Jiaogulan and laminitis

Laminitis is a complicated problem that can be caused by a variety of 
mechanisms. Most common are disruptions of the intestinal tract severe enough
to cause colic or diarrhea, systemic bacterial infections and metabolic
disturbances causing decreased sensitivity to the hormone insulin (similar to
diabetes). This problem is called insulin resistance and may result from
genetic factors, drugs (corticosteroids), pregnancy, severe stress of any
type, systemic bacterial infections or in Cushing�s disease.

Symptoms of a genetic tendency toward insulin resistance include easy weight
gain, fat deposits along the crest, at the tail base or elsewhere
(withers/shoulders or in patches or lumps along the body), fat deposits in the
hollows above the eyes. In many cases there will be more than one factor
operating. For example, obviously not all pregnant mares get laminitis but if
the mare had a genetic tendency toward insulin resistance to begin with the
hormonal changes of pregnancy may push her over the edge.

For laminitis treatment to be successful you must:

1. Identify the cause
2. Remove the cause or treat it on an ongoing basis
3. Provide meticulous hoof care, often on a very frequent basis (every 2 to 3 weeks)

Failure to properly address any of these areas will give poor results.

For this reason, I cannot recommend use of the herb Jiaogulan until all these
cornerstones of proper treatment are in place. This can lead to people
stating the herb is not effective and owners of horses that were in a position
to benefit from it end up not trying the herb, when in reality the problem was
not the Jiaogulan but rather failure to address the �big picture� correctly.

The Jiaogulan is not a cure all. There are no cure alls in laminitis. If the
horse has ongoing and uncontrolled insulin resistance, it will not work.
Bringing insulin resistance under control requires treatment of Cushing�s
disease if that is present, and a very carefully designed diet with tight
mineral balancing. There are also some herbs that will help with insulin
resistance and Jiaogulan itself may have favorable effects on insulin
resistance but the diet design and mineral balancing comes first. If the
horse�s feet are not correctly trimmed and balanced, it will not work.

What the Jiaogulan apparently does is address problems with circulation during
laminitis that can contribute to chronic pain and also delay healing in the
damaged areas of the feet. Response may be dramatic and within days if the
points above have been addressed.

A large number of laminitis horses have collections of blood, serum or
infection in their feet that need to exit to the outside and drain. This is a
very common cause of ongoing foot pain. If that is the case, the Jiaogulan
may cause a temporary �worsening� as those collections are mobilizing that
culminates in abscesses surfacing and draining within 1 to 2 weeks. This
should be managed by frequent warm soaks of the feet, preferably with Epsom

Horses and ponies respond very individually to Jiaogulan, which calls for
dosage adjustments until the optimal dosage is found. Some animals also
benefit from supplementation with an amino acid and specific B vitamins that
support nitric oxide formation.

The field trial on laminitis in horses and ponies has been completed.
Animals included in the results below had all fulfilled the criteria listed
above for proper treatment. Of 118 treated with Jiaogulan, 15 horses/ponies
(12.7%) failed to respond, or responded initially only to show deteriorating
soundness at a later interval. In 12 of these cases, worsening of the
underlying medical condition, inability to trim/shoe the feet to a state that
prevented further mechanical damage, or an already severely advanced
demineralization of the coffin bone were present. In three animals, the
reason for poor response was unknown. 57 horses (48.3%) showed complete
return to soundness at a walk within 2 days to 2 weeks of starting Jiaogulan.
Some of these went through a period of abscess drainage before becoming
sound. Although some of the test animals also started to spontaneously trot
or even canter on their own, this was not encouraged because of the potential
to damage already weakened areas of the foot. The remaining 46 horses (39%)
showed obvious improvement of 1 to 2 lameness grades and were stable or
continuing to improve at the end of the follow up. These horses all had pre-
existing extensive damage to the feet and would require many months to a year
to regrow stable laminar attachments.

Because of the huge volume of requests, I am asking a one time fee of $35 to
work with people on getting their Jiaogulan dose correctly established. If
you choose not to follow the other requirements for successful laminitis
treatment as carefully as they need to be followed, you will be asked to state
you understand this could lead to failure of Jiaogulan to help your horse or
pony. If your animal has ongoing laminitis where the cause is not known, you
should check for insulin resistance. If insulin resistance is found, a
careful diet must be designed, with appropriate mineral supplementation. If
you want me to help you with that, the fee is $100 and includes both all diet
recommendations as well as help with establishing the Jiaogulan dose. You may
also choose to attempt to calculate your diet requirements yourself with the
help of information in the files at the Yahoo group EquineCushings.


Age, breed, sex:

Current level of work:

Amount of turnout or walking:


Hay type and amount in lbs/day:

Is Hay analysis available?

Grain or other feed types and amounts/day in pounds:

List of all supplements, herbs, homeopathics, etc., dose and when started:

List of all drugs, dose and when started:

History of the problem:

Laboratory Findings and Dates:

Barefoot or shoe type:

Are pictures of feet available?