EQUINE ESSENTIAL OILS
What is an Essential Oil?
If you have ever enjoyed the scent of a rose, you’ve experienced the aromatic qualities of essential oils. These naturally occurring, volatile aromatic compounds are found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. They can be both beautifully and powerfully fragrant. In addition to giving plants their distinctive smells, essential oils protect plants and play a role in plant pollination. In addition to their intrinsic benefits to plants and being beautifully fragrant to people, essential oils have long been used for food preparation, beauty treatment, and health care practices.
The History of Essential Oils:
Essential oils have been used throughout recorded history for a wide variety of wellness applications. The Egyptians were some of the first people to use aromatic essential oils extensively in medical practice, beauty treatment, food preparation, and in religious ceremony. Frankincense, sandalwood, myrrh and cinnamon were considered very valuable cargo along caravan trade routes and were sometimes exchanged for gold.
Borrowing from the Egyptians, the Greeks used essential oils in their practices of therapeutic massage and aromatherapy. The Romans also used aromatic oils to promote health and personal hygiene. Influenced by the Greeks and Romans, as well as Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic use of aromatic herbs, the Persians began to refine distillation methods for extracting essential oils from aromatic plants. Essential oil extracts were used throughout the dark ages in Europe for their anti-bacterial and fragrant properties.
In modern times, the powerful healing properties of essential oils were rediscovered in 1937 by a French chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, who healed a badly burnt hand with pure lavender oil. A French contemporary, Dr. Jean Valnet, used therapeutic-grade essential oils to successfully treat injured soldiers during World War II. Dr. Valnet went on to become a world leader in the development of aromatherapy practices. The modern use of essential oils has continued to grow rapidly as health scientists and medical practitioners continue to research and validate the numerous health and wellness benefits of therapeutic-grade essential oil.
Essential oils are used for a wide range of emotional and physical wellness applications. They can be used a single oil at a time or in complex blends in one of three methods; diffused aromatically, applied topically, or taken internally as dietary supplements.
Aromatic - Essential oils, when diffused, can be very stimulating, while others can be calming and soothing. Diffusing essential oils can also cleanse and purify the air.
Our sense of smell influences many physiological pathways including the stimulation of hormones and other metabolic processes. Aromatherapy is founded on the body's predictable response to specific olfactory stimuli. Essential oils are widely used in aromatherapy applications. Certain essential oils, when diffused in the air, can be very stimulating while others can be calming and soothing. Beyond emotional benefits, diffusing essential oils can purify air of unwanted odors and some airborne pathogens. Low or no-heat essential oil diffusers are recommended as they do not change the chemical structure of the oil being diffused. Essential oils can also be used as cleansing and purifying additives to laundry and surface cleaners throughout the home.
Topical - Essential oils are easily absorbed by the skin and many can be safely applied topically when used in conjunction with a carrier oil, such as Fractionated Coconut Oil.
Due to their natural molecular composition, essential oils are easily absorbed by the skin and can be safely applied topically. Application of essential oils can have immediate, localized benefit to the target area of application. They have restorative and calming properties and can be used effectively with massage and beauty therapy. They are also natural disinfectants. The chemical structure of essential oils also allows them to be absorbed into the bloodstream via the skin for internal benefit throughout the body.
Internal- Certain essential oils have a rich culinary history and can be used as dietary supplements supporting a variety of healthy conditions.
Essential oils can also be used as dietary supplements supporting a variety of healthy conditions. Some essential oils have powerful antioxidant properties while others help support healthy inflammatory response in cells. Many essential oils are generally regarded as being safe for dietary use, but some oils should not be taken internally. Do not use any essential oil product internally that does not have the appropriate dietary supplement facts on its label.
How are Essential Oils Extracted?
Therapeutic-grade essential oils are most often extracted via a low-heat steam distillation process in which steam is circulated under pressure through plant material liberating the essential oils into the steam. As the steam mixture cools, the water and oils naturally separate and the oil is collected in its pure form. To ensure the highest quality oil extract of correct chemical composition, temperature and pressure must be monitored very closely. Too little heat and pressure will not release valuable oil while too much can change an extract's composition and potency. As important as the carefully controlled extraction process is, the careful selection of the correct plant and plant parts harvested at the right time is also required for a successful extraction. This complex process is as much art form as it is science and requires experienced growers and distillers working together to ensure a quality product.
(Fact: It takes as much as 12,000 rose blossoms to distill 5 ml of therapeutic- grade essential rose oil.)
Steam distillation is by far the most common method of extraction, but some oils such as citrus oils are extracted through a process of compression in which the oil is squeezed from the plant. A very few essential oils are extracted using solvents that bind with the oils and are later removed from the final product.
There are a growing number of products claiming to be or to contain essential oils. They range in price and quality and are found in skin care, cosmetics, aromatherapy, and other products. However, many of these products do not use pure essential oils and often use fragrant synthetic chemical substitutes to dilute or replace more expensive essential oil extracts.
HealthEquine Therapies ONLY uses Certified Pure therapeutic Grade essential oils which are pure natural aromatic compounds carefully extracted from plants. They do not contain fillers or artificial ingredients that would dilute their active qualities.
How do Essential Oils help my horse?
The basic principal of essential oil therapy is to offer the aromatics to your horse and follow his guidance on how he wants to take them. This is not an esoteric notion, but a very practical method that is easy to understand and enjoyable to participate in. Every animal shows one of four basic responses when presented with essential oils for the first time. The horse will respond to the essential oils by either inhaling, licking or turning away. Animal responses to the essential oils are very clear and uniquely expressed by each different personality.
Offer your horse the essential oil once or twice a day until he loses interest, usually within three to ten days. Sometimes horses will show great interest in one essential oil for one session and then show no further interest, or alternatively, be rather blasé the first time, with increasing attraction as the treatment progresses. Once your horse shows no further interest in the essential oils, they are no longer needed and you should have seen a great improvement in the condition
What horse health issues can Essential Oils assist with?
Digestive Issues: ulcers, colic, diarrhea, constipation, internal parasites, general gastrointestinal wellness
Skin Issues: inflammation, cuts, scrapes, sarcoids, tumors, proud flesh, abscesses, rain rot, mud fever, ringworm, dermatitis, scratches
Infections: bacterial, viral and fungal infections, thrush, strangles, MRSA
Behaviours & Hormones : cribbing, stress, trailering issues, show anxiety, excess energy, witchy mares, overall well being
Massage Blend: laminitis, joint pain, back soreness, tying up
Immune Problems: hives, allergies, fly bit sensitivity, burns, inflammation, cuts, scrapes, summer itch
Respiratory Issues: heaves, allergies, sinus infections, pneumonia, upper respiratory infections
Bug Deterrent: lice, mange, flies, ticks, bots, mosquitoes
*A $25 fee will be invoiced to those who do not show up for their appointments or do not give at least 24 hour cancellation notice*
Please consult your veterinarian or medical physician for diagnosis and treatment of serious injuries or conditions.
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