Herbs For Animals

On reflection perhaps I should have called this piece Herbs for Horses! Nearly all of these remedies were used by the European Gypsies and they have proven their effectiveness through many generations. I am sure that you too, will them helpful.

Most horses will take herbs when mixed with molasses or honey. Many times a brew with strong tasting herbs can be disguised with black currant syrup or honey, particularly if cider vinegar has been added.

Hops (Humulus lupulus): "Hop tops" young shoots given to colts to condition them. A good tonic. Flowers fed in fodder to quiet restless animals, one or two cups for young animals, two or three cups (one cup equals one handful) for adults.

Ivy, Common (Glechoma Hederacea): Very good for internal cleansing after birth, one to two cups chopped herb for mares immediately after giving birth. In treating retained afterbirth make a strong brew; in one pint of water add one to two cups of common Ivy half pint drenches approximately every three hours. Do not confuse with Poison Ivy please!

Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris): Horses like this herb so do sheep and goats. A good tonic. Parsley piert or Alchemilla arvensis is a gypsy cure for stones and a tonic after treating colic. It has been said that should man or animals take this herb on mid summers eve they could become invisible! I have not tried that one, maybe one would have to take Woad (Ivatis tinctoria) to bring one back in sight. Of course the bluish hue might startle a few animals and people!

Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria): Used by gypsies as a spring tonic for horses, one to two cups of flowers cut up and mixed with mash or corn brew in one and a half pints of water.

Nettle, Common (Urtica dioica): Good forage dried for horses, rich in minerals, lime, sodium, iron, chlorine and a naturally good in protein value. Nettle juice mixed with nettle seeds is a good hair tonic: use internally one cup of juice in the animals mash. Use externally to wash the coat, it will give it a beautiful shine, beneficial for show or racehorses.

Oak (Quercus robur): Gypsies used the ripe acorns ground and dried them and mixed them with wheat flour to make a gruel. The green cups are very astringent and made into a strong brew are used to check bleeding internally and externally, one to two ounces to one and a half pints water.

Poplar, Black (Populus nigra): Buds crushed in milk, honey and wine a good tonic for horses. For sores, wounds, ulcers. Used externally too (by making an ointment with the young buds).

Puffball (Fungus): Used to stem bleeding and promote healing. Crushed and then applied to wounds.

Quince (Pyrus Cydonia): Hair tonic for manes and tails. The peel is made into a brew one cup to one pint.

Sanicle (Sanicula europaea): Used as a talisman on banners and shields to protect war-horses and hopefully their riders. Good fodder. Effective for internal bleeding and wounds. Whole plant used make a brew or give one to two cupfuls of the herb in feed.

Scabious (Scabiosa arvensis) (Gypsy Rose): Cleansing and antiseptic. A brew of the root and herb thickened with borax, removes old sores and dandruff. Mix about two cups herb and root to one and a half pints water. Put in one tablespoons of borax powder while still hot and stir well. Apply when cooled.

Strawberry or Wild Strawberry (Fragaria vesca): Leaves help prevent abortion, fruit good for nervous or slow horses. Foliage good for show and racehorses. two cups of leaves or leaves and root daily or handful of berries daily.

Sweet Cicely (Myrrhus odorata): Horses love this herb. A good tonic. Crush some or bruise the root and hold in the hand, they will usually come to one. Native Indians used this trick to catch the wild horses. Note make sure you catch the right horse!

Tea Plant (Indian tea, China tea), (Thea sinensis): Make a strong infusion, two parts to one of vinegar, (cider if possible). Soak cotton cloth when cold and apply. Very good for sun stroke, sunburn, fine burns. Dose internally: one dessert-spoon cider vinegar to three tablespoons tea mixture. Make the tea mixture with two tablespoons in ten ounces hot water, add a pinch of cinnamon or one to two cloves or both. Give cold if possible.

Willow, White (Salix alba): Young shoots and foliage given by gypsies for cattle and horses as a tonic

Willow (Salix caprea): Given to goats to calm their hot tempers and cool their blood. I am not sure whether that means they gave it to the old goats or not. What is good for the animals is good for man too!

That's all I have space for just now. It's easy to forget that the "beasts of the field" originally taught us much of our herb law, (by our observations of them). They deserve more consideration than we often care to give them nowadays. By using these simple remedies we can do much to make their lives more comfortable and productive.

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