A Herb Jasper Loves, Dandelion Leaf & one he’s never touched Milk thistle

Another of Jasper’s favourite Herbs is dandelion leaf, again when it was in season I use to pick him handfuls of fresh leaves, on one occassion he literally dragged me across the stable yard so that he could get to a particularly succulent patch of dandelion plants, and then expected me to stand patiently while he enjoyed his delicacy. As an interesting note since September time he has had declining interest in the dried form, taking only a handful now & then, which is a huge difference from eating everything he could get his hooves on.
Dandelion Leaf (Taraxacum officinale)
dandelion leafIt cleanses the blood and rebalances your horses metabolism by acting on the liver. It is a great spring tonic to help flush out any toxins that have accumulated over the winter months. It can be a useful preventative for horses prone to laminitis, flatulent colic & tying-up.
It has a powerful diuretic action, hence its old english name, “Pee-The-Bed”.
It is rich in potassium, (which replaces that leeched from the body) magnesium, calcium, vitamins, A,B,C and D, it could be viewed as a “natural electrolyte”.
It is a useful treatment for rheumatism, kidney, liver and digestive disorders.
Dandelion Root
Even more powerful then the leaf in its hepatic (support & stimulate the liver) action. It has proved extremely useful with horses recovering from illness or a reaction to a vaccination.
The white sap of the root is believed to be effective if applied to warts daily.
Horses have been known to seek out dandelion, digging up their paddocks to get to the roots which contain the highest amounts of taraxacin.
A Herb that Dena recommended for Jasper to try and help support his Liver function was Milk thistle, well Jasper obviously thought this particular herb surplus to his requirements because despite being offered it regularly he has never shown any interest in eating any of it, even after 7 months.
Milk Thistle Seed (Silybum marianum L.)

Milk thistleHelpful for liver, kidney and pancreatic complaints

Milk thistle seed is also known as Holy thistle or wild artichoke. The seeds of the plant are collected in late summer and gently dried. Milk thistle has been used since ancient times.
Milk thistle has been used to help horses that have suffered liver damage due to worm burden or prolonged use of drugs, as it protects & improves liver function, whilst speeding up the regeneration of liver cells.
It is slowly absorbed into the body so needs to fed for at least 4-6 weeks.
Also of interest is its high linoleic acid content (up to 60%) this is the active ingredient in evening primrose oil and has proved helpful in regulating female hormonal imbalances.
Milk thistle is not common in the UK, but horse owners may have noticed their horses displaying cravings for our common thistle which is a close relative of the milk thistle, particularly in winter & spring. We have a patch over the fence in our field and many of our horse lean over to try & eat the thistles.

Hope you find this useful

With Love

Fiona & Jasper

P.S Books I used for information include, Complete Holistic care & Healing for horses, by Mary L. Brennan, A healthy horse the natural way, by Catherine Bird & A Modern Horse Herbal by Hilary Page Self. All great books if you are interested in leraning more on how to care for your horses using natural remedies.

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