Treatments for Horses - McDowell's Herbal Treatments

Herbal Support for Equine (Horses) Health


Spring is with us, and so is the dreaded laminitis! Over the last 2 weeks Herbal Treatments staff have been inundated with requests for information and treatment of the laminitic horse or pony.

Step 1:  Day 1

Remove the cause of the laminitis

Green grass (especially from fresh small fast growing grasses) is critical. Do not re-introduce the horse or pony to pasture until you have full knowledge of the degree of the condition. Do not feed Lucerne hay.

Read more: The Care and Management of the Laminitic and Insulin resistant Horse or Pony

Most Horse Owners and Trainers nowadays give Vitamins and Minerals to Horses as part of their daily Program.

Read more: A Herbalists View of Vitamin and Mineral Supplements for Horses

Often this condition is brought about by too rapid gain of weight of the young horse.

Read more: Accelerated Bone Growth and Shortened Tendons

Some horses, especially in Summer, can suffer from a runny nose, snorting, sneezing and snuffling which does not involve infection.

Read more: Allergic Rhinitis

A low grade anaemia is generally an efficiency problem with managing blood iron and blood oxygen problems. This will show with a lack of vitality and general energy levels (because of poor oxygen being carried by low hemoglobin levels) which is indicated by a pale gum.

The Anemia mix includes circulatory, bone marrow, heart and blood tonics and for low grade anaemia we would add some liver tonics to ensure that the liver is supported. Exposure to a course of such a mix for a full blood cycle (12 weeks) should re-establish a normal healthy pattern and you should notice signs of improvement within the first two or three weeks.

Read more: Anaemia

Anhydrosis or "The Puffs" is a lymphatic efficiency problem characterised by reduced sweating and is tied into thyroid, kidneys and adrenal glands. The underlying imbalances can come about as a result of shock. This could be due to illness, change in climate, accident or metabolic upset (Colic, Poisoning etc).

Read more: Anhydrosis / "The Puffs" Treatment

This treatment (now known as ALLEVIATE) has evolved from a consideration of the dangers of administering phenylbutazone (Bute), routinely, to horses sensitive to its side effects.

Read more: Anti-Inflammatory / Healer [ALLEVIATE]

Herbal approaches to parasites all revolve around discouraging rather than killing the parasites. Also herbs provide support for your horses own systems defences.

Read more: Anti-Parasitic Spray

This is a combination of Calendula and Yarrow and acts as an antiseptic and astringent to stop blood flow from an open wound. It can be squirted or sprayed directly into a wound as first aid to reduce blood flow and again after washing the wound.

Read more: Antiseptic / Styptic

Arthritis and Rheumatism are conditions which affect the joints and connective tissue surrounding the joints.   These can be caused from environmental factors such as ware and tear or injury, or from autoimmune disorders such as Rheumatoid Arthritis.  

Read more: Arthritis and Rheumatism

Tying-Up is a pretty good description of what happens to horses suffering this condition. They move with difficulty and look for all the world as if their hind quarters especially, are tied up with ropes and therefore are able to move only with difficulty and with pain.

I often wonder if this was a condition which wild horses suffered from and I doubt very much that this was the case. It is not that the domesticated horse is weaker or necessarily that it works harder. Think of the work a Stallion in the wild would have to do to serve and defend a large herd of Mares and defend a Territory.

Read more: Azoturia or tying-up

The only thing that builds muscle is lots of feed, and the correct work. If he is not getting the correct type of work, than he can not develop the correct muscles.

Read more: Back Pain

Big Head Disease is also known as Bran Disease or NSH which stands for Nutritional Secondary Hyperparathyrodism, this disease still occurs today despite the fact that it has been known about since 1860. It is generally a lack of Calcium and magnesium in the diet and if left untreated can become permanent.  

Read more: Big Head Disease

I am now finding an increasing tendency toward Bladder, Kidney and Liver problems which I ascribe to both more sensitive nervous constitutions steming from lifestyle and the commercially prepared mixes and non organic grains and feed now available for horses.

Read more: Bladder /Kidney Stone Mix

Many horses show signs of bleeding either by fading under maximum effort or by snorting blood. Many others show dried blood around the nostrils hours or a day after maximum effort. It is the rupture of fragile blood vessels in the lungs which is involved and the bleeder treatment supplies astringent/tonic herbs, as well as herbs high in Rutin which actually strengthen the walls of these fragile blood vessels.

Read more: Bleeder Treatment

There are those who say that all competition horses bleed from the lungs at times and I think that this is probably true. Nowadays I find the odd trainer who is so paranoid about this possibility that they will 'scope' their charges (that is have their vet look into the lungs with a laparoscope) after almost every run. These trainers seem to have their worst fears confirmed and their vets then have a good steady income continuing this practice. I am not so sure how good it is for the horse to have this piece of equipment poking around in their lung cavity on a regular basis. However, if it is true that all horses can bleed, then potentially all racers and pacers can be disqualified from any further competition if they are picked up with blood in the nostrils by the Stewards more than twice, or whatever the ruling is in each country.

Read more: Bleeders-Equine

Robust immune and elimination systems should actively and positively discharge waste products of infection and inflammation.

Read more: Blood Cleanser Mix

As part of all ligament and bone related problems in the lower limb of your horse, we formulate an oil to be applied to the hoof during treatment. This hoof oil contains herbs that dramatically improve circulation to the hoof and therefore right down through limb. It is the paucity of circulation that allows degenerative conditions to occur and makes them difficult and slow to heal. Other specific herbs in the hoof oil (Elecampane, Bladderack, Equisetum, Wintergreen, Arnica and White Willow) are driven directly into the hoof to support healing processes.

Read more: Bone and Joint Health-Hoof Oil

Lameness, stiffness and soreness problems in horses are most often the result of structural problems which involve injury, calcification, decalcification, scar tissue and ligament damage of one sort or another, whether it be recent or in the past.

Read more: Bone and Ligament Problems

This extract of herbs clears and strengthens the lungs, opens the airways and boosts the adrenal glands of a thick-winded horse which doesn't perform to its capacity because of inefficiency in the lungs and bronchials.

Read more: Breathe-Well Lung Tonic

This blend of herbs is designed to improve or restore fertility and normalize the mare's heat cycle, to protect and develop the foetus, and to tone up the uterus for ease of foaling.

Read more: Brood Mare Mixture

Rheumatism, Arthritis and Pain resulting from accident, injury or over exertion have been around as long as man and animals have walked upon the earth.

Read more: Bute Debate

Maritime Pine Bark Extract is my primary immune system tonic for all my equine cancer patients for it is due to failings within the fundamental levels of the immune system that cause all cancerous processes to get started.

Read more: Cancer Treatment always includes Maritime Pine Bark

I have a wonderful herbal Eye Wash formulation that addresses inflammation dramatically and slows cataract progression; it will also cure any infection and support the health of the eye itself. You need to begin with this urgently. The treatment supplied is immediately beneficial for all eye infections, medical conditions and injuries and is based around the herbs Celandine, Golden Seal and Rue along with the Bach Flowers Rescue Remedy and Crab Apple.  These remedies together, are antiseptic and high in Vitamin A, they also nourish the blood circulation within the eye and reduce the shock that accompanies injury. 

Read more: Cataracts

Chamomile has many properties and helps various conditions ranging from skin and nervous system problems to acting as an antispasmodic and a digestive aid.  

Read more: Chamomile Flowers

This mixture of lung and respiratory system tonics is extracted into organic cider vinegar. The herbal ingredients are:- Garlic, Kelp, Coltsfoot, Elecampane, Fenugreek, Marshmallow, Mullein, Nettle, Pine Bark, Yarrow and Rosehips along with the Bach Flowers Olive, Hornbeam and Wild Rose.

I have formulated this combination to treat all types of coughs and respiratory infections. It stimulates the chest muscles and the mucous membranes of the lungs and bronchials, to clear residues and infections while at the same time building up resistance and cleaning the blood.

Read more: Chest and Immunity Tonic

You may need to consider the following factors for a horse with chronic bladder problems:

1. The volume of water he drinks and the additives we can use to improve the healing qualities of this water.
2. Long term inflammation and irritation of the lining of the bladder walls and urethra.
3. Weakness in the bladder sphincter that now results in constant dribbling.
4. Kidney function and the management of acidity.
5. Stones and crystals.
6. Secondary infection due to weaknesses in the system.

Read more: Chronic Bladder problems

This usually means that the horse's whole digestive system has been traumatised such that it goes into spasms.

Read more: Colic Emergency

When your horse has colic, it indicates that your horse's whole digestive system is now so traumatised that it can go into spasm at the drop of a hat. This is now the major problem.

Read more: Colic First Aid

Colloidal Silver was used and proven to be effective against hundreds of disease-causing bacterium and viruses by the 1940s. Its action as a broad spectrum antibiotic has never been matched by the modern pharmaceuticals in that it produces no drug resistance whatsoever.

Read more: Colloidal Silver Antibiotic

Recently we were asked for recommendations to treat a young colt with concussion. As a first aid treatment you should get Rescue Remedy from your health food shop and give your colt a few drops two or three times per day for a week or so.

Read more: Concussion in a Young Colt

This mixture is the primary rehabilitation tonic for horses which have suffered a major health breakdown, been poisoned, bitten by a snake or have, for other reasons, developed liver or kidney damage or are recovering from a major illness, surgery or accident.

Read more: Conditioning Blend

COPD in horses can be likened to asthma or hayfever or allergies in humans.

Read more: COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Equine Cushing's disease is caused by a tumour in the pituitary gland, which is responsible for the production and regulation of hormones. While the tumour itself is benign, the cells within the tumour produce excess hormones, creating an imbalance in the horse's body. The cause of the tumour itself is usually not known.   

Read more: Cushing's Disease

A horse's coat lacking its optimum shine can be enhanced by using a herbal 'cocktail'.

The condition of a horse's hair coat is a telling sign of his general level of health; a dull coat is indicative of a horse that is just not up to scratch healthwise. In itself, the dull coat only says that the vitality is lower than normal due to metabolic imbalance, digestive efficiency or a toxic load. There are numerous possible underlying factors - which can include iron levels, lymphatics, kidney, and / or circulatory inefficiencies or parasitic infestation, for example.

Read more: Dealing with Dull Coats

Yes we can help you with this condition & the treatment I recommend should assist in pain relief & repair of the ligament & structures effected by this disease.

Read more: DSLD (Degenerative Suspensory Ligament Desmitis)

A horses whole digestive system can become so traumatised that it can go into spasm at the drop of a hat or following any minor change and this is now becomes the problem, not the original impaction or whatever caused the problem in the first place.

Read more: Emergency Colic

The keys to endurance are fitness and physical soundness, heart, adrenals, lung and circulation efficiency and kidney health. The herbs in the endurance mix when given to athletes, equine and otherwise in the peak of health and fitness, will both enhance performance and protect all these systems from damage and stress.

Read more: Endurance Mix

The only long term answer is to dissolve the spur. This can be achieved by dealing with two underlying reasons behind their development in the first place.

Read more: Equine - Hoof Bone Spur

Alternative medicine is very much do-it-yourself medicine much as was practiced by all those in charge of stock for the past several thousand years. It is only recently that we have been encouraged to leave most of our stock care medical treatments to professionals of one sort or another.

Read more: Equine First Aid Kit

This mix has been formulated to dramatically boost our horses natural recovery from coughs, nasal and respiratory infections so that they can speedily recover from a case of, or exposure to, Equine Influenza. This program will develop an immunity from re-infection from both the drug resistant bacteria and viral agents proliferating.

Read more: Equine Influenza

The herbal ingredients are extracted into Organic Cider Vinegar and the concentrates are 1:1 strength and it is recommended that the concentrate is mixed into the vinegar based mix and used to dampen two feeds each day, morning and evening.

Read more: Equine Influenza (E.I. or Equine Flu) Recovery and Resistance Program

" Thank you for sending me the E.I. treatment. We live near Warwick in Qld. Unfortunately my horses were infected with E.I. a few days before I placed my order with you. I thought I would let you know how my horses are doing now.

Read more: Equine Influenza Results

McDowell's 'Equine Keep Well' has been developed as a regular health boost for your horse. The herbs used are chosen for their ability to boost immunity, aid digestion and support kidney and adrenal gland function and circulation. The mix can assist to ward off disease as well as building and maintaining robust good health in your equine friend.

Read more: Equine Keep Well

The modern understanding of ulcers has changed over the past 25 years two or three times. We first have to look at these changes before we can go ahead and effectively treat ulcers in our horses. Many of us had not even believed that horses suffered from this condition until recently. Maybe they didn't?

Read more: Equine Stomach Ulcers

Your Sweet Itch is like our Queensland itch and I have had success with treating this. If you are able to protect from the biting insects it is a lot more successful.

Read more: Equine- Queensland Itch/sweet Itch

We have had many clients and their horses using our sarcoid program with very good results. The internal sarcoid mix contains the following herbs:
Echinacea, Thuja, Equisetum, Elecampane, Mistletoe, Vervain and Violet Leaves. In addition I have included the following Bach Flower Remedies Rescue Remedy, Walnut and Crab Apple.

Read more: Explaining the herbs of the Sarcoid Treatment (Internal)

Eye infections, irritations and injuries are best treated by providing antiseptic and nourishing herbs directly to the eye itself, to support speedy healing.

Read more: Eye Wash

There are many things you can do to treat insectbites, but the first thing is to try and deter them if possible. If your horse is prone to fly bites or other insect irritation your first step is to cover your horse in a light cotton or shade cloth type horse rug and neck rug during biting season, fly boots that cover the legs are also an option.

To discourage flies from breeding make sure yards are clean of manure and cover compost heaps, you can even grow plants that are insect repellents around your yards like Tansy, citronella scented Geraniums, Lavender, Rue, Elder and Wormwood.

Read more: Fly Bites

 Laminitis is a painful condition of the feet. The actual word laminitis means 'inflammation (itis) of the sensitive laminae (lamin)'. These laminae are the membranes that hold the bone of the foot (pedal bone) in place inside the foot. Laminitis can occur in any horse at any time of year but most commonly affects ponies and show horses in the spring when new lush grass starts growing. Laminitis as a condition is not fully understood by scientists and vets.

Read more: Founder and Laminitis

Robert wrote the following article in relation to his Top Performance Mix to assist the owners and trainers of "Event" horses.

Read more: Gallopers and Eventers Tonic

As far as gastrointestinal ulcers are concerned a twelve week course of Slippery Elm Powder and Chamomile Tea is the ideal treatment.
1/3 cup of Slippery Elm powder mixed into a paste once a day and this paste is given directly or added to the horses feed or bran mash. Use enough warm chamomile tea to make it into the paste or if you need to syringe it into his mouth you will need to add more tea to make it into a slurry instead of a paste.

Read more: Gastrointestinal Ulcers

I recommend this program to protect your animal against contracting one of these 'super bugs' while undergoing surgery, intravenous treatment or otherwise staying over at a Veterinary Hospital. It can be started before the planned medical procedure or surgery and will also be helpful in treating an active Golden Staph type infection.

Read more: Golden Staph Antibiotic Resistant Infection

Greasy Heel has to be seen as a situation where the horses body is trying to clear up a general toxicity, and since the circulation is often compromised in the lower limb due to general inflammation in this area, the system uses the mechanism of discharging waste products through the skin.

Read more: Greasy Heal

At the base of patches of hair loss, there is lack of effective circulation right where the losses are.

Read more: Hair/Coat Losses in Patches

An excerpt from Robert's Online Book: Herbal Horsekeeping

Read more: Herbal First Aid For Horses

The very best way to use herbs for health and well being, as we've seen, is for your horse to self-medicate as its instincts dictate. Most of us donít have access to huge tracts of untouched land for our horses to roam, so hedgerows are the next best things. Creating herbal hedgerows (called ëditchesí in Ireland) around your property, will allow your horses access to those plants they would forage for in the wild, and also provide a place to grow herbs for drying and collection for your supplement program, or for treatment for specific problems.

Read more: Herbal Hedgerow for Healthy Happy Horses

Herbal Horsekeeping-Book

Herbal Horsekeeping

Herbal Horsekeeping is a genuine do-it-yourself manual for the beginner and for the expert alike. It is a good read, a general interest book, and a detailed reference guide for all of you who love and care for horses. It will help you understand how most of the health problems common to horses come about and how you are able, cheaply and safely, to support the healing of these conditions using herbs.

Read more: Herbal Horsekeeping-Book

Kellosheil Park, near Bathurst NSW, provides an opportunity to agist your horse, while accessing our Herbal tinctures (if needed) for illness or injury Recovery. The Equine rehabilitation team is headed by Cath McDowell.

Read more: Holistic Equine Agistment and Rehabilitation

This preparation was originally formulated to treat inflammatory processes of the hoof area including Founder, Pedal Osteitis, Navicular Disease and Sesamoiditis in the fetlock area.

Read more: Hoof Oil

This blend of herbs is designed to support the endocrine system and specifically rebalance the hormonal glands, generally calm the nervous system and reduce any tense, flighty and fidgetty behaviour.

Read more: Hormonal Mare Mix

As a matter of fact, horses will eat meat, and a number of things that we think they shouldn't be eating. This is mostly due to a lack of needed minerals in their diet, or in some cases it can be a habit formed out of boredom.

Read more: Horses Who Eat Meat and Other Strange Substances

I treat an enormous number of kidney failure patients in the human and canine world. Not so many in the horse world primarily because we don't abuse their kidneys with too many unnatural feeds and always have inexhaustible supplies of water for them.

Read more: How Much Salt do you give your Horse?

Joint Ill is more commonly referred to as infective arthritis and is an infection of the joint that occurs most commonly in foals , particularly those who who fail to receive colostrum. The infection itself originates in the blood.

Read more: Joint Ill Treatment

Kelp is a great suppliment that can be used by all horses, it has many benefits including promoting healthy coat, mane and tails.

Read more: Kelp Granules

Increasingly I am finding horses suffering from kidney problems brought about by nervous and adrenal exhaustion, dehydration, and the affects of the abuse of electrolytes, diuretics and other chemical substances and additives which overload kidney function.

Read more: Kidney Rehabilitation Mix

Two species of lice can infest horses, causing skin irritation, severe scratching and loss of condition. Incidence peaks in late winter and spring, recurring annually once lice become established in a stable or paddock.

Read more: Lice

Bowed Tendons:

Both the deep and superficial flexor tendons are subject to strain in peformance horses. It produces heat and pain, thickening may also occur due to scar tissue in chronic cases.

Read more: Limb Problems Herbal Treatment

I would recommend nothing externally beyond a simple Pawpaw ointment to sooth and seal the lip ulcers while we wait for the blood cleansing herbs to do their job.

Read more: Lip Ulcers and Lumps

Horses have three patella ligaments that do the same job, and these three ligaments make the horse's stifle stronger. This also allows the horse to lock its leg while standing by shifting its weight and rotating its patella so that one of the ligaments locks over a ridge on the femur. This enables the horse to hold itself up using a minimum of energy, and even enables the animal to sleep while standing.

Read more: Locking Patella or Stifle Lock Herbal Treatment

We can manage the loose stools with slippery elm and chamomile tea, both of which will also assist to repair the nervous system (parasympathetic), sooth the inflammation and firm the stools.

Read more: Loose Stools

Lyme disease is a highly prevalent tick-borne disease of humans and animals across many countries. Lyme disease is caused by a tick-borne bacterial spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi which infects several domestic animals including horses, cattle, dogs, and cats.

Read more: Lyme Disease Herbal Treatment

All symptoms point to the horse fighting some sort of infection in the body. The swelling legs indicate that the lymphatic system is not working as well as it should.

Read more: Lymphangitis - Swollen legs

Maritime Pine Bark Extract is the primary immune system tonic for all our Equine cancer patients.  It is due to failings within the fundamental levels of the immune system that cancerous processes are able to get started. 

Read more: Maritime Pine Bark Extract

Mastitis can be treated within a single day using Castor Oil alone and I recommend that a stop is put to all Veterinary treatments that result in damage to the mare and the foal and extreme difficulty with re-establishing normal feeding.

Read more: Mastitis

I bought some Eye Wash in November 06, to use for a horse with recurrent Uveitis. I am VERY happy to advise that Monte's eye is the best it has looked for 3 years. I will relate what we did, as this could be helpful for other horses with this VERY painful problem.

Read more: Monte's Recovers From Uveitis

Mud fever has many names including cracked heels, scratches, rain rot, greasy heel, mud rash, and dew poisoning. It is a common condition, usually affecting horses lower limbs; especially the back legs, and particularly if they are white.

Read more: Mud Fever ( Rain Scald) Herbal Treatment

Following a life trauma or serious accident during work the nerve cells and plexuses of the central nervous sytem and peripheral nervous system and their surrounding sheaths may be damaged , this may result in nervous over stimulation, irritation or numbness.

Read more: Nerve Regeneration

This regimen is given during 48 hours prior to an event by mixing the dose with other treatments or water and syringing over the tongue.

Read more: Nervous Episode Tonic

Unusual nervousness, can be triggered by small incidents, accidents and operations. In all instances I recommend the Nervous Rehabilitation Mix.

This works to strengthen the nervous system itself. You can slowly begin to re-introduce the horse to the situation that triggers any nervousness, Do only a little at a time after about 3 weeks. I would be taking it slowly if the horse was apprehensive to begin with . Try leading him around shows for a while and then think about riding.

Read more: Nervous Episodes

This cider vinegar extract is formulated to nourish and calm the nervous disposition. It contains 'Nervines' or nervous system tonics to allow change to a nervy horse's nature and habit patterns of reaction to certain circumstances.

Read more: Nervous Rehabilitation Mix

OCD is quite a common occurrence in larger young horses, hence it is very wise to keep them a little leaner through this area of growth and age, and to also reduce the amount of protein in the diet. As well as ensuring they have a large paddock to exercise in.

Read more: OCD (Osteo-chronditis Dissecans)

Steps to follow for the first aid of open wounds.

  1. Syringe the open wound with Colloidal Silver twice daily especially if messy.
  2. If the wound is still a little messy then the Wheatgrass spray is also ideal.
  3. If the wound is starting to heal no infection present then treat with the skin healing mix.
  4. Add Chamonmile tea to his diet 1 litre 500ml AM & Pm. Also to aide repair of tissue 1 cup each of Crushed White Millet & Linseed halve AM & PM mix dry into food.
  5. Read more: Open Wound

  • You should feed your horse Dandelion, Chamomile, Fenugreek, Fennell, Garlic and Rosehips occasionally.
  • You should allow it access to free choice Kelp, Sea Salt and Dolomite to provide any minerals or trace elements missing from the feed and pasture.
  • Provide regular opportunities for your horse to graze in laneways or other areas of unimproved pastures and weeds.
  • Feed meadow hay in preference to cultivated and irrigated Lucerne or other commercial hay.
  • Reduce your horse's exposure to all commercial processed horse feed products.
  • Resist the temptation to use poisons either on the ground or in your horse's gut.
  • Rotate and spell your paddocks regularly.
  • Protect your ground cover and the colonies of bacteria and fungi, which are the lifeblood of your humus .
  • Learn to love your weeds. All you need to do to protect your horse from Patterson's Curse poisoning is to change it from a susceptible horse to one which is not susceptible.

If your horse is not nutritionally or environmentally stressed and is free to graze on healthy pasture at times and to choose what it eats, it will not go out looking to poisonous plants for missing minerals or to satisfy its subverted grazing instincts.

Read more: Pattersons Curse - How To Protect Your Horses

Peppie the pony

"I have a wonderful story to share;

Read more: Peppie the pony

For any type of poisoning we recommend the Conditioning Mix.

Read more: Poisoning

The practice of applying poultices to the body goes back a long way and was a major way in which medical results were achieved. It was also something which remains in our cultural consciousness as although we all know what a poultice is, very very few of us actually use them at all or maybe, have never even seen them used.

There are remnants of the Poultice still found in the practice of "Blistering" which is really a poultice gone wrong.

Read more: Poultices

Proud Flesh essentially occurs following a wound, injury or surgery when normal granulated wound tissue that is pinkish and succulant , overgrows around the wound. Later there may be evidence of irritation, infection or parasites.

As your horse's wound begins to heal normal granulation tissue fills in the gaps between soft tissues. Granulation tissue naturally stops forming as the skin edges grow together to close the wound. But when healing doesn't go according to plan, the granulation tissue becomes exuberant-it keeps growing until it bulges above skin level, so newly formed skin can't grow over the wound. That's proud flesh.

Read more: Proud Flesh Herbal Treatment for Horses


    The problem with Queensland  Itch is that it is initiated by a variety of causes and then perpetuated by another variety of causes.  Most often the initial reason for the itch in a horse starting off with sensitive skin is some sort of metabolic stress whether that be climatic or illness or difficulty in breaking down (usually in the liver) some sort of chemical substance showing up in feed or supplements.  Otherwise the itch is initiated by insect bites or by mites or fungal infestation taking up residence in an area of rubbing where the skin has been injured.

    Read more: Queensland Itch

Queensland Itch is known by many names depending on where you live, Sweet Itch, Summer Eczema or Midges.

Read more: Queensland Itch Herbal Treatment

All young horses beginning work need to have their structure protected as a first priority (ligaments and bones) as well as their kidneys and adrenals, the physical and metabolic/nervous system stresses associated with breaking and racing training show up in these areas first. This can be the beginning of ongoing problems that often ultimately cost the young horse their racing career.

Read more: Racing Preparation for a Young Horse

Simply speaking, cancer occurs when one of the most fundamental tasks of the human body , the immune system is not functioning.

Read more: Radio and Chemo Therapy Herbal Support

One of the major considerations in treating for trauma - naturally after dealing with any life-threatening circumstance - is to deal with shock. Orthodox medicine has no specific treatment for shock whatsoever - which is amazing considering that shock plays such a major role in health and the effects of trauma. Shock can dramatically alter the outcome of surgery; shock can exacerbate the complications following any injury by savagely depleting the immune system and adrenal reserves; shock also often produces nervous system complications and reactions that can remain in the system forever after a traumatic incident.

Read more: Rescue Remedy

There are no herbs to expel retained afterbirth in mares.

I do however have a brood mare mix which tones the uterus prepares for foaling, The Brood Mare Mix.

Read more: Retained Afterbirth

Rosehips Granules are one of the very best sources of natural Iron and Vitamin C. They also contain biotin for optimum hoof health. Rosehips play a major role in kidney rehabilitation and adrenal function and can be used to prevent Azoturia or "tying up". Routine usage will completely rehabilitate kidneys weakened by stress and/or the regular use of electrolytes or diuretics.

Read more: Rosehips Granules

A sarcoid is a growth on the skin which is thought to be caused by a virus. It grows particularly on the inner aspect of the thighs but may occur on any other part of the body.

Read more: Sarcoid Program

Herbally, I work with the systems of the body giving rise to the condition in the first place.

Read more: Sarcoids

We all see the process of scarring every time our horse cuts or injures itself or is bitten or kicked by one of its companions. We also know that scarring tends to fade over time and even the most horrendous looking injuries can reduce to relatively minor scarring just by the passage of time.

Read more: Scar Minimising Oil

Sciatica is simply an inflammation of the nerves out of the spine which are travelling down through the pelvis and into the legs.

In a young animal it will be a reflection of a blow to the spine or some sort of a twist or fall which has caused some of the spinal muscles to go into spasm and place pressure on the nerve bundles emerging from the spine.

Read more: Sciatica

The best way to deal with a scouring problem is to gain an understanding of the particular factors which predisposed your particular horse to the problem in the first place.

Read more: Scouring

Septicaemia is now more likely to be called Sepsis and is an overload of bacteria in the blood stream resulting from infection in another part of the body such as the abdomen, urinary tract or the skin. It can also result from surgery in these same areas.

Read more: Septisemia Herbal Treatment

Show horse owners are always looking for the perfect coat conditioner when presenting their animals.This blend works by tuning up the whole metabolism, while at the same time helping to boost the horses general health and acting as a preventative for most common illnesses.  

Read more: Show Conditioning Blend

I am finding this situation surprisingly easy to treat using a combination of the following herbs in combination. Maritime Pine Bark given separately with a mix containing Equisetum, Elecampane, Wormwood, Fenugreek, Echinacea, Euphorbia, Yarrow, Horse Radish, Violet Leaves, and Red Clover.

Read more: Sinus Infection/ Inflammation Support

When allergic rhinitis has become a chronic infective or sinus problem the situation is that the mucous membranes which line the sinus cavities are actually breaking down and constantly inflamed and/or infected.

There are two main classifications of sinusitis in the horse, primary and secondary. Primary sinusitis refers to when there is an inflammation or infection of the sinus of which the offending pathogen is usually just one type of bacteria and secondary refers to when there are many offending pathogens and the disease process is most commonly associated with a dental disease, facial fractures, tumours or sinus cysts.

Read more: Sinus/Chronic Nasal Infection

Skin problems are mainly a reflection of internal conditions and therefore internal support treatments are necessary to completely resolve the problems.

Read more: Skin Allergy Internal Mix

The Skin Healing Cream is designed to follow first aid treatment of a wound, scrape or other damage to the skin.

Read more: Skin Healing Cream

Through our work with "Queensland Itch" I have developed treatment approaches to provide relief and healing to all types of chronic skin irritations which often involve fungal infestation. Most "Itch" is originally caused (again usually in horses with sensitive skin anyway) either by dietary or chemical problems or external parasites like mosquitoes and mites.

Read more: Skin Irritant Cream (Queensland Itch)

This natural extract derived from wheat grass sprouts offers a phenomenal rate of healing when used as first aid and follow up treatment on open wounds. Serious bleeding and dirty wounds can be first treated with my Antiseptic Styptic . extract and this can be followed by the application of the spray right through to the establishment of new hair growth in record time.

Read more: Skin Recovery/ Scar-Less Healing Spray

Slippery Elm Bark Powder is used to treat irritation and ulceration of all mucosal membranes within the body. It will completely repair the mucus lining of any affected area and can be used in conjunction with Chamomile Tea to treat scouring in horses by healing the lining of the whole of the gastro-intestinal tract.

Read more: Slippery Elm Bark Powder

The spraying is really all about excitement where the adrenals glands are pumping so hard they are affecting the kidneys and ultimately the bladder sphincter. Much as a person may wet themselves if they get a sudden shock. It is all about adrenalin.

If there is no penalty in the competitions for spraying, just an annoyance, I would not be doing anything radical to try to correct it.

The three major herbal tonics to strengthen the adrenal system are Borage, Liquorice and Rosehips. You should be able to source Rosehips Granules and make up a herb tea to be used for dampening feed by putting two dessertspoons of the granules in a pint of boiling water and using this to dampen feed morning and evening.

This should also improve endurance and performance.

Read more: Spraying due to over excitement

For the breeding Stallion, this mixture contains herbs which stimulate the reproductive hormones, increase sperm count and at the same time promote nervous stability.  My formulation recognises that there are many factors involved in low semen counts. The physical and immune system vitality and the nervous system vitality are equally as important as the hormonal vitality. My program addresses all these areas.

Read more: Stallion Vitality Blend

We treat a lot of horses with stomach ulcers very successfully using Slippery Elm and Chamomile mix which is very soothing for the gut. and the slippery elm powder provides a coating to the lining of the gut and the intestines. The dosage is 1/3 cup powder mixed into a paste with a quantity of cold Chamomile Tea. This paste is given directly or added to the horses feed or bran mash.

Read more: Stomach Ulcers

A stomach ulcer is an area where the membrane comprised of mucus producing cells has been eroded away and the acid has been able to attack the muscular wall beneath. This causes pain and inflammation and can cause bleeding into the stomach which is debilitating and potentially life threatening.

Read more: Stomach Ulcers Herbal Treatment

Stringhalt is the same in all countries, but for some reason, it’s the extreme weather in Australia that tends to promote the conditions due to the fungus that grows on some flat leafed plants. Usually the weather conditions also is associated with lack of grassy pasture, so the horse will tend to eat far too much of this kind of plant, resulting in a neurotoxic effect.

Read more: Stringhalt

Sweet Itch is like our Queensland itch and I have had success with treating this. It helps the progress if you are able to protect from the biting insects.

Read more: Sweet/Queensland Itch

The symptoms of swollen legs point to the horse fighting some sort of infection in the body. The swelling legs indicate that the lymphatic system is not working as well as it should.

Read more: Swollen Legs

Tendon and bone injuries are curable. 

Read more: Tendon and Bone Healing

Ligament Damage, Tendonitis and Shin Soreness are best treated by using this specially prepared external cream in conjunction with the Tendon and Bone Treatment, which is given internally .

Read more: Tendon Cream

Horses can become quite nervous before competing. They can anticipate 'bad things' and lo and behold 'bad things' happen. After being on the mix for a week or so you can slowly begin to re-introduce your horse to the situation that triggers the nervousness, a little at a time so try just leading him around shows for a while and then think about riding.

Read more: The Nervous Horse

This blend is specifically designed to supplement the demands placed on competition horses being maintained at peak performance level.

Read more: Top Performance Blend

There are major advantages in reducing the shock caused by panic, accident or injury or by any acute illness condition. Homeopathic treatments plus herbal anti-inflammatories and tonics all help the horse recover its physical health quickly from trauma and minimize long term effects on its nervous system.

Read more: Trauma Drops

The Herbal Travel Mixes are often formulated for individual animals once I know them and am able to take into account their own personality and experience.

Read more: Travel Mix

We all know people who get car sick, airsick or sea sick and there must be a few horses out there which get motion sickness in the same sort of way. I don't know of anybody who has died or had their career ruined as a result of travel related illness but I hear of lots of horses to whom this has happened.

In discussing this problem with my clients and friends I began to appreciate just how much time some horses spend on the road and that the problem ranges all the way through Ignorance, Poor Preparation, Cruelty, Neglect, and Poor Design of Floats. I also found out that some animals can be severely stressed by a 3 hour trip and that some carriers, notably some of the respected interstate ones regularly transport horses right across the Nullabour, and deliver them in perfect condition every time.

Read more: Travel Trauma in Horses

When I first studied Herbal Medicine, (having come from an Engineering and Science background) I had great difficulty coming to terms with, and understanding how on earth all this knowledge was arrived at in the first place.

Read more: Understanding and Growing Herbs for Horses

Vitiligo refers to a skin depigmentation from an unknown cause while the terms leukoderma and leukotrichia are used to decribe pigmentation loss in skin and hair, respectively.

Read more: Vitiligo (Leukoderma)

Warts in a young horse often fall off by themselves but they can be encouraged by the use of two of our standard treatments.

Read more: Warts

Before we kept horses in artificial environments, they roamed free across large tracts of land, and kept themselves healthy by grazing on a large variety of grasses, grains, herbs, and other seasonal plants. Because they had freedom of choice, they followed their instincts to eat the plants they needed for certain times of the year (breeding, coming up to hard winters, etc.), and 'self-medicated' for any salts, minerals or deficiencies to deal with existing or impending health or injury problems.

Animal herdsmen, who had no fences, and who spent their lives watching and worrying about their stock, acquired the knowledge of herbal lore in early times. They had ample time to watch the animals seeking out herbs and weeds in the pasture at different times and they connected with the idea that the choice of particular herbs related to health or injury or seasonal or reproductive demands of the animals. The animals already 'knew' what they needed, it was built into their instincts. This is where the term "Horse Sense" came from.

Read more: What are we doing to our horses health?

Wind sucking is the aspiration of air; the horse arches its neck and gulps in air. Some horses do this while holding onto a stable object with their teeth; others do it unaided. It results in a grunting type of noise. The horse learns to suck air simply by creating a vacuum in the mouth. The vast majority of horses that wind suck suffer no adverse effects at all. If the habit is severe the muscles on the underside of the neck may get bigger and this might be regarded as unsightly.

Read more: Wind Sucking

We prescribe a super concentrated extract based on Arnica, Witch Hazel and the Bach Flower Rescue Remedy which you mix with Linseed Oil to be massaged locally over the area of the swelling.

Read more: Windgalls/ Capped Hocks

Worming without poisons means your animals and their digestive systems are in better shape and they will therefore be healthier and able to perform better.

Read more: Worming Treatment

A highly developed mix of Herbs and Kelp which provides a totally balanced quota of all the natural Vitamins, Minerals and Protein to help young stock grow and mature quickly to their full potential.

The mix is a blend of dried herbs and includes:- Borage Herb, Chamomile Flowers, Dandelion Leaf, Dried Garlic, Kelp Granules, Nettle Herb, Sage Herb and Yarrow Herb.

Read more: Young Stock Mixture

Have a question? Contact McDowell's Herbal Treatments
Please make your enquiry as detailed as possible.

Get in Touch

We are open Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm. AEST. You can also contact us by phone or email.

02 6331 3937
+61 2 6331 3937(Int)


McDowell's staff Herbalists can not diagnose your disease or illness. What they can do is offer a herbal program to assist with healing, after you have had advice from your doctor or specialist. If you have unexplained pain or symptoms, seek medical advice.

EMAIL  |  PHONE 02 6331 3937  |  INTERNATIONAL +61 2 6331 3937