In our herbal pharmacopeia we herbalists have many anti-viral herbs, which we select and blend with immune and adrenal system herbs to get viruses on the run.

The natural immunity of a body, be it man or horse, is a precious possession which requires nurturing.  In today’s world, a healthy immune system is the best protection any body can have.

Inadequate nutrition, feeding too little roughage especially with processed feeds, synthetic supplements and routine injecting of drugs and manufactured vitamins constitutes abuse which seriously weakens the immune system.  Every injection causes a metabolic shock and there is a serious risk of infection being introduced, especially into joints.

Whilst there is now a new and hastily developed breed of anti-viral drugs and vaccines, the mutation of viruses will forever be miles in front of any drug company’s laboratories, because of their ability to react rapidly to single chemical compounds in drugs and their very short life cycles.  Herbs will always be in front of mutating viruses, because of their incredible array of constituents.

Viral diseases of horses mainly affect the respiratory and musculo-skeletal systems but also cause abortions.

To gain a better understanding of how viruses spread, consider how a virus reproduces. It does not have its own reproductive apparatus, it penetrates a host cell, kills the DNA in that cell, then inserts its own DNA, so the cells of the host do the reproduction work for it, this is why viruses are so insidious. Therefore a virus can only live outside a host for short periods of time, up to 48 hours on hard, non-porous surfaces, and up to 12 hours on fabrics, skin and hair, but can survive in still water for up to 18 days.

Herpes viruses by nature are latent viruses, meaning that they remain in hiding in the body, and then, when the animal is stressed, become active again.


Ross River Fever is a viral disease which is very common in Australia, particularly in tropical and sub-tropical areas, but it also occurs in other areas.  It is often not recognised or even if it is diagnosed, there is very little in the way of effective veterinary treatment.

Herbal treatments are by contrast very effective, and I have successfully treated many cases of Ross River Fever as well as many other viruses, for clients over the years.

mosquitoRoss River Fever is carried by mosquitoes and horses and humans are infected by the bites. It causes fever, lameness, swelling of joints and lethargy with poor performance and dullness recurring as a post-viral syndrome.

One of the initial key indicators is a high temperature for 3 – 5 days.  Blood tests for this viral disease are expensive and take 6 weeks to get a result, which is clearly unacceptable.

So it is obviously very important to take early action to treat viruses.

Professional treatment with herbs provides a solution to debilitating symptoms, while strengthening the immune system to keep the virus at bay in the future.


Symptoms of viral attacks including swelling of legs, especially back legs, lack of energy and appetite and sometimes elevated temperature. The reason the legs swell is that the lymphatic system works in tandem with the immune system, and the lymph fluid starts to pool at the lowest gravitational points, as it is under assault from the virus.

Anti-inflammatories, herbal or veterinary, will NOT help to shift this swelling, but there is a very easy herbal first aid treatment you can use.

gingerFresh Ginger has potent anti-viral properties, but it must be raw, not powdered.  Grate a large golf ball sized piece and pour a cup of boiling water over it to make a tea.

Add a teaspoon of raw honey and strain when cool and syringe half of the cup 20 ml at a time into the mouth.  This gets it into the body quickly and should be repeated twice daily for two days, this usually gets a good result if the horse has a sound immune system.  My clients who have tried this have not had the horse progress with further symptoms.

Lemon also has anti-viral properties, but it won’t work with lemon juice out of a plastic lemon!  Similarly, with honey it must be raw honey, not pasteurised from the supermarket.   Honey also has anti-viral properties.

If you are already feeding a VF Natural Diet your horses will have the benefit of Natural Apple Cider Vinegar, Rosehips and Organic Garlic in their diet, and owners will immediately double the dosage rate of these three items to help fight the virus.   And they will give the Ginger, Honey and Lemon Tea treatment.

This should be followed up with herbal prescriptions, made from liquid human medicinal quality extracts.  These are orally syringed and go straight into the bloodstream via the liver’s portal vein circulation, and do not have to go through the digestive system. This provides a huge advantage for medicinal dosing due to the quick & superior absorption and particularly if the animal is off it’s feed. For more information go to

All of these facts highlight the need to maintain a healthy immune system at all times, by providing preventive nutrition with an all natural diet. How well each horse deals with any virus is simply a matter of how strong or weak its immune system is. 

Preventive nutrition will ensure resistance to viral infection and in the event of infection, a quicker recovery, especially if treated with herbal remedies.

If you would like a VF Natural Diet or a VF Herbal Treatment Program formulated for your horses, go to