Horsetail (Equisetum arvense)
This herb is best known for it’s ability to heal bone and connective tissue injuries. It’s musculo-skeletal regenerative properties are linked to it’s significant content of bioavailable silicon. It’s silicon content also helps to strengthen hair and hoof quality. This herb is the most closely affiliated to bone health of all the herbs. It has the remarkable ability to break down and remove excess bone where it isn’t needed, and helps to lay it down and strengthen it where it is needed. In this way it helps to prevent degenerative bone disease. For healing bone and connective tissue injuries, it combines well with comfrey and nettle. It is also diuretic and helps to staunch bleeding.
Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
Comfrey is widely known for its remarkable healing properties for ulcers, broken bones and soft tissue damage. It has cell proliferant properties which promote speedy wound healing, for which it can be used both internally and externally.
It’s also very soothing for the mucous membranes, as well as being an expectorant, so it is excellent to include in any respiratory herbal blend. It also improves circulation, and is helpful for treating arthritis.
The following dosages should not be exceeded. Mix into daily food.
Horses: 1-2 handfuls in feed daily (approximately 10-15g)
Ponies: ½ -1 handful in feed daily (approximately 6-10g)
Dogs and Cats: ½ to 1 teaspoon per 500g of food
Pigeons and Poultry: Up to 2% of daily grain feed. Mix well into feed together with a little vegetable oil.
Do not feed to pregnant animals, or pets with liver disease.
Comfrey contains small quantities of alkaloids that can cause liver damage if taken in large quantities:
“The Comfrey Debate:
Regrettably, the internal use of Comfrey has been a much misunderstood and frequently controversial subject since the late 1960’s. The presence of a group of compounds contained in Comfrey called pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA’s) instigated concern during a Japanese study on lab rats in 1968, which involved injecting high concentrations of isolate symphytine alkaloid in sufficient dosages that it would represent a staggering 33% of a rat’s daily food intake!
Herbalists argue that this is a totally unrealistic representation – as to begin with, in order to replicate the experiment in horses, they would have to ingest 150kg of isolate symphytine daily, and because symphytine only represents a tiny portion (5%) of total PA’s, this would mean a horse would have to consume a staggering 8,33 tonnes per day of dried comfrey! To add further perspective, PA’s are not uncommon in many foodstuffs – for example, both red wine and dark chocolate contain concentrations of PA’s.
Herbalists argue that:
Use only as directed, and for short periods of time (1-2 weeks)