The Pungent Flavor

Pungent(includes acrid, spicy, hot and aromatic flavors)

Properties: The pungent flavor stimulates circulation of energy and blood and moves energy upwards and outwards to the periphery of the body.

Uses: This flavor stimulates digestion and disperses mucus and specifically:
1. clears mucus out of the lungs but should be used with caution if heat is present in the form of an active infection.
2. improves digestion and expels gas from the intestines.
3. warms and relaxes the kidneys, increases the production of saliva and sweat.
4. increases circulation and supports the heart.
5. improves sluggish liver function.
Horses that are sluggish, lethargic, and overweight or that have mucus/damp conditions of the lungs and large intestine can benefit from the damp flavor. Conditions that would fit this description include chronic moist coughs or intestinal parasites.
Certain horses with wind conditions such as nervous, restless behavior can benefit from the pungent flavor which relaxes the nervous system.
Horses with digestive issues benefit from pungent flavor seeds that improve digestion such as fennel, dill, caraway, anise, coriander and cumin.

Season: The pungent flavor along with the sweet flavor helps attune the horse’s body to the spring season. More hot pungent flavors such as cayenne, and fresh ginger are helpful in the summer as well. Dried ginger and cinnamon can be used for overcoming signs of coldness because they warm the body for a extended period of time.

Cautions: Very dehydrated, thin horses may not be able to handle much of the pungent flavor and should avoid spices such as sage, cayenne, or any hot pepper. Foods with a hot pungent flavor should be avoided in heat conditions anywhere in the body such as abscesses or active infections of any kind. For example, cinnamon can help lower high blood glucose levels in horses with cushings but if that horse has an active hoof abscess secondary to laminitis cinnamon would be contraindicated.

Examples: Warming pungent foods that might be used for horses include rosemary, garlic, cinnamon bark, fresh and dried ginger root, cayenne, fennel, anise, dill, basil and nutmeg. Cooling pungent foods include peppermint and marjoram.

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