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Stephen Ashdown MRCVS

Every now and then you stumble across something special. Global Herbs is a special organisation that aims to keep the horse you love in top form. Global Herbs is special because it was started by Stephen, a vet working in Africa who had a vision to escape the chemical world and bring God’s original source of natural wellness into your hands.

Global Herbs uses traditional nutritional supplements backed up by the very latest scientific developments. This fusion of ancient wisdom and modern science has been transforming animals lives for some 25 years. The ancient wisdom goes back thousands of years and the modern science lies at the heart of today’s world.

Who is Stephen?

Stephen started his career in St. Albans, Hertfordshire. His father was a University vet and his grandfathers were a head gardener and owners of a retail chain – forerunners of the supermarket world. In 1984 he qualified with the Royal Veterinary College in London.

Stephen always liked travel. His favourite trip was a one way ticket to Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania in 1982, only just making it back in time for college after braving the wilds of overland travel down the River Nile in Sudan!


After visiting many countries around the world where people lived much closer to nature than back at home Stephen developed an interest in ethnic health practices. The importance of these practices first struck him in 1986 while treating cattle near the New Forest in Hampshire. He met farmers who still used unusual ways of keeping their cattle healthy. One farmer fed ivy to his cattle when the after birth would not come away. Another farmer used to feed earth from a mole hill when his cattle became toxic from using their body fat to produce milk. Yet another farmer treated mastitis in his cows by drenching them with large amounts of salt.

At the same time he noticed that the local horse owners that he was working with were beginning to buy tubs of mixed herbs to keep their horses sound.

At this time working in Southampton he pursued his spiritual interests and wrote a paper on the power of peace to change peoples lives.

Stephen worked with horses, cattle and sheep, and some dogs and cats, during these years.

Where’s he been?

The ‘ship in the desert’

In 1989 Stephen was lucky enough to study tropical animal health at Edinburgh university. Here he specialised in camel production and was intrigued by the medicinal properties of camels milk much loved by the Arab world. Camels are raced just like horses in such parts of the world.


In 1990 Stephen moved for three years to the remote island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. Here he trained local vets in treating their cattle, ponies and dogs and attempted to help government services to think ‘from the farmer’s perspective’. He wrote an article on the relevance of traditional use of buffaloes to the people there and was very interested to learn of the rich traditions of herbal medicines on the island of java.

Sulawesi is famous for many unique animals and evolutionary anomalies such as the Babirusa pig and the pigmy Buffaloe Anoa. It is inhabited by the Bugis people who in ages past coined the phrase Boogyman because of the piracy many years ago.


In 1995 Stephen took a job with UNICEF in Khartoum Sudan. The work mainly entailed helping cattle herders in the South, but during his work he did conduct a research project in Darfur region. Here he toured the nomadic herding tribes in an effort to discover which herbs they used on their cattle, donkeys and dogs. Sudan is famous for the Bisenji dogs. Many a herbalist could be seen in the markets in Sudan and Stephen wrote an interesting paper on his findings which was presented at the first Ethnoveterinary conference near Mumbai, India.

The Indian Conference

At Bombay Stephen met many people involved in herbs and supplements from around the world. It was this meeting of minds that resulted in him starting Global Herbs a year later. He bought a house in Chichester and started his dream job of growing a supplement business. In the early days he also very much enjoyed working part time for a well know Equine practice in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

At the very start he converted his garage into an office and filled bottles of liquid on his garden table. His father, with a strong scientific background was fabled in his skill at measuring out these bottles very precisely!


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