Spring, summer, grass or tree pollens. Some horses react to just one or all of them; some horses don't react at all. For those that do, horse or human, experiencing the irritations of respiratory pollen allergies is a frustrating, debilitating syndrome that causes real misery.
Our Kelso was a classic all-pollens reactor; the summer pasture allergens especially driving him to the point of violent headshaking. If we were out hacking but I got the time a bit wrong (I always endeavoured to go out first thing in the morning before the humidity hit), I'd have to dismount and he'd bury his face into my back for the rest of the walk home, to stop the irritants in the air getting up his nose and driving him crazy.
It's all down to an over-reaction by the body's immune system. So, while a fairly swift fix can be sought by blocking the histamine and associated symptoms, what we'd rather not do is end up with scripts of inhalers, steroids and inappropriate antibiotics (pollen response is not bacterial!), which not only suppress and inhibit the immune system, but also add to the body's toxic load, which weakens the immune system further. And all without addressing the root of the problem to boot.
Thankfully, nature has provided us with a wonderful range of herbal therapeutics with their actions which can really help. We know the cause - firstly, we know we have an immune system that needs rebalancing, so we need an immunoregulator, of which there are none finer than Astragalus. We're also getting an allergic response, so we need an anti-allergenic action, for which we use the wonderful Yarrow (probably my favourite herb of all time).
Now we look at the symptoms and how we can help these as well. We have a runny nose, so we need an anticatarrhal. For the itching, we'll use an antipruritic. And if you've got itching you've got inflammation - enter an anti-inflammatory with cooling astringent properties to tighten everything back up again. A bit of antihistamine help wouldn't go amiss either - enter nettle and plantain. And finally, for the stress involved, we'll use chamomile as a gentle nervine, and also a powerful anti-inflammatory.
Vitamin E and C are also powerful antioxidants which have a positive effect on the upper respiratory tract and lung tissue, both of which are available in our EquiVitaPlus mineral balancer.
And there we have it. An effective blend of nature's finest therapeutic actions, to kick this debilitating condition into touch.
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