Friday, October 19, 2012

Fall Favorite

One of the things we talk a great deal about with our Herb Walks is that to be really effective when using herbs it requires us to think differently. With so many horses depending on us for their well-being and money not always being available I will frequently re-research the herbs around the property that we have on hand. One of my favorite new combinations came about almost by accident.

I tend to be a bit like a fickle teenager when it comes to herbs. I get crushes on herbs and become completely infatuated with a new one and then for months everything is all about how amazing this herb is and I want to know everything there is to know about this herb because he is just so great! Then a few months later a new boy band appears on the scene and I'm off again into an equally dreaming state. Luckily, my room for herbal knowledge is great and even though my heart suddenly belongs to another I still remember my Spring (or Summer or Fall or Winter) crush.

Borage was my new Spring heart throb this year. I was looking for an herb that I could use in rotation with nettle to meet the horses needs for vitamins and although borage didn't really fit the bill for that I was excited by some of the other things he could do. We had an issue with several of the horses having spring coughs and borage seemed to be more than up for the task of lending assistance in that area. Borage can be a tad on the prickly side, although nothing like another favorite of mine nettle, he is a beautiful plant. I do not consider myself a gardener, as much as I am a gardener groupie. I have some friends who are amazing gardeners that I hang around and listen to and admire (and drool) over their creations. So the fact that I could grow amazing and beautiful borage plants in our garden deepened my love for borage by no small measure.

When feeding borage to the horses I cut it up with scissors immediately after harvesting it from the garden, as it doesn't tend to stay fresh for long. The horses have never seemed to mind the prickles, but I do try to get the younger, more tender looking, leaves or flowers. I notice especially when feeding fresh herbs the horses tend to pick what they want and leave the rest. The fresh cut borage smelled amazing. As the summer wore on I noticed the horses showing less of an interest and their coughs went away, so I stopped feeding it. By late summer, though borage had practically taken over the garden. I didn't want to see it go to waste so I decided to start feeding it again. It was around this same time that someone sent me an article about the benefits of using rosemary for coughs. Our Poppy pony has struggled ever since getting really sick a couple winters ago with a dry chronic cough. Even with the horses and dogs I still think the way herbs smell and taste together should play an important role in choosing what to give. Fresh borage and rosemary smell amazing together and make the most remarkable looking salad. I am tempted to wash it up and have it with a side dish for dinner. It has become all the horses' favorite Fall herbal combination.

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