Herbal first aid for horses - McDowell's Herbal Treatments

Because of their reactive natures as flight animals and the confined conditions in which we often keep them, horses are inclined to injure themselves. This applies to the times when they are at liberty in the pasture, when being ridden, and, particularly, when they are being transported...

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Swift and appropriate first aid can go a long way towards minimizing the severity and long term effects of any trauma or accident...


One of the major considerations in treating a horse for trauma (after dealing with any life-threatening circumstance) is to deal with shock. Orthodox medicine has no specific treatment for shock - 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.

For this reason, the Bach Flower Rescue Remedy is an absolute must for the first aid box. It works by settling down and resolving the various energy components of shock - fear, panic, the heart-stopping jolt of trauma, vulnerability and loss of control. A few drops of Bach Flower Rescue Remedy administered to both horse and owner immediately after trauma dramatically improves the outcome (it helps the owner make better decisions and to transmit calmer energy to the animal). It also effectively caps and unwinds the energy of shock spiraling out of control in the horse.

In a serious case, following the first dose the remedy needs to be given again after a short interval, and then several more times that day and for the few days following. (Homeopathic Arnica 30c works to relieve the physical repercussions of shock in a similar manner. My personal preference however is to use the Bach Flower Rescue Remedy, as I see it covering more fully the emotional ramifications in addition to the physical.)

Antiseptic Styptic

The next major component of a first aid kit is an antiseptic/styptic mix to treat and sterilize open wounds. The best mix for these purposes contains 20 drops of stock strength Bach Flower Rescue Remedy and two other herbs - 100 mls each of extracts of Yarrow and Calendula. Yarrow is a styptic herb, which acts to seal small blood vessels and reduce the bleeding while at the same time providing an energy boost to the physical nervous system. Calendula is an excellent general-purpose antiseptic, which will allow the body to gently control and expel any potentially infective agents.The mixture can be kept on hand at all times in a bottle or spray container.

The effect of using this sort of treatment as first aid for wounds is to reduce shock, seal small blood vessels, and allow the wound to pull itself together from 'the inside out'. This is nature's way - which this century has been supplanted by stitching the lip of the wound and pulling it together while possibly sealing in matter the body hasn't had time to expel. In this age of 'super bugs' in the environment, (especially in medical institutions!), and the failure of anti-biotic therapy, it is vitally important to treat all wounds naturally as far as possible to avoid complications.

Apply a squirt of antiseptic/styptic immediately a wound is found, then as soon as possible, wash the wound out well and pat dry. Follow this with another generous squirt with the mixture. The wound can then be taped to hold it together, and dressed to keep dirt out. Stitching will obviously still be necessary in large wounds - but immediate and then continuing use of the anti-septic / styptic mix as well will expedite healing. Change wound dressings regularly, applying more antiseptic/styptic each time - and watch the wound granulate and heal from the inside out leaving the area almost completely scar-free.

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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.

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