Herbs for Warmth! March 15 2019, 0 Comments
Shake off those wintertime woes and get ready for spring with some warming herbs for your best four-legged friends at the barn. These herbs provide immune support during the cold and wet months of winter and spring and can encourage picky eaters to finish their dinner.
Warming herbs - say what?
The concept of “warming” and “cooling” herbs is rooted in eastern medicine and is often referred to as herbal energetics. The basic idea is that certain warming herbs can actually increase blood circulation by opening up capillaries and bringing blood flow to the surface of the skin and your extremities. Also, these herbs typically provide immune, digestive, and blood sugar support. Both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine recommend consuming warming herbs in colder weather.
Here is a list some of my favorite warming herbs:
Yarrow: Yarrow is a popular herb used in sweat lodges for its ability to encourage sweating and heat production. Yarrow’s flower is also known to support immune response. Add dried Yarrow leaves and flowers to your horse’s evening mash to keep him cozy and healthy. You can also add dried yarrow leaves to an open wound to help stop bleeding.
Ginger: Ginger is well known for offering digestive support, but did you know it can also be a great help for older horses experiencing joint pain? Help your older pasture buddies avoid getting too stiff by adding some ginger to his feed. Peel and boil some fresh ginger for a nice tincture you can add to his bucket.
Hawthorne: Feed the highly palatable berries or the flowering tops to help increase circulation in the heart and assist with ailing joints. This is a popular herb to feed for horses with laminitis or navicular syndrome as it increases circulation to the feet. Hawthorne is also very rich in flavonoids and can be a great source of anti-inflammatory antioxidants.
Cinnamon: Another pantry staple, make sure to use Ceylon cinnamon instead of Cassia, as Cassia has been shown to cause kidney, liver and lung damage in humans when taken in large quantities. Cinnamon increases circulation by relaxing the blood vessels to increase blood flow. Not only do horses find it highly palatable, it also offers a whole host of other healthful properties, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and insecticidal benefits.
Happy warm herb hunting!
This is a re-print from the Herb Blurb Column I am writing in Equine Wellness Magazine, one of the largest publications in North America focused on natural and alternative therapies for horses. https://equinewellnessmagazine.com/