Top 10 Herbs Our Horses Love
We like to do things naturally as much as we are able around our ranch. Feeding our horses sugar treats is just not an option so researching and understanding what herbs our horses need is very important!
We have 10 favorite herbs we love to mix into blends for their everyday needs which also makes a wonderful treat for them. It’s exciting that 10 herbs we were able to grow ourselves, or grow naturally around the ranch. We didn’t realize it until late into Spring so we will be ready for next year.
When you start to pay attention to what is growing naturally around your home, you will delight in harvesting the herbs without the work of seeding and watering.
You have to keep in mind horses in the wild can choose the foliage that their bodies need and domestic horses do not always have that opportunity. That is why we created a special “Thyme Out” pasture where they can roam the area and feed freely. In this pasture we have planted :
Calendula– Calendula arvensis This flower is so beautiful! The deep orange and yellow pedals form a wonderful contrast, which makes your garden stunning! Its nickname in the middle ages was Mary Gold or Marigold. Calendula is so gentle it soften given to children for upset stomach. It’s astringent and anti-inflammatory properties make it particularly useful for treating heartburn or stomach issues in horses. For teens it is great to fight off acne breakouts. I will make a lotion to put on the horses when there are skin irritations or rain rot. It also contains an anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal which is wonderful for wound healing. If your into cooking and know the expensive ingredient Saffron, this herb can be a replacement and you can impress all who enjoy special delights in their food.
Helichrysum– This herb is amazing! It is often and more commonly used as an essential oil but it is quite expensive. This oil has literally stopped bleeding and prevented scaring on me and my horses for different scrapes and cutes. Like yarrow, it almost gave a clotting like way as it absorbed the blood and stopoed it quick. Love this herb. It is known to regenerate cells and can assist in the healing of scars, acne, streach marks and abscesses. The herb is often put into a tincture form to be more user friendly. Wonderful herb and OIL if you can swing the cost, so worth having at your farm. Especially in your first aid kit!
Marshmallow–Althea officinalis-The marshmallow root is specific for digestive disorders, while the leaf is favored for respiratory or urinary problems. It is ideal for burns, minor wounds or eczema. If you add a powdered slippery elm bark will further enhance theses actions of drawing out properties of infections. I like to use this for when my horse has diarrhea. If your horse has any digestive disorders this herb is for you! This plant is very easy to grow and makes a beautiful look to your garden with its lilac color bell like flowers.
Meadowsweet–Filipendula ulmaria -is a mild yet effective anti-inflammatory herb. It has been used for several centuries to treat body aches and pains, including arthritis and joint pain. In horses it helps relieve the pains that come with age especially in the winter months. It has also been used as a digestive remedy for acid indigestion or peptic ulcers. It protects the inner lining of the stomach while providing the anti-inflammatory benefits of silicates. As a tea use about a ¼ cup to start and can give up to 1/3.
Valerian–Valeriana officinalis Wonderful herb to have in our horse garden. It puts out beautiful blooms in pretty pinks or white flowers and attracts butterflies too. It calms horses and controls spasms, making it very good in colic situations. You must use with caution due to its sedative qualities.
Naturally growing in the pasture:
Yarrow Achillea millefolium- is a perennial. Yarrow can be an efficient diuretic as it helps promote urine production and flow assisting in the removal of excess fluids and toxins and helping prevent urinary tract problems caused by standing around in a stall during the winter months. It also contains anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties as well as astringent tannins. The silica also found in this plant helps repair damaged or worn out tissues in the body. Made into a tea, yarrow stimulates appetite and improves digestion. Tea recipes below.Stinging Nettles- Urtica dioca- One of my favorite herbs and one that grows naturally around our area. This herb is rich in iron, which can often be a mineral lacking in an equine diet. Nettles also contain histamine, serotonin, potassium, silica, vitamins A and C, and a whole bunch of other minerals. It’s one of the most widely used plants that I know and it strengthens and supports the whole body. Nettles support the immune, respiratory, urinary and reproductive systems, and can help the body fight allergic responses. Also, nettles will strengthen hoof and give a healthy coat. You can add about a ½ cup to your horses daily feed.
Plantain–Plantago Major-This plant is seen as a weed by most people as it grows wildly in most yards and fields. Since it is so easily available it is easy to harvest, dry, and can so you can make it into tinctures and salves. This plant is wonderful as tea or in your salad. Put some olive oil and favorite vinaigrette and you have just helped your body with a natural anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. If you have a wound, bite, and itching you can make it into a tea and spray it on the area. The horses love this herb! The anti-inflammatory properties is always a wonderful go to herb.
Red and White Clover.-Trifolium– This herb has the effect that can be used to calm anxiety and reduce irritability . Horses especially love the red clover tops a few every day can make a world of difference. Our horses love this stuff and they find it all over our ranch. I try and harvest, dry, and jar as much of it as I can.
We also have our share of Dandelion, which is awesome to harvest and make treats as here in Minnesota they last until beginning of June than are gone. Each of the herbs has different medicinal properties and I purposely planted a few of them because of the needs our horses can benefit from. We dry them, and put them in mason jars to keep all year round to feed our horses, use in blends, and of course use ourselves in teas, cooking, tinctures, and skin salves. This is the BEST part of herb growing is harvesting and having them all year round! We also will purchase these herbs as they are harder for us to come by but are needed to make some of the blends the horses need for good health. Our one horse especially needs additional herbs as he suffers allergies. Let me tell you, our first year doing all natural herbs, he had NO coughing His eyes still will get gunk in them but once I give him the needed herbs in a day or two he is all cleared up. SO amazing! I just LOVE it!
10 Purchased Herbs needed for blends:
Comfrey –Symphytum officinale (don’t use more than 14 days) This is a herb I only use if my horse is dealing with diarrhea, cough,or bronchitis. But it has been a wonderful treatment for inflammation, arthritis wounds and bruises as well. This is an herb you need to be cautious of how much you give. I do use it in a blend so little is used.
Chamomile Flowers–matricaria chamomilla-theses little flowers are filled with medicinal purpose! High in phosphorus and calcium, they strengthen and regulate the parasympathetic nervous system. Chamomile is one of the gentlest sedatives, and it can be used in all cases of anxiety, sleep issues, and hyperactivity. In addition it can treat allergic reactions both externally and internally. I have the essential oil as well. Again having the oil helps to treat something more quickly than the herb.
Lemon Balm– making this into a tea you will only want to use 1/8 cup. I like to use it in blends more than individually. This herb helps with those tummy issues.
Peppermint (we had too much rain this year and our harvest didn’t make it) This is a herb that is often chosen first to treat colds and flu. It attacks and alleviates multiple symptoms at the same time. Wonderful for headaches for you and for horses it helps sooth muscles and congestion. This is one herb that I have as an oil to easily apply onto my horses and they love the smell. Essential Oil works faster into the body than dry herbs, one reason I keep this oil on hand. I use this herb often in tea blends as well.
Coltsfoot–Tussilago farfara- This herb is used primarily for coughing and to release mucus. For my one horse that suffers from this in the spring I will add this to his cough blend. I will only use it for 5 days in his feed unless I don’t see any change. It also can have anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and anti-catarrhal (eases inflammation of mucous membranes) properties and can be useful for respiratory tract disorders, particularly to relieve coughing.
Raspberry Leaf – (they adore this stuff plus the bunnies like it too) Rubus idaeus- The leaves of the common raspberry plant have been used for centuries as strong female tonic. They can help strengthen and tone the uterus to aid in fertility, pregnancy, and foaling. In additions to its strong uterine benefits, raspberry leaf is a good astringent herb, and can be used effectively in anything “loose” like wet cough, bleeding gums, or diarrhea. Give about a ½ cup for any thing containing these conditions.
Fenugreek Seeds–Triganella foenum-graecum– My horses love this stuff! I add it to most blends just because the flavor will make them eat up the blend. These little seeds help to strengthen the respiratory system, mucus membranes, and the sinus incase of upper respiratory infections. I will add about 2 tablespoons to my horses feed when any of the above issues arise and of course in my cough blend as well. This makes for a wonderful tea to pour over their feed. Those cold fall and winter mornings brings a little extra NAY!
Rose hip: Rose Hips are known to be a rich source of bioflavonoid, pectin, vitamin E, selenium, manganese, and B vitamins. It also contains trace amounts of mf magnesium, potassium, sulfur and silicon. Recently Roe Hips have become a popular natural treatment for arthritis. It is a wonderful ingredient in blends to help with colds and flu like symptoms for humans so they help the immune system in horses as well. This is a MUST have herb to keep on hand!
Echinacea–Echinacea pallida this herb has so many beneficial properties I don’t know where to begin. There has been cases of horse with strangles that symptoms reduced and began eating again. It has reduce the length of the common cold and boost the immune system. It is a natural pain reliever and simply put an herb you must have for you and your animals! So full of good stuff!
Cornsilk–Zie mays– the stringy white by product off corn is usually thrown away is a diuretic. It has long been used to treat chronic inflammation of the urinary tract and kidneys. Many use it as a tea to help bladder and kidney infections. There are so many others, but these are foundational for most of my blend recipes. I give them individually too as needed and for our herb basket that our ministry uses to help folks who come to our ranch understand natural living. Any of these herbs can be made into a tea. Blend a couple or make individually. Yarrow and Rose hips we make often individually and put into their feed. Especially on cold winter mornings.
Tea Time: Use ½ Cup of dried yarrow flowers, stems are fine too placed in a tea strainer. Using a quart mason jar, POUR boiling water OVER herbs to the bottom of the jars rim. Let steep for an hour. Pour over horses feed and mix. Save the herbs and give as a special treat. I will be blogging soon my favorite blends we use around the ranch.
Until next time enjoy blending and living healthy!
Love deeper, talk sweeter, Lee