A friend of mine has devised quite a cocktail of natural supplements that he feeds to his pony regularly as preventatives. One of the most recent additions to the mix is powdered mint. A search on the internet came up with these descriptions of mint’s efficacy:
- “…the minty flavour stimulates appetite and aids digestion.” (1)
- “Spearmint is a gentle way to ease any digestive discomfort in horses. It can help to reduce symptoms of diarrhoea and flatulence. Mint for horses can also be a valuable treatment for colic, or a supplement for horses with a tendency to develop colic. Spearmint for horses has powerful antiviral and antiseptic qualities and can be helpful in ‘drying up’ a mare from lactating after weaning.” (2)
Mint’s use as a digestive aid reflects my friend’s intentions with his pony. I wish these products were available stateside!
Recent research has revealed new potential benefits for horses from mint. Researchers at the University of Guelph in Canada found that mint extract given to horses with arthritic knees reduced inflammatory markers in the joints. The sample size was small, and the mint used had been specifically bred to produce twenty times the normal amount of rosmarinic acid, also found in oregano and rosemary, so the researchers called for more study. The research was summarized in the February 2012 issue of Equus. (3)
Just doing this thinking about mint gave me a craving for my favorite tea: Tazo Refresh. It is a combination of spearmint and tarragon, which also happen to be the flavorings in my favorite lentil dish for lunch. It’s not lunch time, but I think I’ll make myself a cup of tea!
3) Barakat, Christine and Mick McCluskey, “Minty relief for joints,” Equus, Issue 413, February 2012, p. 8.