dr. Pol Henry of Belgium in the 1950's. Max Tetau, MD, after extensive clinical research on immature plant materials, introduced the therapeutic technique known as gemmotherapy in 1971.

The main principle behind gemmotherapy is drainage and detoxification of the organism at its cellular level. After completing this process, the body can more readily heal itself. Drainage in our patients has changed since the times of the great homeopaths Hahnemann, Kent and Hering. Hormones, vaccinations, drugs and petrochemicals are rampant in our society today, compared to their time. The toxins we have accumulated in our environment and our own metabolic processes can block replication of cells. Without these cell replications, we have organ failure, which is the disease process we see in humans and animals every day.

Dr. Max Tetau states: "When an emunctory of the organism, that is an excretory system such as the kidneys, the liver, etc., is inadequate or blocked, when a glandular or tissulary system is deficient, when a well individualized treatment conforming to the similimum of the patient does not give the hopeful results, but on the contrary presents aggravations or the appearance of new troubles, it is necessary to stimulate the organs of elimination by means of medications whose organic tropism or physiological affinities are known..." (page 41, "Gemmotherapy: A Clinical Guide" by  Max Tetau, MD)

I have utilized classical homeopathy, acupuncture, glandular therapy, nutrition, aromatherapy, and Bach flowers for over 20 years. Many times the cases were not progressing and no matter what I tried, there was a factor none of the modalities seemed to remedy. It wasn't until I discovered gemmotherapy that I was able to help these otherwise 'incurables'. By no means am I suggesting this system is a cure-all; I am merely sharing another tool that can complement any modality presently being utilized, including the conventional modalities of surgery and pharmaceuticals.


How are gemmotherapy remedies made?

The buds or young shoots of specific immature plants are macerated and extracted with glycerin for 21 days, then made into a 1X potency by adding 1 part bud mixture to 9 parts alcohol/ water/ glycerin solution and succussing. Researchers have found that by utilizing this preparation process, the greatest amount of healing potential is released from the plants. These extracts are high in natural growth factors and contain phytohormones (plant hormones), auxins (components that promote growth of plant cells and tissues) and gibberellins (components that regulate growth). These active ingredients are present in the buds, but begin to disappear as the plant matures. Auxins have a fetal hormonal action, which is found only in the buds of plants. Gibberellins, also found only in the buds, stimulate RNA and protein synthesis.

There are 60 plants utilized in the system of gemmotherapy that I use (from Dolisos, www.dolisos.com). Each of these plant extracts has very specific actions on any living organism.


How to use gemmotherapy

After evaluating each patient individually and assessing toxicity, I select one to eight gemmotherapy remedies and administer them 1 to 4 times per day depending on the patient's particular needs and responses to treatment.

The beauty of this system is it can be started along with other programs and will have a complementary effect. The chronic debilitated cases should be started out slowly, and caretakers should be informed about the potential 'healing phases' (which simply put means 'worsening of the case before it gets better'). I have found, however, that by dosing between 1 and 5 drops 1 to 2 times per day, this situation can be prevented. If a patient is ultra-sensitive, I mix one drop in a half cup spring water and give one drop of this mixture once daily until I am comfortable with the response. I then reduce the amount of water and gradually increase the number of drops of the remedy until I reach 5 drops per day with no adverse reaction. At this point if there are no more symptoms of the original disease state, I have the patient stop and go to a maintenance dose of 5 drops once per week thereafter as a preventive aspect of the program.

Even though the principle behind gemmotherapy is to stimulate an eliminative response, my feeling is areas of the body that are most impacted by our environment need continued support to prevent them from building up more toxins, which can inhibit the body's ability to replicate cells. The fact that most toxins impact the gastrointestinal tract, nervous system, liver and kidney makes these prime areas to concentrate on with drainage treatment and prevention.

My experience with gemmotherapy in the equine is primarily by phone consultation clients who consult with me on the care of their horses via phone and computer. My findings have been the same as in the dog, bird, cat, reptiles, etc; it helps all animals, in all the species for which I have employed it as part of their care. I recommend giving the remedies orally in a treat or in their food at a dose of 5 to 20 drops per treatment. They tolerate it very well and I have yet to have any rejections by my horse patients. If the horse does not like the gemmotherapy orally, it can be massaged into the area of concern (for example, an inflamed joint) or into the inside of the ears (acupuncture points for the entire body are found in this location). When I use gemmotherapy topically, I refer to it as Gemmo Acupuncture and it is very effective. Once the patient is clear of symptoms, I recommend a maintenance dose of once per week for helping to prevent a return of any degenerative predisposition.

Helpful remedies

In the 7 years I have been using this drainage system, I have found that the following gemmotherapy remedies are the ones I use day in and day out in my practice. Learn these and you will find your animals improving more rapidly and staying healthier when challenged with the toxins of this world.

Mountain Pine

For any spinal related disease, I recommend a one to four times per day dosing regimen. This will strengthen and detox the spine and any small joint related problems. This is an excellent remedy for any problems related to the spine - I have used it in disc related paralysis, spinal trauma, spondylosis, degenerative myelopathy, degenerative arthritis and chronic back pain. (I have not had a case of EPM to try this on but it would be worth trying.)

Wild Woodvine

For any joint related problems, e.g. hip dysplasia, anterior cruciate ruptures, sprains/ strains, degenerative arthritis, cartilage damage, etc., I recommend Wild Woodvine at the same dosage as the Mountain Pine.

Common Juniper

For liver related problems, I recommend Common Juniper. Young shoots of juniper are active in marked hepatic insufficiency with markedly disturbed function per laboratory tests. Juniper is the medication for the very deficient liver in the phase of decline: jaundice, various types of cirrhosis, etc. I recommend a dose once per day for 6 weeks and then once per week thereafter for prevention. If a chronic degenerative hepatitis or cancer is present, I continue it for life.

Lime Tree

For any neurological diseases, I recommend Lime Tree at a dose of 1 to 4 times per day as needed. I have utilized this many times in behavior conditions and found it to be very effective in calming the nervous system so that the animal can act instead of react. This is an excellent remedy for epilepsy, rabies miasms, vaccine related neurological disease, ADHD and phobias.

European Hawthorne

For cardiac related disease I recommend European Hawthorne. Excellent regulator of cardiac movement, which may tend to be slow. Increases myocardial tone, in particular in the left side of the heart. Has a sedative effect on all pericardial pain. Indicated in cardiac insufficiency and associated symptoms, cardiac spasms, tachycardias, cardiomyopathy, and arrhythmias, as well as in pericardial pain. I dose at twice per day depending on the need of the patient. I have been able to get cardiac patients off all medications utilizing this particular gemmotherapy.

Black Currant

This is an excellent detoxing and strengthening gemmo for the adrenal glands. I dose it at one to four times per day as needed for any allergic condition. It is an excellent substitute for cortisone, antihistamines or any other anti-inflammatory product. I find it very helpful in pruritis (itching) cases I am working on to help manage the itch while I am detoxing and balancing their immune systems.

Bloodtwig Dogberry

This is indicated for any thyroid related problem. I have used it in hypo, hyper and cancers of the thyroid gland. It is an excellent adjunct therapy for helping detox and for strengthening the thyroid gland. I dose at twice per day.

Giant Redwood

This particular remedy is excellent for weakness of anything below the waist of an animal. I have found it excellent for urinary incontinence, paresis and paralysis of the rear limbs, and to improve endurance. I have had several prostatitis cases that responded immediately to the use of the gemmo and have continued to have no further problems. I dose twice per day.

Rowan Tree

This is excellent as a drainer for the ears, nose and throat. I use it in all ear, nose and throat cases to assist the body in clearing any toxins, which may be blocking the efforts of the body to heal in these areas. I have used it for hearing loss, chronic otitis, nasal discharge, tonsillitis, and chronic choking conditions. The dose is twice per day, or repeated each time there is a choking episode.

Fig Tree

This is the most incredible remedy for any gastrointestinal related illness. I have used it for inflammatory bowel disease, colitis, acute or chronic diarrheas, and any form of vomiting. I dose them once per meal or as needed for vomiting and diarrhea.

European Oak

Use this remedy to help balance the adrenal gland and male hormones. I use this in neutered males to help establish a better hormonal balance secondary to their castration. It is excellent for deficient adrenal glands and can help in Addison's disease cases. It is excellent for strengthening the mucosa in cases of periodontal disease cases. I recommend twice per day.

There are many more of these phytotherapies that you can learn about. These are products that are mainly sold through health professionals, as they should be. Caretakers need to monitor patients and understand what the remedies are doing so they can adjust treatment accordingly. More about these products is available on my website, www.thepetwhisperer.com. I recommend working with the veterinarian, and if s/he is not familiar with gemmotherapy, s/he can email me at drblakegemmo@aol.com and I will help in any way I can.

'The sole purpose of the physician is to awaken the doctor within.' Let this be everyone's focus in learning how to use nutraceuticals, and any therapies.



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About the author:

Dr. Stephen Blake has been practicing veterinary medicine in San Diego, California since 1973 after he graduated from Colorado State University Veterinary Medical School. He has a limited home practice, which specializes in alternative veterinary medicine. He has been providing alternative medical care for his patients around the world for the past 25 years. You can learn more about Dr. Blake at www.thepetwhisperer.com.