Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Down The Rabbit Hole

I tend to be easily distracted, particularly when it comes to the internet.  I find it easy to get lost in the sea of links, one simple Google search can suck up hours of my day if I let it (and I frequently do).

Case in point:  I've been giving Spider Devil's Claw as a supplement for years (but not during competition season, it's illegal).  There's quite a bit of good evidence that it does work as an anti-inflammatory (which is probably why it's banned in USEF competition).

I can't take most anti-inflammatory drugs because they exacerbate my auto-immune disease.  If I'm achey, I can only take acetaminophen (Tylenol), which is pretty useless, or narcotics, which just make me sleepy.

A few months ago, as I was pondering how much better Spider was feeling after going back on his Devil's Claw after a competition, I thought to myself "Hey, I wonder if I can take Devil's Claw?".  So I consulted Dr. Google....

(Note: Any time I consult Dr. Google, I always make sure that what I'm reading is an article from a legitimate, peer reviewed, scientific journal... preferably a medical journal.  I do not ever trust content from sites with titles like "Dr. Moonbeam's Super Secret Compendium of Treatments The Medical Community Doesn't Want You To Know".  I also check and cross check the references in the journal articles.  Then I ask my Dr. about it.  You can never be too careful!)

In Googling "Devil's Claw and IBD", I fell down a rabbit hole.  Not only did I find out that Devil's Claw can be tolerated by people with IBD, but I also found out that there are other anti-inflammatory herbs that are not only effective pain-killers, but also help treat IBD!  The two that came up over and over, and had solid evidence to back them up, were Boswellia and Turmeric.  After talking to my GI Doc, I figured I'd give them a try....

Now, the caveat with all these "supplements" is that, here in the U.S., there is no regulation on them.  So, while the substance may work very well in a laboratory setting with controlled doses of the active ingredient, you may not be getting that dose from the supplement you buy at the health food store.  Numerous independent studies have shown that many of the supplements on the market, including equine supplements, do not contain the stuff they say they do.  You have to do your research and practice a bit of trial and error when choosing supplements.  I prefer to find supplements that list exact amounts on their labels.  None of this "Contains XYZ!" advertising BS, I want to see exact milligram amounts listed on your label!

So, this is totally not an endorsement of any product.  But, there is quite a bit of evidence that Devil's Claw, Boswellia and Turmeric are effective at relieving pain and inflammation.  And they work for me!  They also seem to be working for my horse.

Of course, the plural of "anecdote" is not "data", and you should always exercise caution and good sense when trying out such things.

Or, you can just use the time tested, redneck approved painkiller.... Booze!

A fancy glass makes it less redneck when you let your horse lap up wine.


  1. Are you contributing to the delinquency of a . . . horse?

    1. He is 18, so I let him have a few sips here and there. But not if he's driving! And he isn't allowed to have his friends over for drinking parties. Teenagers have to have rules!

  2. Yay!! So glad its working for you! ...and wine is my booze of choice, too. Spider has excellent taste.

  3. Ha I love that picture!! I'm the exact same way you are about internet and Google searches. :) I'm glad the herbs are working for you!

  4. Bahahahah wine for the pony ;)

  5. I take a combination of tumeric, ginger, cinnamon and honey mixed together and it seems to help my back. Even if it's all in my mind, it tastes good in my tea :).
    Hope you find the best results for both you and Spider.


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