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Alexanders - for us and our horses.

Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum)

It grows in sandy soils so you will mainly see this growing around seaside areas, but can get inland too. It is good for our horses, but it is also good for us too. Also known as wild celery,” was introduced to Britain by the Romans and was once commonly grown as a garden herb and culinary vegetable.

There have been guesses that it helps with the parasite load in a horses gut, but tests are limited to confirm this.

Trying it out for myself on my own horses helped me to see that it does have benefits to keeping the worm load low during winter and is very good to have it part of your horses worming program.

I fed my guys Alexanders, or Alec as many call it from the end of November through this it's seeding stages at the end of spring. Once the flowers have started to turn to seed it becomes too gangly for the horse to want to eat.

For us, the leaves are full of aroma have a raw asparagus flavour and can be an excellent complement to any salad mix, the flower heads a spectacular decoration for the salad table and quite delicious along with a garlic dip. Pick them as a healthy snack as you walk through the countryside, rinse with bottle water first if not sure clean or close to farmland that may have been sprayed. They do spoil very quickly so it's a case of pick on the day you want to eat it. Do be careful when picking as normally you will find hemlock growing in the same areas, ensure you pick only the Alexanders stems and do not grab arm full at a time as you'll grab hemlock too.

Start picking them for your horse with breaking stems off from November and let your horse/s enjoy. Again in moderation, they love this stuff and would overeat it if given free access to it creating chances of colic and soggy droppings, research has connected Alexanders as a laxative. I start with a small handful each day for the first week and build up to large arm full, about 3 full stems each and continue to do this several times a week through winter.

Culinary Uses for both us and the horses:

  • All parts of Alexanders are edible:

  • Stems: Consumed like celery or angelica.

  • Leaves: Used like parsley.

  • Thickened Tap-roots: Roasted similar to parsnips.

  • Black Seeds: Used as a pepper-like spice.

  • Roman recipes included serving Alexanders stems with raisin sauce, and it was a versatile herb in ancient cuisine.

Medicinal Properties:

  • Ancient Greek and Roman literature described medicinal uses for all parts of the plant:

  • Leaves: Antiscorbutic (to cure scurvy).

  • Fruit: Stomachic and anti-asthmatic.

  • Root Juice: Aromatic, appetite stimulant, diuretic, and laxative.

  • Sailors believed it cleared the blood, and ships would stop at Anglesey just to collect this herb.

Historical Endurance:

  • Alexanders remained popular for centuries and was commonly served as a table vegetable in medieval cuisine.

  • Thomas Tusser’s “One Hundred Points of Good Husbandry” recommended using Alexanders “at all times.”

Modern Research:


Add References below extract info and update

Isofuranodiene active chemical patented

Suitable for aiding

Parasite control

Lymes Disease

  • Berndtson K. (2013) Review of evidence for immune evasion and persistent infection in Lyme disease. Int J Gen Med 6: 291–306. Google Scholar


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Meljay Turner
Creator of The Equine Semaphore Code
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