Grow Your Own Medical Garden for your Horse.
I’m afraid I can’t tailor this to suit everyone, but the herbs I will talk about are all easy to grow, purchase and use.
I want to inspire you to create your very own medical garden even if that means it’s in a window box, bath tub, or in the ground, this is feasible for everyone to try.
I will give a list of herbs with some medical uses and a rough guide on how to grow. Also some of theses can be purchased already growing in pots so you can just plant them.
Calendula- calendula officinalis (pot marigold)
make sure its not the summer bedding type marigold- use the latin name .
- Anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, antiseptic, inflammation of the skin, wound healing.
- Parts used- flower fresh or dried.
- Direct sow seeds or start early inside.
- Edible flowers for salads.
- Great in ointment making.
- Excellent as a wash for mud rash.
So easy to grow from seed!!
Chamomile- Anthemis nobilis
- Digestive tonic, carminative, relaxant.
- Part used- flowers usually dried.
- Can be purchased from most garden centres.
- Sow seed after danger of frost in prepared soil or can be sow indoors in pots for a head start.
- Excellent for digestive up-set, skin sensitivity, anxiety, inflamed sore eyes.
Echinacea- Echinacea pupurea
- Blood cleanser, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, tonic.
- Part used- whole plant (including roots)
- Can be used for infection in the body, useful for respiratory issues, it can also be use externally as a wash.
- Echinacea plants are herbaceous perennials which means they will die down for the winter and then re appear in the spring.
- Echinacea plants do love full sun but in saying that the plant is very adaptable to other conditions the plants are capable of surviving in climates that are very cold.
- They can be purchased in garden centre or if you know someone with some you are propagate them by division in spring, or sow seed in March in a temperature of about 55°F (13°C), or sown out of doors in a sunny position in April.
- Echinacea plants can grow very tall, up to four feet high in some cases.
Lemon balm- Melissa officinalis
- Relaxant, insect repellent, topical anti-viral, good for spasmodic pain.
- Part used- leaves fresh or dried.
- Excellent tea for anxiety, restlessness, and panic can be given twice daily to dampen down feed.
- The tea can be dapped on areas of the body to repel insects.
- Will grow from cuttings very easily most garden centres stock it.
Peppermint- menthea x piperita
- Antiseptic, antispasmodic, assists in digestion especially where there have been tendencies towards colic.
- Part used- leaves fresh and dried.
- Peppermint is also super for feverish ailments.
- External it can be used to relive itching and inflammation.
- Can be invasive so might be wise to grow in a pot or plant near your horses watering area so they can self medicate.
- Will grow from cutting, seed and most garden centres will stock it.
Fennel- foeniculum vulgare
- Part used- seed and whole herb.
- Improves digestive up-take, eases trapped wind/pain in abdominal area mixes well with peppermint to make a digestive tea.
- Fennel tea can be helpful in metabolic upset when used with chamomile.
- The tea can be helpful with mild coughing and will also help with the production of milk.
- Can be grown from seed or bought from a garden centre and planted.
Rosemary- Rosmarinus officinalis
- Part used- leaves.
- Tonic and antioxidant will stimulate digestion and blood flow throughout the body.
- The tea is excellent for a horse failing to thrive or after a long tern illness.
- Great for the top equine athlete help the horse focus.
- Will grow from cuttings, again it can be bought at all garden centres.
- One tablespoon daily of fresh or dried herb is fine.
- Avoid during pregnancy.
Oregano, wild marjoram- Origanum Vulgare
- Part used- leaves.
- Antiseptic, antifungal, expectorant.
- Helpful with respiratory infections, coughs.
- Use the tea external for cuts and wounds.
- Can also be used for thrush infections, make into a strong tea the hoof can be soaked in the warm or cold tea. For extra ump some of the essential oil of oregano can be added to the tea for external use only.
- Grow from seed start inside now or available in garden centre.
- Do not take during pregnancy.
Free herbs that might be growing around you include- dandelion, comfrey, nettles, rosehips, hawthorn, mullein, plantain, meadow sweet, yarrow. Invite them into your garden to complete your herbal patch, if growing in abundance transplant small amounts into your hedgerow.
R.Kelly Equine Herbalist, Keep it real.