I really don’t like writing grants. For the most part, they require SO much info I often am just overwhelmed with it all. But, in ministry, it is one thing we have to continue to do or at least try.
Last year I was knee deep in the dirt in my home. Not from not cleaning, but from filling little eggshells and growing pots full of seedlings. At the same time, I was writing a grant from our local Essential Health organization, St. Joseph’s Foundation: Planting, writing, planting, watering, horse chores, and more writing. In the process, I thought of the perfect project. An herb garden!
Hence not just for us, but for our horses. I have always wanted to create a place where the horses could graze freely with natural herbs. Herbs that I know they would each benefit from. Bokoda deals with allergies’ and now and then runny stools. Nugget will occasionally need something for a runny nose. Nugget is really healthy but it’s always good to have things for him to choose.
Therefore I got busy planning out what herbs would be great for them. Again, knee deep in dirt, I started planting seedlings of Yarrow, Meadowsweet, Calendula, Lavender, Valerian, and Marshmallow. I added Echinacea Purpurea later and of course the herbs of parsley, thyme, basil, and oregano.
We also had many herbs natural to our environment. In May, we got the grant! I was ecstatic! As a result, we now had the freedom to develop this new project which we named, “Thyme Out” Pasture and we could really see if it would help our animals health and ours.
Fancy that…it did! We began using the herbs in teas, tinctures, and syrups, plus all the salves for injuries and bug bites and we were OVERWHELMED at the results! Bokoda had NO coughing.
If Bokoda would show signs of a runny nose or stools, I would give him his regimen of immune boost herb blend and he was showing wellness in just a couple of days. We replaced all treats to just herbs and apples, and homegrown carrots, parsley, and thyme.
Some herbs were wild around the ranch.
It became such a wonderful teaching tool in our sessions. As they would help water, or weed we would talk about the herbs and how they help us in our illnesses. In the sessions at times, they would bring a horse to the pasture and see for themselves what the horse was needing that day. How they would walk by some and devour others.
One day we had a group of guys from our local
Teen Challenge for a session. We had the guys in the round pen with the horses holding one or two jars of herbs. Each jar was labeled with the name of the herb and its properties.
If the horse came to them, they would share what the herb is and what it was good for. At the same time, everyone was learning and observing if the horse would choose or would walk away and choose another.
It was fascinating for all of us!
Do you know what is really awesome about doing this project?
1) We were able to let families that came for sessions who were in need, pick herbs or veggies to bring home.
2) We could make many tinctures and salves using the herbs to help all year round, especially right now in the days of below zero temps and confinement to the indoors where germs grow.
3) Our vet bills were down
4) Our health is better as well as no trips to the doctor. The herbs in teas have helped along with the essential oils.
5) We have gained a TON of knowledge and look forward to continuing our learning.
6) Our bunnies and horses enjoy the herbs all year round. How nice they can have fresh parsley, carrots, plus all those other herbs throughout the winter months.
7) We are able to enjoy veggies as well by a wonderful harvest and canning.
8) We have been able to share the teas and our love for this project to others hoping they too will start growing more herbs and begin to change their health habits to more natural living.
Most of all, we are thankful to St Joseph’s Foundationfor allowing us to try something new and giving us a chance to make a difference in our ranch as well as the community.
Amazing! I hope you will try it this Spring. Start now! Plant those seeds in your home and get them strong!
I did create on scratch paper a garden plan. Knowing where to plant certain seeds. This helps you get an idea what will grow well where.
Here is my favorite source for seeds: LOVE LOVE the flower collection. I say…begin planning NOW!
God’s blessings in living a simpler life.
Love deeper, talk sweeter,
***These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The herbs are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
As you all can tell, we like to do things naturally around our ranch. So feeding our horses sugar treats is just not gonna happen!
We have 10 favorite herbs we love to mix into blends for their everyday needs as well as they make wonderful treats for them as well.
You can create a recipe file to keep at your barn and make it easy to order as well. When you click on the Star West Botanicals link on this blog you can place your order and you will be HELPING US reach kids in need. We use our horses to help kids, families, trafficked girls, and veterans.
Your orders from this blog help more than you and your family, it helps others too!
It’s exciting that these 10 we were able to grow ourselves or grow naturally around the ranch.
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, This flower is so beautiful! The deep orange and yellow petals 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 an 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
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 clotting like way as it absorbed the blood and stopped it quick. Love this herb. It is known for its restorative properties and can assist in the healing of scars, acne, dermatitis stretch 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 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 these 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.-Valerian 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.
Naturally growing in the pasture:
Yarrowis 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 helps prevent urinary tract problems caused by standing around install 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 know of 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 coat healthy. You can add about a ½ cup to your horses daily feed.
Plantain, You may have this growing in your back yard. We do, by the wagon full! This herb has been known to heal headaches, and rubbed in your hands and put on bee stings, bug bites, scrapes, or rashes will help ease the pain and pull out the toxins. It is one amazing anti-inflammatory and antihemorrhagic. I keep a gallonMason jar FULL of dried Plantain as it is most of my horse’s blends and is a great herb to give them often.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 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 don’t last long.
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 jars to keep all year round to feed our horses, used in blends, and of course use ourselves in teas, cooking, tinctures, and skin salves. This is the BEST part of herb growing and harvesting, 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 some 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, 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. Just planted in 2018 in our “thyme out ” pasture. So easy to grow!
ChamomileFlowers-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 soothe muscles and congestion. This is one herb that I have as oil to easily apply to 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.
ColtsfootRaspberry 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 a strong female tonic. They can help strengthen and tone the uterus to aid infertility, pregnancy, and foaling. In additions to is 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 anything 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 it up the blend. These little seeds help to strengthen the respiratory system, mucous membranes, and the sinus in case 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 bring 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 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– This herb is one you need to keep on hand! It is full of medicinal purposes. Here is a link for you to read ALL the wonderful benefits!Corn silk –Zie mays- the stringy white by-product of 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. WHO KNEW that instead of throwing your corn stalks silk away you keep it and dry it and make a tea! How AWESOME!
A video for youYouTube Video of me feeding some herbs on a chilly afternoon.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 Rosehip we make often individually and put into their feed. Especially on cold winter mornings.
Our boys love TEA TIME
Tea Time: Purchase HereUse 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 rim of the jar. Let steep for an hour. Pour over horses feed and mix. I have been asked about the fed I use for my horses and especially the RESPIRE mix for his allergies. Here is that link and Jessica is awesome! Call her and ask questions. She is always open to help!
With each blend once mixed, you just give a handful to each horse for a few days or until your mix is gone. I make enough for a week for our boys.
2 Cups Plantain
2 Cups of Comfrey
2 Cups Marshmallow
½ Cup Chamomile Flowers
½ Cup Marjoram (essential oil is a wonderful oil to have on hand)
½ Cup Peppermint(essential oil, must have around the ranch)
Mix the blend and place in bag. I also will make this into a tea and place wet herbs on wound wrapping it in a cloth. You can make a salve with this as well.
Whether you have large yard space, a small four-foot by four-foot plot, or a windowsill, you can grow a healing garden for your animal(s). Some animal experts have asserted that pets intuitively eat plants according to their specific medicinal value. Many of these plants are simple and inexpensive to grow yourself.
For an outdoor garden, the burdock herb is an ideal plant. Known for its ability to treat allergies and digestive and kidney issues, the burdock is a traditional medicinal plant used worldwide. A rich soil works best, but be careful to not let this plant grow too large, for it will take over your entire garden when given the opportunity.
Milk thistle, good for liver disorders, is low on demands. It can be grown in wet or dry soil, and in a sunny or partly sunny location. However, remove the flowering heads to prevent it from becoming too weedy.
Peppermint is another easy-to-grow herb. Go to the store, buy the plant, and place it in rich, moist soil — that’s it. Your pet will find the leaves of the peppermint herb, which does well in both sun and shade, useful for indigestion and nausea. Just don’t forget to cut the springs back regularly to encourage healthy growth.
The Astragalus herb is useful for lowering blood pressure, decreasing blood sugar, improving digestion, and promoting healing. The Astragalus seeds need to be scratched before planting in sandy soil.