Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) is an exceptional herb, readily loved by horses. Its benefits are varied and it has the advantage of being particularly delicious, meaning it is happily consumed by our equine friends when added to their feed.
It is a member of the mint family, which is evident from looking at it - it could be easily mistaken for a mint plant - and has a subtle scent of refreshing lemon. Lemon Balm has a wide range of benefits starting with having a soothing effect on the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract. Furthermore, it has the added effect of anti-spasmodic properties helping to reduce muscle pain, cramping and twitching. Given that muscular problems and digestive upsets are common in many hard working horses today, it can offer real relief to sport horses in particular.
The carminative properties of this herb help to reduce the level of gas in the digestive system, which can be a trigger for colic. Overall, many of the physical manifestations of stress and anxiety can be managed and reduced with the addition of lemon balm to the diet. Metabolic problems resulting from thyroid disruptions can also be normalized with the consumption of lemon balm.
Finally, lemon balm contains properties that make it antiviral, antibacterial and antihistamine in nature - great for helping to boost immunity, recovery from illness, to support during injury recovery and to feed following bites/ stings.
Lemon Balm is an all-rounder in the herb family and possesses many qualities that support and enhance the well being of all horses, so if there is one herb you should consider feeding, make this one it.
Feeding lemon balm already? What benefits have you noticed? We'd love to hear your experiences - tell us in the comments below!