Thursday, August 16, 2007

EPSM and the Digestive System

I made the mistake, at the beginning of Summer, to cut down Lutine's oil and protein ration in her food because she looked as though she was getting rather too sleek (a touch fat). We have a lot of protein rich birdsfoot trefoil in our field and I was just worried that by her getting too big she would stress her joints more. Anyway, withing a couple of weeks she'd lost a noticeable amount of muscling over her hind end and she'd been walking stiffly behind again. I've started her on Whole Horse chinese herbs for the uveitis but then asked for Gloria Garland, the herbalist, to come up with a formula for helping Lutine's stiffness problems. Gloria sent to me a few samples to try on Lutine with applied kinesiology (muscle testing) and the combination that came out the strongest was the 'Easy Mover' (for joint stiffness) combined with the Tendon Support formula and a digestive herb called Shen Zu. Shen Zu is a herbs used to help the digestion deal with carbohydrates and sugars. I mentioned to Gloria about how this all fits in with the EPSM and so Gloria sent to me another sample for a combined digestive health formula and I will test that too when it arrives.

In the meantime I read an article she'd written about Chinese herbs and digestive health . She wrote:

"The earth element, the stomach and digestion, is the source for all the qi of the body. Also referred to as “central qi,” it creates all the cells, tissues and all energetic and physiological functions of the body.

Keeping the earth element strong
A horse with a weak earth element can manifest in several ways: ulcers, poor physical development, chronic colic or diarrhea, declining condition in old age or poor muscle development, muscle tone or wasting.

When the central qi is strong, the body functions more effectively on all levels, stress is better managed, illness and disease are better handled and recovery from injury is faster.

The hay, grain, vitamins, supplements and water we provide are the raw materials for the central qi factory. They become transformed into the building blocks of the body. A strong digestive function can help our horses’ live longer, healthier lives.

Enhancing the earth element with herbs
In addition to a balanced diet, mineral and de-worming program designed to fit your particular horse’s needs, some of the following Chinese herbs are helpful for digestive health:

Shen qu (Massa Fermentata) This enzyme and vitamin B-rich herb enhances the digestion over all by facilitating the digestion of starches and carbohydrates found in high amounts in hay and grain rations.
Mai ya (Fructus Hordei Germinatus) This herb protects the stomach and promotes the digestion of starches, especially wheat and rice based products. (caution - avoid use in large doses with lactating mares).

Gu ya (Fructus Setariae Germinatus) Also digestive enzyme-rich, it is very good for horses prone to chronic, gas colic as well as for weak or older individuals."

I found what was said about the weak 'Earth Element' very interesting because it described all the associated issues Lutine has, especially the extraordinary amount of time it seems to take her to recover from pretty minor issues (like the mud fever she had over winter). Also, the fact that this is associate with 'central qi' and that weakness in that can result in fatigue and metabolic issues.

The full article can be found here:

In the meantime, she's gone back on to her usual high oil, protein rich diet and if she starts looking too gross we will increase her exercise this time. I won't make the same mistake twice - but this was another experience that really underlines her EPSM status.


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