This month we are focusing on a selection of Immune Boosting Herbs we can provide for our horse’s overall well-being, especially at this time of year during the cold, wet months when we all feel like we need a boost.
The horse’s immune system, otherwise known as the lymphatic system, is constantly at work, protecting from disease, ill health and infections. The good news is, instead of waiting until our horses show signs of a compromised immune system, we can offer them support now.
A strong, healthy immune system is vital for our horses as it provides the best protection a horse can have to support themselves against infections, bad bacteria and disease. (Victoria Ferguson)
There are many factors that can impact the immune system ranging from a change in environment, poor nutrition and very commonly, stress. Stress can range from a change in seasons, a change in environment and even travelling, especially long distances.
5 Signs Your Horse Has a Compromised Immune System May Include
- Being lethargic
- Signs of being depressed
- A change in the appearance of their coats
- Sinus issues
- Allergies can sometimes be a sign of a hyperactive immune system that is overreacting
The Wholistic Equestrian always recommends discussing any changes in your horse’s performance, or demeanour, with your vet. The list provided can indicate other health concerns.
5 Herbs Traditionally Used to Support and Maintain a Healthy Immune System
- May help support horses who are suffering from chronic infections, colds, coughs, and skin allergies
- 1st appeared in a medical journal in 1891. Since this time, it has been the subject of over 4000 scientific articles. It has been found to be an effective immune stimulant, in that it stimulates the white blood cells to help fight infection, and increases the power of the immune cells to better help the body fight bacteria and infected cells (Hilary Self)
- Research by the Equine Research Centre in Canada confirmed Echinacea to be an effective immune system stimulant in horses, significantly increasing the number of lymphocytes, as well as the size and number of red blood cells and haemoglobin levels in blood (Victoria Ferguson)
- Is rich in copper and iron and contains vitamin A, B, C and E
- Is often used to manage coughing in horses
- May help to increase weight gain in horses and encourage fussy eaters to finish their feed
- Is known to strengthen the respiratory system, the mucus membranes and the sinus in cases of upper respiratory infection, sinus issues, or congestion.
- The root of this plant is typically dried and shredded or made into a powder
- It contains Glycyrrhizic Acid – a natural anti-inflammatory compound
- Is known to be effective at healing digestive upsets caused by bacterial infections and can promote good bacterial balance in the intestine
- Is traditionally known for its anti-inflammatory properties which help to soothe a horse’s airways, reduce throat soreness, and relaxes bronchial spasms making it a great treatment for horses with heaves or other respiratory issues
- Remember! 70% of the immune system is within the gastrointestinal tract, so it’s important we support this when striving for a healthy horse
- Is an excellent source of minerals
- Is rich in vitamin B12
- Has anti-inflammatory properties
- Is an immune-stimulant, anti-viral and is known for its disease protecting properties
- Are a powerhouse of nutrients working in synergy to stimulate the immune system, they are known to support horses with respiratory infections and all kinds of tissue destruction (Victoria Feguson)
- Are great to feed all year round
- Contain biotin – good for hoof health
- Soothes the intestinal tract when mixed with water as they have demulcent properties and forms a jelly when wet
The immune system is often forgotten when looking after our horse’s health. I hope this information has provided you with an insight into using herbs to help maintain and support your horse’s immune system this winter.
Any questions, please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.
Have a Happy Day