Natural Medicine for Horses: Treating Equine Anxiety, Pain & More
The use of natural medicine for horses has become increasingly popular in recent years.
From herbal remedies and nutritional supplements to CBD oil, acupuncture, aromatherapy, and massage – there are numerous potential treatments available for providing relief from the likes of stress, anxiety, gastrointestinal discomfort, inflammation, skin irritation, and painful conditions like laminitis and desmitis.
This article explores the various conditions your horse may experience over their lifetime and provides ideas for natural options like specific herbs for specific issues, or broad-acting natural alternatives like CBD oil for horses that can provide more comprehensive support.
Anxiety and Stress Relief
Integrated medicine veterinarians have long suggested a natural approach for relieving anxiety and stress in animals.
Horses, just like humans, experience these conditions. And as is the case for humans, there are several natural medicines available to help your horse relieve everyday stress and anxiety.
Veterinarians recommend herbals supplement to improve equine health and provide relief from anxiety symptoms.
Some of the more popular and safest herbs suggested for horses include chamomile, valerian root, lavender, lemon balm, ashwagandha root, and St John’s Wort. These herbals are known for their natural calming, sedative, and anxiolytic properties.
Some of them, like chamomile, lavender and lemon balm, can be part of a daily aromatherapy treatment. Breathing these aromatic herbs helps to calm nervousness and jitters.
CBD oil is another popular option for treating equine anxiety. Cannabidiol, the most prevalent ingredient found in most CBD oils, has been shown to reduce stress-inducing cortisol levels and positively interacts with your horse’s endocannabinoid system to relieve anxiousness.
Gastrointestinal Discomfort & Gastric Ulcers
Gastrointestinal discomfort and gastric ulcers are common ailments that afflict horses. They can be uncomfortable and lead to other symptoms such as colic or poor diet.
Horse owners have used natural remedies like herbs for centuries to soothe and improve gastrointestinal troubles. Modern medicine has confirmed their benefits.
Many herbs and CBD oils possess anti-inflammatory and gastric protective effects.
If your horse is experiencing discomfort, you can try blending chamomile tea with their water to help reduce inflammation in the stomach lining and intestines and relax muscles in the digestive tract. Like chamomile, slippery elm is another excellent herb.
It has been used historically by Native Americans for treating gastrointestinal issues. Slippery elm coats and soothes irritated mucous membranes throughout the digestive system.
Marshmallow root is another effective natural treatment that can be mixed with your horse’s water. The root contains a compound called mucilage that absorbs water in the stomach and creates a protective layer over mucous membranes.
Herbal remedies for gastrointestinal distress and gastric ulcers may be a first-line alternative to powerful chemical compounds that can help your horse to feel better by reducing inflammation and improving digestion.
Inflammation and Pain
Horses, especially very active and older animals, can experience pain caused from a variety of conditions. From injured ligaments to torn muscles, natural medicine may be helpful for improving your horse’s quality of life following an injury.
Horses suffering from joint related aches and pains may find benefit from the age-old remedy known as turmeric.
It is known for its incredibly effective anti-inflammatory benefits in both, humans and horses, and is an excellent starting point to help relieve joint pain. It also helps to soothe the digestive system and inflammation in muscles or ligaments.
Topical herbal medicines comprised of Arnica may be of great benefit to horses that may be hurting because of its analgesic (pain relieving) and anti-inflammatory properties.
CBD oil and CBG oil may help reduce inflammation when taken orally. These hemp-derived cannabinoids have been shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties that may lead to pain relief.
Laminitis and Desmitis
Laminitis is an agonizing affliction that can befall horses of any age or breed. It is caused by inflammation in the laminae – small structures located between the hoof wall and the coffin bone.
Desmitis is common affliction in equines that leads to redness and soreness of ligaments, tendons, and other connective tissues. It may be caused by an injury or disease and can lead to pain, lameness, decreased performance, and even disability.
While natural medicines may not be a cure for desmitis, they may provide some relief for your ailing horse.
Equine therapists have found that acupuncture is a successful natural remedy for horses with chronic laminitis by helping to boost circulation throughout the body through stimulation of certain points along energy pathways known as meridians.
Massage may also be beneficial on target points to help relieve pain.
The pain-relieving herbs mentioned above are also suggested for horses experiencing laminitis or desmitis.
Itchy skin and other skin conditions are very common in horses. They can be difficult to properly identify and treat.
Fortunately, there are a number of natural medicines available for horses with skin itchiness or other skin issues.
Herbal remedies, such as chamomile, calendula, echinacea, and yarrow can help alleviate the itching associated with many skin conditions. Ideally, you’ll want to apply these herbs topically in a cream or balm.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to improve coat health and reduce itching in some cases.
CBD oil has anti-inflammatory properties which may help reduce swelling associated with certain types of itchy skin issues.
You can take a combination therapy approach with your horse, but it is recommended that you first try each medicine individually to see how it affects your equine. If you find several that work individually, try combining them for a synergistic approach to relieve your horse’s itchy skin.
Natural medicines like herbs, aromatherapy, CBD oil, acupuncture, and massage can be effective ways to treat common ailments and conditions without the use of harsh chemicals or serious side effects.
Speak with your horse’s veterinarian before giving them any new medicine, especially if they are experiencing a serious condition related to anxiety, pain, inflammation, or gastrointestinal discomfort.
With so many natural alternatives available, you can likely find an effective therapeutic approach for your horse’s ailments.
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