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Kate Fraser does nothing by halves.
By the late 1980’s the rural girl from Gisborne had become the brains behind the Sydney- based prestigious Herbs of Gold range and by 2010 was taking a similar international approach to her BetaVet range of products for the Australasian equine industry.
After studying herbal medicine in Sydney, Kate decided to create her own range of herbal products.
Kate says: “This was during an era when herbal medicine was regarded as fringe or snake oils ”. Herbs of Gold was launched in 1989 and 10 years later is one of the leading herbal medicine brand on the market in Australia.
“ I was lucky to develop a relationship with a state- of- the- art manufacturing company headed at the time by renowned herbalist and research scientist Kerry Bone and this connection still exists today with BetaVet.”.
She says: “the first success we had in the Australian market was with celery seed extract, a natural anti inflammatory for managing arthritis, joint and muscle pain. I worked closely with Australian Ironmen who used the extract for recovery. I was told by these high performance machines that our Celery seed extract was the answer to removing lactic acid build up after extreme sport”.
In 1992 and on the back of several successful clinical trials Kate launched Echinacea, now a household name, and other lesser known herbs into the Australian and New Zealand markets.
Echinacea and Celery seed are used extensively in the BetaVet range of products today.
Gone are the days where herbs are classified as snake oils. Herbal extracts, as opposed to dried herbs, teas or vinegar mixes are now seen as relevant complementary medicines. This is more apparent in human health but is rapidly gaining acceptance in animal health. Herbal medicine combines traditional knowledge of nature with the scientific understanding of how herbs work. Like drugs, herbs are effective in removing symptoms of disease but the way of achieving this differs radically. With herbal medicine the underlying cause of the problem is treated not just the symptoms so the restorative aspect of herbal medicines should not be underestimated. Herbs are medicinal as well as nourishing and nutritional.
Kate says: “It is not unusual that herbs are being successfully used to treat animals as it is written many plant medicines have origins in observation of animals self medicating”.
Kate says: “We work closely with equine vets who are versed in both conventional and herbal therapeutics and we choose an internationally recognised company to source and manufacture our products. Efficacy in herbal medicine cannot occur without quality and quality is one of our strengths. Because of the product cost we have to make a visible difference to effective training and performance and this is our challenge and benchmark”.
One of BetaVet’s best sellers is an adaptogenic product Ginzinga. This combines herbs which are particularly relevant for training equine athletes.
Equine expert Dr. Christine King ( BVsSc, MACVSc, mVetClinStud) said recently: ”Adaptogens are amongst the most widely researched medicinal substances with good safety profiles, extensive clinical studies and a long track record of use in human athletes. When used as part of a good management and training programme the adaptogens can help get and keep the hard working horse performing well and going strong. The practical benefits are seen in healthy lean muscle mass that is easier to maintain, a good appetite and attitude, increased resistance and/or faster recovery from illness or injury and increased resistance to overtraining. The horse is able to train more effectively and exercise capacity is optimised without the use of stimulants. In a nutshell the horse is better able to perform to his potential.”
BetaVet products are no substitute for good breeding and training of horses but therapeutically can help maximise a horse’s performance to the best of natural ability- this is what competitive edge is all about.
Furthermore none of the products contain actives on the current FEI Prohibited Substance list so are not swabable. For more information on BetaVet products visit www.betavet.co.nz