The following are notes (along with some of my own added observations) of the presentation on essential oils given by one of our regional vets, Dr. Cassee Terry, DVM, at the PNER Convention in January, 2017.
I enjoyed this talk by Dr. Cassee since I use my essential oils daily. They have been one of the few things that has made a difference in my personal battle with autoimmune disease and chronic illness. Unfortunately I am very sensitive to most medications – if there are side effects listed in a medication you better believe I am going to experience them! For that reason essential oils have become my first line of defense for many issues because, miracle of miracles, my body seems to accept these volatile plant oils much better than western medicine “remedies.” I take them internally too (either in veggie capsules, a glass of water, or just straight under my tongue). One reason I personally believe this is true is that the essential oils work systematically rather than just trying to pinpoint one symptom that may be caused by something else within your organ systems.
After this talk I hope to start using essential oils with my animals more often. I've made some internal links for folks interested in learning more about particular oils. I also have a general list of many of the scientific studies and shown effects of oils, if anyone is curious about a specific oil – just let me know! (Note: cats are very sensitive and many essential oils are toxic to them.)
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are extracts from plants that are 50-70 times more powerful than the herb itself. They are composed of the aromatic compound of the plant. This means that not all plants can be distilled into an essential oil!
Why do we care?
The properties of essential oils have actually been studied and found efficacious in Western medicine – you can do a search and find countless studies on essential oils showing their effect (oregano oil, for example, is well-studied as an antibiotic). Essential oils can penetrate cells and kill viruses and bacteria. The role of the essential oil for the plant is to protect and repair the plant, and these properties can be carried over to other (non-plant) cells. Essential oils can have similar properties to synthetic drugs but without as much potential for side effects. A good place to start because you can ward off using medication and even prep the body for medication if it ends up being needed.
Dr. Cassee uses DoTERRA oils. I also use this brand of oils and have a wholesale membership (which allows you to get a lower price on oils and other products). DoTERRA sources oils from native soils (where those plants grow in an indigenous state). Dr. Cassee notes that this can make a difference for medicinal purposes due to the relationship between the plant and the soil and climate it evolved in. One of the things I like about this is DoTERRA contracts with locals to grow and harvest the plants needed for the oils. In some communities this is the lifeblood income in the area. My main concern with essential oils is that I needed the quality and safety to be able to take them internally for my health issues. There are only two brands (DoTERRA and Young Living) that currently seem to meet those standards.
There are three main ways to use essential oils (for you or your horse):
Aromatic – affects mood, cleanses air (can be disinfecting), and works to open airways.
Topical – works fast (entering bloodstream within 30 minutes), has systemic localized effects. Most useful for massage, immediate comfort, immune support, etc.
Internal – detoxifies the body, supports digestive system and immune systems, mouth, throat, liver, urogenital tract, etc. some oils are also useful for flavoring in cooking or baking. Note: some oils cannot be taken internally (it should say on the bottle).
Specific oils and their common uses:
Peppermint – horses typically love this oil! (Dogs usually do not love it, so it can be used for a deterrent for them). I use this constantly – in fact peppermint is the oil I go through most often as I use it for a muscle rub and internally for digestive upset. I also use it for bruises and headaches. It blends wonderfully with other oils when diffused.
- Helps you wake up in the morning – place 2 drops on palm, cup over your nose/mouth and breathe deeply (just make sure you avoid your eyes!).
- Helps with nausea either applied on skin over stomach or taken internally
- Cooling – good for headaches, cooling, stress and tension.
Frankincense – is well known as the King of the oils!
Its range of characteristics is huge and it touches almost every body system with it’s chemical constituents – great for inflammation, healing, telling cells to stay on the right path (and if they don’t, tells them to die!), and supporting a healthy immune response. I personally use Frankincense daily to support my auto-immune issues. This is one I take internally directly under my tongue. Unfortunately, it is expensive!
In horses, frankincense can be applied to fight sarcoids – apply full strength to the sarcoid 2x day. It can be used for other cancers as well. This oil is superior when used to lower inflammation, and fight infection – add 2 drops 2x day in food or apply topically. Horses don’t need much!
- Helps with nervous tension.
- Commonly used in skin care products, and for wrinkles.
Past Tense (tension blend) – is a doTERRA blend of oils that is typically sold as a roller bottle. This oil is great for headaches – apply directly to neck, temples, or forehead for headache relief.
- Muscle & joint pain & tension relief.
- Apply to hand or feet reflex points.
Aromatouch – is another DoTERRA blend otherwise termed the “massage blend." This blend helps relive inflammation when massaged into tired tense or stressed muscles and was originally made for folks with edema in the legs (as in diabetics). This blend it does not have peppermint which some people do not enjoy the smell of, but still increases circulation to an affected area.
|Some of the oils in my personal kit.|
For horses, nothing in here would be restricted for endurance. Cypress is the leading oil in this blend!
- Nothing in here would be restricted for endurance. Cypress is the leading oil in this blend!
- Calming, respiratory – open bottle under horse’s nostrils and allow them to breathe. Rub 1-2 drops on horse’s poll or on muzzle.
- Muscles, cooling, colic: use 1.2 gallon of water and 5 drops oil and sponge onto the horse.
Lemongrass is good for cramping muscles and inflammation
It is very potent, may need to be diluted (apply on location with peppermint and drink lots of water!). I can speak personally to lemongrass being potent. It’s the only oil that I react negatively to when applied topically even when it’s diluted. The smell is lovely though!
- Helps warm the feet in the winter.
- Can also be used for arthritis – can be used internally (maybe use a veggie cap as it does taste bad).
Deep Blue – Otherwise called the "soothing blend", this line of products comes in an oil, a rub lotion, and phenol capsules (the capsules have different components, including turmeric – however it is a supplement to help with aches and pains just like the topical products).
This mixture includes wintergreen, camphor, peppermint, blue tansy, German chamomile, helichrysum oil, and osmanthus.
- The capsule supplement of Deep Blue has boswalia (which is the herb version of frankincense) – its actually different than frankincense itself (but pairs well with it).
- For the rub and oil it can be applied topically applied topically to horses by rubbing rub into their skin. Key areas of attention could be the hocks for arthritis, and coffin join for laminitis (rubbing into cornet band). Dr. Cassee recommends adding some lemongrass oil into the mix for some extra zip!
DigestZen – digestion support!
The PB Assist from DoTERRA has double layered capsules which are shown to survive until they get to the small intestine. The DigestZen oil – can be a little hotter, so it should be diluted. It can be used on the abdomen or taken internally (tastes like licorice). It can help soothe and calm acid reflex.
DoTERRA also makes DigestTabs to help deliver benefits to digestion.
This product can be used in horses:
- Ulcers – add 1 drop to horses feed 2x day (note that using electrolytes may tear up the stomach; many athletes have ulcers! Even pasture pets can have ulcers. Horses have very unique stomachs, they have a band that divides glandular from non-glandular (acidic and non-acidic), which makes them more sensitive to ulcers when the acid could be thrown up. They are very delicate!
- Gas – put 3 drops in syringe, mix w/ applesauce and give orally (most colics are gas colics).
- Colic – put 3 drops in syringe, mix with applesauce and give orally (rub over flanks and stomach, rub on gums, repeat every 10 minutes). This is why banamine helps – it helps them relax and pass gas! But this may not help torsion cases.
- Deworming – add 1 drop to horses feed 2x day until parasites are gone (would need to confirm via fecals). Adding thyme might work well too. This may take a month – and it also depends on the parasites!
Breathe – DoTERRA has a whole family or products in this area, including roller bottles, “cough” drops for sore throats, a main oil. These products focus on respiratory support and can be used on a horse’s muzzle to target their airway.
OnGuard – the immune support powerhouse (and encompasses another family of products). The oil can be rubbed on the gums for quick uptake, diffused to help kill airborne pathogens, and you can use it to clean your tack, trailer, stalls, etc. THs oil blend contains oils shown to inhibit MRSA. doTERRA also offers the product in capsules, which include melissa oil (which is the most powerful anti-viral oil).
For horse care:
- Dilute 5 drops in 24 oz water, spray and wipe buckets, stalls, contaminated areas, trailers.
- Viral infections – put 2 drops in feed or syringe with applesauce mixture in mouth. Twice a day until symptoms are gone.
- Bathing: use foaming wash to boost immune system and get a healthy clean coat without chemicals.
Oregano oil – the leader in tackling bacterial infections, oregano is a very “hot” oil and should usually be diluted with some kind of carrier oil (such as fractioned coconut oil). Oregano oil is one of the most widely studied oils and is antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiparasitic, antiseptic, supportive for the respiratory system, antiviral, and an immune stimulant.
For use, you can dilute oregano oil with 5 drops in the 24 oz water bottle and spray horse areas to safely disinfect stalls, trailers, and mats. A similar spray is great for thrush – add 2 drops of oregano with coconut oil and put directly on affected area. This oil is also good for skin infections – dilute well with coconut oil first before applying to affected area (combining with melaleuca is also a good idea for skin infections).
Lemon – is your gentle detoxifying oil; it’s antiseptic, antifungal, & cleansing. This oil can be added to water troughs to clean and disinfect the water (there will be no problem if the horse drinks it).
- For bad water: put 3-5 drops of oil in a 5 gallon bucket of water, allow horse to drink.
- Kidney function – put 3-5 drops in a 5 gallon bucket of water, allow horse to drink.
Lavender – is a calming and soothing oil that helps with skin issues, and burns. It is well studied for its mood-stabilizing properties and the ability to help sleep. However, lavender is considered an illegal substance in endurance (though, how do they test for it?). You can always put it on yourself and your horse will still get the aromatherapy affect.
Wintergreen – is another great oil for soothing body pain. Because this oil does have menthol in its chemical makeup, it would be considered illegal for use in endurance (but you can use it afterward). I personally use this for my own personal cartilage and bone pain (such as arthritis), which is one of its studied uses.
Oils for behavior – many blends and oils are used to affect mood for people and they should have the same effects for horses (note: cats do react differently and caution should be used with cats. Cats should never be exposed to citrus oils).
- Balance – this is a grounding blend. “Balance” can help human or animal relax and takes the edge off. This oil can be used on horse’s poll or muzzle
- Lavender & the Serenity blend – calming and soothing (NOTE: lavender is a restricted substance in endurance racing – so use it on you, not your horse at a ride!).
- Emotional aromatherapy kit – motivate, cheer, passion, forgive, console, & peace.
For use on skin & lacerations, these oils may be called for:
- OnGuard – abscesses, infections, open wounds.
- Clove – is numbing, so good for wound that is itchy or painful.
- Frankincense – use for anything! Frankincense can be applied neat (without dilution).
- Cedarwood – really good for skin, rashes, and dry coat.
- Melaleuca – thrush, wounds, skin.
- Helichrysum – wounds, tendons, swelling (it’s like liquid skin).
- Cypress – increases circulation, and is grounding.
- Rosemary – hair regrowth, antifungal.
If you are interested in learning more about essential oils there is a wealth of information online (though some of it is suspect). Dr. Cassee can be contacted via e-mail.
Last time: an update on Deli's rehabilitation...