Top 12 edible herbs
Thyme is a herb that you’re likely to find in your kitchen cupboard and, when made into a tea or infusion, is great to ease your horse's airways.
Fennel is great for digestion and helps to eliminate excess gas – perfect if your horse has wind issues. You can use both fennel tea bags or if you have fennel seeds that you may find in your kitchen cupboard these will need to be made into a decoction.
Chamomile flowers are most commonly used to calm horses and ease tension and stress. Chamomile also contains high levels of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc and is great for cooling the blood, especially if you have a headstrong horse.
Peppermint has soothing effects on the digestive system, it relaxes his intestinal muscles, reducing the cramping and aiding digestion. It’s excellent for horses prone to colic. It also stimulates a sluggish liver, improves circulation, and promotes optimal digestion and absorption.
For horses, peppermint’s aroma is useful for tempting fussy eaters and/or helping to mask the smell of less pleasant herbs in their feed. One of the most powerful benefits of peppermint essential oil is its positive effects on the digestive system. It has a very soothing effect on the stomach and intestinal tract, and as such is a must for any natural colic remedy kit.
For horses showing signs of colic while you are waiting for your vet to arrive, allow them to inhale some peppermint essential oil. Then drop about 20 drops of the oil into the horse's mouth by pulling out the lower lip and dropping the oil in the space between the lip and gum Repeat about every 30 minutes as needed.
Echinacea is great for balancing the immune system. It stimulates the immune system to counter bacterial and viral infections. Colds, flu, respiratory and skin conditions all benefit from Echinacea.
NOTE: Feed only in three week intervals over a 12 week period. Giving a two week break will help ensure he doesn’t build a resistance to Echinacea.
Cayenne pepper helps to desensitise the skin. It’s rich in Vitamin C and contains large amounts of potassium and Vitamin A. It has antiseptic effects and increases blood circulation, which helps to desensitise the skin if he’s itchy.
Burdock root helps to support a sluggish liver, which will in turn help improve the condition of his coat and should be offered to him as a decoction. Many of your horse’s problems such as coat issues, sarcoids or sweet itch can be down to a sluggish liver, so getting this in order should help with these external problems.
Devil’s claw provides pain relief andreduces inflammation. It helps reduce stiffness and reduce further joint deterioration.
Celery seeds are invaluable in helping with degenerative joint diseases or if your horse is tying up. When put in his water they also encourage him to drink more. Celery seeds can be very warming and are particularly good if your horse is suffering from a chill.
Bladderwrack is a form of seaweed. It’s a remineralising tonic which is good for convalescing and older horses and helps to boost metabolism. It contains calcium, sulphur, zinc, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, iodine, cobalt and many other trace minerals, this provides the majority of minerals necessary for good health and is extremely economical.
Rosehips are a rich source of vitamin C, which helps fight off infection and strengthen his defences. They’re also a good source of iron, vitamin A and K, important for healthy hooves. After a period of illness, rosehips can be used with other herbs to help him recover and return to health.
Fenugreek seeds act like a lymphatic cleanser and they help to support his liver and improve his skin condition. They’re packed with vitamins A and D and are almost identical to Cod liver oil. As horses are herbivores, instead of feeding fish oils, feed Fenugreek seeds.
Dandelion and Cleavers are great herbs for the spring time as they help to get rid of any toxins in your horse’s liver and will pep him up ready for summer.
Dandelion is great for the spring time as it helps to clear out toxins from his liver and supports his immune system – it acts as a sort of ‘pick-me-up.’
Cleavers is well known for treating urinary infections such as cystitis and enlarged lymph glands. As it’s also a silica-rich herb it should also strengthen his hooves and coat. Cleavers can also be used to reduce any soft swellings and fluid retention.
Marshmallow root is great for a dull and flaky coat as you come out of winter. This also supports his liver which can help to boost his coat condition and overall wellbeing. Marshmallow is also great for rebalancing his gut.