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Auburn American Ginseng
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Chinese Magnolia Vine
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Confused about herbs? You'e not the only one! In the last few years, there has been considerable interest in using herbs to supplement our horses' health.
Confusion about what herbs are and what they do is still prevalent, despite the fact that, in recent years, herbs have enjoyed a huge resurgence in both mainstream popularity and scientific credibility in the United States. The growing popularity of herbs in the last 20 years is due in large part to the perception that they are less disruptive and toxic than modern drug therapy.
Herbs can be divided into two basic categories:
align="justify">- medicinal herbs, used to treat or cure disease
- tonic herbs, used on a daily basis to sustain health and prevent disease
Medicinal herbs are drugs, regardless of the often applied label of "natural," and should be used only under the advice and guidance of an experienced herbalist. Many of these "natural drugs" are highly potent and potentially dangerous. They should be used with the same caution and respect as any modern synthetic drug.
Tonic herbs are more accurately seen as "super foods," rich with phyto-nutrients that help the body rebalance and replenish its resources, especially when stress or illness has strained the animal?s normal resiliency and disrupted healthy metabolism. Ancient herbalists had such a high regard for the tonic herbs, that they called them "kingly" or "superior," while the medicinal herbs were called "servants," "assistants," or "inferior."
Modern science has termed this group of tonic herbs "adaptogens." The term stems from the idea that it was possible for natural plant substances to reinforce an animal?s innate ability to "adapt" to pressures and stress, whether physical or mental. Adaptogens act by increasing an animal's ability to withstand greater challenges without succumbing to exhaustion or disease.
Tonic herbs must be safe, with no known side effects when used reasonably, even for an extended period. An adaptogen must also:
1. Increase the organism's overall resistance to stress of any kind; and
2. Restore any system within the body disrupted by acute or chronic stress, promoting homeostasis.
A tall order, requiring a substance that can act multi-directionally in the body, e.g., raising the capacity of the immune system to fight infection or conversely, lowering an over-reactive immune system in the case of allergic reactions. Even more amazing, adaptogens must be able to act universally on ALL body systems, without interfering with normal cellular function. Something we, in the West, find very hard to believe.
Adaptogens expand our ideas of nutrition and health by pushing the boundaries of what we define as nutrients. Most of us understand that nutrients are the necessary chemical compounds required for the cells to do their jobs. But adaptogens actually provide nutritional support for how the cells do their job. Among the many valuable functions adaptogens perform is the support of the cells? "ON" and "OFF" switches, delicate signals that determine metabolic activity within the cell. Adaptogenic herbs help to maintain this normal cellular function by facilitating the smooth uptake, conversion, and expenditure of energy, despite the uneven ? often extreme ? pressures that stress or change can impose.
For many of us, our fundamental concepts of wellness are changing. We are moving from a culture that values staying well over getting well. As we do, we are becoming better advocates for ourselves and for our companion animals. Herbs fit perfectly with this new perspective, as they offer us extraordinary new options to support the health of our horses and ourselves.
There are literally hundreds of herbs studied and used for various nutritional and medicinal applications. The category of adaptogen includes fewer than two dozen. Some of the herbs categorized as adaptogens:
(Auburn american ginseng)
Eleutherococcus senticosus. Commonly referred to as Siberian ginseng, Eleutherococcus senticosus (E.S.) is not a ginseng at all. Considered to be the "King of Adaptogens" by Russian researchers, it exhibits a wide range of beneficial and protective actions in the body. Numerous clinical studies have shown E.S. has a proven ability to help cells absorb glucose. E.S. has also been shown to be a powerful immunomodulator, strengthening the immune system significantly when used on a daily basis.
(Auburn devil's club)
Echinopanax elatus (Asian Devil?s Club). As its name implies, this plant is a relative of Panax ginseng, but with very different qualities. Unlike true ginseng, which can have side effects with long-term use, Echinopanax elatus exhibits a more indirect effect. It is particularly effective in regulating blood sugar and protecting cardiac function.
Rhodiola rosea (Golden Root or Artic Root). Rhodiola rosea has no biological relation to the "common rose," but due to its similar fragrance, has been used as a substitute for Attar of Roses. Used for centuries to enhance mental and physical function, it has been shown in clinical studies to increase the blood supply to the muscles and brain, and also to increase protein synthesis. Cardio-protective, Rhodiola rosea improves heart rate recovery immediately after intense exercise. Perhaps just as importantly, it has also been shown to increase the body's ability to access lipids (fats) as an energy source.
(Auburn magnolia vine)
Schizandra chinensis (Chinese Magnolia Vine). Schizandra chinensis has been shown to assist in the utilization of oxygen within the cell. Another interesting effect of Schizandra chinensis is the ability to suppress excessive stomach acid. This may be shown to have a beneficial effect on the management of horses prone to ulcers.
Adaptogen: Greek adapto 'to adjust' and the suffix gen 'producing' = agent to produce adjustment in the body
A lifelong equestrian and animal lover, Joy Van Noy has competed in dressage, eventing and hunter/jumper disciplines. In 2000, she and her husband, Michael Van Noy, DVM, began Auburn Laboratories, Inc., to bring adaptogen technology to the equestrian world. Their product, APF, has developed a strong following among riders from every discipline, from international competitors to natural horsemen. www.auburnlabs.com
Bohn B, Nebe C. "Flow-cytometric studies with Eleutherococcus senticosus extract as an immunomodulatory agent." Arzneimittel-Forschung 1987;37(10):1193-6.
Brekhman II, Dardymov IV. "New Substances of Plant Origin which Increase Nonspecific Resistance." Ann Rev Pharmacol 1969;9:419-30.
Panossian A, Wikman C, Wagner H. "Plant adaptogens. Earlier and more recent aspects on their mode of action." \Phytomedicine 1999;6(4):287-300.
Stull CL, Spier SJ, et al. "Immunological response to long-term transport stress in mature horses and effects of adaptogenic dietary supplementation as an immunomodulator." Equine Vet J 2004;36(7):583-89.