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Essential Oils for Animals

“How can smelling something heal my pet?”

Most of us think of essential oils as only aromatherapy, and although aromatherapy is a very powerful tool for treating your animal, essential oils have many more applications.

Essential oils were mankind’s first medicines. Medicine from nature herself. The oils are the natural defenses of a plant, and can come from any part of the plant: leaves, roots, flowers, fruit, bark, and even seeds. ┬áLike the plants “blood” they carry nutrients and oxygen, and like many plant herbs we ingest they are naturally anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, powerful anti-oxidants, and so on.

Plants have the amazing ability to change and adapt to conditions over time. They don’t waste energy, and therefore are prefect used complete rather than broken into individual molecules like pharmaceutical drugs. Modern pharmaceuticals which are synthesized in a laboratory generally have one action, but essential oils can have anywhere from 200-800 different chemical constituents making them very diverse in their actions. For example, diphenhydramine ( trade name Benadryl) is only an antihistamine. Compare this with the actions of Mellisa (lemon balm) essential oil. Melissa is not only an antihistamine, but also an antibacterial, anti viral, anti-depressive, antispasmodic, and anti-hypertensive.

An additional benefit of essential oils is their small molecular size which allows for quick skin penetration, and as the oils are lipid soluble they can penetrate cell walls affecting the entire body in as little as 20 minutes. Unlike pharmaceuticals and in some cases even herbal medication which require an intact GI tract for absorption and long time periods for full effects, essential oils can be used even with poor digestion, and can bypass oral administration, which in animals can often be difficult.

When using essential oils on your pet, quality matters. Pure, therapeutic grade oils are monitored from seed to distillation. The environmental conditions the plant is grown under will absolutely effect the medicinal quality of the oils. A conscientious producer of essential oils oversees not only the growing climate: temperature, humidity, and elevation, but time of harvest and handling of the plant material and proper processing.

The processing matters. 100% natural does not mean 100% safe. High quality therapeutic grade oils are steam distilled, or in the case of citrus fruit only expressed under pressure. Inferior oils not to be used on animals may be extracted with solvents. Inferior oils may also be diluted, “cut”, with other potentially toxic oils such as castor oil, or synthetic fragrance oils.

Essential oils produced by reputable producers have been checked for purity by gas chromatography or mass spectrophotometry. If this has been done then the producer will include “certified 100% pure essential oil” right on the bottle. In addition if you are unsure about using it on your pet it should also be listed on the label for dietary use / internal use. If the packaging says not for internal use, then do not use it on your animal.

The essential oils should always be more than you want to pay. For example if you see one rose essential oil for $27 and another for $87 or even $107 (quality rose oil is very expensive) be suspect of the quality of the least expensive oils.

At Animal Healing Center, we are happy to guide you in safely using essential oils for your pets.

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