Autumn is a great time of year for foraging in the hedgerows for tasty fruits. Blackberries are one of my favourites. Did you know that Blackberries are often considered to be a super-fruit because of their healthiness?
Blackberries have been used in herbal medicines for many years, and animals lucky enough to be grazing in fields bordered with blackberry filled hedgerows, have often selected them for a tasty and healthy snack.
But why are blackberries so good? Research has suggested that blackberries are a rich source of anthocyanins, and one of the top antioxidant fruits to eat.
Why are blackberries used for health? They’re often used in herbal medicine for many reasons including because they’re thought to be rich in Vitamin C, and an antimicrobial, antidiabetic, antidiarrheal, and of course a good antioxidant.
Why are anti-oxidant’s important? These are compounds that help neutralise reactive free radicals. Free radical production can lead to cellular damage, and the inflammatory response to them is thought to lead to premature ageing and degeneration. The body should have an anti-oxidant reserve, but the amount of this will often depend on the state of health and also the diet. Eating foods which are rich in naturally occurring anti-oxidants is an easy way to help ensure the body has enough.
What animals can benefit, and how can they eat them? As well as animals/birds who’re free to roam in fields and so get their own, dogs and horses are 2 domesticated animals who find blackberries of benefit. When walking your dog you may find blackberries to pick and offer to him/her. Some dogs may not like the look of them though, which is his/her choice! But you can find some animal feeds/supplements containing blackberry extract which is another way for your animal to eat them.
Any reasons not to use blackberries in your animal’s feed? As with any medicine – herbal or not, if your animal has an ailment then a diagnosis by a qualified Veterinary Surgeon is essential. If your animal is on medication then always get your Vet’s permission first, as herbal medicine can be very powerful and it’s important to avoid any issues with mixing remedies!
If you’re not sure about blackberries versus other berries for your dog (as some other berries are poisonous!), then visit the Dogs Trust website for advice on poisonous plants. If you have a horse and want to know more about poisonous plants please visit the British Horse Society website.
Have your animals discovered the benefits of blackberries or other fruits and herbs already?
Get more information on herbal health for animals at my Taranet website here
Until next time,
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