A few years back my beloved twenty-year-old mare was diagnosed with Cushing’s Disease.
Up until this point, my experience with the disease was very minimal. My mare was showing signs familiar to the disease. She was lethargic, her coat was not shedding properly (patches of thick curly hair remained on her coat known as hirsutism), excessive drinking which led to frequent urination, and her weight was dropping.
Cushing’s Disease is caused by a tumor in the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland influences the production of cortisol. The growth of the tumor causes the excessive production of cortisol which leads to the symptoms.
I do consider myself to be handy when it comes to my own horses but I knew this was out of my control; she needed blood work and a professional examination. I called my vet and told her of the symptoms and how I thought she might have Cushing’s Disease. Upon a full examination, my vet was also in agreement but we couldn’t be positive until she had her blood ran. A few days later, her results were in and she came back positive for Cushing’s Disease. Although, I caught it early enough it is not a curable disease and is expected to get worse over time.
Pergolide is the most commonly used and widely recommended medication in the treatment of this disease. After careful consideration from my veterinarian, we put her on an extremely low dose. The biggest drawback of the medication is that horses tend to lose their appetite and go off their feed; with weight loss being an already prominent side effect, that is not an ideal situation. My mare did go off her feed as expected so we adjusted her dosage with her appetite in mind. She has been on Pergolide for about three years and it has worked well but I’ve been looking into alternative holistic treatments for her.
My first experience with Chaste Tree Berry treating Cushing’s Disease was in October 2013. At the time, my boss had therapy horses and one of her oldest was diagnosed with the disease and was being treated with both Pergolide and Chaste Tree Berry. Due to the rising cost of Pergolide and my desire to learn more about alternative medicine I have researched extensively on the organic powder and have found it appropriate to make the switch for my mare.
Scientists say there have been documented cases where they have found Chaste Tree Berry has slowed down or even reversed the process of the disease. It’s benefits have been studied heavily in Germany. Chaste Tree Berry’s main use is hormone regulation; it works by normalizing the pituitary gland and controlling the adrenals and thyroid regulating the activity of other organs in the body.
I am going to begin making the transition from Pergolide to Chaste Tree Berry by alternating the days until the rest of her Pergolide is gone (roughly a week or two). I will attempt to give her the powder sprinkled on her Senior grain but my experience with horses tells me that will most likely blow away in the wind or settle to the bottom of the feeder. If that is the case, I will mix it with a little water, draw it up in a syringe, and give it to her orally.
I have also learned that there are many different uses of Chaste Tree Berry for women as well. According to owahealth.com, it can help women with hot flashes, mild endometriosis, irregular menstrual cycles, mood swings, bloating, reduce uterine cysts, and many more issues women tend to deal with during their lifespan.
If you have used Chaste Tree Berry in the treatment of anything please let me know how it worked for you! Drop a comment below or follow me on my Instagram @unbridledmama.
Emily Griffin is a mama to two stunning daughters, a wife to her hunky husband, an experienced equestrian, and an Arizona native. She resides in a very small town in Southeastern, Arizona. Her days consist of raising children, everything equine, reading/ writing, and balancing the fine line between motherhood and insanity. She appreciates nature, the smell of a satisfying rain, and the lovely sunsets the Arizona deserts have to offer. Her life is unbridled in every sense of the word and she wouldn’t have it any other way! Follow her on Instagram at @unbridledmama.