Made from the flowering tops of the Matricaria recutita, chamomile is an effective remedy for a number of various ailments. chamomile is perhaps the world’s most soothing herb, helping to relieve anxiety and insomnia. Chamomile is also often used internally to treat digestive disorders, bowel inflammation, heartburn and even menstrual cramps. Externally it can be used to treat skin disorders, sunburns, eye inflammation and bacterial infections. There are different types of Chamomile available, Chamomile Roman and German for example. Although quite similar, the compound make up can vary. It is important to know what type to use for your purpose and also to consider the source of the plant. Where it is grown and how it is grown effects the performance of the compounds.
How Does Chamomile Work?
Chamomile is an anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, and anti-bacterial botanical ingredient in Equi-Spa Not So Sweet Itch products, Elderberry and Chamomile shampoo, due out on the Market next spring, and in Equi-Spa Sheath and Udder Cleaner.
1. Anti-inflammatory: Chamomile soothes inflammation both inside and outside of the body. On the inside of the body Inflammation is the cause of many gastrointestinal complaints, such as heartburn, diverticular disorders, and inflammatory bowel disease. It acts to sooth the smooth muscles lining the digestive tract, relieving irritable symptoms. Outside the body, chamomile is used to treat mild burns, including sunburn, rashes, sores and even eye inflammation.
One time at a horse show a 6 inch scar on my wrist became very inflamed and stiff. Very painful. Equispa was at the show and It was recommended that I use a combination of Not So Sweet Itch and The Balm topically. It worked very rapidly to soothe the inflammation and soften the scar so that I could show my horse. Over the next couple of weeks the very angry, stiff scar became almost completely flat and skin-colored. It has remained so for more than a year with intermittant applications. The scar was already 2 years old when I began using the products.
Love the stuff and the company owner. Both Swwweeeeet,”
Anyway, while at work, I felt the itch coming on and immediately thought “I wonder what that will do if I use the Not So Sweet Itch formula?” So, when I came home, I sprayed the liquid formula on my legs, which were still itching from earlier. Within one minute my legs stopped itching…and then I felt…nothing! I stood there thinking “Okay, as soon as this dries, or as soon as I rub my legs on the bed covers, etc., I will start feeling itchy. Nope, I woke up the next morning with my legs untouched! So, after my morning shower, I sprayed my legs and off to my office I went. At night, I did the same treatment, and another night of no scratching. I have not gone without touching my legs for more than one night in a row, so I figured, let me give this a few more day…
By Friday, still no itching. Now this morning, I had a flare up (I ate redmeat for the first time in months and that’s a big no no, but I needed a little protein). I did NOT however, spray my legs before bed last night. So, I used the gel formula. Instant itch-stop! (and my itch was bad…just my pants touching my skin was causing an all-out itch fest).
So, I was glad that facebook deleted my message (similar to this one) yesterday, because it gave me the chance to also use the gel formula. I think I am going to order the gel formula for less waste since I’m spraying my legs, opposed to a horse’s body LOL
I wanted to THANK YOU for whatever essential oil blends and carriers you are using in this formula. To look at my legs HEALED, with no long claw mark scabs for the first time in years, is amazing…let alone th the psychological impact it has as well. I’m not sure if you are allowed to promote the formula for people, but I am telling others about it. I cant wait to test it on mosquito bites also, but this has been life changing for me…and it smells FABULOUS to boot!”
I am presenting a new product in the spring. Have not even named it yet. I am working with some very smart horse women who happen to be chemists and work with botanicals and natural compounds.
Together we are developing a Mane and Tail detangler. Showcoat is a conditioning product and helps tails and manes grow and keeps the over all coat healthy, and able to do some light detangling….but I needed something faster and able to take care of some dred locks that horses can develop, get out the most difficult burrs, with out silicone, and leave the tail fluffy and shiny.
I FOUND IT with the help of these two wonderful women.
I really really wanted to avoid silicon/silicone because it hardens (think of all the silicon injections that have been disasters in plastic surgery) and can become brittle and cause breakage with continued use.
Nearly all of the commercial detanglers have it in them. Even the natural ones, and even if it is not on the label. Horse grooming products are not regulated and they are not required to list all the ingredients. There are so many forms of silicon which can be natural as from sand, or man made silicone compounds, that even if it is listed on the label…you may not recognize it. As you know Equi-Spa products always list the ingredients on the labels.
So my commitment to non toxic, gentle natural botanical ingredients not been compromised with the development of the new product, I am proud to say!
I sent about 80 samples of the product out for field trials with a volunteer focus group and starting to get feedback…which I am elated to state, is overwhelmingly positive!!!
Normally I write my own blogs but this time I am letting Amy Jo from Oregon be the author of this blog by posting her glowing and detailed review. Thank you Amy Jo of Pink Pony Ranch
I keep forgetting to ask you if you have a flyer, brochure (I wrote “brother” first – ha!), and/or business card you could shoot my way. We have been using your product(s) and LOVE THEM! A couple of women at the barn have asked how to contact you. I would love to post a professional card or something on the bulletin board, but can write out something nice myself if you would rather.
So your mane and tail detangler is AWESOME. I never thought I would like one that is creamy instead of slippery and clear. I was getting ready to purchase Gleem from Equi-Fuse when I saw your “request for test” -ers on FB. I am so glad I waited. I have a Mustang that has this bizarre thin and yet wavy mane with virtually no tail, which kills me as I adore manes and tails. I cannot use any products on his mane or his mane virtually flattens and sulks away to nothing – just a weighted down embarrassment. My Mustang is pony-size and has a Napoleon attitude, and so he needs all the help he can get. Your product about tripled the appearance of his mane. Did you know it did that? It wasn’t a spray (Showsheen) and didn’t wet him down in the cold and frigid weather. And it did not weigh down his mane – actually made it appear thicker and fuller – while helping to detangle it! It was wonderful as I had just finished giving a beginner riding lesson, and my precious student, Lily, was helping me groom Cornelius after her lesson. I was dying to try one of the chocolate kiss cookies she brought me, but we soon got so engrossed in beautifying Cornelius that my mouth stopped watering.
Here is another HUGELY positive response from me as well. Do you know how thick and stiff and prickly mule manes and tails can be? If the mule gets more of the donkey hair DNA, their manes sometimes never ever lie down and are very brittle and stiff. Well … NOT WITH YOUR PRODUCT! This is the PERFECT mane and tail conditioner for a mule’s mane and tail. While Fivey the Wonder Mule does not have a long enough mane to even attempt to lie down yet, I am certain that if any product will help this along, it will be yours. After applying your mane and tail lotion, I could easily pull a mane comb through his mane – not an easy task on any other day. And I got through his tail with ease as well. What I also loved was how much dirt came off by using your product. Dirt molecules seemed to attach to the product that was left on whatever implement I was using and removed the dirt from the horse. AWESOME! I am so excited to use more of this.
I also used your mane and tail detangler on Sir Vincent the Fancy Spanish Mustang. He had caked-on globs of mud, which I have never seen on one of my equines before. I bet you know what I am going to say …. Your product cleaned it right off and gave him a beautiful mane and tail. Vinnie is the founding member of my local Pretty Pony Mane and Tail Club, which involves only my horses (not Cornelius – he didn’t make the cut) and my friend’s horses. We have our own club. Hey, why not? So Vinnie, who is a bay dun roan sabino appaloosa (yes, he turns pink in the summer, thus the Pink Pony Ranch) is very, very light and gets very, very dirty. Your mane and tail lotion cleaned him up and made him feel fancy again. So did your grapefruit conditioner. OMG, it smells glorious! When I was pregnant with my first son, all I wanted was grapefruit everything. Since it was so cold out, I sprayed it on a rap and wiped down Vinnie. I had to put some on everyone else, too, so I could smell it. (It has to be about me a little, right?) I LOVE the stuff! I hope that wasn’t supposed to go to Darla. I haven’t used much and can still get it to her. But I might have to leave the country with it. I don’t know. I really love it.
So the mane and tail product smells glorious. Is there actually a scent in it? I really love it. How do you keep it from hardening? It was around 30 degrees the day I used it and it squirted freely from the bottle. I want more … more and more and more.
I can’t wait to carry your products at Pleasant Hill Feed. I am so excited to merchandise them on the shelves!
Thank you so much, Sherie. You rock!
PS: Remember to send some contact info or just have me write it out.
I am so pleased with the response and want to thank all of the focus group volunteers for taking the time to trial the product and provide feedback.
Now I think I need to come up with a cool name….How about a contest to name the new product? Follow me on Face book via the link on the right and I will post the Contest. The winner will receive credit and some free products from Equi-Spa
You have all seen the pictures, and read the stories detailing the abuse, neglect and abandonment of innocent animals. When ads for the Humane Society come on TV, I cannot watch. Same with any other of the numerous shelter ads that come in the mail, email, TV or sites like Facebook. It tears at my heart and makes me reach for my wallet or check my paypal account to see how much I can spare that month.
Equi-Spa, LLC has, from the beginning, donated a portion of profits to various horse rescues. The amount and type vary with each instance. I Believe that any business involved in this industry should be responsible for supporting the less fortunate of our industry.
Many times I will send products to use on special “projects” such as Grace. Grace came to the Strawberry Mountain Mustangs rescue www.strawberrymountainmustangs.com , with a body score of under 1. She is an aged mare over 20 and they considered putting her down. But her organs were still in good shape and she had some light in her eye that made the vet think that she may be saved. So Darla who operates the rescue started to work her magic to try and save this mare. I read about it on www.horseandman.com, a blog I follow daily (more about that later). I read how she had sores on her that could not heal and she was in such bad condition that she couldnt tolerate chemicals, not fly spray, not wormers not anything . I knew I could help. I sent Darla two products for Grace. A tub of The Balm to put on the numerous sore and raw spots on her body to keep the flies and insects from irritating them and keeping them from healing ; and Peppermint Summer Protection to keep insects off of the rest of her. Even my products which do not have any chemicals, only beneficial botanical extracts, had to be used in small amounts. But finally they started to see the sores heal and Grace was able to tolerate the spray. Grace was under 300 pounds when she came to the shelter, she is now the correct weight and a body score of 6! I continue to support Strawberry Mountain Mustangs when they have a need I can fill. update: Grace just passed away…mostly from old age and the stress her body went through before she was rescued. She lived her final months surrounded by love with plenty to eat and warm shelter. She has crossed rainbow bridge.
Horseandman.com is my new source for determining where I put my resources to work for rescue. Dawn Harrison writes this blog every single day. I look forward to reading the interesting articles about all things that relate horses and humans. Every month Dawn finds a project to raise money for funding a special needs horse or situations. This has been my compass on how to help in some small way a variety of horses with special needs. The amount I am able to give depends on the amount of sales I have. I have no set percentage of profits. I follow my heart and my instinct on what I should give.
For the past 3 months I have donated the shipping fees paid by customers who order from my site to support the bucket fund on Horseandman.com. This has been a very effective program for developing the funds for the rescues featured each month. It is a win win for everyone. The customers pay the same flat shipping fee as always, and receive their orders as always. I charge a flat fee and cover the rest of the shipping ….now I donate the flat $6.95 fee and the Horses get to benefit.
We have helped a great granddaughter of Native Dancer…who won 6 figures on the track and produced many many babies for her owners…who, when she stopped breeding, stopped feeding her. Yes she was nearly starved to death.
We have helped the Junkyard 4…Horses that were neglected and starved by their owner….(are you ready for this)….who was a HAY BROKER!!! GRRR…
Recently we helped raise 1000.00 in one day to help orphaned foals at the kill pen get rescued. You should really go to horseandman.com and read about the wonderful work Dawn does of writing informative articles and the big spotlight she shines on the need for caring for the unfortunate in the horse industry, exposing the dark, murky underside .
So I just want to thank you for helping with these projects by doing what you have been doing for years…using EquiSpa products and buying from the site. We are creating some good karma together and can feel good about the good we are doing.
Recently Equi-Spa, LLC won a legal battle to protect the brand name Equi-Spa. This was an emotional battle as much as a legal one.
We have worked hard for many years on a grass roots level to build a premium brand that people respect and appreciate. I have poured tremendous resources into manufacturing a quality product and I thank all of you for supporting and encouraging me to keep going.
With that I just want to make perfectly clear that I am in no way associated with Ryan Gingerich. The products sold on his site and on TV, under the name EquiSpa, were not my products, were not THE EQUI-SPA that you know. There has been confusion, as many people thought that they were.
Hopefully, this has now been allieviated and we can move on. You can be assured that if you order Equispa products, you are getting the Real Equi-Spa.
I just found the most interesting blog http://www.horseandman.com/ actually it found me. The blogger was talking about teat cleaning and referenced my Sheath and Udder cleaner. Of course I was flattered and curious , so i read the complete blog and was delighted with the information. Dawn (the blogger) is also the executive producer of Itchy Fingers Films..http://www.itchyfingersfilms.com/ so now I am intrigued. I have spent a good portion of the day on her site and all though I was trying to eat up some time…it was far from a waste of time. There are amazing rescue stories and cute little weird articles and tidbits that made me chuckle or cringe.
My point is…this seems like a really cool person that I would like to know. The reality is…. I will probably never meet her…she lives in California and I live in Iowa. But the beauty is, … the internet, provides the path to so much information and allows “friends” or people who share the same passions to “meet” and share parts of their lives.
In my old life, I was a glamazon diva who drove a BMW or a Red Porsche, wore high heels every where, an A lister for parties, partied like a rock star and a completely shallow person. Than I bought my first horse and my world was forever changed. The Porsche became a Pick up and the high heels turned int o muck boots. The wrapped nails wore off and replaced by riding gloves. I would rather go to a horse show than a wine tasting. I would rather bury my nose in the neck of my horse than go shopping. yes life is good. I am grateful for the day and being able to read the blog and feel a real connection to someones world and the passion that we all share..
Dressage is probably the fastest growing equestrian sport in the United States. It requires tremendous mental discipline and optimum overall balance and coordination for both horse and rider. Most successful high level competitors understand and utilize some simple yet highly effective methods to bolster their mounts athletic ability and mental capacity for a superior performance. STRETCHING !
I cannot tell you how often I am asked to work with a horse that appears to be a bit “off” or lacking energy or under performing at dressage shows, and how often some simple stretching exercises make a huge difference immediately!
Stretching is an action to offer release from physical restriction or emotional tension. It helps prevent injuries, builds strength, alleviates pain, reduces stress and naturally restores balance. It promotes muscle flexibility, elasticity and suppleness for proper function. It also promotes mental and emotional relaxation and improves energy flow. Energy or “CHI” which is stagnant or blocked can lead to other health problems.
You seldom see human athletes run or train with out some sort of stretching exercise…the same applies to horse athletes…for all the same reasons.
A couple of points to remember:
- stretch the same muscles on both sides
- stretch should only be to the point of resistance
- the horse should not have to move his body to achieve the stretch
- A horse show is not the place to “start” stretching if you are not a professional. Practice at home way before the show.
1. Neck Stretch: hold a carrot down between the front feet. Your body should be on the side of the horse not under or in front. allow the horse to stretch his neck down to retrieve the carrot. This stretches the whole spine. Do not allow the horse to step backwards to reach the carrot…in stead ….move the carrot forward for an easier reach. repeat on each side
2. Leg stretches: Some horses are nervous about being touched around the legs, the most vulnerable part of a prey animal. gently massage the legs standing safely on the side until the horse is comfortable with you working on his legs.
- Pick up the front leg as if you were going to clean the hoof, one hand supporting the knee one supporting the front of the hoof
- slowly lower the hoof toward the ground and than gently lift up the leg till you are able to grasp your hands behind the elbow and step back a pace.
- work your hands down towards the knee and step back a small pace again.
- in one fluid gentle movement step back again supporting the leg and stretch till you feel resistance than gently lower the leg. DO NOT PULL OR FORCE THIS STRETCH.
- repeat on the other side
- back leg stretches
- grasp the leg behind the fetlock with the near side hand, gently lift the leg forward till you feel resistance and hold for the count of 3 than gently lower the leg.
- repeat on the other side
I often will finish with a tail stretch. This can be tricky as most horses are really not comfortable with anyone handling their tail. I will pet and stroke the horse over the flanks and hips to the top of the tail head till I feel him relax. I than will carefully stroke the skin under the dock of the tail. This usually will cause the horse to raise the tail on his own as it is very soothing. Once the horse relaxes, standing to the side, gently grasp the tail under the dock supporting it with your hand and carefully rotate it , slowly in each direction. Using very little tension move the tail from side to side. slowly. Than slowly and carefully pull the tail to away from the body with your hand supporting under the dock with very little tension. Do not pull hard or for long. A small stretch can help release tension in the lower spine of the horse. Watch the horses body language and stop if the horse shows any discomfort or agressive reaction to your efforts. I would highly recommend working with a professional while learning to stretch your horse as stretching the wrong way or with too much tension can hinder the results you are striving to create.
Finish with an all over body brushing before tacking up. I recommend using Equispa Cool muscle wash with your stretching exercise. spray on the large muscle groups before stretching , such as shoulders and hips. Cool Muscle Wash is a body brace and has essential oils that also promote relaxation of muscles.
I have a trivial mind. I can retain, trivia and usless information that makes me a wiz at trivial pursuit. I found a book recently that suits my trivial mind, Amazing Horse Facts and Trivia by Gary Mullen. I would like to share some of the facts and myth busters.
*A unit of horse power is the power needed to life 165 pounds to a height of 27 inches in one second. The average horse is generally capable of producing 10-13 units of horsepower.
*the Saddlebred horse is one of the most glamerous breeds, known to be firery spirited and proud. However they are also noted for their gentle nature and one of the kindest temprements of any horse. They are also considered one of the most intelligent breeds.
*Rain Rot is caused by mud that dries on the horse, clogging pores and damaging hair follicles which leave temporary bald spots. Good reason for brushing out the dried mud. However if your horse does get rain rot, Not so sweet itch gel is very effective for helping soothe the skin while promoting cell renewel and hair regrowth.
*Equinophobia is fear of horses
*One of the rarest horse colors is Grulla (pronounced Grew-ya) which is a spanish word referring to a slate gray crane. These horses often are called blue due to the smoky blue gray tinge to their coat.
Buck, the famous Buckskin ridden by Loren Green in the TV show Bonanza, was donated to Fran Joswick Therapeutic Riding Center in California. Buck lived a long life as a mount for children with disabilities and died at the age of 45.
Appaloosas are not considered a color breed, such as Palomino, but are instead regarded as a definite breed, with a color preference.
Horse Show Anxiety? Relief begins at Home.
Quite commonly horses exhibit anxiety when arriving at the show grounds. Many times I see some horses maintain a level of stressful anxiety through out the duration of the show. I see this at hunter/jumper shows, dressage shows, breed shows and western shows. We have taken a prey animal away from its herd and are asking them to perform, in an un natural way, under very stressful circumstances and deal with rider anxiety transference too.
We cannot change the prehistoric nature of Equus. They are wired to be weary of strange places and events, and to seek a herd for protection. They are naturally claustrophobic, so the small stalls are an issue to over come as well.
We can however, use the natural tendencies and functions to help alleviate some show anxiety but it starts way before the show date. It starts at home.
First some facts of how Horses olfactory system works.
The olfactory center is in the limbic center of the brain , along with and situated very closely to the memory center. This is why sometimes a certain smell will remind us of either a pleasant or unpleasant memory. It is nearly instantaneous. This is true of horses too. Unlike humans who use both nostrils at the same time when offered an oil to smell, horses will use one nostril at a time. Some holistic practitioners feel that the side the horse chooses to use first indicates the nature of the issue. For instance if he smells with his left nostril, the smell will be detected, processed and recognized by the right side of the brain , suggesting the issue is of an emotional bases. If he chooses the right nostril first, the smell will be detected and processed through the left side of the brain indicating a physical bases. Using this knowledge that smells are associated with memory we can use conditioning at home to help with anxiety at a show.
Usually horses are very relaxed during grooming. Not only is it pleasant, the attention they are getting from the leader of the herd, YOU, in view of their pasture mates indicates a level of importance and helps with confidence. A horse preparing for a show should be groomed daily, to help with confidence and condition their coat, mane, tail and hoofs. This is a wonderful opportunity to CONDITION their mind and emotions using aromatherapy.
Before you begin grooming, offer your horse a calming oil single note or blend to smell. If he refuses, try another. Never force an oil on the horse. Never put an oil directly in the nose or on the muzzle. This practice by some “traps” a horse as he cannot escape the smell. Let him smell it and once you receive “yes” signals, add some carrier oil to that essential oil and gently rub behind the jaw, the poll, crest, and along either side of the spine.
You can also add 5 drops to 8 oz of witch hazel in a spray bottle and gently spray it on a wipe and gently clean the face or lightly spray across the back down the spine.
Proceed to start the grooming process. Toward the end, you can sprits a bit of the chosen essential oil/witch hazel combination on a body brush and brush all over using gentle long strokes from front to back top to bottom.
Do this every time you groom at home. Soon the horse will associate the oil with a pleasant relaxing experience and a mental calmness. Start weeks in advance of the show date.
If the horse shows difficulty or anxiety at the show, sprits a bit of the same essential oil used at home in the air, or a drop on your hand for him to smell, or lick. The smell will remind him of grooming at home in the safety of his barn or stall.
I know this sounds a bit “new age”, but really it is not. It is a scientific theory first documented by Pavlov in Russia in the 1890’s. Most people have heard of Pavlov’s dogs. The dogs were conditioned to salivate when presented with certain stimuli starting with food. You can use the same principals with the horse.
It will take a bit of practice and due diligence on the part of the person grooming to figure out what works for that individual animal. Also they may choose different oils at different times depending on their needs that day, so be prepared to have two or three choices available at the show.
Some possible oils to try according to Catherine Bird an Aromatherapist in Sydney Australia are: *
Lavender: will soothe and nurture a frazzled horse. If anxiety has gone to the stage of a temper tantrum, you may choose lavender
Sweet Orange: provides self assurance
Basil, Lemon and Cypress: provide focus and increases the ability to keep your horses mind on task
Patchouli: will provide solid grounding and keep your horse aware of his feet
My personal favorites along with the recommendations above are:
Ylang Ylang, which can help a moody mare relax and also alleviate depression as it helps with the release of endorphins in the brain
Clary Sage: Also a mood enhancing oil
Geranium: Very calming especially for claustrophobic horses on stall rest.
Vetiver: a Calming and grounding oil
Grapefruit: helps with performance stress
Bergamot: lifts the spirits.
Remember each horse is an individual with unique needs and responses. Always let them choose the oil to work with. Note which oil they choose at home and observe what reactions and issues they exhibit, that day that may have affected their choice. Remember this for the show days and offer the oil that seemed to help them at home. Remember too, that more is not better with aromatherapy….less is best.
Have a great show season!
*Catherine Bird Horse Scents: Making sense with your Horse Using Aromatherapy
* An excerpt from “Calming Aromatherapy for Fear and Anxiety” from Natural Horse Magazine.
Equispa is committed to manufacturing:
Spa quality, non toxic botanical, premium horse care products based in Aromatherapy principals, utilizing the healing and restorative properties found in the essence of aromatic plants for the natural well being and benefit of horse and rider.
Aromatherapy is not just “perfume” . There is an actual scientific basis for how and why it works for people and animals. Allow me to present some history, facts and yes the science behind aromatherapy and the use of essential oils as a complimentary therapy. It is an extensive study and cannot be adaquately summerized in one blog. So for now we will begin with the Ancients.
Plants are the basis for modern pharmocology. Hieroglyphics documents some of the earliest proof of humans using plants to combat illness. In each ancient civilization there is evidence of using plants for healing purposes. The knowledge of the healing power of plants was learned, and passed down from generation to generation of practionersby word of mouth.
Egyptians, created an ancient remedy called Kyphi. It was a blend of aromatic plant extracts, which was used in religious ceremonies, to purify the air and the body, and prevent the spread of disease. Myrrh was taken into battle by ancient Egyptian soldiers as a wound dressing.
Frankinsense and Myrrh were offered to baby Jesus, according to the Bible. Both have strong antiseptic properties and healing compounds, but are also known for great spritual value. Frankinsense lifts the spirits when experiencing feelings of loss and soothes the soul. Myrrh is an ingredient in ancient embalming for its ability to preserve the body and the soul
In the book of Exodus, God directed an annointing oil to be used by the priests however also dictated that it could only be made by a “perfumist”. The recipe called for oils like cinnamon and cassia , and others, which are highly anti microbial and would help heal the sick while protecting the priest.
During the time of the spread of the Roman Empire, much was learned about the use of plants and plant extracts for healing from other regions. Discorides, a roman “doctor” compiled detailed information and created a ‘book” called De Materia Medica, on the use of indigious plants and herbal remedies.
The fall of the Roman Empire created an means of the extensive resource of doctors and scientist to spread to other countries and share their knowledge and skills. Plant remedies became valued as bartering commodities in the new world. During this time an Arabian , Avicenna refined the method of extraction via distillation. He studied and documented the thereapeutic effects of various plants in great detail.
The Crusades enabled the knowledge of herbalism to spread as they brought back healing plants and remedies from the Holy Land. The knights brought back sophisticated methods of extraction, a higher understanding of the use of plants and new species.
In each era the use of plants and herbalism grew and became more and more sophisticated and doumented. In the 1600′s Culpepper, wrote “The Complete Herbal” which is still used today as a reference for modern herbal remedies.
In the early 20th century, Rene Gattefosse, a french chemist whosfamily operated a large perfumery, burnt his arm in the lab from a small explosion. With out thinking he plunged his hand into the nearest vat of liquid, which was a vat of Lavender Oil. He later documented that immediately he felt a relief from the burn, the healing process was more rapid, he suffered no infection and healed with out any scarring. Gattefosse, rediscoverd the healing power of plants and coined the phrase “aromatherape” or “healing smells”. He also reffered to the plant extracts as “oils” mainly because they separated in water.
This facillitated the pharmaceutical advances that could analyse the complex chemical nature of plants. Each plant was discovered to have unique chromotology depending on the species, and the growing conditions in the origin of the plant. The chemical compounds were able to be isolated and measured.
Marguerite Maury, brought the use of essential oils to Britian. She studied the works of Dr. Jean Valnet, the father of modern medical use of essential oils. Marguerite used the oils in her beautician work, and was the first to blend them in a synergistic way. She matched the gender, age and temperment of her clients to the properties of the essential oils and custom blended. Realizing that one person may respond differently to the application of a particular oil than another with the same ailment. This Holistic synergy is the alchemy and the artistry of blending essential oils. This leads us to the use of essential oils for horses.
Undoubtably as the ancients used the healing power of plants on humans, they also cared for their animals ailments with the only resources they had as well. Hawthorn berry was used in the movie “Seabiscuit” to improve the circulation and help to heal a horse wiht a broken foot. The ancients in charge of the care and treating the wounds of the war horses, or the work horses, or even the livestock kept for food would have used the resources available and with the understanding of how they worked on humans and applied it to animals.
Horses and plants are so congruent. Their instinct tells them which plants will help balance thier systems and provide relief or healing. This is why they have such a strong reaction and preferance when offered the choice of single note essential oils or a synergetic blend. Understanding their choices allows us to created the synergy needed, by the blending of the oils that bests fosters a holistic approach to utilizing aromatherapy and essential oils in modern horse care.
The next blog will explain what exactly are essential oils, their properties and why they should be used as a means of managing your horses well being.
*references. Essential Oils for Horses by Carole Faith: Advanced Aromatherapy by Kurt Schnaubelt, Ph.D. : Aromatherapy by Dr. Jean Valnet