Like the idea of allowing your horse to browse a mix of herbs and plants, but have no idea how to start? Qualified reflexologist, aromatherapist, Reiki healer and animal aromatics professional Dena Schwartz explains more about the benefits and how to introduce herbs.

Thousands of years ago wild horses would have had unlimited access to hundreds of different medicinal plants, allowing them the opportunity to self-select the plants they needed.

By understanding the health benefits of various berries, barks, leaves, roots and flowers, and offering plant medicine in the form of essential oils, herbs, powders and extracts, you can give your horse a chance to use his innate self-medicating skills.

Working with nature’s pharmacy in this way also opens up a line of communication between the two of you. He’ll be able to ‘tell’ you which medicines he needs and you’ll be able to understand more about how he’s feeling, both emotionally and physically.

Choosing a remedy

There are a wide range of medicinal plants that can promote healing, reduce pain and inflammation, ease gastrointestinal discomfort, combat toxicity, ease stress and boost your horse’s immunity and overall wellbeing. They can be used to enhance wellness, maintain health and complement conventional vet treatment to aid recovery.

Herbs, essential oils and plant extracts can be offered to your horse for inhalation or for him to lick from your hand. They can even be applied topically to assist in wound healing, or to reduce swelling or itching.

The length of time your horse may need a remedy will vary depending on the nature of the problem.

Some popular equine remedies include:

  • Peppermint for digestive complaints.
  • Dandelion, nettle and cleavers to detoxify and cleanse.
  • Red clover to help balance hormones.

To get the best results, and to use plant remedies safely, you should always consult
a qualified practitioner who will be able to help you identify the most effective remedies for your horse’s specific needs.

Where to buy them

Many herbs, such as rosehip and nettle, can be picked from the hedgerows at certain times of the year. To buy dried herbs or plant oils, choose a reputable supplier.

To ensure the highest medicinal value, plant remedies must be organic, well produced and carefully stored. For essential oils try shechina.co.uk, and for herbs look at organicherbtrading.com.

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