Echinacea is one of the most popular herbs in modern herbalism - and one of the few to have been scientifically tested on horses. The research showed that Echinacea is an effective system stimulant in horses, significantly increasing the number of white blood cells (whose job it is to destroy invading pathogens) as well as increasing the size and number of red blood cells and the level of haemoglobin in the blood.
Use Echinacea as a pre-winter immune system booster, or to rebuild your horse's immune system after a virus or debilitating illness. Use it if your horse has thrush, or an abscess in his hoof. Add it to the feed any time there is an outbreak of a contagious disease at the stable where you keep your horse. Give it before traveling, or after a stressful competition season. Even when your horse is already showing symptoms of a respiratory disease, giving him Echinacea will help keep the symptoms mild and the recovery more rapid.
The effectiveness of Echinacea diminishes after about 3 weeks, so it's best to dose for up to 3 weeks at a time, then give a short break before dosing again.
Other herbs, such as the Chinese Astragalus Root and Schisandra Berries, also Eleuthero, are good for long-term daily support of horses in heavy training or stressful situations.
Antioxidants are crucial. They will enhance the immune system and also prevent imbalances, such as allergies. Important Antioxidants include Vitamin C and Vitamin E, Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Bioflavonoids.
Garlic is a natural antibiotic, with the huge advantage that it is selective and only kills pathogens (not the "good" bacteria in the digestive tract.) It's also anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic.
- It's a storehouse of minerals. The most notable is sulphur, but it also contains zinc, selenium, iron, copper and chromium.
- It's an awesome antioxidant.
- When your horse has a respiratory disorder, garlic is a powerful expectorant and can help move mucus and infection out of the lungs and bronchial tubes.
- When your horse is being ravaged by flies and other biting insects, garlic's high sulphur content is thought to repel bugs when it is excreted through the horse's skin.
*Please see the Education page for more information.*