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Do you choose dried or liquid nettle for your horse?

Almost every horse owner feeds his or her horse nettle, as nettle is known for its medicinal properties and because horses find it very tasty. But is it also a suitable supplement for your horse? And is it better to give nettle fresh, dried or in liquid form? Nettles have been prized for their healthy properties since ancient Greece and have been used for centuries as a medicinal herb for humans and animals. Many beneficial effects are known from science. But nettles still have a bad reputation for many people. It is weeds, it stings, itches you and it is an annoying plant that grows along roads and meadows. But nettles are really super healthy, for both humans and horses. People often make tea from it, cook nettle soup or use the plant in a salad. You also see more and more dried nettle in concentrates and muesli for horses. Read in this article what the effect of nettle is for horses and what the difference is between dried and liquid nettle.

Nettles are rich in nutrients

Studies show that there are a lot of bio-active ingredients in the nettle plant. This includes large amounts of vitamins A and C, linoleic acid, polyphenols, essential amino acids, proteins, a lot of chlorophyll and a number of minerals. Selenium, zinc, iron and magnesium are abundantly in the leaves. The stinging hairs contain silicon, serotonin and a number of other components that are known for their beneficial effect on the muscles. Nettle also contains antihistamine, the same substance that is in hay fever pills to fight allergic reactions. Nettles are therefore very healthy for horses.

Health benefits of nettle for the horse

Studies show positive effects on the kidneys, bladder and urinary tract in humans and animals. Nettle has a blood purifying effect. Chlorophyll and iron from nettle help fight anemia. Nettle is supportive for allergies and skin problems. In humans it has been found that the plant can significantly reduce chronic skin diseases and inflammations. Nettle also has an antibacterial effect against a whole range of micro-organisms. As a result, feeding nettle can have a beneficial effect on the intestinal flora of your horse. Bad intestinal bacteria are removed, good intestinal bacteria are given a chance. Nettle can also contribute to the reduction of joint pain. In people with arthritis, it has been found that using a combination of healthy oil, vitamin E, and nettle extract can reduce painkiller use by 75%. Nettle also has a beneficial effect in stabilizing blood sugar levels and reducing symptoms in people with diabetes. The vegetable amino acids in the nettle plant can play an important role in the production of muscle tissue.

You don't have to feed nettles permanently

Nettle is therefore very rich in good building materials. You can use nettle on your horse as support for:
  • Kidney, bladder and urinary tract problems
  • Skin conditions and bumps
  • Insect bites and mites
  • Allergic skin problems such as Sweet itch or an pollen allergy
  • Disturbed blood sugar levels such as in PPID and metabolic syndrome
  • Joint pain
  • Accumulation of waste, for example after illness or after the winter
  • Disturbed intestinal flora and digestion
  • Joint pain

In periods when your horse builds up a lot of waste products, for example during stress, fatigue or great exertion, nettle can help to remove the waste and clean the blood vessels. It may be wise to regularly (for example every quarter) give a cure of nettle to purify your horse's body and give it a "boost" again. Give a powerful boost with nettle in a cure of 14 days, no longer is necessary for the purifying effect.

Feeding fresh and dried nettle

Some horse owners already give their horses nettle, usually "Stinging nettle" (Urtica dioica). There are people who put on their own gloves and pick nettles in their own environment. If you leave the plants for at least an hour, they are then perfectly edible for your horse. However, it is important to pick the nettle from clean soil and not next to, for example, a busy road. Nettles can absorb many pollutants - including heavy metals - from the air and the soil. Other people give their horses a product containing dried nettle. Some of the good properties of nettles have been preserved in this. It is also important to look carefully at the origin of the product with dried herbs. Human (human) consumption quality is the best.

Liquid nettle produces higher concentrations

Herbalists (herbalists) are often in favor of making an extract or tincture from a beneficial plant. The active ingredients are converted from a solid (the plant) to a liquid. This has a much greater health effect than a dried herb. The supplement is much more concentrated and is also much more absorbable in liquid form. The substances in the fluid pass through the intestines more easily and enter the horse's bloodstream directly. A dried herb will first have to be digested by the correct intestinal bacteria. That takes longer and some of the components can be lost. In addition, the concentration of active ingredients is lower. For a cure of 14 days it is therefore advisable to give nettle tincture, which is more powerful than dried nettle for horses.

Bottom Line: Liquid nettle is more powerful

There is nothing wrong with feeding fresh or dried nettle. But the absorbability and effectiveness of these two forms is less powerful. If you are therefore looking for a powerful effect for blood purification, for example, then a nettle tincture is a better choice for your horse. The liquid tincture is more concentrated and contains more active ingredients. It is also not necessary to give nettle to your horse for a long period of time. A treatment of 14 days with nettle tincture is the most effective, this can be repeated every quarter, for example.   Sources: Kregiel D, Pawlikowska E, Antolak H. Urtica spp.: Ordinary Plants with Extraordinary Properties. Molecules. 2018;23(7):1664. Published 2018 Jul 9. doi:10.3390/molecules23071664 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6100552/ Ngo HTT, Fang M, Hwang E, et al. Inhibitory Effects of Urtica thunbergiana Ethanol Extract on Atopic Dermatitis-Induced NC/Nga Mice. Antioxidants (Basel). 2020;9(3):197. Published 2020 Feb 26. doi:10.3390/antiox9030197 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7139843/
  1. Levent İnanç. 2011. Chlorophyll: Structural Properties, Health Benefits and its Occurrence in Virgin Olive Oils. Academic Food Journal ISSN Print: 1304-7582

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