A Unique Herbal Treatment For Equine Respiratory Disease

Sport and performance horses are extremely susceptible to lung disease. Even seemingly healthy horses are frequently affected. Studies have shown that 90-100% of sport horses tested have evidence of damage to their airways that can lead to Equine Reactive Airway Disease (RAD, also called Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD)–a serious and career-ending condition. The first (and often only) early sign is decreased performance.

Herbs can be a safe, effective way to both prevent and treat Equine RAD/COPD. In fact, many herbs would help with some of the symptoms of this disease. For instance, Yarrow is often used for upper respiratory complaints.

Properties of the ideal herb for preventing and treating RAD/COPD would include:

  • Antioxidant, to reduce inflammation-causing molecules in the body that contribute to asthma
  • Antifungal, to inhibit mold particles that commonly cause respiratory disease in horses
  • Immune-modulating, to decrease the over-reactive immune response to allergens
  • Anti-inflammatory, to protect the lungs from the harmful effects of chronic inflammation
  • Free from heavy metal contamination, to prevent toxic build-up
  • Contain no substance prohibited by equine sports regulatory bodies such as USEF or racing commissions

Funtumia elastica is a medium-sized African rubber tree; its bark has a long history of use for respiratory complaints. Funtumia has important antioxidant, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibiotic properties. It has no known toxicity, and is not barred by any equine sport governing body.

Natural compounds found in Funtumia include:

Anthocyanins: plant pigments that give berries their color (such as blueberries, blackberries, and cherries). Anthocyanins have been called “the mother lode in a gold mine of antioxidants.” Anthocyanins have shown specific benefit in reducing immune-stimulated inflammation, and are thought to be valuable in preventing the development of asthma.

Flavonoids: Vitamin C is the most familiar member of this class of plant-derived antioxidant compounds. Flavonoids are useful in both preventing and treating COPD, asthma, and other chronic lung diseases.

Plant sterols: natural plant steroids are safer than synthetic steroid drugs like prednisone and dexamethasone. Phytosterols have immuno-modulating effects–normalizing an over-reactive antibody response–as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

Natural anti-fungals: Funtumia specifically inhibits growth of many molds, including Aspergillus, which is commonly associated with equine respiratory disease.

Tannins: These compounds have shown promise in the treatment of allergic inflammation and asthma.

Funtumia has demonstrated excellent safety (low toxicity) in multiple laboratory experiments, and has tested negative for heavy metals including cadmium, zinc, lead, chromium, and nickel. It does not contain any substances that are prohibited by any equine sport authority.

Preventing equine respiratory disease is easier—and smarter—than trying to treat established disease. Excellent hygiene, clean feeds, fresh air, and preventive therbal therapy could make all the difference for your horse.

Salt Therapy and its European Well-known Beneficial Effects in Respiratory Diseases

The benefits of salt therapy (also called Halotherapy) or speleotherapy are well known and documented in Europe. Halotherapy uses dry aerosol micro particles of salt and minerals to treat respiratory diseases and seeks to replicate the conditions of speleotherapy (from Greek speleos=cave), a treatment that has been practiced in old salt mines of Eastern Europe since the early 19th century.

In the mid 18th Century a Polish health official Felix Botchkowski, noticed that the workers of salt mines did not get ill with lung diseases. He wrote a book about the effects of salt dust in 1843. His successor M. Poljakowski founded a Salt Spa in Velicko near Krakow, which is still in operation. During the Second World War salt mines were often used as bombproof shelters. After spending time there many people who suffered from asthma felt that their health had gotten better! Today there are many salt sanatoriums in Europe (Austria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia…).

The Halotherapy belongs to the category of the physical therapies non-drug and non invasive treatments of diseases. In the former Soviet Union, medical researchers engaged in a concerted effort to develop physical therapies in order to avoid the costs and side effects of drug therapy as well as microbial and tumour resistance. Russia has become the world leader in developing and testing new and increasingly effective physical therapies. Many of the clinical trials have focused on Halotherapy as a treatment of asthma and chronic bronchitis and also very effective as a main or adjuvant therapy across the entire range of upper and lower respiratory tract diseases.

Respiratory diseases are a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Most drug therapies of respiratory diseases have only palliative effects, and many have significant side effects, especially those with corticoids or steroids. So, a physical therapy like Halotherapy is greatly needed.

Speleotherapy also makes a great demand on patients’ time. The mines are not conveniently located for most people and the total cost is fairly significant.

The effectiveness of speleotherapy is not acknowledged in all countries of the world, but in countries like Romania (Praid, Tg.Ocna,Seiged, Sovata, Slanic, Ocna), Poland (Wieliczka), Germany (Teufelshöhle), Austria (Hallen, Solzbad-Salzeman), Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Hungary, Russia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Nakhichevan mines in Azerbaijan, the salt aerosol plays an important role in the treatment of chronic respiratory diseases, working well with or without medical treatment and without any known side effects. Because of these, pregnant women with asthma or other respiratory diseases could use this therapy without any harm to the child. Very well known and appreciated in these middle-eastern European countries, this therapy is covered by the public health care system. In Romania there are also many salt lakes – Sovata with 7 salt lakes, Ocna Sibiului with 52 salt lakes in S-W of Transilvania, very well known in the treatment of infertility, metabolic diseases,skin diseases. These salt lakes were usually formed by collapsing of salt caves ceilings. All these salt lakes have different salinity, increasing with deepness – from 9g/l to 320g/l.

This salt therapy being very well known for its beneficial effects, a Romanian inventor puts his mind at work and developed a device that is able to reproduce a speleotherapy micro environment in your home in an affordable and convenient way. Internationally recognized, with Gold and Silver medal at “Salon International des Inventions”,Geneva and “World Exhibition of Innovation, Research and New Technology”, Brussels, this Romanian invention brings new hopes in the natural treatment of chronic respiratory diseases.

The inventor thought this device as an air salinizer that uses forced ionization of the indoor air by salt sublimation creating a micro climate of dry aerosol salt therapy in your living space. He used a natural process of salt crystallization to obtain salt micro crystals under 5µm in diameter, invisible to human eyes, being able to penetrate deep into the lung. The device uses only natural salt from within the mountain of salt, untreated or touched by the human processing technology.

Based on clinical studies, the inhaled saline has bactericide, mucokinetic, hydrophilic, anti inflammatory properties, reducing inflammation in the whole respiratory tract, absorbing edema from the mucosa lining the airway passages leading to widening of the airway passages, restoring the normal transport of mucus and unclog blockages in the bronchi and bronchioles leading to rapid elimination of the residual tar and foreign allergens, all of these in a natural process.

Edema of the nasal mucosa and the oropharynx and soft palate, causing nasal obstruction and snoring is diminished, leading to widening of the airway passage in the nose and the tubes of the sinuses and improving the sinuses drainage and reducing snoring.

In the auditory tube, edema of the Eustachian tube causing ear infection, is also diminished, leading to widening of the airway passages, better drainage and better aeration behind the tympanic membrane.

The salt therapy was found to have beneficial effects in the treatment of:

Asthma and Chronic Bronchitis

COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Allergic Rhinopathy or Hay Fever

Cystic Fibrosis


Ear Infections

Smoking Cough

Various acute or chronic respiratory disease

Reduce snoring and activates better sleep by clearing the airway passages in oropharyngeal region

Increased resistance to Cold & Flu by opening and clearing the nasal airway and improving the drainage of the sinuses

Humidifies the bronchial secretions reducing broncho-spasm and facilitating elimination of the smoke residual tar, phlegm expel and other allergens

Improves the quality of the indoor air by eliminating the dust, cigarette smoke, bad odours, mould and mites, having bactericide reduction properties.

The salt therapy is a natural method of therapy and does not involve any risk and is finally adapted to the living space. However, this is not a substitute for medical treatment and should only be used as an adjuvant helping to improve the quality of patients’ life, reducing the antibiotics and corticoids or steroids intake, reducing the rate of annual hospitalizations and decrease the frequency of respiratory diseases attacks.

For more information, clinical studies and testimonials you can visit the web site.

NB: The author grants reprint permission to opt-in publications and websites so long as the copyright and by-line are included intact and the article is not used in spam.

Learning the Specialties in the Field of Respiratory Therapy

You might think that as a person who finished a degree in respiratory therapy, might just stuck with one or two jobs. The most common jobs that you can get when you finish your respiratory therapy degree are a CRT or an RRT. However, there are other specialties that you can get into according to the NBRC or National Board for Respiratory Care.

Certified Pulmonary Function Technologist

This job entails that you will mostly work in the laboratory. Your main function is to read patient records and diagnostics for interpretation. You will be the one who will explain the lab test results to a doctor. This job may entail little interaction with the patients since you will mostly be relegated to the lab.

Sleep Disorder Specialist

As the position implies, you will be in charge of patients who have sleep disorders. You will collaborate with doctors and other respiratory therapists to analyze the polysomnography results. This will entail planning for the treatment of the sleeping disorders like insomnia, narcolepsy and sleep apnea.

Neonatal/Pediatric Respiratory Care Specialist

You will be in charge of children, from newborn to about a month old who may be suffering from breathing disorders. You will handle premature babies breathing and even unique cases of respiratory problems of children during emergency situations. When you decide to become an NPS specialist, you are mostly assigned in children’s hospitals.

Asthma Educator

Perhaps one of the most common respiratory disorders is asthma. As an asthma educator, the task is to increase the awareness of asthma not just to adults but to all people regardless of age, sex and race. Asthma is the number one respiratory disease that can target any member of the family. Knowing how to handle them and what to do if one is having asthma attack is the main responsibility of an asthma educator.

COPD Educator

You need to discuss with your patients the important issues like diagnosis, assessment, treatment, oxygen therapy and disease management. As part of your responsibility as well is to help motivate your patients and control their COPD. You need to make sure that they fully understand what they are going through and that you are there to help them in every step of the way.

Being a respiratory therapy offers new and exciting ways for your career. It entails different specialties which you can choose from depending on your abilities and interests.