Herbal Choices (Applied Zoopharmacognosy)
When a horse inhales an oil, it is absorbed straight into the part of the brain that helps the horse to deal with emotions, memories and regulatory functions. This works in the same way as for people, e.g. using lavender for relaxation or citrus scents to help uplift and revitalise.
If a horse eats or licks the oil or plant extracts, these take longer to be absorbed into the bloodstream as the nutrients are carried to whichever part of the body they are needed to assist in the production of energy, growth and repair.
In some cases the extracts can also be applied direct to the area of the body where they are needed, e.g. in the same way that people may use arnica for bruising or aloe vera for wounds.
In the wild horses are able to roam across vast areas of land allowing them to forage and seek out whatever they need whether it be plants, essential oils, clays, algae, seaweeds, minerals or other natural remedies that can help them to heal should they become ill or injured.
This behaviour is called zoopharmacognosy, a process whereby any animal, not just horses, self-medicates using its innate ability to recognise what it needs and to then find and select the most appropriate plants and minerals and to inhale them, eat them or apply them to its body.