Chasteberry for Horses
You might have heard a lot about chasteberry for horses, but what exactly is it? Basically, chasteberry is an extract that comes from the fruit and the seeds of the chaste tree. So yes, it is just a plant extract, totally natural. The extracts that come from the chaste tree have been used in herbal remedies throughout the world for centuries, including China, Japan, and India. It should be no surprise that we are finally catching on to the health benefits of using chasteberry for horses!
Chasteberry is reported to contain bioactive compounds that have a whole lot of beneficial properties, such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, insecticidal, anti-osteoporotic, and more. The only issue with chasteberry is that it has not been studied thoroughly, and so a lot of what people say is just hearsay or it comes from personal experience.
What Does Chasteberry Do for Horses?
Chasteberry can do a few things for your horse. Mainly, the extract is used for making mares more cheerful and less of a pain to handle. Chasteberry can support hormone levels, it can promote balanced behavior, and it can keep your horse calm and agreeable.
In addition to helping your mare’s behavior, chasteberry is also a great dietary supplement for horses that have reproductive issues or endocrine issues such as metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance. Chasteberry can also be used as a nutritional supplement to help with chronic pain from inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis.
Chasteberry is said to have positive effects on stress, hormone regulation, muscle tone, aging and growth, metabolic health, healthy coats, and energy levels. The one thing it definitely does is enhance the mood of your horse while improving their behavior. It’s hard to say if it does all the other stuff or not, but it definitely keeps your mares in a better mood. In fact, chasteberry got its name because in traditional medicine it was thought to promote chastity. The fruit was actually used by monks to lower their sexual desire. So yeah, it probably will do some mood boosting!
In humans, chasteberry is currently used to treat PMS and menopause. It has been proven to lower prolactin levels, thereby alleviating some of the harsher symptoms of reproductive cycling in females. But it has not been well-researched for horses. It’s growing in popularity mainly because of anecdotal evidence from both veterinarians and horse owners.
How Much Chasteberry Should I Feed My Horse?
The amount of chasteberry you should give your horse really depends on exactly what form is being used, what condition your horse is in, what their body weight is, and what the reasons are for using the supplement. Some chasteberry products are more concentrated than others and will require a different dosage. You should always follow the directions of the manufacturer, and you should always speak with your veterinarian first.
However, if you are thinking about using dried ground chasteberry fruit, you would typically feed your horse between 5 and 20 grams each day. A lot of this depends on the source, as some suggest serving sizes that go all the way up to 60 grams a day.
But we really don’t recommend exceeding 20 grams unless your veterinarian or a qualified equine nutritionist has said so.
It’s best if you start at the lowest possible dose, being about 5 grams per day, and then increasing the dosage until the result is achieved. Follow the same rules you would follow when introducing any new supplement to your horse.
What are the Side Effects of Chasteberry?
As of right now, there have been no serious side effects reported when using chasteberry on horses. It’s completely safe to use, and you don’t have to worry about any serious damage being done to your horse.
The only thing is that it’s not recommended for pregnant mares to use chasteberry because there could be some potentially harmful effects on their reproductive system. There has not been much study or documentation of this, but it’s still not recommended to give your horse chasteberry while pregnant.
How Quickly Does Chasteberry Work?
It’s highly unlikely that you will see the benefits of chasteberry immediately with your horse. It will typically take around three months for the natural health benefits to become visible. It’s not until around six months that the continued improvements will be seen. Because there are no detrimental side effects and chasteberry is completely safe to use for prolonged periods of time, this is a great supplement to continuously give to your horse. But it does take a fair bit of time before the results can be noticed. This is not an overnight solution.
How Does Chasteberry Work?
How exactly does chasteberry work?
It all comes down to the fruits of the chasteberry shrub, which contain active compounds and steroidal precursors that many people believe influence dopamine activity in the brain of your horse, while regulating sex hormones.
The active ingredients in chasteberry include essential oils, iridoid glycosides, diterpines, and flavonoids. In some animals, chasteberry extract has been proved to stimulate dopamine receptors, which basically make your horse feel good. This is how it manages to boost the mood of your animal.
But chasteberry does a lot more. It also decreases prolactin secretion, which is a hormone involved with lactation. It is also believed to decrease testosterone levels, which is why it has been said that chasteberry extract can calm stallions that are overly aggressive by draining them of their testosterone.
Of course some horse breeds are naturally calmer than others.
It’s also said that chasteberry extract can help with irregular fat deposits inside horses that are resistant to insulin by improving their insulin sensitivity. Chasteberry could very well improve fat distribution, frequency of urination, frequency of drinking, and even glucose tolerance inside horses that are insulin resistant.
But again, a lot of this is anecdotal evidence. There have not been enough studies done on horses taking chasteberry to give fully comprehensive results. Nonetheless, thousands of horse owners and veterinarians swear by the healing properties of chasteberry.
What Fruit can Horses Eat?
There is a wide variety of fruits a horse can eat that are safe for their health. It includes apple, apricot, blackberries, blueberries, mango, peaches, cantaloupe, pears, plums, strawberries, and melons. You must ensure to finely chop these fruits and appropriately remove pits and seeds and offer small proportions to your horse.