chronic progressive lymphedema (CPL) on the front legs of a Gypsy Cob

Chronic Progressive Lymphoedema in Draft Horse

Chronic Progressive Lymphoedema Treatment

The information in this post is shared in the hope that it may be of benefit to others. I am not a veterinarian. The treatment that I used is based on my experiments with natural ingredients that have solid scientific evidence for their efficacy.

ā€‹Iļ»æ used a combination of massage oil, poulticing and dietary changes to help control the inflammation and heal lesions on the legs. Following are the recipes for the poultice and massage oils with notes on changes to the horses diet.


Click on the photos next to the product descriptions if you need to buy them online

castor oil to trat chronic progressive lymphedema

Castor Oil

CASTOR OIL: (ricinus communis)

When used externally (rubbed into the skin), castor oil is able to penetrate deeper than any other essential plant oil. Rubbing castor oil on the skin can relieve pain, reduce inflammation, detoxify the body and boost lymphatic circulation.

Castor oil also contains ricinoleic acid, a very unusual fatty acid that can be found only in castor beans and ergot (a fungus). Ricinoleic acid inhibits the growth of many bacteria, viruses, molds and yeasts. This is why castor oil has been known to work well on acne as well as other skin conditions like ringworm, keratoses, scars, and fungal infections

Bentonite clay to make poultice for CPL

Bentonite Clay Cat Litter

BENTONITE CLAY: (commonly sold as cat litter)

Benefits of calcium montmorillonite minerals have been documented in research conducted by many scientists and leading universities. "In addition to the role it plays as a potent detoxifier, Calcium montmorillonite clay has also been used extensively in the treatment of pain, open wounds, colitis, diarrhoea, haemorrhoids, stomach ulcers, intestinal problems, acne, anaemia, and a variety of other health issues.

Bentonite clay uses a negative ionic charge to capture and absorb toxins. Since many of the toxins in our body are positively charged toxins are attracted to and bonded to the clay, making it all that more effective. Bentonite clay can also be used externally with great success.

Bentonite clay to make poultice for CPL

CAYENNE PEPPER (capsicum annuum or frutescens)

Ancient societies, particularly those of the Americas and China, have consistently used cayenne pepper therapeutically.

A powerful anti-inflammatory, cayenne pepper is also anti-irritant, anti-fungal preventing the formation of fungal pathogens, anti-allergen and is a circulatory stimulant that increases the pulse of lymphatic drainage.

Cayenne pepper also removes toxins from the blood stream and is a mild diuretic.

Instructions:  How to Make the Poultice for the Chronic Progressive Lymphoedema Treatment

Soak 1Kg of the bentonite clay in clean water overnight - avoid chlorinated water. The amount of water required will vary a little but start at about 3:1 water to powdered clay.

The next morning work the bentonite clay - you will want a thick paste. Add enough castor oil to make the consistency of whipped cream and work in 25 grams of cayenne pepper powder - be careful not to wipe your eyes!


INGREDIENT 1: Castor Oil (ricinus communis) ~ details of it's traditional use as above.

coconut oil used as an anti-inflammatory for chronic progressive lymphedema

Coconut Oil

INGREDIENT 2: Coconut Oil (cocos nucifera oil)

Modern medical science is now confirming the use of coconut in treating many of the above conditions.

Published studies in medical journals show that coconut, in one form or another, may provide a wide range of health benefits. Some of these are summarised below Kills viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, AIDS, and other illnesses.

Coconut oil kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum disease and cavities, pneumonia, gonorrhoea, and other diseases. It also destroys fungi and yeasts that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete's foot, thrush, diaper rash, and other infections.

Coconut oil reduces inflammation and supports tissue healing and repair. Most importantly too for CPL coconut oil supports and aids the immune system function. It is a protective antioxidant and helps to protect the body from harmful free radicals that promote premature ageing and degenerative disease.

Applied topically helps to form a chemical barrier on the skin to ward of infection. Reduces symptoms associated the psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis. Supports the natural chemical balance of the skin. Softens skin and helps relieve dryness and flaking. Provides protection from damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

Cocoa butter to use for Chronic progressive lymphoedema treatment

Cocoa Butter

Cocoa butter can be purchased deodorised or with the scent of yummy chocolate which is rather nice for those of us who are chocoholics šŸ™‚


INGREDIENT 3: Cocoa Butter (theobroma oil)

Cocoa butter is one of the most stable, highly concentrated natural fats known, and melts at body temperature so that it is readily absorbed into the skin.

Cocoa butter is often recommended for treatment of skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis.

When applied topically, it creates a barrier between sensitive skin and the environment and also helps retain moisture.

Most importantly in relation to chronic progressive lymphoedema, cocoa butter contains cocoa mass polyphenol (CMP), a substance that inhibits the production of the immunoglobulin IgE. IgE is known to aggravate symptoms of both dermatitis and asthma. Recent research indicates that CMP actually helps suppress excessive T-cell activity in the immune system, which could help treat conditions associated with overactive immune systems, such as psoriasis, fibromyalagia and chronic fatigue.

Instructions: How to make the massage oil for Chronic Progressive Lymphoedema Treatment

Mix 500 grams of castor oil with 500 grams of coconut oil and 200 grams of cocoa butter in a pot over very low heat until the cocoa butter has melted into the other oils and place in a plastic bottle (squeezy sauce bottle is ideal) and cap.


Remove the feather from the horse and wash the legs well with warm water and a gentle shampoo - baby shampoo is a good choice. Have the oil bottle handy in a bucket of warm water.

It is not at all necessary to aggravate the horse by trying to pick the scabs off. They will readily come off with the oil and poultice treatment in a day or two.

Roughly towel the legs - but not totally dry, we want them damp so that the pores are open and the oils readily absorbed. Massage a generous quantity of the oil mix into the leg and make sure that it is worked well into the folds of skin that may be present. The skin will absorb much of the oil.

Wait about ten minutes and apply the clay poultice working against the lay of the hair to ensure that it comes into contact with the skin. Again, push a generous amount of clay into the folds and when sufficiently coated run your hand lightly down the leg to smooth the clay.

Repeat daily until any inflammation present is controlled (the skin will lose it's angry appearance and no longer feel hot)

Diet additions to help boost your horse's immune system:

Feed I flat tablespoon of cayenne pepper and 1/2 cup of coconut oil daily. I also added MSM to the diet to combat inflammation. Freshly ground flax seed is also an excellent addition to the diet as is diatomaceous earth.

Good luck and please send your feedback.



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