Just like people, horses sometimes suffer from gastric distress such as ulcers. When one of their horses is diagnosed with a gastric ulcer, many owners immediately rely on drug treatments as the quickest form of relief. But quick though they may be, many anti-ulcer drugs hinder the digestive system. Herbal treatments are another alternative, and there are a number of ways to use herbs to soothe a horse's stomach.
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Things you need
- Chamomile flowers
- Slippery elm bark powder
- Aloe vera juice
- Marshmallow (optional)
- Liquorice root
Prevent ulcers before a horse develops them by giving it chamomile on a daily basis. Boil a third of a cup of chamomile flowers to make a tea.
Allow the tea to cool, and mix it with powdered Slippery Elm bark. This mixture helps to soothe the stomach and protect its lining.
Pour the mixture over the horse's morning meal. Repeat the process in the evening.
Mix 59.1ml of aloe vera juice with a teaspoon or two of slippery elm bark or marshmallow.
Add the mixture to the horse's feed two to three times a day.
Use a syringe to dose the horse with the mixture straight, if you prefer. This herbal blend soothes and protects the gastric system while helping to regulate intestinal bacteria.
Make a tincture of liquorice root by steeping the dried herb in alcohol for a few days, then straining the mixture with a cheesecloth and bottling the liquid extract. Pour in enough alcohol to cover the herb when mixing, adding an inch or two.
Give the horse 10 to 15 millilitres of the tincture of liquorice root twice a day.
Repeat this treatment for as long as 10 days. Liquorice root is an anti-inflammatory, and thanks to its flavanoid content, it is also an excellent ulcer treatment.
Tips and warnings
- Meadowsweet, an herb that reduces acid and protects the digestive tract, can be helpful in treating equine gastric problems. Mint, valerian and ginger also may be helpful in soothing a horse's stomach.
- You can purchase aloe vera juice in health food stores. Quart sizes are often more concentrated than juices sold by the gallon.
- Stress can be a factor in equine ulcers, just as it can in humans. Positive environments and daily routines may help your horse remain calm and prevent gastric ulcers.
- If your horse has moderate to severe ulcers, consult a veterinarian before trying any herbal treatment.
- The flavanoids that make liquorice root a good ulcer treatment actually slow the secretion of gastric juices, so liquorice root is not a suitable long-term solution.
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- Herbal Horsekeeping: Herbs for Horses: Equine Stomach Ulcers
- Holistic Horsekeeping: Natural Ulcer Relief for Horses, by Madalyn Ward, DVM
- Earth Song Ranch: Equine Ulcers & Gastrointestinal Disorders - Prevention, Natural, by Jessica Lynn
- Herbal Information Center: Make Your Own Tinctures, by Mary Satchell