Several years ago on a cold December day, I was setting up feed in the barn and adding ingredients from among the warming foods: hawthorn berry powder, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, dehydrated butternut squash, active yeast, sesame seeds, holy basil and some soaked lentils to each horse’s bucket, and I thought to myself, there has got to be an easier way!
Adding specific warming foods to your horse’s diet in the winter can help older horses maintain good circulation, provide a good variety of foods for the widely diverse population of microorganisms in the gut, support digestion of fiber in the hind gut, reduce stress, and support the immune system. BioStar’s Thermal EQ was born of a need to provide these important, therapeutic warming foods for my horses, and yet make feeding in winter easier at the same time.
A recipe for warmth
Organic pumpkin seeds provide the amino acid arginine, the substrate for nitric oxide production in the body. Nitric oxide is the master circulatory molecule, and increased circulation helps keep horses warm.
Hawthorn berry is a peripheral vasodilator which slightly widens the coronary artery to enhance blood flow. In England, it is common for horses to eat the new, young leaves from hawthorn trees in the spring. It is a wonderful plant for older horses because it helps with circulation and strengthens the heart.
Yeast is considered a warming food in Ayurvedic medicine. The probiotic Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Saccharomyces boulardii yeasts in BioStar’s Thermal work in the hindgut to digest fiber and maintain a proper pH of the hindgut.
Cinnamon is a warming spice, which improves circulation and digestion. It is used traditionally in the treatment of respiratory and sinus congestion. Human studies have pointed to cinnamon’s role in regulating blood sugar. Cinnamon does provide some antibacterial as well as antifungal properties.
Holy basil is recognized as one of Ayurvedic medicine’s rasayana (“path of essence”) herbs, promoting health and longevity. In Western herbalism, holy basil is classified as an adaptogen — a plant that can help the body respond to stress and provide balance. It is known for its actions as an immunomodulator, and its ability to stimulate circulation.
Bovine colostrum supports the immune system with over 80 different immune and growth factors. Bovine colostrum plays an important role in tissue repair at the cellular level.
Organic sesame seeds, organic yellow lentils, butternut squash, and organic orange powder are all warming foods that help support a diverse colony of beneficial bacteria in the gut, increase circulation, and maintain body warmth. The orange powder is made from whole organic oranges freeze dried and then powdered for their high vitamin C and bioflavonoid content.
With this recent onslaught of cold air from Siberia, it is great to make up feed and add Thermal EQ to the feed buckets, as it helps the horses stay warmer, supports better circulation, and provides a variety of prebiotic foods for the microorganisms in the gut. But be forewarned…horses love it, and on a day that you decide not to feed it, you may get some snarky looks when they realize there’s no Thermal EQ in their feed.