The Sour Flavor
Properties: The sour flavor has a yin, cooling effect and although yin is usually considered to be moistening the sour flavor has a drying or astringent action on the tissues. Think of the way your mouth feels when you suck on a lemon or lime.
Uses: Horses that sweat excessively or have a tendency to have fluid in the tissues such as stocking up can benefit from the sour flavor. Loose manure may also firm up with a bit of sour flavor added to the horse’s food.
Organ functions: The sour flavor helps support the liver, especially if the horse is on a high fat and protein diet since this flavor helps break down these nutrients. The acid content of most sour foods is helpful in dissolving minerals so they can be assimilated more easily. The sour flavor helps to strengthen weak lungs which is why most people have learned to reach for vitamin C when they suspect their horse is coming down with a virus. Interestingly, the sour flavor can help with mental focus.
Season: The contracting quality of this flavor helps the horse prepare for the cooler months so fall is the perfect time to add some sour flavor foods to the horse’s diet.
Cautions: If there are already signs of tightness in the body such as constipation or tight muscles and ligaments then the sour flavor should be used cautiously.
Examples: The most common example of a sour food for horses would be products containing vitamin C. Natural foods such as rose hips are the best sources of vitamin C. Hawthorne berry is a nutritional herb with the sour flavor that can be given safely to horses. Vinegar is considered sour and bitter which makes it a good horse supplement for cleansing and tightening tissues. Apples are sour and sweet. Although I have not found a reference to support it I suspect that aloe vera gel has the sour flavor based on its energetic properties of building yin and acting as an astringent, especially in the digestive tract. Madalyn