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Understanding Herbs & Active Ingredients

A helpful glossary from A to Z

Alpha Lipoic Acid is an antioxidant that is naturally found in mitochondria–the energy-producing structures inside cells. It is a more powerful antioxidant than the fat-soluble Vitamin E and the water-soluble Vitamin C it works synergistically with because Alpha Lipoic Acid is both fat- AND water-soluble. Research in horses shows it has the ability to reduce oxidative stress. Because it also stimulates the movement of blood sugar across membranes and into cells, it helps increase insulin sensitivity and lower High blood sugar.
American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) is a plant traditionally used by American Indians as a general tonic, natural restorative for the weak and wounded, and to help the mind. It is believed to act as an “adaptogen,” a substance that normalizes body functions, strengthens systems compromised by stress, and protects against a wide variety of stressful influences. Research shows the plant’s active ingredients—ginsenosides—may help regulate blood sugar and restore proper metabolism.
Arabinogalactan is a polysaccharide, or, complex carbohydrate, found in a variety of plants. Approved as a dietary source of fiber in people by the FDA, it is also considered a “prebiotic” because it can be used as a food source by the beneficial bacteria in the large intestine. Research is ongoing as to the compound’s ability to stimulate the immune system.
Aspergillus Niger – See Probiotics
Astralagus (Astragalus membranaceus) is a herb that has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. It is believed to act as an “adaptogen,” a substance that normalizes body functions, strengthens systems compromised by stress, and protects against a wide variety of stressful influences. Astralagus exerts positive effects throughout the body, but is most valued for its ability to impart natural Disease resistance through the immune system.


Banaba is a plant containing the active substance corosilic acid which is thought to act like insulin. That is, it promotes the uptake of sugar (glucose) from the bloodstream and into body cells. Banaba is used worldwide to increase insulin sensitivity and lower high blood sugar.
Betaine (Trimethylglycine) is a product of choline, a Vitamin B-like substance. People take Betaine to prevent heart disease because it lowers the levels of the toxic compound homocysteine. Betaine is also recognized as an “osmolyte,” or, a substance which protects cells against osmotic stress. This type of stress occurs when the concentration of molecules outside the cell is greater than that inside the cell and Water flows out, causing the cell to shrink and possibly
Bitter melon (Momordica charantia), also known as balsam pear or Chinese cucumber, is a plant containing substances proven to lower blood sugar. The mechanism of action is still under debate, but the active components of Bitter Melon appear to be similar in structure to insulin and could work by affecting insulin signaling to cells. In addition to its affects on metabolism, Bitter Melon also appears to have anticancer and antiviral properties.
Bioflavonoids, or flavonoids, are a group of plant pigments that act as antioxidants to protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals (which are released due to injury, stress or illness). They are believed to help the body respond to allergies, inflammation, infections and even cancer.
Boswellia is an herb whose active ingredients are said to interfere with the enzymes that contribute to inflammation and pain. By inhibiting lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase, Boswellia may act as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever.
Bromelain is a protein-digesting enzyme found in pineapples that may aid in digestion as well as reduce pain and inflammation.  Numerous studies in humans have shown Bromelain and other enzymes to be effective in speeding up recovery from exercise and injury, as well as from surgical procedures.  There is evidence that some of the enzyme may be absorbed from the GI system intact and enter into the systemic circulation, where it may have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving actions on joints, muscle and connective tissue.


Calcium (Ca) is a macromineral found in highest amounts in bone and teeth.  However, it also has important roles in muscle contraction, cell membranes, blood clotting, enzyme regulation and hormone release.  Absorption of Calcium from the small intestine is controlled by Vitamin D but can be reduced if there is too much phosphorus in the diet.
Carnitine is an amino acid that transports fat into mitochondria for aerobic oxidation and energy generation.  By enhancing the body’s use of fat for energy and therefore sparing muscle glycogen, Carnitine may provide benefits during aerobic exercise, particularly endurance events.
Creatine is a component of creatine phosphate (CP), known as the storage form of quick energy. CP is stored in muscles where it helps regenerate ATP, the main source of cellular energy, by replacing Phosphorous molecules as they are released. Numerous human studies have demonstrated positive effects of Creatine supplementation for sports requiring repeated bouts of high intensity exercise (i.e. aerobic activities).
Curcumin – See Turmeric


Devil’s Claw is a South African herb (Harpagophytum procumbens) that is used for pain and inflammation of bone, joints and other tissues. Data from 14 clinical trials in people conducted over the last 40 years suggest Devil’s Claw is effective in the reduction of pain associated with osteoarthritis and is associated with minor risk, when compared to non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). Because it contains “bitters” as an active ingredient, which encourages appetite but stimulates the secretion of stomach acids, it should be used with caution in animals at risk for GI ulcers.
DHA (docosahexanoic acid) is a specific kind of omega-3 fatty acid that is only found in marine-based sources such as fish oil and algae. DHA is the most abundant fatty acid in the brain and retina, and studies in humans and dogs have shown improvement in brain function when supplemented with DHA. Studies in horses have shown that stallions with fertility issues benefited significantly when supplemented with DHA.
Diatomaceous Earth is a whitish powder made up of the fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of prehistoric, hard-shelled algae. It has many uses in our society, and is approved by the EPA as a pesticide and the USDA as an anti-caking agent for animal feed. Some owners feed Diatomaceous Earth to their horses to eliminate internal parasites and reduce fly loads, since the sharp edges are said to penetrate the outer covering of worms and insects allowing the powder to absorb inner liquids, causing dehydration and death.
Digestive Enzymes – See Pancrelipase
Direct Fed Microbials – See Probiotics
DMG (Dimethylglycine) is a naturally occurring substance in the body and in many foods, but in low levels. Supplementing with this readily absorbed ingredient makes additional DMG available to cells throughout the body, where it is involved in energy production processes that use oxygen. DMG is used to enhance muscle metabolism boost the immune system and also serves as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.


Echinacea, or purple coneflower, was a popular medicinal herb among Native Americans and early American physicians. It is still widely used by people today to shorten the duration and severity of respiratory infections such as colds and flu. Research in horses shows that not only does Echinacea stimulate the immune system, it is also a blood building agent. Healthy horses that received the herb had higher levels of red blood cells, hemoglobin and white blood cells.
EPA (eicosapentanoic acid) is a specific kind of omega-3 fatty acid that is only found in marine-based sources such as fish oil and algae. The NIH (National Institutes of Health) lists a large number of conditions in humans in which EPA and other omega-3s are thought to be effective, such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis, asthma and others. EPA is believed to work by suppressing production of inflammatory agents in the body such as cyclooxygenase.


Garlic is one of the most widely used medicinal herbs in the world, its use dating back thousands of years to the Egyptians. It has an extremely complex chemistry-over 160 different compounds have been identified-which helps explain why it is recommended for everything from cardiovascular disease to infections to cancer. If fed in enough quantity, may cause Heinz-body anemia in dogs and cats (cats are more sensitive than dogs). Use sparingly in pet food recipes.
Gelatin: See Collagen
Ginger is a plant that has been used for thousands of years in Asia primarily as a digestive aid to prevent nausea, vomiting and stomach ache. Other positive effects in humans include reducing cholesterol and preventing platelet clumping, helpful in preventing cardiovascular disease. Ginger may also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also acts as a carrier for other herbs, and combines particularly well in expectorant formulations, with herbs such as mullein, goldenrod and yarrow.
Gingko biloba is one of the oldest living tree species and has been called a “living fossil” because it predates the Ice Age. Over 40 different components have been identified in its leaves, but it is most valued for its flavonoids and terpenoids, potent antioxidants with a particular affinity for central nervous system (CNS). Ginkgo is the world’s most used treatment for memory loss and degenerative disease of the brain and CNS, especially age-related decline. Because it also dilates blood vessels and reduces clotting, it increases circulation to all parts of the body, acting as an overall tonic that aids in a wide variety of conditions.
Glucosamine is the building block of chondroitin sulfate, a specific type of polysulfated glycosaminoglycan (GAG). Current research suggests glucosamine has two beneficial actions in joints. Not only does it increase the production of new GAGs and therefore new cartilage, glucosamine has also been shown to inhibit the free radicals and enzymes that break down cartilage. This small but complex molecule has an important role in both the production and protection of joints.
L-Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body, especially in muscle tissue. Although it is not an essential amino acid, there is such great demand for its use in the body that production may not be able to keep up with consumption, so supplementing may be necessary. Glutamine is involved in more metabolic processes than any other amino acid, including building muscle, repairing intestinal tissue and enhancing the immune system.
Glycine is one of the simplest amino acids and is classified as nonessential because it does not need to be supplied in the diet. However, this compact substance plays many essential roles in the body. Best known as a neurotransmitter, Glycine makes up 35% of the protein collagen, is a key component in many metabolic reactions, and has anti-inflammatory as well as immune-modulating properties. Recently, it has been shown to inhibit gastric secretions and protect gastric mucosa against chemical and stress-induced ulcers.
Glutathione is a small protein with antioxidant activity in the body. As a component of the Selenium-dependent Glutathione peroxidase system, it not only scavenges free radicals but also recycles or “refreshes” other antioxidants such as Vitamin E and Vitamin C. It has been shown that as cells age, their levels of Glutathione decrease, which may contribute to cell death and certain disease conditions.
Grape Seed Extract (GSE) is the most concentrated form of the antioxidants present in grapes. Known as proanthocyanidins which simply means “producing a red pigment,” the health benefits of grapes have been recognized for thousands of years. Today, research in humans shows that red wine or grape juice may have protective effects against the specific damage to cells caused by high amounts of sugar and fat in the blood. It appears that the antioxidants in grape seed and skin work cooperatively with Vitamin E to neutralize free radicals.
Gymnema sylvestri: Gymnema sylvestri is a plant containing two main active components. One controls sugar cravings and therefore weight gain by neutralizing the sweet flavor of sugar on the tongue, and the other helps to control high blood sugar. It is unclear whether Gymnema works by preventing sugar from being absorbed from the digestive tract, stimulating insulin release, or functioning at a higher level in the body.


Hawthorn (Crataegus species) is a plant that has been used around the globe as a “cardio tonic.” In the early 20th century, it was the mainstay of heart disease treatment by physicians. Hawthorn has specifically been used in people to strengthen contractions of the heart, regulate the heart beat, and improve blood flow to the heart, brain and extremities. It is used in pets for limb conditions that may benefit from better circulation, such as arthritis, laminitis and navicular disease.
HMB (also known as Beta-hydroxy Beta-methylbutyrate) is related to the amino acid leucine and is a popular supplement among bodybuilders. Studies in humans suggest it may increase lean muscle mass in two different ways: by blocking pathways that degrade muscle cell protein and by directly stimulating new Protein synthesis.
Hops is most recognized as the flavoring agent in beer. However, this herb has also been used for centuries to relieve nervous tension, anxiety, irritability and other mood disturbances and therefore is classified as a nervine, or, an herb with specific actions on the nervous system. In humans, it has been shown to aid in sleep disturbances such as insomnia. In dogs, especially greyhounds or other breeds that are predisposed to malignant hyperthermia, over use attributed to excessive consumption of hop material discarded after beer making has caused some deaths. No toxicity has been noted with the use of medicinal preparations of hops. Use only as directed.
Hyaluronic Acid or HA, is an integral component of joint cartilage and joint fluid, providing both lubrication and shock absorption. Hyaluronic acid is what makes joint fluid “sticky.” Because it blocks inflammatory reactions, protecting cells in the joint, HA is especially useful in acute situations as well as flare-ups of chronic joint conditions.


Inositol is closely related to the B-vitamin family and is found in nearly every cell in the body. Because of its location within the cell membrane, it plays two major roles: transporting fats and assisting in nerve transmission.
Inulin – see Prebiotics
Iodine (I) is a micromineral whose only known function is as part of the thyroid hormones which regulate metabolism. Like Selenium and most other microminerals, the margin between safe and toxic dietary levels is small. Unfortunately, too much Iodine and too little Iodine both result in the same clinical sign-and enlarged thyroid gland or “goiter.”
Iron (Fe) is a micromineral found in the hemoglobin of red blood cells (RBCs), the myoglobin of muscle cells and various enzyme systems.


Licorice is one of the most widely used herbs for people and animals in both Western and Chinese medicine. Sweet and soothing, licorice is used for its anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, expectorant and other healing activities. Not recommended for those pets with high blood pressure which is due to water retention, and for long-term use a potassium supplement and diuretic (such as Dandelion leaf) should be added.


Magnesium (Mg) is a macromineral that serves as an electrolyte in the blood, as an activator of hundreds of enzymes, and as a participant in muscle contractions. A normal diet can meet the Magnesium requirements of most pets in maintenance. Because one of the clinical signs of Magnesium deficiency is Nervousness it is added to many calming supplements.
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) is considered by many to be “herbal aspirin” and has been used in humans for fevers, aches and pains. The main active substance in Meadowsweet is salicin, which the body converts to salicylic acid. Modern aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is believed to have originated from Meadowsweet and Willow in the 1800s. Other active ingredients in Meadowsweet make it a soothing, healing herb for GI problems such as ulcers, camps and diarrhea.
Manganese (Mn) is a micromineral crucial for proper formation of chondroitin sulfate and therefore healthy bones and joints. It is also essential in carbohydrate and fat metabolism.
Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) is an herb that has been used for centuries throughout the world to relieve irritation and inflammation of the respiratory, digestive and urinary systems. It contains mucilage, a soluble fiber that becomes gel-like when wet. By forming a protective film over aggravated mucous membranes, the mucilage in Marshmallow soothes the sore throat and cough, the stomach ulcer and inflamed bowel, and even serves as a “natural bandage” for skin wounds.
Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) are shorter fatty acids that are easier for the body to absorb, digest and utilize than longer fatty acids. This makes them a source of quick energy and very popular with human athletes, especially long-distance runners. Since Medium Chain Triglycerides are not carbohydrates, they do not cause rapid changes in either blood sugar (glucose) or insulin. However, they still provide working muscles with an immediate source of fuel, sparing muscle tissue from being broken down for this purpose.
Methionine is an amino acid that contains sulfur. It is an essential amino acid, meaning it must be provided in the diet since the body cannot create enough of its own. It may be the second limiting amino acid, after lysine. This means if it is not present in adequate amounts it limits the body’s ability to make protein. Methionine can be converted by the body into another sulfur-containing amino acid, cysteine.
MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) is a source of organic sulfur which is required for a number of functions in the body. Sulfur plays critical roles in the formation of protein, connective tissue, immunoglobulins and enzymes. MSM is a safe and inexpensive compound that may support healthy joints; a strong immune system; and resilient skin and coat.


N-acetyl Cysteine (NAC) is a modified form of the amino acid Cysteine and a precursor to the body’s natural antioxidant Glutathione. Research in horses has shown that NAC specifically protects the mucosal lining of the GI tract against oxidative stress. It also protects tissues in the respiratory tract from damage due to inflammation and excess mucus production, and protects the liver from various toxins, including Acetaminophen (Tylenol) overdose in people and pets.
NEM®, a natural eggshell membrane product, is a unique, all natural joint support matrix that provides relief from occasional discomfort and supports normal mobility. NEM® is produced in the U.S. and supplies a holistic array of supportive components such as collagen, hyaluronic acid, glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, dermatan sulfate, desmosine, amino acids and peptides.
Niacinamide is a form of niacin, also known as Vitamin B3, nicotinic acid, or nicotinamide. While these terms are often used interchangeably, there are some differences in the activity of the different forms. Niacin is used in a wide range of conditions in people based on its cell-protecting effects especially in blood vessels, nerve tissue, the digestive system and skin. The Niacin family also plays an important role in energy production and in the synthesis of many important compounds including proteins, fats and DNA.
Nutricol is a potent blend of naturally-occurring substances derived from foods that have been shown in numerous clinical studies to profoundly affect cell health. It is a proprietary blending of plant nutrients known as polyphenols. These are the same substances that have made green tea and red grapes the subject of much scientific study in recent years. Nutricol is designed to both increase the cell’s resistance to damage and improve its ability to repair damage.


Octacosanol is a compound primarily found in wheat germ that is used by people to improve their physical fitness. While some studies do show improvement in athletic performance, other research explores the compound’s ability to improve cholesterol metabolism and protect the liver from oxidative stress.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids (EFAs) re named for their chemical structure but are valued for their health benefits. In order for the body to function well, there must be a balance between the omega-3s (generally considered anti-inflammatory) and the omega-6s (generally considered pro-inflammatory). Researchers now consider EFAs to be as vital to our health and our pets’ health as vitamins and minerals, and because the body cannot make essential fatty acids they need to be included in our diet and our pet’s diet.


Pancrelipase is a mixture of three enzymes normally made by the pancreas: amylase, lipase and protease. Together, these enzymes break down fats, protein and starch in the diet into smaller particles which the small intestine can then absorb. Supplementing pancreatic enzymes is useful when the pancreas cannot make them itself or when the enzymes cannot reach the intestines where they are needed for digestion.
Pau D’Arco (Tabebuia impetiginosa) is obtained from the bark of a tree native to South America. While it fits best in the category of immune support, it has been used for many years to manage a wide variety of human ailments including infections, parasites, arthritis, diabetes, cancer, diarrhea and others. Pau D’Arco contains many active substances, one of which-quinones-has been specifically shown to have anti-Protozoal activity.
Pectin is a structural carbohydrate found in all plants, although some plants have higher amounts of pectin than others. It is classified as a fermentable fiber and prebiotic because animals don’t have the enzymes necessary to break it down into simple sugar–bacteria in the hind gut are required to ferment it into fatty acids for energy. Pectin is also classified as a soluble fiber because it attracts water and forms a gel in the digestive tract. This property has many benefits for people and animals such as protecting against gastric ulcers.
Perna (Perna Mussel, Green-lipped Mussel, Sea Mussel) is a shellfish that naturally contains a number of active compounds that work against inflammation and the destructive cycle of degenerative joint disease. The unique combination of biologically active proteins, chelated minerals, glycosaminoglycans, amino acids, nucleic acids and essential fatty acids work together to maintain healthy connective tissue.
Phenylalanine is an amino acid that is involved in the production of certain brain chemicals such as epinephrine and dopamine. Preliminary studies suggest it may help reduce chronic pain associated with certain health conditions because of its proposed ability to block enzymes which break down endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain-killing and “feel good” chemicals. For this reason, it is also used in people with certain forms of depression but not in anxious patients because it may amplify nervousness.
Phosphorus (P) is a macromineral that, like Calcium, is found in highest amounts in bone. It is also required for energy production and the synthesis of many vital compounds such as DNA.
Potassium (K) is a macromineral commonly referred to as an electrolyte because it helps maintain the body’s acid/base balance and hydration status. Since it is the main electrolyte involved in muscle contraction, the highest amounts of Potassium in the body are found in muscle tissue, including the heart.
Prebiotics are sources of non-digestible, soluble fiber that serve as food for the probiotics or “good” bugs in the large intestine, keeping them healthy. Examples of prebiotics are: arabinogalactan, fructooligosaccharides (FOS), inulin, mannanoligosaccharides (MOS), pectin and psyllium.
Probiotics are live microorganisms (bacteria and yeast) fed to promote healthy digestive and immune function. When these “good” bugs break down food ingredients that the body normally can’t, they produce energy and vitamins for the body, food for cells in the cecum and colon, and byproducts that keep the “bad” bugs from growing. Research suggests probiotics are useful in repopulating the intestine with “good” bugs after antibiotic use and may benefit certain pets with diarrhea.
Psyllium is a plant whose seed husk is made of soluble fiber which is effective for acute cases of constipation. The leaf and/or root extract is useful for irritations of the skin and digestive tract. The leaf poultice is a soothing field application for insect bites and stings. It also falls in the category of “prebiotic,” meaning it serves as a source of food for the beneficial bacteria that live in the colon.


Quercetin is a bioflavonoid or plant-source antioxidant that appears to have especially protective effects on nervous tissue and connective tissue, such as collagen. In addition, it possesses strong anti-inflammatory activity, especially against the action of histamine, and may be beneficial for allergic conditions. It is used along with other bioflavonoids in the management of cancer in both humans and animals.


Raspberry,(Rubus idaeus) is an herb primarily used for its benefits to females. Believed to temper the effect of hormonal variations, it is used for everything from PMS and pregnancy/delivery to menopause in humans. The active ingredients in Raspberry appear to normalize smooth muscle tone in both the reproductive and GI tracts, relaxing muscle that is in spasm and strengthening muscle that is weak, possibly leading to contractions.
Riboflavin, or Vitamin B2, is required for aerobic energy production in the body and other chemical processes.


Selenium is a trace mineral that partners with Vitamin E in the body’s antioxidant defense system to trap free radicals produced by exercise, illness and certain medical conditions. While some parts of the country have high levels of Selenium in their soil and therefore the plants that grow there, Selenium deficiency has been reported in 46 states.
Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is an herb that has been used in China for thousands of years to increase energy and stamina, help the body resist infections and toxicity, and restore memory and concentration. Siberian Ginseng is believed to act as an “adaptogen,” a substance that normalizes body functions, strengthens systems compromised by stress, and protects against a wide variety of stressful influences. This herb can be found in products designed to support proper metabolism and Immune function.
Silica is the second-most plentiful element on earth. Research over the last 30 years has shown that silica increases bone growth and density while decreasing bone loss and thinning, maintains the strength of connective tissue such as tendons and ligaments, has a positive effect on wound healing, is required in cartilage formation and improves the quality and appearance of skin and hair.
Slippery Elm (Ulmus fulva) is obtained from the bark of a tree native to North America. Native Americans and later settlers used the plant externally as a salve or poultice on wounds, and internally to soothe and heal mild respiratory and digestive ailments. Slippery Elm is rich in mucilage, a soluble fiber that becomes gel-like when wet. This “natural bandage” helps reduce inflammation and irritation of mucus membranes, aiding in the relief of a sore throat and cough as well as ulcers and diarrhea.
Sodium (Na) is a macromineral commonly referred to as an electrolyte because it helps maintain the body’s acid/base balance and hydration status. It is also commonly referred to as “salt,” when combined with its partner Chloride. Sodium is critical for normal nerve and muscle function, as well as transport of many substances (such as glucose) across cell membranes.
Soluble Fiber (See Prebiotics )
Sulfur (S) is a macromineral found in certain amino acids (methionine and cysteine), certain B-vitamins (thiamine and biotin), as well as heparin, insulin and chondroitin sulfate. Therefore Sulfur serves major structure and function roles in the body. It is a component of proteins such as enzymes and of connective tissue such as hooves, bones, cartilage, tendons and ligaments. Sulfur is also involved in carbohydrate metabolism blood clotting and joint health.
Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) is a plant native to Central and South America in the sunflower family that has been used for years in Asia and other parts of the world as a natural sweetener. The active ingredients in the leaves-steviosides and rebaudiosides-are said to be 300 times as sweet as normal table sugar. This calorie-free sweetener, may have health benefits to people with heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions.
Super Oxide Dismutase (SOD), also known as orgotein, is the most important and effective antioxidant in the body and is the first line of defense against free radicals that damage cells. However, it is a delicate protein that is quickly degraded by the acids and enzymes in the stomach. In order to pass through to the intestine where it can be absorbed and used by the body, it must be coated with a protective layer.


Taurine is an amino acid found in high concentrations in electrically active tissues such as the brain, heart, retina and muscle. It stabilizes membranes and assists in the movement of electrolytes in and out of cells, which is critical for proper nerve transmission and muscle contraction. Taurine also acts as a detoxifier, is necessary for the absorption of fats and vitamins, and influences proper insulin and glucose levels.
TêlaFIRMTM is a proprietary ingredient shown to support a healthy immune response, normal bone remodeling, and the synthesis and cross-linking of collagen and keratin, which are found in healthy joints, bones, tendons and ligaments.
Threonine is an essential amino acid, meaning it must be provided in the diet since the body cannot create enough of its own. It may be the second limiting amino acid after Lysine. That is, if it is not present in adequate amounts it limits the body’s ability to make protein. Research shows improved muscle mass in older horses that may have trouble maintaining weight and in young, growing horses when threonine is supplemented.
Thiamine, or Vitamin B1, is important in carbohydrate metabolism and in the transmission of impulses along nerves (for this reason it is often used in calming supplements).
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is most known as the major ingredient in curry powder, but it is also believed to possess medicinal qualities. The main active substance curcumin has effects throughout the body, but primarily on the liver (relieves jaundice) and circulatory system (dissolves clots). Turmeric is often combines with other herbs to help them function better.
L-Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is converted by the body into serotonin, melatonin and other hormones that transmit nerve signals in the brain. The effect of serotonin is to increase the feelings of well-being and contentment to calm and to soothe.
L-Tyrosine is an amino acid that can be supplied by the diet or made from another amino acid, phenylalanine. It is the building block of many important brain chemicals, or neurotransmitters, such as epinephrine, serotonin and dopamine.


Valerian is a “nervine,” or, an herb with specific actions on the nervous system. Its sedating effects can be so potent that it should not be used by people or animals taking central nervous system (CNS) prescription medications or undergoing surgery using general anesthesia. Valerian rebalances a nervous system struggling with restlessness, anxiety and, in humans, insomnia. It should not be given in large doses for long periods of time, as it may cause stomach upset or lethargy. May have reverse (stimulant) effects in some subjects. If this happens try an alternative herb.
Vervain (also known as Verbena) is a herb used for many reasons in people, but mostly for calming in horses. Characterized as a “nervine,” an herb with specific actions on the nervous system, several compounds have been isolated from the plant and shown to have actions on nerve cells. Vervain may help rebalance the nervous system of horses with nervous, excess energy, helping them slow down and concentrate.
Vitamin A is well-known for its role in maintaining healthy vision, especially night vision. However, it is also needed for reproduction, immunity, and normal skeletal development.
The Vitamin B family is made up of several compounds that serve many important roles in the body: protein, fat and carbohydrate metabolism; energy production; proper nerve cell transmission; and cell reproduction and division (especially rapidly dividing ones such as red blood cells). B-vitamins include Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Pantothenic Acid (B5), Pyridoxine (B6), Folic Acid (B9), and Cyanocobalamin (B12). Choline, Biotin, Inositol and others are sometimes referred to as B-vitamins.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid, Ester C) is an antioxidant that works with Vitamin A and Vitamin E to protect the tissues of the body, especially those of the respiratory system. It is also important in the production of connective tissues like tendons and ligaments, skin and hooves, bones and teeth. Under normal circumstances, dogs and cats make their own Vitamin C in the liver from glucose. However, disease, transport, “heaves,” old age and endurance exercise have all been shown to decrease blood levels of Vitamin C, indicating horses undergoing these particular stresses may benefit from dietary supplementation.
Vitamin D (Calciferol) plays an indirect role in bone growth and maintenance by managing the levels of Calcium (Ca) in the body. It controls the absorption of Ca from the intestine, the movement of Ca into and out of bone, and the amount of Ca excreted by the kidneys.
Vitamin E (Tocopherol) is most recognized as an antioxidant that works closely with its partners Selenium and Vitamin C to protect the body from the oxidative stress of exercise, illness and certain medical conditions.
Vitamin K (Menadione) is necessary for the activation of proteins which play a role in blood clotting, bone metabolism and vascular health.
Vitex agnus castus (also known as Chasteberry and Monk’s Berry) is a plant native to the Mediterranean region. It has been used for centuries to help maintain a balanced hormonal system in both females and males.


White Willow (Salix alba) is considered by many to be “natural aspirin” and has been used for thousands of years in humans for fevers, aches and pains. The main active substance in the bark of Willow trees is salicin, which the body converts to salicylic acid. Modern aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is believed to have originated from Willow and Meadowsweet in the 1800s. White Willow Bark may be slower to act than aspirin and less potent, but it may also have fewer side effects such as GI upset.


Yeast: (See Prebiotics and Probiotics)
Yucca is an herb native to North and Central America used by ancient and modern civilizations to relieve pain and inflammation. While it’s mechanism of action is largely unknown, active ingredients have been isolated from Yucca that have antioxidant, anti-platelet clumping and anti-inflammatory properties.


Zinc (Zn) is a micromineral involved in over 100 enzyme systems ranging from connective tissue formation and antioxidant protection to carbohydrate metabolism and immune system function. It is most recognized for its role in healthy skin and hooves and supplementation should be considered because amounts in normal feedstuffs may not meet requirements and toxicity has not been reported.

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