Peppermint for Horses
Peppermint is well known as a brilliant appetite stimulant and a yummy treat for horses - they tend to love it. We’ve all taken some polo mints to the yard for our horses to have a little nibble on and most of them can’t get enough! And if you have a fussy horse, you’ve most likely bought feed flavoured with peppermint or added mint into your pony’s dinner to tempt them to gobble up all of the goodness.
The History of Peppermint and Health
Peppermint has a long and interesting history and has ben used by humans since as far back as 1500BC. In fact, it was so highly valued in ancient Egypt that it was used as currency. Native to the mediterranean and North Africa, Peppermint has been cultivated commercially for many hundreds of years and was used in ancient tribal communities to tend to numerous ailments and health complaints. And of course, even today, we all enjoy the freshening and cleansing benefits in our toothpaste!
Benefits of Peppermint for Health
Peppermint is most widely known to support healthy digestion and to relieve gastrointestinal distress. A cup of peppermint tea will often be touted to soothe a gurgling tummy and ease indigestion. Beyond that, Peppermint has been shown to increase the flow of bile for the liver, relax gastrointestinal spasms, ease tight muscles and ease bloating (Spirling and Daniels, 2001). Of course, the lovely aroma also has a calming and relaxing effect (Poswal et al, 2019).
The medicinal value of peppermint comes mainly from its menthol content, which is cooling, acts as an anaesthetic, and an antiseptic. That’s not the only useful compound in peppermint though. It also has antioxidant benefits thanks to its high polyphenol content, as well as expectorant properties (Nayak et al, 2020).
Peppermint has cooling, soothing properties when applied externally as well. When applied to the skin, peppermint preparations have shown to relieve inflammation and irritations and soothe sores (Herro and Jacob, 2010).
How to incorporate peppermint into your horse's diet
Peppermint’s versatility really is vast and it really helps that it’s one that horses enjoy the smell and taste of! Peppermint can be incorporated into the diet easily, either as fresh leaves in you have some from your garden, or dried. Its benefits can be enjoyed by horses year round and unlike some other herbs, it’s very easy to come by.
Click here to incorporate peppermint into your horse’s diet the Equinutritive way.
We also have a delicious peppermint infused bit butter that you and your horse will love. Click here to shop Butter Me Up.
Herro, Elise; Jacob, Sharon E. Mentha piperita (Peppermint), Dermatitis: November 2010 - Volume 21 - Issue 6 - p 327-329.
Nayak, Parv, et al. "Peppermint a medicinal herb and treasure of health: A review." J Pharmacognosy Phytochem 9 (2020): 1519-1528.
Poswal, Fatima S., et al. "Herbal teas and their health benefits: a scoping review." Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 74.3 (2019): 266-276.
Spirling LI, Daniels IR. Botanical perspectives on health Peppermint: more than just an after-dinner mint. Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health. 2001;121(1):62-63.