Horse herbs: Winter edition
The Natural Way - specialized in itching and skin complaints and the natural treatment of horses with sweet itch, mud fever and CPL.
Offering herbs as a variation in the diet or as a healthy snack... It is hip, but has actually been the staple food for horses for thousands of years. If this plant knowledge is used wisely, you can spoil your horse with a tasty enrichment to his or her ration. Based on her many years of passion as a herbalist, Laura Cleirens from The Natural Way provides an overview of plants that you can pick and feed to your horse in the spring - safely and in moderation.
In this article we take a closer look at the plants that you can pick for your horse during autumn and winter , their effect and application and additional tips.
Freshly pruned willow branches © The Natural Way
- How many herbs can a horse eat daily?
- Overview of safe and edible plants for horses - Winter
- Chickweed (Stellaria media)
- Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica)
- Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
- Cleaver (Galium aparine)
- Daisy (Bellis perennis)
- Narrow plantain (Plantago lanceolata)
- Greater plantain (Plantago major)
- Shepherd's purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)
- Hairy fireweed (Epilobium hirsutum)
How many herbs can a horse eat daily?
All the herbs in this article are safe and suitable for feeding your horse as a variation, both to support complaints and to keep your horse in good health. Select some herbs, pick them fresh in a clean environment and feed 1 handful per day (50-100gr.), dry them to use in the winter months or buy them dried and stick to the recommended amount stated on the packaging.
Overview of safe and edible plants for horses - Winter
Chickweed (Stellaria media)
Chickweed can be found in nature almost all year round, so if you are lucky, also on or around your pasture. When it blooms you can recognize it by the tiny white flowers.
Chickweed has an anti-inflammatory and strengthening effect, soothes itching and has a diuretic effect. It supports immunity and works against inflammation. Ideal for horses that suffer from sweet itch, mud fever, CPL, etc.
Pick throughout the year and offer fresh.
Contains vitamin C, saponins, silicon, potassium, magnesium and more.
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica)
Nettle is a fantastic but underrated plant for use in horses. You can cut these off at the edge of your pasture and let them dry on the pasture for a few hours. As soon as the injection is removed, your horse will eat it automatically. An ideal and healthy snack for a change! You can also dry these so that you have a winter supply.
This plant has a blood and lymph purifying, deacidifying and detoxifying effect. It boosts your horse's immunity/resistance.
Nettles are an ideal addition to the ration if your horse suffers from sweet itch, mud fever and other complaints. They are good for the skin, urinary tract, digestion, allergies, rheumatic and joint complaints and support general well-being.
Nettles are a source of vitamins: A, B, C, D, E and K, tannins, formic acid, flavanoids, minerals: calcium, potassium, sodium, iron, silicon and bitter substances, histamine, acetylcholine and more.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Yarrow is an herb with an immunity-strengthening and blood-purifying effect and it has a positive effect on digestion and stomach function.
Yarrow contains essential oils, vitamins B1 and B2, flavonoids, tannins, alkaloids, phenolic acids, calcium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus and more.
You can offer yarrow fresh or dried.
NOTE: Do not use during pregnancy!
Cleaver (Galium aparine)
Cleaver is the perfect support for horses that suffer from sweet itch and chronic progressive lymphedema (CPL).
This herb not only sticks to your clothing or animal fur, it also removes waste products from your horse's body. In addition, it helps with inflammation, tissue repair and itching and has a blood purifying effect.
Contains flavonoids, coumarin, organic acids, bitter iridoids and more.
Daisy (Bellis perennis)
Daisies are not liked by all horses, but they have a very good blood purifying effect, help restore intestinal flora after a course of antibiotics, have a good effect on the skin and have a strengthening effect.
Narrow plantain (Plantago lanceolata)
Narrow plantain is a real horse plant that you can safely feed - but always in moderation. It is a very common wild plant of approximately 20 cm to 50 cm that can be found in practically every grass verge and is an asset to your horse pasture. You can recognize this plant by the lance-shaped leaves that grow in a rosette shape and form small white flowers around the spike.
Plantain is a natural antibiotic and a source of vitamins C and K, iron, zinc, calcium, copper and silicon and is also very medicinal.
You can offer this plant as support for the following complaints:
- Lungs and respiratory tract: dry cough, bronchitis, phlegm, infections, COPD, asthma and allergies.
- Wound healing: blood cleansing and blood-clotting and can be used as a dressing for scratches, cuts, bite wounds and open wounds.
- Skin, coat and hooves: sweet itch, laminitis, rough skin, wounds and scabs.
- Digestion: inflammation, intestinal and stomach ulcers.
- Urinary tract: positive influence on bladder and kidneys.
Great plantain (Plantago major)
See Narrow plantain.
Shepherd's purse (Capsella bursa pastoris)
Shepherd's purse can be recognized by the heart-shaped bags that she proudly carries with her. It is a strengthening plant with a blood and urine purifying effect. Has hormone regulating properties.
Contains tannins, saponin, vitamins B, C and K, and minerals such as potassium, calcium, sodium, zinc, silicon and iron.
Hairy fireweed (Epilobium hirsutum)
Flowering time: +- June to September, but can be found from February onwards.
The hairy fireweed is just one of the common fireweeds. This one likes to stay around ditches and banks.
Fireweeds have an analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect and are beneficial for wounds, skin infections and waterway complaints.
The leaves contain a lot of vitamin C, tannins, mucilages, etc.
Curious about which herbs bloom in spring? Click here.
Disclaimer: Caution and common sense are always advised. This article is not intended as nor does it replace medical advice. The author is not liable for misuse of plants or misinterpretation of the information provided here.
Discover our 100 % natural Zomereczeem lotion, Mok olie, CPL olie, Natuur Shampoo and OERVOER (E-book) about healthy nutrition for itch-sensitive horses HERE.
© Laura Cleirens - 2022.01.25
Last updated: 2024.01.11