Horses, like humans, can experience a weakened immune system due to various factors such as training, competition, and changes in the environment. If this is not addressed, it can create a domino effect of problems that lead to behavioral issues, compromised performance, and even physical ailments. As caretakers and riders, it’s our responsibility to explore safe and effective methods to keep the immune systems of our equine companions strong. One solution that has gained attention for its effectiveness is known as adaptogens – nature’s way of providing natural substances to keep the immune system in horses strong. 

What are Adaptogens?

Horse rodeo arena

Adaptogens are simply herbs and plant extracts that have been used for centuries in traditional medicine systems such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine. These botanicals possess unique properties that may help the body adapt to stressors, whether they are physical, emotional, or environmental, hence the term “adaptogens.” 

Since stress, or the lack of control over stress can lead to a breakdown in the immune system, adaptogens work by regulating the body’s response to stress rather than targeting specific symptoms.

Adaptogens for Horses: Understanding Their Benefits

While research on adaptogens specifically for equine use is still in its infancy, many herbs traditionally classified as adaptogens have shown promising results in reducing the negative effects of stress in horses. Here are some adaptogens commonly used in equine supplements that have shown to be effective in keeping the immune system strong.

  • Eleutherococcus senticosus
  • Rhodiola rosea
  • Schisandra chinensis
  • Aralia mandshurica

These adaptogens offer a natural and holistic approach to stress management in horses, potentially complementing conventional therapies and training techniques.

How Adaptogens Work in Horses

Horse with rider

One of the ways that adaptogens help with immune support and stress response is by regulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, a complex network involved in the body’s response to stress. Adaptogens have been shown to control the release of stress hormones such as cortisol, helping to maintain homeostasis and prevent the harmful effects of chronic stress, which in turn keep the immune system strong. By bolstering the body’s natural defenses, adaptogens may promote overall health and well-being in horses.


In the quest for finding trustworthy immune support options for horses, adaptogens offer a promising avenue for exploration. Rooted in centuries of traditional wisdom and supported by emerging scientific research, these natural ingredients have the potential to increase resilience and keep the immune system strong in equine athletes.

However, before incorporating any herbal supplement into your animal’s diet it’s important to consult a veterinarian or obtain professional advice on dosage schedules. This is to avoid any possible interactions that other pharmaceutical medications may have.