Natural therapies help achieve balance

Les Rees

The individuality of horses is no different from that of humans. Each of us has a unique set of requirements to maintain our health depending on factors ranging from genetic predisposition to acquired physical and psychological symptoms that influence the development of characteristics, behaviour, conformation and general demeanour. These are important factors when formulating treatments. Natural Therapies work exceedingly well when all these aspects are taken into consideration and can bring about some astounding results in restoring balance in all aspects of physical and mental health. Being herbivores, horses are well suited to herbal medicine: in the wild they're able to self-medicate but this isn't an option for domesticated horses due to lack of available biodiversity.

Herbal medicines work better when used in combination; using them singly can limit the treatment as each herb has its own set of individual actions according to its phytochemical and phytonutrient components. For example, devil's claw has anti-inflammatory and analgesic actions, and can be extremely useful for a number of conditions when inflammation and pain are present, but it's important to remember that inflammation is an outcome not the cause of disease and as a result, devil's claw should be included as only one part of a formulation.

Used as preventative medicines, herbs can protect against symptoms associated with seasonal change, possible impact of viruses, joint health and a number of physiological and psychological problems such as digestive upset, respiratory health, hormonal imbalance, anxiety and stress.

Occasionally, we hear rumors about the efficacy of using herbal medicines, but scientific research on the vast array of herbs available throughout the world is only in its infancy when compared to conventional medicine. However, many conventional medicines actually originate from derivatives of medicinal plants. Moreover, it would be extremely difficult to test the healing capacity of herbal medicine by assessing single herbs for analysis because they're generally used in combinations, which is why they are so effective. In fact, the inherent balancing effect from the different constituents in herbal medicines is the reason that they don't have the harsh side-effects as some conventional drugs.

Herbs are gentle and pose little risk associated with their use providing they are mixed with reference to their individual contraindications and dosage. If there is any doubt in your mind, go to a professional for a consultation or buy a pre-mixed formula for specific common ailments.

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