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First Posted: June 18, 2011
Jun 18, 2011

Homeopathic Remedies and Your Horse

What Is Homeoapathy?

"Homeopathy is an alternative system of medicine that was founded in the early 19th century by a German physician, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann. It had its greatest popularity in the late 19th century here in the United States, when 15% of the doctors in this country were homeopaths. After the turn of the century, its popularity took a nose-dive. However, since 1980 homeopathy has seen a resurgence of interest in the United States and homeopathic books can be found in many bookstores and homeopathic physicians in most major cities.

Classical homeopathy rests on three principles: the law of similars, the single medicine, and the minimum dose. The law of similars states that a disease is cured by a medicine which creates symptoms similar to those the patient is experiencing in a healthy person. The homeopathic practitioner determines which medicine best matches the symptoms the patient is experiencing and gives it. The principle of the single remedy states that a single medicine should cover all the symptoms the patient is experiencing: mental, emotional, and physical. A good homeopath would not prescribe one medicine for a headache and another for an upset stomach, he or she would find a single medicine that covered both symptoms. The principle of the minimum states that the similar medicine should be given in an infinitesimal dose. Homeopaths have discovered that the effect of homeopathic medicines is strengthed upon successive dilutions as long as the medicine is succussed (shaken) between each dilution. Though the idea that medicines become more powerful as they are diluted goes against common sense, homeopaths have observed that the process of making homeopathic medicines liberates an intrinsic power within them that makes them deeper acting and more powerful, as well as safer than traditional medicines

What Are Homeopathic Medicines?

Homeopathic medicines are natural substances derived from plant, mineral, or animal sources. Most homeopathic medicines are made from alcohol tinctures which are then successively diluted. But if the substance is not soluble in alcohol, it is ground together with milk sugar in a mortar and pestle. Homeopathic dilutions are either made on the C scale, where 99 parts of water are added to one part of the medicine for each dilution, or the X scale, where 9 parts of water are added to one part of medicine for each dilution. The dilutions are then dropped onto milk sugar pellets. Typical dilutions sold in stores are 6 X, 6 C, 12 C, 30 X, and 30 C.

What Is the Difference Between Homeopathy and Herbalism?

Homeopathy typically uses medicines in high dilution. Also, herbalism prescribes herbs based on their use in traditional medicine, while homeopathy prescribes them based on the law of similars. However, the uses of herbal and homeopathic medicines sometimes overlap and a medicine is used to treat the same condition, both herbally and homeopathically. ..." Baltimore Homeopathic Study Group

Madalyn Ward, DVM, is the author of Holistic Horsekeeping. Her Bear Creek Veterinary Clinic is in Austin, Texas, and she is certified to practice homeopathy, chiropractic and acupuncture. She suggests five basic homeopathic remedies that can help your horse.

Arnica Montana (known as arnica)

Arnica Montana

  • Abscesses
  • Boils
  • Bruising or bleeding resulting from a traumatic injury
  • Fear of touch
  • Head injury
  • High fever (hot head/cold body)
  • Inflammation
  • Mental trauma or grief
  • Muscle strain or soreness
  • Over exertion
  • Rope burn
  • Shock or grief
  • Soft-tissue damage
  • Stiffness
  • Stings
  • Swelling
  • Tooth pain
  • Urinary problems

Arnica can be purchased in the form of gels, sprays and creams to be used as a homeopathic remedy. Arnica has properties that "stabilizes the capillary system, slows or stops seepage and immediately starts the healing process by causing blood and fluid to resorb."

Rhus toxicodendron (AKA Toxicodendron radicans, better known as poison ivy, Rhus radicans and known as Rhus tox)

Rhus toxicodendron (AKA Toxicodendron radicans, better known as poison ivy, Rhus radicans and known as Rhus tox)

  • Arthritis
  • Connective tissue injury (tendons and ligaments)
  • Inflammation
  • Joint pain (arthritis)
  • Muscle strains (especially in the back)
  • Over exertion
  • Skin condiitons with little blisters
  • Soreness, sprains, strains
  • Stiffness that is relieved with movement
  • Symptoms are move pronounced in cold weather, better in warm weather
  • Torn muscle fibers

An interesting note: "Poison ivy appears to be a problem to some humans only. Horses, cattle, sheep, and goats are rarely (if ever) affected, and I am not familiar with any reports in the literature of poison ivy affecting horses. A large number of birds and wildlife feed on poison ivy, and horses and livestock graze on it without problem. The toxic oil (urushiol) from poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac can, however, contaminate animals' hair and be a hazard to people handling them.

It is doubtful the allergic skin reaction in your horse is due to poison ivy. The use of an appropriate herbicide recommended by your local weed control extension service specialist might be helpful in reducing the poison ivy in your pasture. Your horse might also enjoy the company of a goat or two that would help graze the poison ivy and poison oak. You should contact your veterinarian to determine what caused your filly to break out, since it is doubtful it was the poison ivy. Can Horses React to Poison Ivy and Poison Oak?

Ruta graveolens (AKA Herb-of-Grace and Ruta)

Ruta graveolens (AKA Herb-of-Grace and Ruta)

Symphitum officinale

Symphytum officinale is a perennial flowering plant of the genus Symphytum in the family Boraginaceae. Along with several other species of Symphytum, it is commonly known as comfrey. To differentiate it from other comfreys, this species may be known as common comfrey, Quaker comfrey, and cultivated comfrey. Other common names include boneset, knitbone, consound, and slippery-root.

  • Bone injuries
  • Stone bruises
  • Damage to the periosteum
  • Kicks
  • Fractures or other bruises
  • Bowed tendon
  • Penetrating bone injury
Bryonia alba (known as Byonia)

Byronia (AKA Briony, Bryonie and Bryony)

  • Bursitis
  • Pain in fluid filled joint
  • Muscle aches
  • Back pain
  • Bone problems
  • Influenza
  • Irritable

Some Other Homeopathic Remedies Used With Horses

Thuja Occidentalis

Thuja Occidentalis (Common names include: Tree of Life, Yellow Cedar, American Arborvitae, Arbor Vitae, Atlantic White Cedar, Cedrus Lycea, Eastern White Cedar, False White Cedar, Hackmatack, Lebensbaum, Thuia du Canada, Thuja.)

Euphrasia (Eye bright)

Euphrasia (Eye bright)


  • Allergies
  • Conjunctivitis/chronic and persistent
  • Eye injuries
  • Corneal ulcers (damage to the surface of the eye)
  • Watery eyes

I would never wait to call the vet on anything having to do with the eyes nor would I put anything in the eye without the consultation of a vet firs!. Time is of the essence! With our horses we feel it is imperative to get the vet out within 24 hours of any eye problem. The sooner the better.

I have researched and written this article for informational purposes only. Always call your vet before giving any type of remedy to your horse! I do not use homeopathic remedies on our horses, however, Kate has used them. She has also used herbs.

For More Information:

Horse Homeopathy
Vital Force for the Horse

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