I have always been fascinated by the idea of feeding herbs to horses. Of course many compound feeds have a variety of herbs included in them but I have never fed them to my boys directly! Although I am not sure that I would use herbs instead of calling the vet for an illness some herbs are supposed to improve general health, well-being and sometimes behavioiur!
What are herbs?
Herbs are a plant or part of a plant which is used for its medicinal, savoury or aromatic qualities. The parts which can be used are the leaves, roots, fruit, flowers, bark, stems or seeds. They have been used for hundreds of years and of course used to be the only treatment for ailments in animals and humans. However, many of the medicines and drugs we still use today contain natural plants.
As with anything never forget that each horse is an individual and so the effect that a herb will have may vary. This will also affect the quantities you will feed, some horses will need much more than the recommended amount, some less. You should also bear in mind that herb quality will vary depending on the climate, harvest and preparation of the herbs.
This is the effect that the herb has -name and explanation! The terms below are sometimes used to explain what a herb does, although, many companies will simplify this too.
Hot to taste. Can cause heat and irritation if applied to the skin.
Restore correct function of the body towards good health and well being. Sometimes called 'blood cleansers'.
These are herbs that reduce pain.
Reduces pain and irritation.
Neutralize gut acidity.
These cause the destruction and expulsion of worms from the digestive system.
Destroy or stop the growth of bacterial infections.
Used to destroy bacteria and other disease causing organisms. Help to withstand infection or infestation.
Help in the removal of excess catarrh.
Kill or reduce fungal infections.
Prevent or reduce the secretion of milk.
Reduces the body's release of histamine.
Stimulate thyroid function.
Help reduce inflammation. Some herbs are for external use only.
Help prevent the formation of stones in the urinary system. Can help to expel them from the body.
Help the body to destroy micro-organisms.
An agent that reduces fever.
Helps prevent or relieve rheumatism.
Combats and neutralises bacteria and prevents infection.
Prevents or eases cramps in the body.
Prevents or reduces viral infection.
Stimulate sexual desire and improve function.
Stimulate and promote appetite.
Herbs release a strong usually pleasant odour and can help stimulate the digestive system.
These contain tannins which help to bind and connect tissue and reduce discharge and secretions.
These cause the taste buds to stimulate the digestive system.
Have a beneficial effect on the heart.
Help to gently calm nerves.
These are rich in volatile oils that help relieve flatulence and settle the digestive system.
These stimulate the release and secretion of bile into the intestine which can have a laxative effect on the
These contain mucilage that helps to soothe and protect internal tissue that has become inflammed.
These promote sweating and can help reduce fever.
Increase the secretion of urine.
These normalise and can act as a tonic to the female reproductive system.
For applying to the skin to soothe or protect it.
Has the action of promoting the removal of excess amounts of mucus from the respiratory system.
Antipyretic - helps the body to reduce fevers.
These help to stimulate and increase the flow of mares milk.
To arrest bleeding and promote blood clotting.
Strengthen the liver and increase the flow of bile.
These induce sleep.
Enhance the body's immune system.
Promotes evacuation of the bowels.
These contain gelatinous constituents that can be demulcent and emmolient (see above).
These calm the nerves.
Stimulates uterine contractions to induce and assist foaling.
These help to strengthen and heal the respiratory system.
Relaxes nerves and muscles, relieves tension.
Helps restore health and strength.
When applied to the skin these herbs cause a gentle local irritation. This stimulates the dilation of capillaries and so increases circulation to the skin. Blood is drawn from deeper parts of the body into the skin and thus often internal pains are often relieved.
Calm the nervous system, reduce stress and nervousness and induce sleep.
These reduce spasms of the intestines and bronchials.
These enliven the physiological function of the body.
These help to strengthen the stomach function.
These herbs strengthen and invigorate a specific organ system or the whole body.
Expel or repel intestinal worms.
Applied externally these aid the body in healing of wounds.
This is a long list, but it has given me some ideas of what to try first .....
Look out for tomorrows vlog ..... Horse Life and Love
Please check it out and SUBSCRIBE.
You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram for updates on Chesney, Basil, Fidget and Daisy.
Until next time!