Science & Equine

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Written by Jantine Steehouder
Posted in Nutrition

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Some commonly fed herbs and other functional foods in equine nutrition

Herbal medicine, also called ‘‘phytomedicine’’, is the use of therapeutic plants, plant parts or plant  derived substances to aid in fighting against infections, diseases or enhancing overall health.

Most herbs and functional foods have not been scientifically tested; this is especially true for the horse. This articel reviews some of the literature pertinent to herbal supplementation in horses and other species.

Herbs and funtional foods which are reviewed are:

  • Bee pollen and propolis
  • Devil’s claw
  • Echinacea
  • Flaxseed
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Ginseng
  • Valerian
  • Yucca

Many people believe that because herbs are ‘natural’ products that it also qualifies them as ‘safe’, however, some herbs have drug-like actions that can interact with dietary components. For instance, horses how are fed garlic at >0.2 g/kg per day developed Heinz body anaemia. Take caution when feeding herbs and ask a (horse)nutritionist for a proper compostition of components.

> C.A. Williams, E.D. Lamprecht / The Veterinary Journal 178 (2008) 21–3. All rights reserved to Elsevier GmbH. Click here for the Pubmed summary

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