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Honeyvale Herbs
 
PROFILE - HONEYVALE HERBS    
     
     

Honeyvale Herbs was founded by Jennie van der Byl and registered as a company in 2003. We started in the Western Cape, later expanded into the Eastern Cape and Kwazulu- Natal and have recently entered the Gauteng market.

Jennie had the privilege of growing up in a family with a true appreciation for the beauty of nature and animals, and the precious added dimension they bring into our lives. As a child, living on a smallholding meant that there was always a treasury of her mother’s farm animals around.

Jennie Writes:

  First riding lesson
     

“I learnt how to ride from the age of 3, and living in the Noordhoek valley was the ideal place to grow up and kick around on ponies with a group of friends – after school we would all ride out and meet at our favourite spot and play on-on or gymkhana games, or dare each other to jump ever higher and wider x-country fences. In the summertime we would sometimes pack panniers on the ponies and horses and disappear up into the mountains for the whole day, stopping only around midday at a reservoir to swim with the ponies and laze around in the shade for a while – sheer summer bliss!!

So my mother created a passion in me about animals and caring for them, but it was my father who first taught me to respect the balance in nature, and how easily this can be disturbed by chemicals.
  Family class at Noordhoek show
     
At the time that it was still highly unfashionable to grow anything according to organic principles, he started a bedding-plant nursery. At first he did everything to the “T” according to the recommendations of the so-called “experts”, in a controlled environment and using chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, but he constantly had problems with diseased and sickly looking plants. When seemingly too far gone, these plants were turfed out into the open in a heap, and with time, gradually turned into a heap of plant compost. But then my father began to notice something totally unexpected happening – once thrown out onto the heap, the diseased, sickly and dying plants he had so painstakingly treated and taken care of and had eventually given up all hope on, suddenly firmly rooted themselves, and flourished and bloomed furiously not too long after they were thrown out and abandoned, supposedly left to die in the open elements!
  Swimming in dam
     
This result led my father to do his own research into the dynamics of soil quality, and a book called “The Living Soil” written by E.B. Balfour held the answers he was looking for. My father conducted his own independent trials comparing the latest and most-hyped inorganic fertilizers with natural composts, and had startling results. In all trials the natural composts easily outperformed the inorganic ones, and in one trial, using exactly the same type of plants, the same caterpillars that were crawling all over and devouring the plants grown in a medium with inorganic fertilizers, did not even take so much as a bite out of the plants grown in an organic medium, even though their leaves were interlocking with the sickly, bug-infested inorganically grown plants.  From then on he used only natural composts in the growth medium, which supports healthy plant-life giving soil microorganisms, as they crucially oxygenate the soil and release minerals in the soil into an absorbable form for the plants.
  Eventing in children's
     

He also increased airflow in the tunnels, and thereafter the disease problems in the nursery were virtually over. The nursery became renowned for producing vigorous and healthy plants, and it steadily grew until, for a while, it became the biggest wholesale bedding plant nursery in the Western Cape.

So I grew up respecting the fact that nature, left in balance, is extremely capable of effectively taking care of itself, and that the sickly and diseased can be healed simply by restoring their balance by supplying them with the natural resources which they were designed to have access to in the first place.

  Dad's nursery
     
In this manner, I began to see the role that herbs can play for animals, as in 1994 my treasured and very talented showjumper Main Flash suffered a dreadful hind leg injury while out in the paddock. He slipped and ruptured the Peroneus Tertius ligament extremely badly, at the time he was not able to put any weight on it at all, and the leg was swinging laterally so badly that I was convinced his leg was broken. When the vet arrived I expected he would be put down immediately, but thankfully he thought there may be a chance we could get Flash right with 6 months box rest. After 3 months I was allowed to start hand leading him out on short walks to graze – and this was the starting point!  I couldn’t help but notice that for some days he would have an insatiable appetite for certain types of “weeds”(actually herbs!), and after a few days his tastes would change and he would go after another type of weed.
  Flash before injury
     

I was rather perplexed by this behaviour, and happened upon a book written by Juliette de Bairacly-Levy called “Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable”. In this book I discovered that the “weeds” were indeed herbs, and that my horse had rather cleverly been selecting herbs that were anti-inflammatory, increased circulation, healing for gastric ulcers, or diuretics, according to whatever his current needs for his healing requirements were! From then on I was fascinated, and constantly referred back to the book, and later increased my library on herbal and natural remedies for animals, and absolutely devoured the knowledge held inside these books.

  Flash after injury
     
Later on in my life I was offered a job to work as a Personal Assistant for an Equine Veterinarian, and after a year of this, even though I wholeheartedly feel that modern medicine can perform surgical wonders and be extremely valuable in many situations (e.g. a life-threatening bowel obstruction, cataract ops, etc, etc.) I still became ever increasingly disillusioned with the symptomatic suppression approach that it uses for treating disease. Antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, anti-pyretics, antacids and cortisone drugs, etc, etc all basically just suppress a host of symptoms, and if you suppress the symptoms of a disease, it may indeed disappear for a while, but who knows how and when it will reappear again - usually with even greater vengeance!!
  Mom and dad
     
And with the knowledge of how herbs can actively support the immune system, stimulate the healing process, improve circulation and provide organ support, nourish and gently detoxify the body, thereby raising the level of that animal’s resistance to disease and overall health, I found it very frustrating that when a horse that had constantly recurring bouts of infections and illness, it was usually treated time and again by exactly the same bombardment of antibiotics and other drugs!! Perhaps the occasional “vitamin boosting“ injection was given or a course of factory produced synthetic vitamins and minerals, but how much good does that really do for the horse in the long run?
  Mom and dogs - Witsand
     

From my experience of how plants react in the long term to chemicals, this approach just simply did not ring true with me – the natural healing element that these animals desperately needed was quite simply missing! I could not understand why these owners simply seemed to accept their horse’s fate (along with the huge ongoing vet bills) – why were they not prepared to try natural complementary therapies? That’s when I started looking around to see what herbal remedies were available for horses on the market, and what I found was extremely disappointing. A lot of supplements touted as “herbal” contained only the minimum quantity necessary (2%), and the pure herbal blends were formulated and sold by individuals with little knowledge about herbs and even less about horses – so no wonder it wasn’t yet widely accepted as a complementary treatment! Thereafter I resigned from my job and in 2003 completed a herbal course with the South African Traditional Health Practitioners, Herbalists and Spiritual Healers Association, and was accredited as a Herbalist by them.

What is incredibly exciting for me is that as this natural therapy is reviving and becoming ever increasingly popular, science is now getting in on the act, with the result that a steady stream of supportive data is being found as to exactly why herbs are so incredibly effective at treating and, even more importantly, preventing disease. Herbs and spices are regularly being re-categorized as “super-foods” as the incredible values of their essential phyto-nutrients are constantly being discovered. This is why I am so excited to be studying and working in this field, and thus being enabled to help heal and protect the precious animals that have been a passion for my entire life.”

  Mom and Legend
     
     

Honeyvale Herbs is committed to providing 100% pure, top quality herbal blends and straights for pets. We take pride in the long-term efficacy and, most importantly, safety of all our products.

We strongly believe that one of the greatest values of feeding herbs and spices routinely to animals is the role that they can play in preventative medicine, and helping pets to achieve optimal health. Feeding health maintenance herbs increases nutritional variety in a pure bio-available form, and will help to fulfil your pet’s natural requirements for highly beneficial phyto-nutrients (otherwise known as plant nutrients). These phyto-nutrients are typically overwhelmingly deficient in the modern “balanced” processed diets available for pets.

Wherever possible, we prefer to make use of organic herbs produced by local growers. As most pets relish, or very quickly acquire a taste for herbs, they are an absolute pleasure for the owner to incorporate into a treatment or health-maintenance feeding program.  

We always appreciate hearing feedback about our products from clients and, wherever possible, we are always willing to offer personalized herbal advice for their pets. If necessary, we can also offer the service of formulating customised blends according to an individual pet’s requirements.

     

 

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