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Before we talk about using the essential oils, we first should define what is an essential oil in the first place.
An essential oil is a bioavailable nutritive liquid. This liquid is derived from flowers, plants, trees, etc., through a special distillation process. Essential oils (when left in their purest, non-diluted state with no synthetics added) have a 100% kill factor on harmful viruses, bacteria, funguses, mold and tumors.*
The key to using an essential oil in the ways I will describe here though is to make sure you 1) know your source 2) because you'll want the oils derived from certified organic plants not grown with pesticides in order to have the full effect of the oil.
Aromatherapy is often a word you'll find associated with the essential oils. The phrase was first "coined" by French chemist Dr. Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, Ph.D., in 1920. One day while he was working in his laboratory he had an accident that caused a third-degree thermal burn to his arm and hand. His immediate reaction was to plunge his arm into what he thought was a vat of water but rather it was a vat of lavender oil. So, he continued to use the lavender oil to treat his burn which eventually healed completely and left absolutely no scar!
Now please keep in mind that most of the essential oils on the market today have synthetics added to them as they're basically made for the cosmetic industry and are not nutritional. However, there are some excellent therapeutic grade oils on the market that are pure, unadulterated oils that can be used internally, topically and inhaled as powerful immune system builders.
While these essential oils for the most part have been created with humans in mind, many people are using these essential oils in their pet care successfully, and I'm one of them.
The essential oils work synergistically with the body to maintain, help, repair, and renew it right down to our DNA. The "oil" from the plants is similar to our blood and immune system so they work very harmoniously within our bodies. They go in and oxygenate and detoxify our blood simulatenously and create an environment where pathogens cannot live! Even more exciting is when the oils are either directly inhaled or diffused (using a cold air diffuser) they will cross the blood-brain barrier and clean out the petrochemicals. Due to their adaptagenic qualities they go into our blood streams, cells, etc., and seek out where they are needed like little therapeutic agents.
You might be thinking, well but I don't have any petrochemicals in my brain or blood and even if I do, my pets don't. Think again. Dr. David Stewart, PhD, wrote in his article Essential Oils for Things That Bug You Around the House the following "Among the many chemicals in our industrial environment that get into our systems and make us sick are the pesticides we use in our homes. We use them because we they are toxic to the creatures that bug us, but they are also toxic to us. Sometimes the toxicity is immediately apparent: we get a headache, get sick or feel nausea from the fumes or other contact.
Sometimes the toxicity is subtle and can accumulate resulting in chronic complaints and disorder (including allergies, cancer and miscarriages) that can be serious and even deadly over time. Sometimes we even put poisons on our pets to deal with ticks and fleas, not realizing that these substances are not healthy for us nor our animals."
Pesticides normally include some kind of petrochemical. Meaning if we don't take responsibilty for our health and the health of our pets, we can become sicker and sicker through the use of all these pesticides, herbacides, and chemical cleaning products in our homes. What affects us can affect our pets even faster and more readily because they are lying on our chemically cleaned floors and in our chemically treated and fertilized yards.
There is hope though! By using therapeutic grade essential oils, we can eliminate much (if not all) of the poisons from our homes and in our bodies -and that includes our pets too! While I can't go into depth in one single article I can leave you with some links to follow up on and a few of the essential oils you may want to get immediately to start implementing the change in your lives and the lives in your pets.
When using therapeutic grade oils, you can use them "neat" (undiluted) on skin, inhaled, or even internally with some oils. To apply any to your pets, you may choose to diffuse them in a diffuser until your pets become more used to the oils. With cats it is always a good idea to err on the side of caution and either diffuse them or apply diluted to their hind feet (using more mixing oil than essential oil) or tips of their ears. I only use one brand of oil and do not use any others. I know my source and these oils and trust them. Do your homework before embarking on the oils for your pets, especially your cats.
Lavender oil has so many uses benefits including the one at the beginning of this article: for burns, cuts, scrapes, sunburns it is an all-purpose oil. Add to that the calming effect and wonderful smell, you can't go wrong with this oil. It can be used on bee stings and insect bites also and is a good oil (when diluted with a organic mixing oil such as olive or almond) for cleaning your dog and cats ears (VERY diluted on a cat!). When you use any of the oils (neat or straight undiluted) the oils act an insect repellant. When you mix them with water they act as a natural pesticide. This oil is a good repellant to chiggers, fleas, flies, mosquitoes, and ticks!
Peppermint oil: this oil is great for relieving doggy flatulence (and human!), diarrhea, indigestion, as an anti-inflammatory, and can reduce fevers. You can also use it before or during a workout to boost your mood and reduce fatigue -I do daily! Oh and the best part -it can curb your appetite! This oil is also good at getting rid of the following bugs: Ants, aphids, beetles, catepillars, fleas, flies, lice, moths, plant lice, and spiders.
There are many many more oils to help you for nearly every single medical protocol for you and your pets. Here are some articles you can read along with Dr. Stewart's above which can all be found on my dog's blog Bark 'N' Blog (see bio):
"Aromatherapy Research and Education: What is AFNOR?"
"How Do Essential Oils Work?"
"The Healing Power of a Rose"
"Important Facts Regarding Toxins in our Environment"
*All information presented here is intended for educational purposes only. It is not provided in order to diagnose, prescribe or treat any disease, illness or injured condition of the body or pets and the author, publisher, and contributors accept no responsibility for such use. Anyone suffering or their pets from any disease, illness or injury should consult with their physician or veterinarian.
Originally published for Suite101.com Holistic Pet Care Topic
About the Author:
Kim Bloomer is a natural pet care educator helping pet owners learn to care for their pets through natural, holistic means. Disease prevention is her goal to help pet owners lower their pet care costs and extend the lives of their pets. Visit her website Aspenbloom Pet Care and her dog's blog barkin' about natural pet care from a canine perspective Bark 'N' Blog
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