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Posts Tagged ‘healing horses with herbs’

From Holistic Horsekeeping – Pain Explained with Traditional Chinese Medicine

Another great resource is Madalyn Ward’s Holistic Horsekeeping. I highly recommend subscribing to her newsletter…as well as updates from Passion for Horses! ūüôā

I’d like to share with you her post on using Traditional Chinese Medicine in assessing your horse’s health. If you’ve ever visited a Chinese pharmacy or herbalist, you’ll be amazed by the results that can be seen just by combining the right and different amounts of herbs and essences. Chinese medicine takes into consideration not only your outward physical symptoms but what your energies are like inside.

Read on for some great insight!


Pain Explained with Traditional Chinese Medicine – Part 1

Ever wonder why the miracle product that works on so many horses does not do a thing for your horse? Or why the wonder cure you found and shared with all your friends did not help their horses one little bit.  The reason is not all pain is the same. Western Medicine tends to lump  all pain symptoms together and treat them the same. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) divides types of pain into 5 types and treats  each type quite differently.

According to TCM, except for acute injury, all pain is the result of an underlying weakness in the immune system. A healthy body should have an abundance of defensive Qi (Wei Qi) circulating through the meridians to protect against external pathogens such as Wind, Cold and Damp. Qi represents the life force of the body and meridians are the pathways through which this energy flows. TCM looks at pathogens and Wind, Cold, Heat, and Damp where Western Medicine looks at viruses, bacteria and parasites. Anyone who has experienced the achy joints and muscles with the flu, a sinus headache or Lymes disease understands how viruses, bacteria and parasites can cause pain.

Pain in TCM is referred to as a Bi Syndrome. Bi means obstruction in the meridians caused by the invasion of Wind, Cold and Damp. Bi
syndrome may show as pain, soreness, numbness, or swelling of the joints, bones, muscles, and connective tissues. Western Medicine would
label these conditions as rheumatism, arthritis, osteoarthritis, bursitis, fibromyalgia, sciatica, etc.

The 5 types of pain according to TCM are Wandering Bi(Wind), Painful Bi(Cold), Fixed Bi(Damp), Febrile Bi(Heat) and Bony Bi(long standing Damp).

Wandering Bi acts like wind with rapid onset of pain that moves around in the body. The soreness and pain can be in the joints or muscles and movement will be limited. Western Medicine would look at this type of pain as fibromyalgia or sciatica. This is the horse that is off but for no apparent reason. Lameness exams can be frustrating in that flexion tests and blocking will not identify the area of pain.

Painful Bi acts like cold with contraction and congealing. The pain is severe and stabbing in nature. It can be in the muscles or joints with limited movement and coldness of the tissues. Bursitis and early stage arthritis would fit the Western Medicine model. This is the horse that starts out very lame and then moves better as he warms up. Flexion tests and joint blocks may identify the area of pain but little will show up on radiographs or ultrasound.

Fixed Bi acts like damp with edema, numbness and stiffness more than pain. Wet weather will aggravate symptoms. Western Medicine would call
this type pain rheumatism. Stocking up in the legs would also be a characteristic of Fixed Bi. This horse will have sound days and lame days depending on the weather. The area of concern may be obvious due to swelling but other times no outward symptoms are seen.

Febrile Bi acts like fire with rapid onset of redness, swelling and severe pain. The pain can be in more than one area and movement will be very restricted. Pressure will increase the pain and the patient may be irritable. Joint infections fit into the category of Febrile Bi. Joint infections can occur from tiny punctures that don’t show up as a wound. If you suspect a joint infection call your vet immediately. Hoof abscesses are another example of Febrile Bi. They are less of an emergency but still require immediate attention to relieve suffering.

Bony Bi is the result of long term invasion of Wind, Cold and Damp. You will see muscle atrophy, joint deformity and joint degeneration. Osteoarthritis is the Western equivalent of Bony Bi. Bony Bi will show up on radiographs but at this stage the condition is very difficult to treat.

Types of TCM Pain:

Wandering Bi(Wind)
Painful Bi(Cold)
Fixed Bi(Damp)
Febrile Bi(Heat)
Bony Bi
Treatment and prevention for all Bi syndromes should begin with a strengthening of the Wei Qi. Overall health and nutrition should be examined. Nutritional products such as Citrus C/Q, Bleeder’s Blend, PrePro and APA blend will support the Lungs(Wandering Bi), Spleen(Fixed Bi) and kidneys(Painful Bi). General supportive accupressure points include, LI 11, GV 14, SP 6, ST 36 BL 11 and GB 39.

Treatment for individual Bi syndromes will be discussed next month.
For further information about accupressure points visit

Please also enjoy all of Dr. Ward’s web resources:
Twitter: @madalynward

SEPTEMBER- Revisiting Holistic HorseCare

A Note from Faye: Well, September is upon us…which also¬†means that Fall is rapidly approaching! So this month we will once again focus on Holistic Horse Care & Natural & Herbal remedies for our horses. The colder weather brings with it a host of health issues, but instead of rushing out and buying a ‘traditional’ (possibly toxic!) treatment,¬†first explore the possibility that there may be a natural remedy that will not only cure what ails your horse, but also¬†support his immune system and treat the horse as a whole being instead of merely treating symptoms!



 By: Madalyn Ward, DVM (

Normally when we think of allergies, symptoms like a runny nose or cough come to mind. A horse owner may more quickly think of the horrible skin itch that occurs with sweet itch, the allergy to culicoides gnats. But not all allergies have such obvious symptoms. Read the rest of this entry »

NUTRITION- An Introduction to the Use of Herbs in Horses Diets

Article written by: Dr Joyce Harman

Herbal medicine is being used with increasing frequency. Many people are unaware of the best way to use herbs, or what conditions can be treated. This article is an introduction to the many aspects of the use of herbs in horses with discussion about some specific herbs useful for older horses. Over time I will publish more details about herbal medicine and individual herbs. 

An Introduction to the Use of Herbs

Horse owners are becoming increasingly interested in natural medicines and herbal medicine in particular. There is much lack of knowledge about Read the rest of this entry »

Healing Laminitis & Metabolic Syndrome with Nutrition: Part 3

By Marijke van de Water, B.Sc., DHMS

Insulin Resistance

When a horse (or human for that matter) ingests sugar or starch the blood receives sugar very rapidly from the small intestine. Once in the bloodstream the sugar must find its way into liver and muscle cells where it is either burned for immediate energy or is stored as glycogen and used later. In healthy animals this is accomplished with insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates blood sugar by attaching itself to specific receptors in the liver and muscle, thereby opening those receptors and allowing the passage of sugar from the blood into the tissues. Eventually, in the presence of a long-term high sugar diet, these cell receptors become damaged by increasingly high insulin levels, at which point they can no longer open – the receptors are now resistant to the effects of insulin. Read the rest of this entry »