“We are stardust,” sang Joni Mitchell in her 1970 song, “Woodstock.” As it turns out, she was more right than she could have known at the time. Many of the elements that make up our human bodies, and the bodies of every living thing on Earth, have their origins in the formation of the universe. “These elements were ejected into space by the force of the massive explosion, where they mixed with other matter and formed new stars, some with planets such as Earth…the iron in our blood and the calcium in our bones were all forged in such stars. We are made of stardust,” says LSU physicist Edward Zganjar.
It’s a profound concept to realize that everything on Earth, from our backyard oak tree to our cat’s hairball, all share common elements that were formed in the stars billions of years ago. Indeed, we, our beloved pets, and everything in the ground below and heavens above are made of recycled materials. To quote another line from another classic 70’s era tune, “we have all been here before.”
OK, cool. We are all one. But what, you might ask, does this have to do with holistic veterinary medicine? Quite a lot, actually. This concept supports one of the most basic premises in natural medical modalities, such as herbology and homeopathy: from the plants, animals, rocks and waters of our world, come the medicines that can help to heal us and our animal companions. Since we all are made of basically the same “stuff,” our bodies resonate similarly with the substances of our natural world. The very same homeopathic arnica that you might take for your bruised arm will work just as well for your feline’s bruised knee. The same Chinese herb formula that slows mast-cell tumor growth in humans does the same for your beagle’s mast-cell tumor.
A colleague in Canada practices holistic veterinary medicine two days a week, and naturopathic medicine for humans two days – in the same clinic with the same pharmacy of natural medicines. Now this is not to say that ALL herbs and supplements used with humans are appropriate for animals, or vice versa. Nor does this diminish the amazing, and often life-saving power of pharmaceutical drugs. And no doubt there are things in the natural world that you or your pet might “resonate” with, but not in a good way – the same world that gives us aloe vera and echinacea gives us scorpions and arsenic. Overall though, modern science validates the concept that we have more in common with the beings that live with and all around us than one might think.