Honey’s medical properties don’t apply to humans alone. This natural ingredient also offers many benefits for horses. For example, Finish Line’s Air Power contains honey and other ingredients – including aloe vera, menthol and eucalyptus oil – to support equines with minor coughs. The soothing nature of honey offers relief from irritation as it coats the horse’s throat and disperses the other active ingredients. Below are three other ways natural honey benefits horses:
“Honey is a powerful antioxidant.”
1. Contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
Honey is more than a sweet treat that provides relief from a cough – it’s also loaded with nutrients. According to Manuka Honey USA, this natural product contains calcium and protein as well as vitamins A and B. Honey is also a powerful antioxidant. According to research from the University of Science, Malaysia, honey can alleviate oxidative stress – an overabundance of oxidants – in the kidneys, liver, pancreas, plasma, serum, reproductive organs and gastrointestinal tract. By combating oxidative stress in these areas, honey supports healthy management of or relief from hypertension, atherosclerosis, diabetes and cancer.
2. Boosts athletic performance
According to Scientific American, research presented at the 2001 Experimental Biology conference found honey increases athletic performance.
“Numerous studies have singled out carbohydrates as a critical nutrient in endurance exercise,” Richard Kreider of the University of Memphis Exercise and Sport Nutrition Laboratory said. “Most of the studies to date have shown supplementation with glucose to provide the extra staying power. We were pleased to find that honey, a ‘cocktail’ of various natural sugars, performed just as well.”
The research tested the racing times of nine competitive male cyclists. Those who received honey as opposed to a calorie-less placebo had increased cycling power, resulting in better times. According to Manuka Honey USA, honey’s easily digestible carbohydrates are a great source of energy for racing, jumping and even pleasure riding.
3. Aids in wound treatment
Honey also has antibacterial properties, and many horse owners use it to treat minor wounds. As TheHorse.com detailed, veterinarians previously thought manuka honey – healing yet expensive – was the only type with healing properties. However, research from Scotland found numerous different types of honey that provided similar benefits.
One owner, writing for The Horse Magazine, found treating wounds with honey led to less puss and odor while cutting healing time nearly in half. Still, honey is not a cure-all. You still need proper bandages and, if the wound is severe, the help of a veterinarian.