Holistic veterinarian establishes company in an effort to combine Western and Eastern methodologies
Horsewoman, healer, and herbsmith, Chris Bessent, DVM, has always loved “fixing” horses. Growing up in southeastern Wisconsin, the 49-year-old veterinarian got her first horse when she was 12, an Appaloosa gelding aptly named Mañana, who set the tone for a lifetime of tomorrows dedicated to redefining the way the world views herbs and animal wellness.
“Did he shape my desire later in life to help horses?” Bessent asks. “Absolutely. If he had a hoof abscess, I loved using the creams, ointments, wraps, etc. that would help him feel better.”
She received her DVM from the University of Wisconsin, earned Veterinary Chiropractic and Veterinary Acupuncture certification, and belongs to animal health associations including the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, American Association of Equine Practitioners, and American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association.
Almost 20 of her 22 years as a practicing veterinarian have been as a holistic vet, exploring alternative care in a pragmatic effort to add “more tools to my box.” That began to shift her practice from traditional Western medicine “towards the Eastern side.”
“I had always been open-minded about the many facets of veterinary care,” she says, and over time, she developed her own herbal pharmacy. With hundreds of ancient Chinese formulas from which to choose, Dr. Bessent honed a selection that, in her experience, worked best for certain conditions and modified them for their highest efficiency. From these “tried and true” proprietary blends, originally created for her practice and later, available through retail and tack shops, came Herbsmith, incorporated in 2001 in Hartland, Wisconsin. Today, Herbsmith products – for horses and dogs -- are available online and at more than 400 retail sites in the U.S. and Canada.
“Chinese theories and herbs have grown in popularity as consumers educate themselves on the benefits of ‘alternative approaches,” says Dr. Bessent. “More owners, of horses and dogs, are embracing Herbsmith formulas daily.”
Testimonials at www.HerbsmithInc.com speak for themselves: "My 23 year-old mare had severe diarrhea with gas,” said one owner. “We put her on a Chinese herb formulation and her symptoms were cut in half in under a week. This was an easy, natural way to make our horse happy and comfortable. We recommend Chinese herbs to anyone wanting fast results that work."
Herbsmith offers seven equine herbal blends that address anxious behavior, discomfort, joint issues, and more. The joint support line offers three great formulas which also support a variety of temperaments that can accompany joint discomfort. These include Impulsion (for even-tempered horses), Impulsion with Vitality (for older, depleted horses), and Impulsion with Composure (for anxious or spooky horses just starting to experience joint discomfort).
Herbsmith’s calming formula, Serenity, provides a natural option for the difficult to control or anxious horse. Another formula, Acute Trauma, is great for addressing everything from occasional soreness to discomfort caused by daily training and activity. Acute Trauma works quickly and is gentle on such horses’ sensitive GI tracts.
An Herbsmith Rx line is available only through veterinarians and offers formulas (such as Ease Digestion, Cool Hooves, Heel Relief, and Harmonize the Lung) that work in partnership with professional diagnosis and supervision. Herbsmith’s website offers a link - www.IVAS.org - to help owners find holistic veterinarians in their area.
“We focus on education,” Bessent explains. “This year, we will launch a Herbsmith Webinar Series for our Equine Division. This program has been successful with our canine line and the topics will be based on seasonality and customer request as we share our knowledge about the benefits of Chinese herbs and their use to optimize wellness for our horses.”
Dr. Bessent assures, “We strive to always offer the highest quality herbal blends. From the soil the herbs grow in, to the bottles going out the door, we monitor every step, using only trusted suppliers, holding ourselves to the highest ethical standards, and abiding by the most stringent testing and manufacturing guidelines.”
The same attention once given to a horse called Mañana has assured that future generations of horses, pets, and their people will find, as the Herbsmith motto says, “A better way,” to good health and great performance.
For more information, visit www.herbsmithinc.com