Skin Problems and Treatments

Topical applications of aloe vera gel help heal burns, bites, sunburns, ulcers, cuts and wounds. It can also be taken internally for various conditions.

By Cheyanne West

Listed here are some of the alternatives I have found to be effective in relieving various skin conditions. Read through them and keep them in mind or in your medicine chest.

Note also that proper nutrition is especially important for the body to heal, and a good herbal liver cleanse should be given as well; these alone have often proven to be effective in taking care of the problem.

Aloe Vera This wonderful plant offers a variety of uses both topically and internally and is used in tincture and homeopathic potencies. Topical applications of the gel from the aloe leaf help heal burns, bites, sunburns, ulcers, cuts and wounds. It can be taken internally for stomach ulcers, colon disorders and as a general digestive aid. For horses prone to mild colic, put 1 cup of aloe vera juice in their 5-gallon water bucket every day or every other day. This is especially good if the colic seems to be related to seasonal changes. I use aloe vera eye drops for eye disorders such as eye irritation, pink eye and for corneal cloudiness and have had great success with it. For wounds or burns (rope burns), strip the gel from the inside of the leaf and apply that gel to a burn, then apply cotton gauze and a wrap if desired. The aloe vera will aid in healing the burn and keep it moist while relieving any discomfort associated with the burn.

Apple Cider Vinegar I am a firm believer in the use of cider vinegar for many conditions both internal and external. It is particularly rich in potassium and also contains phosphorus, chlorine, sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and sulphur, as well as many trace minerals. It is ideal for cleaning out blood impurities, reduces calcification in joints and arteries and is wonderful as a general health tonic. Historically, it has been used externally as an antiseptic for skin conditions such as ringworm and sweet itch and has a soothing effect on sunburn as well. Though I have no experience with this, I have heard that 1 cup of cider vinegar in a horse's grain or water bucket daily will help prevent a horse from tying up.

Coat Dullness Add a squirt of mineral oil or unscented baby oil to rinse water after a bath to help produce shine (though this will likely attract dust). Add 1/8 cup cold pressed vegetable or corn oil to the grain daily. In about 2 -3 weeks, you'll see a big difference. This is beneficial for excessively dry skin due to overbathing. Once a healthy coat is restored, you can back down to adding the oil once a week or so.
Cornstarch Use cornstarch on situations like greasy heel where you want the area to dry up. (Apply an ointment or tea tree oil to the area when you want to maintain moisture.) Mix cornstarch with water and make a paste for severe nose sunburns to aid in healing.

Vitamin "E" Oil This is wonderfully soothing on sunburn, open sores that need to be kept moist, mouth ulcers, chapped udders and for coating the insides of the ear flap from mites, gnats or flies. It can be cut with a little bit of mineral oil so that it is not so sticky.

Olive Oil This is a wonderful oil that can be added to the grain (1/8 cup) to aid in coat maintenance as well as maintaining lubrication in the bowels. Poultices A good poultice for inflammation and for drawing out pus, swelling and possibly foreign bodies from a wound is to combine 1/2 cup epsom salts mixed with 4 cups wheat bran and then adding enough warm water to make a paste then apply. (Don't let the horse eat this mixture.)
Tail Rubbing Apply one coat of mineral oil then a coat of tea tree oil to the horse's dock. This will relieve itchiness of the tail.

Tea Tree Oil Tea tree oil is a useful treatment for greasy heel, rain-scald, ringworm, mange, and warts. Used alone or made into a salve (tea tree oil and petroleum jelly mixed together), it is great for minor abrasions. It can be used to clean an abscess and aid in healing; it will dissolve the pus without irritating the surrounding tissue. It is a natural fly repellent too!

Brewer's Yeast This is high in B-complex vitamins and is useful to increase energy and aid in a healthy coat.

About the author:

Cheyanne West, C-Hom. is a homeopathic consultant and educator and is the author of A NATURAL PATH FOR HORSES - A Guide to Homeopathy and Other Alternative Therapies, A NATURAL PATH FOR DOGS and AUSTRALIAN TEA TREE OIL - First Aid for Animals. She offers weekend clinics on equine and small animal homeopathy for both professionals and lay people alike. Her mail order catalog - Alternatives - A Natural Path to Animal Health Care offers a wide variety of books, tapes, homeopathic remedies, kits and other alternative products. Visit or send catalog requests to:

PO Box 70
Lewis, CO 81327