photo of the yellowdock plant
If your horse is anemic you have options. Determining the cause of anemia is important to develop a protocol for bringing balance back to the horse. We will explore a few of our plant allies that are traditionally used to build blood. Herbs to consider for building blood are:
Amla (Emblica officinalis). This cool, dry, sour, and sweet fruit has anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties, helps protect the liver, builds blood, and in small amounts is gastroprotective. Amla also contains vitamin C as well as many flavonoids, including quercetin. Consider using Amla and Spirulina together for a synergistic effect. A good dosage to start with is ½ teaspoon of dried powdered fruit twice daily; dosage can be increased up to 2 teaspoons twice daily.
Beet root powder is a cool and sweet root that is nutrient-dense, nourishing blood, moistening the intestines, improving liver function, strengthening the heart, and calming the spirit. Dosage varies with processing. Use a human dose, which can be doubled, if necessary.
Dandelion leaf (Taraxacum officinale) is a bitter tonic with a cool, neutral energy. Dandelion is a potassium-sparing diuretic. The leaf is rich in nutrients including vitamin C, D, B-complex, iron, potassium, silica, and magnesium. The dosage is 2–4 teaspoons of dried powdered leaf twice daily.
Nettle leaf (Urtica dioica) has a cool to neutral dry energy with a mineral dense flavor, rich in flavonoids, minerals and vitamins. Nettle improves oxygenation of the blood, increases red blood cell count, and can stimulate arterial circulation. Urtica has anti-inflammatory, alterative, and antioxidant properties. This herb should be dried before feeding because the raw leaf can sting the mouth and throat. Starting dosage is 1 teaspoon of dried powdered leaf twice daily, and can be increased to 4 teaspoons twice daily.
Spirulina. This blue-green algae provides easily assimilated concentrated nutrition, essential amino acids, digestive enzymes, chlorophyll, beta carotene, minerals, and vitamins. Spirulina can help to improve immune function, build blood, as well as offer antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties. A starting dosage is ½ teaspoon of powdered spirulina twice daily and can be increased to 1 teaspoon twice daily.
Yellow dock root (Rumex crispus) is a cold, dry bitter tonic that improves the liver’s function and its ability to store iron. This root contains tannins, oxalates, and flavonoids including quercetin. Due to the oxalate content, avoid this herb if your horse has kidney or bladder stones. Also, avoid it if your horse has constipation or diarrhea as yellow dock can worsen these conditions. This is also an herb to avoid if your horse has elevated levels of iron. Dosage is 1 teaspoon of dried powdered root twice daily.
This is just a handful of the many plant allies that can build blood. Always remember when dosing that less is more and herbs work better together. Even better is a formula that fits the specific issues your horse is experiencing.
Andrea Baldwin is a Clinical Herbalist with training in various herbal traditions, including Western, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic, and Native American. As a lifelong horse advocate she believes that herbs and other holistic modalities, when used thoughtfully, offer the gentlest and most powerful way to bring balance to your horse. Andrea is the co-author of Equine Herbal and Energetics and founded Equibotanical to empower others to restore balance in mind and body through education of the traditional uses of our plant allies. www.equibotanical.com.