This page features herbs for horses beginning with the letters S – Z.
Sweet Cicely with its lovely liquorice flavour is also known as Anise, Chervil, and Sweet Chervil. It is a member of the parsley family.
Medicinally it is said to be very safe and particularly good as a tonic herb for elderly horses and dogs. It has traditionally been used for digestive problems, as a calming herb, for diabetes and as an expectorant for coughs. The root has also been used as a diuretic and as an aphrodisiac.
Sweet Cicely can be added to an ointment or antiseptic wash for wounds and leg ulcers. A very weak concoction can be made to bathe sore eyes.
Sweet potatoes, also known as yams, grow on a vine. Don’t confuse them with wild yams. They are a different herb.
Sweet potatoes are high in Vitamins A, B, C, iron, calcium, potassium phosphorus and high in antioxidants. They are also have dietary fibre which is higher than oat meal; therefore they are useful for constipation. They are known as a semi-complete food.
Sweet potatoes may be beneficial for diabetes, particularly white ones. Other studies have been done on their anticancer properties.
Sweet potato leaves have been used to help with asthma and even the common cold. They have been made into a poultice to help with insect bites.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, sweet potatoes are used to help the spleen Qi. Many people and horses have weakened spleen Qi and this affects digestion. The sweet potatoes are often feed to horses to help with the horse’s digestion. They can be chopped into pieces and fed directly to your horse. ½ a sweet potato daily is the usual amount added to a horse’s feed.
Marrubium vulgare White horehound contains the diterpene ‘murrubin’ which is a potent expectorant. Therefore it is often used as a remedy to help with coughs and has been used in many commercial cough mixtures. It is a bitter herb and has been used to help with stomach and digestive problems. It has also been used for pneumonia, asthma, bronchitis, ear problems, diarrhoea, to stimulate perspiration, and liver problems. Externally, it has been used to help with wounds and skin problems. White horehound has also been used for worming, but the Black Horehound is preferred for this. It is contraindicated (not to be used) during pregnancy or if ulcers are suspected.
Yucca Schidiger, Yucca spp.
There are over 40 species of Yucca. The one that is mainly used medicinally is Yucca Schidigera.
Besides being popular for arthritis, Yucca is known for its blood purifying, kidney cleansing and liver cleansing ability. It has also been used for; diabetes, urinary problems, to prevent blood clots, to help with indigestion, constipation, to stimulate the appetite and as a diuretic. It may be used topically for skin problems.
Yucca may swab as a prohibited substance in competitions. Large doses over a period of time may cause gastrointestinal upset, although generally it appears to be very safe. As always, seek veterinary advice about any problems with your horse.
Be aware that Agave lecheguilla, another species of Yucca has caused hepatotixicosis in grazing animals, so be careful of the type of Yucca you use and allow animals to graze on.