The huge range benefits of equine herbal medicine are absolutely awesome. Here they are …

  • Provides what wild horses seek out for self healing
  • Affordable and nurturing
  • Sustainable – the carbon footprint left by herbs is on the positive side
  • Non-invasive dosing – horses love their herbal medicine
  • Virtually no risk of side effects – none when prescribed & dispensed by qualified practitioners
  • Treats causes not just symptoms resulting in complete healing
  • Holistic – often horses are more healthy after a course of herbal medicine than they were before they became sick.
  • Protects and enhances the immune system – prevents illness, and accelerates healing time
  • Nature’s dispensary provides myriad herbs to cure every imaginable illness or injury.
  • No cruel testing on animals

“Through evolution, mammals have developed a relationship with medicinal plants. Plants with antibacterial properties, for example, protect both the plant and the animal that eats it, thus guarding both species from disease. Animals requiring the plant’s medicinal properties acquire a taste for them, while the plant’s bitterness deters the healthy animal form eating it, thus the plant is protected from being completely consumed …” Caroline Ingraham “The Animal Aromatics Workbook”

Horse owners often turn to herbal medicine because they cannot afford the increasingly high cost of veterinary medicine and are looking for natural alternatives.
“Health care providers for both humans and animals are realising the public’s desire to use less toxic treatments when challenges to health occur. The general mood is shifting. They are looking for treatments that will nurture the body, unlike many of the medical procedures and drugs…” Dr Ian Bidstrup MVSc & Dr Joanne Watkins MVSc Foreword to “The Practical Horse Herbal”

The carbon footprint left by herbs is on the positive side! Compare this with the massive pollution contributed to by the multinational drug companies, and the contamination of water and soil by antibiotic residues.

“The fairly recent discovery that all of the water supplies in the industrialized countries are contaminated with minute amounts of antibiotics (from their excretion into water supplies) means that bacteria everywhere are experiencing low doses of antibiotics all the time. This exposure is exponentially driving resistance learning; the more antibiotics that go into the water, the faster the bacteria learn.” Stephen Harrod Buhner “Herbal Antibiotics Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug Resistant Bacteria”

Horses love their herbal medicine! For the past 25 years my clients are always telling me how after just a few doses, their horses can be orally syringed with their herbal medicine without a halter, and they actually open their mouths for their medicine. This is infinitely better than making them sore and cranky with repetitive injections. Liquid herbal extracts dosed in this way are highly bio-available and are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream via the liver, and do not go through the gastro-intestinal tract. This is a fundamental and extremely important difference between equine herbal medicine provided by professionally qualified practitioners and unqualified people just retailing dried herbs.

We are grateful to the grandmother of animal herbal medicine Juliette de Bairacli Levy, whose books have informed and inspired us. “It was necessary to write this book in order to keep alive the ancient and valuable art of the herbalist in veterinary medicine.” “I believe this is the first veterinary herbal for farm animals and horses to appear in the English language.” Juliette de Bairacli Levy “The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable” (first published in 1952 by Faber with five more editions up until 1991)

And none when herbs are prescribed and dispensed by qualified equine herbal practitioners, who are educated in the safe use of herbal medicine for horses. For a list of graduates from my School of Equine Herbal Medicine go to and for my consultations go to

“ In herbal medicine, too, we have violent acting substances, usually derived from the poisonous groups of plants. I have excluded them altogether, influenced perhaps by the wild animals which instinctively avoid the poisonous plants. Also nature has provided always a gentle herb to do the work …” Juliette de Bairacli Levy “The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable”

“The complex relationship between mammals and plants has resulted in mammals developing an enzymatic physiology that has adapted to break down and neutralise most plant compounds. Such a process is not seen with many synthetic drugs, where the body has the inability to efficiently metabolise the active compounds, leading to potential toxicity or side effects.” Caroline Ingraham “The Animal Aromatics Workbook”

Genuine topical herbal remedies such as washes, oils, creams and ointments are completely safe to use on the skin both for the horse and the person administering them.

This results in complete healing, so that once the course of herbal medicine has been completed, it is unlikely that the condition will return, which often occurs when symptoms only are treated. A very good example of this is drug treatments for gut ulcers.

My philosophy of classical herbal medicine, which I share with famous herbalists like Dr James Duke, David Hoffman and Stephen Harrod Buhner, is to treat causes as well as symptoms, to achieve as complete healing as possible, by using the most appropriate herbs, dosages and treatment periods. Quite simply herbs stimulate the body to heal itself more quickly and more completely than it would without this support.

I have often been told by my clients that their horses are more healthy after a course of herbal prescriptions for an illness or injury than they were before the injury. This is very exciting and a true compliment to the use of holistic principles.

“Herbalism is practised holistically, as orthodox medicine and other complementary therapies can be. But what is holistic medicine, other than the latest buzz word?” “We have gone beyond the idea of ‘treating the whole person and not the symptoms’ to begin to articulate a definition of a holistic approach to health. Holistic medicine addresses itself to the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of those who come for care. It views health as a positive state, not as the absence of disease. It emphasises the uniqueness of the individual and the importance of tailoring treatment to meet each person’s needs.” David Hoffman “Holistic Herbal” We just translate person to horse!

There is rarely a prescription that goes out of my dispensary without at least one immune system herb in it. These herbs prevent illness and accelerate healing times. The first line of defence is strengthening the immune system. “Countless studies have found that the healthier your immune system, the less likely you are to get a disease and the more likely you are, if you do get sick, to have a milder episode.” “ Our immune system is in fact our first line of defence. It’s job is to protect us from disease, and, if disease occurs, to cure it. A healthy immune system is therefore the first and most important part of health and healing.” Stephen Harrod Buhner “Herbal Antibiotics – Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-Resistant Bacteria”

Nature provides myriad herbs to cure every imaginable illness or injury. Witness the Chinese, Ayurvedic, Western and countless native Pharmacopeia with literally millions of herbal medicines. In The book Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine, Principles and Practice, authors Allen Schoen and Susan Wynn have included an equine Materia Medica from these three pharmacopeia. It’s important to note here that the herbs used for humans and animals are the same herbs with some important exclusions. For example the herb Black Walnut is toxic to horses, it is often included in anti-parasitic mixes for humans, but should never be used for horses, as just one of its effects is to cause laminitis.

“Why are natural plant chemicals worthy of pharmaceutical rivals? Because they often work on the same physiologic pathways and principles as their prescription counterparts. The big difference is that phytochemicals work along several circuits simultaneously and naturally. The pharmaceutical usually is a single substance that works on one circuit or two. I think of it as the difference between a shotgun and a bullet. The magic bullet is precision targeted and has no regard for how it might disrupt the rest of the body. Herbs are shotgun blasts that contain thousands of natural active phytochemicals – some that will help with the correctly diagnosed ailment, others that will help with undiagnosed and unknown problems, and still others that are just plain good for you that you probably need anyway. If you don’t need them, your body will still make good use of them.” Dr James Duke PhD “Dr Duke’s Essential Herbs”

There is no cruel laboratory testing on animals with herbal medicine, they have already been tested by the animals themselves, including us, for thousands of years. “The gentler phytomedicinal doses from herbs are the crowing achievements of thousands upon thousands of years of research and testing. They’re efficacious. They’re safe.” Dr James Duke PhD “Dr Duke’s Essential Herbs”
© Victoria Ferguson Dip.Herb.Med 26 June 2020

Herbal medicine