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Using Chaga for Support in Recovering Laminitis

posted in: Skin 2

Teri DluznieskiI have been working with Chaga for a couple of years.  I am by no means an expert in its vast range of properties and uses.  But I am continually amazed and impressed with the benefits and healing properties of the little known and mysterious mushroom.

Every November, the Rutland (Vermont) farmers market moves indoors.  I had the chance and opportunity to meet many vendors that I never saw or knew during the larger sprawling (lively) outdoor summer market.

One of the vendors right around the corner from me turns out to also be a horse person.  As it is cold, even indoors, she came over one day and tried a cup of hot chaga.  We got to talking over this, about the benefits and properties.  The next week she stopped back by, and noted that she really liked the chaga chai, and got another cup.  She also got some to take home and make on her own- noting that she really thought she felt better after drinking it.

In our conversations during the month of November, she was also telling me about her horse, Amadeus. He is a 15.3 hh morgan-draft cross.  She has had him for 11 1/2 years, since he was 11.  Half of his life.  He’s 22 now, and while a bit overweight ( until recently), he was quite healthy and Gail rode almost daily: trail rides that lasted for a few miles, up and down hills for about an hour out in the mountains and woods that surround her Weston property.

Gail noticed this last summer that Ami was gradually becoming more sore.  This was a little more evident when going up and down hills, and he seemed less excited about trotting. There was nothing showing clearly as to cause, but after a short time, Gail called in the vet because she knew this was not normal for her horse.

At first, the vet couldn’t find anything either.  The vet did a regular check, going over various aspects and possibilities.  Baffled, they went to put him back into his stall.  As Gail turned him to lead him into the stall, the vet saw Ami rocking back to carry most of his weight on his back feet. Aha. Out came the X-ray machine. There was definite rotation of the coffin bone.  Laminitis and foundering.  they couldn’t tell how fresh/new this was, but it was definitely there.

They did a blood work panel, which showed Ami was mildly insulin resistant.  They put him on various medications. (thyrazine(?) which is insulin balancing.  The dose was minimal: 1 scoop ( up to  6 scoops possible dose) and he was given 1.5 grams of bute, daily as well.   Gail already feeds and supplements very well: biotin plus was added right away.  She already gave him vitamins, kelp, and apple cider vinegar.  To that holistic protocol she added cinnamon and fenugreek.

She immediately cut his food ration in half, as the vet had noted he was a good 200 pounds overweight ( contributing to the condition). She also did cold soaks in ice water daily.

She picked up a pair of the EZ ride comfort zone boots- which helped enormously. With the boots, Ami went from a hobble, to strutting comfortably.  a huge help and improvement.

It was also found that he had a small abscess that came out through the sole of his foot.  Additionally, it seemed that he was laying down a second/ secondary sole- probably to protect the coffin bone and inner parts of the foot.

A month later, the vet came back and did another blood panel. All the blood work was normal around the beginning of September. At this point, Gail halved the bute, as he didn’t seem to need it quite so much, and seemed good on the smaller dose.

So- back to the farmers market. Noting how well Gail felt drinking the chaga, I made the suggestion that she might try it with Ami.  Chaga helps to detox the body, reduce inflammation, is adaptogenic, detoxes the blood, on top of its many other supportive properties.

Gail was making the chaga as a tea ( 1-2cups), and mixing it in with 1-2 cups of bran.  The next week, Gail came right over to me, first thing in the morning.. and tentatively noting.. she wasn’t sure yet- but she thought she saw improvement in Ami. she thought his manure looked better, healthier, richer, more pungent; and he seemed a little bit more like himself.  This was tentative, but she was cautiously optimistic.

The following week she stopped back by, much more confident in the improvement she was seeing in him. He was much more like himself, resuming his normal usual routines; and he was again both neater in his stall, which had always been his habit prior to the laminitis.  AND, he was laying down again, enjoying being able to lie down and get back up without discomfort.  Each week, through December, we conferred on his progress.  She took him off the bute completely, and he seemed absolutely fine without it. By Christmas he no longer needed the EZ boots.  Gail felt this was a result of the chaga as well. She halved the medication dosage around the same time.

He was going back outside again when he heard things: people or cars on the road. He had always been curious and inquisitive, and this was good to see, that he was taking interest in the world around him again.

Sometime around the beginning of January, he began trotting on his own, all prancy, with the ” I feel good” kind of behaviour. Toward the end of January, there was some noise or something- nothing extreme, but Gail was very proud and excited when she related to me: he CANTERED off! His area is not huge, but he went a good 50-100 feet, and showed no sign of ouchiness, and his stopping seemed more of a space constraint than a comfort consideration.  And he had no sign of distress or discomfort afterwards either.

Gail and I talked about vitamins and supplements.  She is going to start giving him yogurt ( preferably raw goats milk yogurt), raw milk, probiotics and some other herbs to help repair and restore the stressed GUT, which is a huge factor that leads into the metabolic dysfunction that precedes laminitic events.

She is also having the blacksmith begin to correct the rotation with corrective trim work. At this point, we are following his progress.  He will have more blood work done soon, which should show his progress.  Gail is thinking that she might/ should be able to take him off of the blood sugar medications. At this point, even given his age- Gail is hopeful for a full recovery.



I am an Education Specialist, Health Coach and Author. I work with aspects of the teachings I have learned from Andean shamanic and cosmology, to health, nutrition and education.  Everything is energy. Energy must flow. Like water, when it does not flow, it stagnates and is not healthy. These techniques help your life to flow. I have been initiated into many of the ancient lineages and learned ceremonies, rites of passage and healing techniques.  I have worked as a healer and done workshops and taught some of these aspects – passing the teachings on.

Author of:
Dancing in Your Bubble : ancient teaching, modern healing
Natural Support for Alzheimer’s
Getting a Handle on Happy : find and fix causes of stress and depression
The Naturally Smarter Kid : a parent’s guide to helping kids succeed in school and life
Cafe of the Hungry Ghosts : behind the veil of ordinary – a paranormal-ish fiction book





2 Responses

  1. Avatar
    Shirley Buckley
    | Reply

    Hi Teri,
    I have a horse with squalmous cell carcinoma (right lower eyelid).
    Can you tell me where you get your Chaga . I am using a mushroom blend now with good results and then no forward progress. Your story about Ami and Gail was great. Thank you.

    • Teri
      | Reply

      Hi shirley,

      Yes, it was wonderful to see Gail every week and get the ongoing updates and improvements! It was especially rewarding because when we first began talking, she seemed at such a loss of how to help her horse who was not making a recovery.

      As for your horse, there may be a few things you can look into– which may or may not be relevant for horses. Recently I have been reading a lot about the use of baking soda and (simplification here) its ability to help reboot the immune system: something to do with restoring the Ph and something re the vagal nerve and the spleen. As noted, this may or may not be relevant info as regards a horse and cancer but it certainly worth a quick research. Generally, anything we can do to support the body so it can do what it is supposed to do, helps.

      The second thing you might look into is CBD cannabinoid oil, which is THC free and– I believe- legal in most states, can be found in many co-ops and health food stores.

      As for the actual question about chaga:) I wildcraft it myself, up in the back woods of vermont. If you are looking for a sustainably harvested fresh source, I would be willing to ship you some. I don’t do as much with the chaga these days, but I do have a few customers who rely on it for chronic health:)

      let me know if you have any questions etc


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