Herbs and other plants for horses

Herbs: 

Comfrey – this is a fodder plant in some countries and so can be offered to your horse as a treat

It is also great for bruises, tendon / ligament damage and broken bones (applied topically to the affected area). In fact its common name is ‘knit-bone’

comfrey

Lemon Balm – calming; lifts mood; supports digestion; insect repellent 

lemonbalm

Mint:

  • Allergies:Mint plants contain an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent
  • Respiratory problems:Mint contains menthol, a natural aromatic decongestant that helps to break up phlegm and mucus
  • Digestion:Mint is a calming and soothing herb that has been used for thousands of years to aid with upset stomach or indigestion.
  • Gastric ulcers:could help in preventing gastric ulcers associated with regular use of painkillers.
  • Pain relief:Applying peppermint extract externally has been found to increase pain threshold
  • Skin:When applied topically in oil, ointment or lotion, mint has the effect of calming and cooling skin affected by insect bites, rash or other reactions.
  • Oral health:Mint is a natural anti-microbial agent and breath freshener.

mint

Borage: Omega 3, 6 & 9

supports the adrenal glands and is rich in minerals

 borage

Milk Thistle – liver support:

use after:

  • antibiotics,
  • medication,
  • vaccines,
  • chemical de-wormers,
  • steroids

in fact any time the liver is under stress.

Supports repair and regeneration

milkthistle

Chamomile – Chamomile can help with:

  • rheumatic problems and rashes.
  • respiratory issues
  • Relieve restlessness.
  • Relieve allergies
  • Aid in digestion
  • Speed healing of skin ulcers, wounds, or burns.
  • Treat gastritis and ulcerative colitis.
  • Be used as a wash or compress for skin problems and inflammations, including inflammations of mucous tissue.
  • Promote general relaxation and relieve stress.
  • Treat various gastrointestinal complaints.

 chamomile

Parsley – High in vitamin A, B and C, protein, iron, potassium and magnesium. Anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties. Relieves flatulence, anaemia and improves iron intake.

parsley

Fennel – The health benefits of fennel include:

  • relief from:
    • anaemia,
    • indigestion,
    • flatulence,
    • constipation,
    • colic,
    • diarrhoea,
    • respiratory disorders
  • benefits in eye care.

 fennel

Calendula – promotes healing. Calendula has anti-inflammatory and weak antimicrobial activity. It is most often used topically for lacerations, abrasions, and skin infections; less commonly, it is used internally to heal inflamed and infected mucous membranes.

Good for the skin

 calendula

_____________________________

These following herbs are quite powerful, containing volatile oils which have anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and anti-parasitic properties.

Horses would only very rarely choose to eat small quantities of these plants, as and when necessary.

 

Yarrow – A versatile plant that can be used to treat coughs, colds, aid digestion, stop diarrhoea, stop bleeding, heal bruises and rashes, and prevent headaches

yarrow

Thyme – Antiseptic and expectorant properties. Helps to loosen phlegm from colds and flu, soothe infected skin and soothe aching muscles

thyme

Rosemary – relaxes the digestive tract. Also used to improve concentration, memory, reduce anxiety and mild depression. Additionally used to treat dandruff.

rosemary

Lavender – Wide range of calming effects, assisting in the relaxation of muscles, reduction of anxiety and enhancement of sleep. Eases irritability and aids digestion. Also helps with minor skin irritations and can repel insects.

lavender

Wormwood –  Used as a tonic to improve liver and gallbladder functioning. Also increases the production of bile and stomach acid, easing digestion and preventing bloating and gas. Serves as an excellent insect repellent.

wormwood

Sage – Treats colds, coughs, tonsillitis, sore throats, inflamed gums and mouth ulcers. Also used as a memory enhancer, diuretic and digestive aid.

sage

 ___________________________

Hedgerow plants 

Cleavers:

  • a valuable lymphatic tonic and diuretic therefore useful in treating conditions like skin problems and arthritis, which benefit from purifying the blood.
  • Softens skin when applied topically
  • Reliable diuretic used to help clean gravel and urinary stones and to treat urinary infections
  • also helps with swollen lymph glands
  • In studies cleavers helped lowered blood pressure without slowing heart rate or having any health-threatening side effects.
  • The young leaves can be eaten like spinach.

cleavers

Rose:

  • hips: when ripe – rich in Vitamin C
  • some horses like to eat the young shoots

rosehips

Meadowsweet:

  • mild, but effective anti-inflammatory used to treat arthritis and other aches and pains.
  • leaves and flowers contain salicylates, compounds that are converted by the body to aspirin.
  • Meadowsweet is especially helpful for horses with inflammation of the stomach lining as it can be taken for pain relief without upsetting the stomach
  • Treats stomach disorders such as gastritis, indigestion and heartburn.
  • Helps reduce severity of headaches, as well as inflammation of the joints

meadowsweet

Dandelion – excellent detoxifying and diuretic properties. It also possesses vitamins A, B, C and D as well as potassium and calcium. It has been used to treat high blood pressure, cleanse the liver and treat skin problems.

dandelion

Pineapple weed – Pineapple weed is in the same family as chamomile.  When you pinch on of the flowers you will smell the sweet, light sent of pineapple, hence the name. It is used for a verity of ailments. It is a sedative herb that mainly acts on the digestive system. It is good for relieving insomnia and nausea,

pineappleweed

Self Heal:

  • effective in healing wounds and sores.
  • soothes the digestive tract during or following an attack of diarrhoea.
  • Can be bitter so try offering just the leaves initially

selfheal

Common Plantain – Applied to a bleeding surface, the leaves are of some value in arresting haemorrhage.  The fresh leaves are applied whole or bruised in the form of a poultice. Rubbed on parts of the body stung by insects, nettles, etc., or as an application to burns and scalds, the leaves will afford relief and will stay the bleeding of minor wounds…

plantain

Nettle – Topically, it has commonly been used to treat sore muscles, skin issues such as eczema and also anaemia.  In modern times, nettle is used to treat urinary tract infections.

On top of all that, nettle is highly nutritious, containing ample amounts of nitrogen, calcium, silica, iron, phosphates and vitamins B, C, and K.

For horses, feeding dried nettle can help with the following specific issues:

  • respiratory ailments;
  • allergies;
  • laminitis;
  • liver or kidney disorders; and
  • lactation issues.

Nettle tea or extract can also be applied externally to help with arthritis.

nettle

Red Clover – High in isoflavones and phytestrogenic compounds

redclover

Blackberries: a great source of Vitamin C to support your horse through winter.

blackberries

____________________________

Trees 

Horses often forage from trees.  These are a few that your horse(s) might like: 

Silver Birch – The sap from the birch tree contains vital vitamins, minerals, and sugars, mainly glucose and fructose. It is rich in minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, phosphorous, iron, sodium, and amino acids. It is also rich in vitamin C and B-vitamins like thiamine.  The buds of the birch tree contain antibiotic and diuretic properties while the bark contains digestive, diuretic, and anti-pyretic properties.

birch

Ash: the bark and bark of the root have astringent properties, and have been used in decoctions to help in fevers, to remove obstructions in the liver and spleen and for rheumatism and arthritis. The leaves are diuretic and diaphoretic, so promote sweating. Traditionally the ash tree’s bark, roots and leaves have been used to treat cancerous growths that are external, as pain killers, anti-inflammatory for rheumatism and arthritis, and to get rid of intestinal worms.

ash-tree

Willow The salicin in Willow bark, which has similar health effects as acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin), is converted into salicylic acid after it is absorbed by the stomach, therefore, it may not cause stomach irritation like aspirin and can be a great option for treating minor to severe ailments.

willow

Hawthorn Traditionally, the berries were used to treat heart problems ranging from irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, chest pain, hardening of the arteries, and heart failure. Hawthorn contains antioxidants – substances that destroy free radicals, which are compounds in the body that damage cell membranes, tamper with DNA, and even cause cell death. … Antioxidants in hawthorn may help stop some of the damage from free radicals, especially when it comes to heart disease

hawthorn

 

Caution – if you would like to use any of these plants medicinally, please consult a qualified herbalist

 

 

 

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