Though generally considered a weed, Nettle (Urtica dioica) cannot be overlooked as one of the most wonderful and effective herbs for equine health. The benefits of nettle are varied and diverse, making it a sound herbal choice for almost any horse.
Nettle is rich in chlorophyll and packs a powerful punch with its nutritional profile. It is high in all of the following:
- Vitamins A, C and K
For both humans and animals, it is considered to have detoxifying effects, as well as being conditioning and restorative in nature. It is well known to provide relief from nasal and respiratory conditions as well as soothing skin related problems and enhancing circulation, which is espeically important during Winter.
This fabulous herb contains several anti-inflammatory constituents, making it suitable for use in cases of arthritis, joint stiffness (another common issue for horses in winter) or injuries resulting in inflammation. Its benefits for such conditions can be seen when it is used internally or externally. Research has shown that by managing inflammatory conditions with nettle, the need for anti-inflammatory drugs can be reduced by 75%!!
Laminitic horses also benefit from nettle. A number of studies have shown nettle leaf extract to have hypoglycaemic effects, resulting in decreased blood sugar levels. Other reasons it is considered to benefit laminitics are that it aids the elimination of toxins and boosts circulation.
Though it’s a stinging, prickly weed, it’s worth counting nettle as one of the biggest gifts nature has to offer to your horse. And you as well! Add some delicious nettle to your horses feed and then treat yourself to a cup of nettle tea, so that you and your horse can enjoy the benefits together.
Do you feed your horse nettle? What benefits have you noticed? Tell us about it in the comments section below!