37 Herbs &
Remedies For Fabulously
FREE Herbal Guide To Natural Animal Health
Brookby Herbs- 38 Spencer St, Remuera, Auckland 1050, New Zealand
Common Ailments for Horses
1. Horse allergies and hay-fever
2. Horses with arthritis can benefit from hawthorn
3. Useful herbs to combat colds and viruses
4. Best natural calmers for horses-herbs can be the perfect remedy
5. Relief for moody mares and PMS type symptoms
6. Immune boosting & hoof strengthening rosehips
7. Feeding the pregnant mare herbs - the last trimester
8. Herbal poultice for horses
9. Calming herbs for horses that are sensitive to the touch
10. Benefits of using rosemary for horses
11. Enhancing general horse appetite
12. Delicious smelling lavender for naturally happy horses
13. Growing herbal leys for healthy animals
Common Herbal Ailments For Dogs
1. Arthritis in Dogs
2. Calming herbs for your dogs’ summer travels
3. Could your dogs’ diet be contributing to poor health problems
4. Is your dog itchy?
5. Kennel cough and common winter health problems
6. Separation anxiety in dogs-natural calming herbs can help
7. Natural solutions for annoying fleas and irritating insects
8. Some frequently asked questions about herbs
9. Herbal guide for fabulous animal health
11. Herbs to avoid during pregnancy
12. Herbal remedies
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Common Ailments for Horses
Horse Allergies and Hay-Fever
Does your horse suffer from allergies and hay-fever like symptoms? Spring and summer can certainly be the time of year when such unpleasant problems can make themselves known. Just like humans, horses can suffer the horrible effects of hay-fever but luckily there are some wonderful herbs available to ease the discomfort.
Hay-fever in horses can often manifest as a recurrent cold like symptom with coughing and streaming eyes. It can be like a constant recurrent cold which your horse never seems to fully recover from. The lungs can become inflamed and your horse can be more susceptible to infections. Head shaking is another possible symptom. He may be tired and lethargic and generally seem quite miserable.
There are different causes to allergic respiratory problems. There are moulds, spores and weeds which can be found in hay or even in the pastures during spring and summer. The body can become sensitive to these elements and cause an allergic reaction. When feeding hay it is wise to wet the hay so you are decreasing the dust element.
Your vet will be able to possibly find the cause using a procedure that looks at the fluid and cells in the horse's lungs to see how bad the allergy is. There is also a blood test that can determine what 'in fact your horse is allergic to which in turn will make it a lot easier to treat.
From an herbal perspective the horse’s immune system is usually seen to be quite low. You therefore can start treatment by boosting the immune system early in the season. Herbs such as Echinacea, Garlic. Rosehips and Kelp are all great general immune boosting herbs. Echinacea and Garlic will also be helpful for fighting any infection that may be developing.
Natural expectorants can help soothe a cough and clear the passages, making breathing easier for your horse. . Herbs such as Mullein and Marshmallow are 2 such herbs. Vitamins found in herbs can help restore damaged tissues and build up the immune system also.
Natural antihistamines have an important part to play when it comes to allergies. Horseradish is a lovely effective herb and can help reduce streaming eyes and some of the uncomfortable symptoms. Also calming down an over reactive nervous system with herbs such as chamomile is a great way to go.
It is most effective to start addressing allergy problems well before the season begins. If you work on building the immune system early then being prepared with your herbal toolkit then you will find it possible to make a real difference in your horses’ life.
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Horses with Arthritis can Benefit from Eating Hawthorn
Horses with arthritis can benefit greatly from eating Hawthorn, both the tops of the plant and the berries. Its proper botanical name is Crataegus monogyna & Crataegus oxyacantha and it is considered an extremely valuable medicinal herb.
Hawthorn berries are used extensively as a cardiac tonic and for increasing circulation which is very important for horses with arthritis. The leaves and flowers are used for the same purpose and it was known in the middle Ages as a symbol of hope and taken for many ailments.
Western herbalists consider it to be a “food for the heart” increasing blood flow to the heart muscles and restoring normal heartbeat. It is a wonderful herb for the elderly senior horse helping with circulation and strengthening the heart.
Hawthorn is also used for joint remedies for horses with arthritis as it increases circulation and is great for helping rid the body of toxins which can build up in the joints. It is considered an astringent, antispasmodic, cardiac, diuretic, sedative and tonic.
Hawthorn is also very useful in horses that have navicular syndrome as it dilates the blood vessels. Often you can see horses with navicular or laminitis nibbling on the new leaves of Hawthorn bushes if they are so lucky to have easy access.
Hawthorns are normally planted as a hedge and are perfect for creating a hedgerow containing other edible herbs for horses. The sharp thorns protect the edible herbs from being completely eaten to the ground by voracious horses but allow them to nibble any tasty morsels within their reach.
Hawthorn is in fact considered a noxious weed in Victoria and South Australia and is native to Europe, North Africa and West Asia. Hawthorn is very common throughout Victoria, south east New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia where there is moderate to high rainfall.
Hawthorn has been relatively well researched and its main medicinal benefit is due to its bioflavonoid content. The active constituents relax and dilate the arteries, especially the coronary arteries. This then increases the flow of blood to the heart.
Hawthorn is also considered to be highly antioxidant, which in turn helps reduce degeneration of the blood vessels. It is used today for angina and irregular heartbeat but also requires a few months to produce noticeable results. Like many herbs, hawthorn works in tune with the body which requires time for change to occur.
Not only is this herb used for high blood pressure but it also raises low blood pressure and herbalists have found it can restore blood pressure to normal. Combined with Ginkgo it is used to improve memory by improving circulation to the head and oxygen to the brain.
The 2 species of Hawthorn are very similar, differing mainly in the number of seeds per fruit. They are erect shrubs or small trees around 4-6 metres though can grow up to 9 metres. There are many spreading branches with thorns and triangular to ovate leaves. Flowers are white and appear in clusters with a sweet scent. Hawthorns have bright red berries in autumn but with a mild flavour.
Flowering tops (leaves and flowers) are harvested in late spring and the berries are gathered in late summer and early autumn. The optimum time for harvesting the tops is only about a week so you need to be vigilant to get the correct time. The flowers should be mostly open but not yet fading.
You will need gloves when harvesting the berries. They should be harvested once they turn red. At this stage their level of active constituents is highest and the berries are less likely to be damaged as they are firmer at this stage. Strip the berries into a basket with gloved hands .The berries will need good drying conditions.
Hawthorn leaf and flowers dry quite easily but should be dried quickly in order to retain good colour. This can then be used as a tea or infusion or you can steep the berries and feed to your elderly horses. A wonderful herb for maintaining a healthy older horse with arthritis or when competing on a regular basis.
Devil's Claw (root)
White Willow (bark)
Meadow Sweet (herb)
Nettles (aerial parts)
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Useful Herbs to Combat Colds and Viruses
Autumn and winter can be a miserable time when there are colds and viruses circulating freely amongst our horses. Herbs can be a wonderful natural remedy for such situations and prevention is a great place to start. If we remember that most modern medicine originated from herbal medicine we know we are in good hands.
There are four different categories of herbs that are commonly utilised to help combat the common cold and we will discuss the different herbs as we go. To start with prevention we must first look at boosting the immune system so it is better able to fight off any bugs.
Herbs such as
Rosehips which contain vitamin C are wonderful for overall health and they are
said to improve strength in the hooves as well. Kelp is another general herb
which is brilliant for its natural composition of vitamins and minerals. It is
stacked full of goodness and can easily be added to your horses daily feed.
Herbs that directly stimulate the immune system to fight the infection are used during and possibly even to prevent colds when given prior to the obvious signs of illness. Echinacea and Asian ginseng are two examples in this category. They are ideally given at this time of year when you know bugs are circulating and the herbs can quietly be working before the bugs start flying.
Herbs that promote a mild fever, hence sweating (known as diaphoretics) may be useful when horses have colds and viruses as this helps fight the infection. Because a fever is a sign of the immune system working, it may be that diaphoretics are also immune stimulators like the first category. Elder, boneset and yarrow are three examples.
The third category of
helpful herbs includes herbs that may directly kill the viruses that cause
colds, based on test tube studies. Goldenseal, myrrh and usnea are examples. These
herbs have been shown to work directly on viruses so can also be helpful when
your horse is unwell.
Finally, some herbs are used just to alleviate symptoms such as sore throats. These herbs tend to be high in mucilage and are soothing and anti-inflammatory or have tannins that are astringent. Marshmallow and mullein are two examples. Symptom-relieving herbs may have other active constituents and mechanisms of actions. As you can see in the following list, many herbs fit in more than one category, such as goldenseal (immune stimulating and antiviral).
Asian ginseng, astragalus, boneset, Echinacea, eleuthero, goldenseal, hyssop, linden, schisandra, wild indigo.
Boneset, elder flower, hyssop, linden, yarrow.
Symptom-relieving Astringent (soothe sore throat):
Blackberry, blueberry, red raspberry.
Mucilage (soothe sore
Reduce nasal stuffiness:
Relieve aches and pains:
Miscellaneous sore throat relief:
Therefore when it comes to helping your horses through autumn and winter this year, think about the wonderful array of possibilities in natures medicine chest. The results can be very fast and very satisfying as you know you are feeding natural goodness to your horses.
Marshmallow (root& leaves)
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Best Natural Calmers for Horses
If you have been looking for the best horse calmers out there on the market these days, then have you considered the natural alternative? Mother Nature has provided the most wonderful array of healthy calming herbs that are perfect for calming a stressed or excitable horse.
When you consider what is the best horse calmer for your particular horse, it is important to consider what is in fact causing the behaviour in the first place. If you know what is causing the problem then you are in a much better position to help.
First you want to eliminate the possibility that there is an injury or pain which could be causing erratic behaviour. If your horse has a sore back or pinched nerve then bad behaviour can be the result. Just like humans, pain can cause an upset and it is important to rule this out.
Diet is of course another possibility when it comes to excitable behaviour. Too much grass and the wrong feed can cause problems so be aware of what your horse is eating.
Today’s horses have to cope with a number of stressful situations. Competitions and moving properties can all cause stress. This can have an effect on horses’ happiness and health but herbs can help your horse adjust quite nicely.
Where-as humans might reach in the cupboard for a cup of Chamomile tea or a rescue remedy to calm the nerves or boost the immune system, a horse can also benefit from natural remedies. Supplementing a horses’ diet with calming herbs can be an important part of good animal health; Herbs are a natural way of improving your animals’ sense of enjoyment in life and they are packed with essential vitamins and minerals for a balanced nervous system and can make a big difference to how your horse responds to exciting or different stimuli.
Horses that are hyperactive or anxious can often have an unbalanced nervous system. This can have an effect on the skin, behaviour and digestion. Herbs such as Chamomile, Scullcap and Vervain, can help soothe the nervous system; These herbs reduce the anxiety or excitability that your horse may be experiencing and can also work by relaxing the muscles and the gut without causing the drowsy state that conventional sedatives can induce”.
One of the advantages of using herbal supplements is that they allow for early intervention before clinical signs become severe. Medicinal herbs are a time honored tradition and when used in conjunction with modern science have proven to be extremely beneficial to our four legged friends.
Relief for Moody Mares and PMS Type Symptoms
Have you ever wondered what nature has in its medicine chest for moody mares? Often when we look at our mares that present with “mareish” behaviour we don’t immediately relate it to the human symptoms of pre-menstrual tension, but in fact it is very similar.
Just like humans, mares can suffer from hormonal issues which can cause very unpleasant behaviour. In fact it can be quite dangerous if not well managed. Squealing, biting, kicking and general moodiness on a cyclic basis is a possible sign that your mare is suffering from hormonal issues.
Again just like people the symptoms can be quite painful and cause your moody mare to be quite upset. PMS affects an estimated 30-50 per cent of women in their childbearing years and who knows how many of our horses. The symptoms appear approximately two weeks before the menstrual period begins but luckily nature has provided some wonderful herbs designed to help regulate the hormones and can help reduce a lot of the pain and anxiety associated with this condition.
Chaste Tree is an herb that has been well studied and research has found it to be very effective in the treatment of hormonal issues. Although it is still unclear what exactly causes the hormonal issues, fluctuations seem to be what causes the unpleasant symptoms. It is therefore thought that by regulating the hormones you can help relieve the symptoms.
It has been shown that by taking Chaste tree over a period of months you can help regulate the hormones in your mare and help ease the nasty cramps and irritable moodiness. Chaste tree is said to imitate estrogens and progesterone because of its phyto-hormonal actions and a German study found chaste tree to be more effective than Vitamin B6 for PMS .
Other herbs that can be really useful for aggressive hormonal mares are Chamomile and Vervain which are relaxing herbs that will ease away stomach cramps that are making your horse oversensitive to the touch. Chamomile will soothe the nerves and help with general discomfort. All these herbs can be fed in a dried form or you can find them in a more concentrated liquid form.
Chamomile is a safe, gentle and effective digestive tonic plus a mild sedative, which eases griping pains. Traditionally used to calm tension and stress. It is also said to be an effective painkiller and anti-inflammatory for arthritis, rheumatism and general aches and pains. Chamomile contains potassium for general healing.
Chamomile is one of the most highly researched herbs and probably the first herb to reach for in the case of mild stomach upsets caused by nervousness or hyperactivity. Chamomile serves to ease any nervous spasms in the digestive tract and helps to expel gas and improve digestion.
Be patient when using herbs to treat your horses. It is not a quick fix but an effective, natural fix. Allow a good few months to see a difference in your mare. Also know that you are utilising the power of Mother Nature when feeding herbs to your horses, without the side effects of synthetic medicines. Bring tranquillity to your mare today with wonderful healing herbs. Bring tranquillity to your mare today with wonderful healing herbs.
Immune Boosting & Hoof Strengthening
Rosehips- The brilliant anti-oxidant food for horses.
Rosa Canina- Dog Rose
Dog Rose is native to Europe and is considered a weed in parts of Australia which is unfortunate as it has such wonderful health giving properties for both ourselves and our horses.
The hips of the dog rose were a popular sweetmeat in the Middle Ages. The term sweetmeats usually refer to candy or sweet confections. Doctors in the Middle Ages often concealed bitter medicine in candy form, so that it was more palatable to patients. However, many patients believed that medicine wasn’t working unless it tasted awful.
Description: Climbing perennial growing up to 3 metres. Has pink and white flowers with curved thorns and scarlet fruit called (“hips”).
GROWING- In Australia Sweet Briar is the more widespread rose and Dog Rose is found in more scattered and older settlements. Dog rose is used for medicinal purposes and when mature the petals will fall off leaving the hip to be harvested. The hips are ready for harvesting as soon as they have attained full colour. They can be harvested from around mid-March to late May. The hips need to be dried quickly and at quite high temperatures.
Constituents: Rosehips contain vitamin C, A, B 1, B 2, B 3 and K, flavonoids, tannins, invert sugar, pectin, plant acids, polyphenols, carotenoids, volatile oil and vanillin.
Uses: Rosehips are a fabulous herb or fruit for ensuring great health for both horses and humans. Because of the Rosehips anti-oxidant properties they are a brilliant food for maintaining good health. Research has shown that antioxidants protect the body against certain diseases such as cancer, arthritis and cardiovascular diseases.
Antioxidants can protect against free radical cells which can damage tissues and are implicated in causing many diseases. Excessive free radicals are caused by poor nutrition, stress and damaged tissues. Infections will lower your horses’ vitamin c levels and this can also inhibit the growth and repair of cartilage and bone tissue if it is constantly deficient.
Rosehips have an important role to play in neutralising free radicals therefore they are a wonderful food for keeping your horse healthy and in peak condition. Research has established Rosehips as the highest source of flavonoids and biotin which is great for strengthening horses’ hooves as well.
Naturally occurring vitamin C has been found to be far more readily absorbed than artificial vitamin c; therefore the benefits of feeding rosehips to horses should be an obvious choice.
Rosehips are a great source of Iron and can be used to rehabilitate weak kidneys .They are also a good tonic for liver based ailments and can help build a barrier against infection.
Rosehips can be made into a tea by mixing 2 dessertspoons of granules into 1 litre of boiling water and steeped until cool. This tea is then poured over your horses feed. For those of you who don’t have time to make your own tea then Brookby Herbs have a Rosehip and Garlic tonic in cider vinegar already made up for you and available through selected stockists.
Feeding the Pregnant Mare Herbs - The Last Trimester
As well as a nutritionally balanced diet supplying the protein, minerals and vitamins required in the last trimester, there are a number of herbs that can benefit the pregnant mare, however care must be taken when feeding supplements of any kind to the pregnant mare.
Once in foal, there are very few herbs which are safe and generally these are only recommended for use in the last 75 days. For example, raspberry leaves are considered the ultimate pregnancy herb, as they help strengthen and tone the uterus and aid with delivery when fed in the last 45 days of pregnancy. The leaves contain an alkaloid known as fragerine, which relaxes and strengthens the uterine muscles, tones the pelvic muscles and assists with contractions during the foaling. Raspberry leaf may also help prevent miscarriage and haemorrhage.
Small amounts of garlic cleanse the blood and combat infection, although it is recommended to cease feeding within 30 days of delivery as it may flavour the milk!
Blessed thistle and fennel seed will help with milk production. Boiling barley with fennel seed and feeding to the mare during the last three weeks of pregnancy will greatly improve the quality and quantity of her milk. Fenugreek seed is also very enriching and will aid in milk quality as well.
There are also many ‘mixes’ available on the market designed to aid the mare in the final months of pregnancy that contain ingredients such as Nettle, Red Raspberry Leaves, Chamomile, and Rosehips, however it is recommended that a herbalist be consulted before using.
Herbs that may be considered a muscle relaxant or stimulant should be avoided - Devil’s claw, rosemary, thyme and wormwood are among a list of many herbs that could negatively impact the pregnancy. Despite being recommended for many female purposes, Black Cohosh, Blue Cohosh, Motherwort and Yarrow are also some of the many herbs that should be avoided in the pregnant mare.
To be sure, consult an expert before giving any herbs to a pregnant mare, as even the ‘safe to use’ herbs have particular dosage rates and more is not always better.
Herbal Poultice for Horses
A poultice for horses is nothing more sophisticated than a soft object such as bread, clay or soft cloth, which is moistened and applied to an area for the purpose of healing. An herbal poultice for horses adds a specific mixture of herbs to the object to contribute to the healing process. Typically the herbs used are ones that are thought to have healing properties. A poultice is a type of remedy can be used on people or on animals and will offer the same relief.