Are essential oils good for pets?

Essential oils have earned their place among those who enjoy and benefit from aromatherapy. From easing nausea to decreasing anxiety, these natural, plant-derived products have been central in the lives of many generations, and today they have become part of the natural cure-all trend.

While seemingly safe and advantageous for people, essential oils and pets may be a terrible combination.

Essential oils are highly concentrated compounds derived from plant roots, stems, flowers, leaves and seeds. In addition to applying them as holistic treatments, essential oils can be used in various personal, household and cleaning products.

Essential oils offer numerous healing benefits to people, and although they are natural they may not be safe for your pet. They can present risks to your pet if inhaled, ingested or absorbed into the skin. Just as there are many plants that are considered toxic, irritating, or known to trigger allergic reactions in some animals, essential oils and pets do not safely mix.

The combination of essential oils and pets can be particularly worrisome because there are so many possible ways pets can be exposed to them. Believe it or not, essential oil diffusers, liquid potpourri products, room sprays, air fresheners and more can place your furry companions at risk. Just like humans, animals that have breathing problems, such as asthma, can exhibit labored breathing, excessive panting, or wheezing when exposed to essential oils.

Oils mixed with water molecules and diffused into the air can land on the fur or skin of household pets. They may not only cause irritation to the surface area but if licked and ingested, the following serious symptoms can occur:

  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Squinting
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Stumbling or disorientation
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Low heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Trouble getting comfortable

Cats are more sensitive than dogs when it comes to essential oils because they lack a specific enzyme needed to protect the liver from noxious fumes. They may suffer gastrointestinal upset, depression of the central nervous system, and liver damage if overexposed to essential oils.

Additionally, other small animals, birds, and those with compromised immunity deserve an added layer of protection from various essential oils that include:

  • Peppermint or wintergreen
  • Pine
  • Tea tree
  • Citrus
  • Clove
  • Oregano
  • Eucalyptus
  • Pennyroyal
  • Cinnamon
  • Rosemary
  • Birch
  • Anise
  • Juniper
  • Yarrow
  • Thyme

The bottom line with essential oils and pets is to simply keep them apart. If you must use them, be sure your pet is not in the same room. Keep all products out of their reach. If you use them topically, do not allow your pet to lick your skin. Know the signs of toxicity and seek help right away.While there are commercial products available that are advertised at pet-safe or even pet-healthy, we encourage you to discuss your pet’s health with your veterinarian prior to making any changes.

It’s best to err on the safer side.

READY FOR BATHING SUIT SEASON?

Time to make Cellulite Oil!

Use in massage or bath. geranium and fennel both balance hormones and, along with grapefruit, have historically been used to facilitate weight loss. Cypress and juniper stimulate circulation and juniper is also a diuretic. Combine:
10 drops of Cypress essential oil
10 drops of Geranium essential oil
10 drops of Grapefruit essential oil
5 drops of Juniper essential oil
5 drops of Fennel essential oil
into 4 ounces of carrier oil.
OR just make a stock blend (use an essential oil bottle or a purchased dropper bottle) and add to your bath

for smaller amounts or Cellulite Oil blend, put 1-3 drops of each oil per teaspoon of carrier oil. or just 3-8 drops into the bath.

Wow! Sniffing Rosemary Can Improve Memory

The herb rosemary has been hailed since ancient times for its medicinal properties. Rosemary essential oil, derived from the common cooking herb, has long been popular in folk medicine and is now proving beneficial in scientific studies.Rosemary was traditionally used to help alleviate muscle pain, improve memory, boost the immune and circulatory system, and promote hair growth.

Some studies have found that exposure to chemicals and radiation can increase risk of breast cancer. While the link is not completely understood, a growing body of evidence suggests that chemicals in the environment play a role in altering our biological processes. So it’s helpful to know which carcinogens—chemicals that directly cause cancer—you may be encountering on a daily basis.

Rosemary is one of the oldest known medicinal herbs. A fragrant evergreen herb, it is native to the Mediterranean and a member of the mint family, Lamiaceae, along with many other herbs, such as oregano, thyme, basil, and lavender. It is typically prepared as a whole dried herb or a dried powdered extract, while teas and liquid extracts are made from fresh or dried leaves. It is used as a culinary condiment, to make bodily perfumes, and for its potential health benefits.

It has innumerable uses in both the kitchen and in herbal medicine. The herb not only tastes good in culinary dishes, such as rosemary chicken and lamb, but it is also a good source of iron, calcium, and vitamin B-6. Both the leaves and flowers of rosemary have been used medicinally for thousands of years to improve memory.

Rosemary protects the brain (and your memory) in a variety of ways to minimize damage and slow down the rate of brain cell aging. It increases blood flow to the brain, which in turn supplies the brain with more oxygen and nutrients.

Rosemary contains carnosic acid, which fights off free radical damage to the brain as well as natural acids that help protect the body’s cells and DNA from free radical damage. The compounds in rosemary are said to prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a chemical that induces the brain cells responsible for memory and reasoning to communicate with one another. Some studies in rats have identified that rosemary might be useful for people who have experienced a stroke. Rosemary appears to be protective against brain damage and might improve recovery.

Rosemary to Enhance Your Memory

According to research outlined in Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology, the aroma from rosemary can improve a person’s concentration, performance, speed, and accuracy and, to a lesser extent, their mood. There are several ways to start boosting memory with rosemary. One easy way is to place three to four drops of rosemary essential oil on a tissue and enjoy as the smell wafts through the air.

A study conducted on rosemary where groups of people were given rosemary essential oil. A total of 66 people participated in the study. They were randomly assigned to two rooms, one scented with rosemary and the other unscented. The results were remarkable: in the group of people in the rosemary-scented room memory was 60 – 75% better when compared to the people who were in the unscented room!

When nursing students breathed rosemary oil from an inhaler before and during test time, their pulse decreased by about 9% — while no significant change occurred without rosemary oil.

Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds

Preliminary evidence suggests that rosemary oil may help reduce tissue inflammation that can lead to swelling, pain and stiffness. Laboratory studies have shown Rosemary is a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which are thought to help boost the immune system and improve blood circulation. It may do so by stemming the migration of white blood cells to injured tissues to release inflammatory chemicals. Adding the herb to food and/or diffusing the essential oil can play an important role in neutralizing harmful particles called free radicals., reducing anti-inflammatory effects and enhance Arthritis treatment.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition in which your body’s own immune system attacks tissues, such as knees and other joints, injuring the joint lining and causing inflammatio. When people with rheumatoid arthritis were given 15-minute knee massages using a rosemary oil blend three times weekly, they had a 50% decrease in inflammatory knee pain in two weeks, compared to a 12% decrease in those not given the oil.

In a two-week study, stroke survivors with shoulder pain who received a rosemary oil blend with acupressure for 20 minutes twice daily experienced a 30% reduction in pain. Those who received only acupressure had a 15% reduction in pain

Stress reduction

Many factors can cause stress —inhaling rosemary oil may help reduce anxiety. When 22 young adults sniffed rosemary oil for five minutes, their saliva had 23% lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol compared to those who smelled a non-aromatic compound. Because increased pulse rates reflect short-term stress and anxiety, rosemary oil may naturally reduce stress.

Increase Circulation

Poor circulation is a common complaint. You may notice it most in your hands and feet. If you experience cold fingers and toes — even in relatively warm temperatures — rosemary oil is worth considering.

If you have Raynaud’s disease, blood vessels in your fingers and toes constrict when you’re cold or stressed, causing them to lose their color and turn cold. Rosemary oil may help by expanding your blood vessels, thereby warming your blood so that it reaches your fingers and toes more easily.

In one study, a woman with Raynaud’s disease massaged her hands with a rosemary oil blend, finding that it helped warm her fingers more than a neutral oil. These effects were confirmed by thermal imaging. More research is needed to confirm these effects — but rosemary may prove a worthwhile, low-cost experiment.

May Help Perk You Up

Some studies suggest that rosemary oil may boost attention, alertness, energy and mood. Rosemary oil is commonly used for mental strain and fatigue in folk medicine.

When 20 healthy young adults inhaled rosemary oil, they reported feeling about 30% more mentally refreshed and about 25% less drowsy compared to smelling a placebo oil. This increase in alertness corresponded to changes in brain waves and increases in heart rate, breathing and blood pressure.

Applying diluted rosemary oil to your skin may provide similar benefits, as it can reach your brain via this route. In one study, applying diluted rosemary oil to the skin caused 35 healthy people to feel significantly more attentive, alert, energetic and cheerful after 20 minutes than when using a placebo oil.

Liver and digestive health

Rosemary is often used to soothe the stomach and relieve pain from indigestion and even menstrual cramps. Animal studies indicate that rosemary oil may stimulate the release of bile, which is important in fat digestion, and activate your own antioxidant defense mechanisms to protect your liver.

Rosemary oil can help inhibit the growth of certain strains of bacteria that cause food poisoning. This requires using precise, very small amounts of food-grade oil. Don’t experiment with this at home

Administering rosemary oil orally is not recommended. Essential oils should not be swallowed.

Rosemary Essential Oil is easy to use

Rosemary oil can be inhaled or applied topically. It’s very concentrated, so you should only use a few drops at a time.

Although some manufacturers claim it’s safe to swallow or consume their essential oils, there isn’t scientific evidence supporting this — especially over the long term. Essential oils should never be swallowed.

Inhaling rosemary oil

The simplest way to inhale rosemary oil is to open the bottle and breathe in. Alternately, you can place a few drops on a cloth or tissue and hold it near your face.

I like to use an aromatherapy diffuser, which distributes the essential oil into the surrounding air.

In general, avoid placing a diffuser close to babies or young children, as it’s hard to know the amount they’re inhaling.

Topical Use of rosemary oil

Rosemary and other essential oils are readily absorbed into your bloodstream when you apply them to your skin. It’s generally advised to dilute essential oils with a neutral carrier oil, such as jojoba oil, almond oil, or my favorite fractionated coconut oil. This helps prevent potential irritation of your skin and premature evaporation of the oil.

General guidelines for diluting oils for topical use:

Dilution Preparation
Babies0.3%Use 1 drop essential oil per
1 tablespoon carrier oil
Children1.0%Use 1 drop essential oil per
1 teaspoon carrier oil
Adults2.0–4.0%Use 3–6 drops essential oil
per 1 teaspoon carrier oil

Once diluted, apply the oil to the bottom of your feet or the body part you’re targeting, such as a sore muscle. Next, rub the oil into your skin. This improves blood flood and absorption of the oil. Avoid applying rosemary and other essential oils to damaged skin or near sensitive areas, such as your eyes.

You can inhale rosemary oil or apply it to your skin. A diffuser can help distribute the essential oil in a room. If using rosemary oil topically, dilute it with a carrier oil, to avoid skin irritation. It’s generally advised to avoid rosemary oil if you’re pregnant or have epilepsy or high blood pressure. Rosemary oil may worsen the latter two conditions

If you want to try rosemary oil, simply inhale it or apply a diluted version topically. Remember that the oil is very concentrated, so you only need a few drops at a time.

Essential Oils and the common cold

Did you remember to buy Oregano to help combat the cold & flu this year?

If you did, we can offer a few ways to use the oil to help you feel better. 1. Steam Inhalation:
Add two drops of oregano oil to a bowl of boiling water, place a towel over your head and breathe in the powerful vapors for five to ten minutes. The moist steam helps to loosen and drain mucus in the nasal passages and the antibacterial properties of the oil help to fight infections and relieve cold symptoms.

2. Use in a diffuser:
I love my diffuser, in fact there is one in almost every room. I add several drops of oregano oil to your diffuser (I like to use ten or twelve) and breathe in the medicinal vapors. It’s great for cold and flu season.

3. Inhale directly:
Feeling stuffy at work? A deep sniff of oregano oil directly from the bottle is a great pick-me-up and can help open up the airways.

4. Sore throat:
Add a few drops of oregano oil to a glass of warm water and gargle with the blend. The antibacterial properties of the oil will help to ward off bacteria and the anti-inflammatory properties will help to soothe an aching throat. Make certain not to swallow the oil mixture. Oregano essential oil is extremely potent and therefore should always be diluted before applying directly to the skin. Do not use internally is not considered safe for women to use during pregnancy, however consuming fresh oregano in leaf form, or as a dried spice while cooking, is okay.
Make a Healing rub: Add five to eight drops of oregano oil to one or two teaspoons of coconut oil (which is solid at room temperature) and rub on the chest as a soothing balm for respiratory tract infections and coughs. You can also rub this balm on the soles of the feet for added benefit.

Not only can oregano help with colds and flu, it can also help with wart removal.It’s best to apply oregano oil with a carrier oil topically: Mix three to four drops of oregano essential oil with one teaspoon of a carrier oil. Apply the blend with a clean cotton swab four to five times a day and make sure to use a clean swab if you are treating more than one wart so you don’t spread the infection. After treatment cover the wart with a tape or bandage so it is not fueled by oxygen. Within a week or two you should be able to notice a sizeable difference in the size of the wart.

Winter Skin Relief

As winter kicks into high gear, we need to keep our skin from withering under the harsh elements. Those freezing outdoor temperatures and rising indoor thermostats can sap the amount of moisture in the air, and our skin is first to notice. Millions fight a daily battle with irritated, ravaged skin that keeps them from living life to its fullest. In fact, 90% of chronic dry skin sufferers experience a combination of redness, itching, flaking, and scaling before they reach the age of five. Just trying to find relief can be a frustrating experience.

Often we are under the impression that winter skin care is a tedious, time-consuming task.  Some of the Tip that experts suggest are to use a more potent moisturizer or invest in creams that are specially made for the season. Since dry skin is one of the main problems of winter, exfoliation and scrubs must be kept to a minimum.

Director of Cosmetic & Clinical Research at The Mount Sinai Hospital, Joshua Zeichner MD, offers some recommendations to help keep skin hydrated through the winter.

When the deep chill of winter sets in, avoid the temptation to take long, hot showers. The water’s heat can strip skin of its natural oils (called ceramides) and cause inflammation—basically, the skin cells swell, and when they dry they become loose like poorly grouted tiles and crack. It’s best to take shorter, lukewarm showers and use gentle cleansers.

As for soaps, soaps with surfactants and claims of pH balance can be harsh on the skin—and don’t scrub! Be tender and let the water and lather do the work. After bathing, pat the skin dry with a soft towel. Rubbing causes more irritation and inflammation. With the door closed to keep the humidity in, and add a moisturizer.

Moisturizing is the key word for anyone who wants to glow all through winter, and it is a wise decision to use a moisturizing lotion or cream regularly. Remember to apply it to the often ignored parts of your body like the sides of your neck. One of the reasons why we emphasize this is because if certain parts of your body are not moisturized enough, then they become extremely dry. Another good idea would be to indulge in an oil massage or use a oil at least once a week to restore the skin’s moisture and to keep it supple.

If you have dry, problem skin, look for a lotion, cream or ointment with petrolatum, glycerin hyaluronic acid and ceramides – the natural fats that make up the grout between the skin cell tiles.

Petrolatum creates a protective barrier across the topmost layer of skin, sealing the moisture and creating an environment where cells can return to a healthy state, while Glycerin penetrates deep into the skin, nourishing and moisturizing multiple layers of cells.

I use a tried and true body wash and moisturizing lotion brand called Renew.  Renew contains Malaysian glycerin which draws in moisture and helps maintain moisture levels, Allantoin with moisturizing properties that help promote and maintain skin health and T36-C5® brand Melaleuca Oil which soothes dry, irritated skin in addition to petrolatum.

At night, I hydrate my skin by adding humidity to the air with a cool mist diffuser with a few essential oils added to it to help provide a more restful sleep. If you don’t have a diffuser, you can use a cool mist humidifier.

I always carry a hydrating hand moisturizer  and lip balm and use them as often as possible even if the weather isn’t too cold. This prevents skin damage which includes skin bleeding and cracking. Avoid hand sanitizers with alcohol as they can rob the skin of moisture and make things worse for you in winter. Use an alcohol-free sanitizer instead, if you can’t wash your hands.

As always when dressing for winter weather, wear layers. It really does keep you warmer and helps with mobility outside. Did you know there is a method to layering designed to protect your skin while keeping you warm? There is. The closest layer should be made of natural fibers. Soft fabrics like flannel and cotton cause little to no irritation compared to synthetic materials. stay warm

To heal the skin from the inside, drink lots of water in winter to keep hydrated. Keeping your skin hydrated and using a good moisturizing lotion increases skin elasticity and prevents premature aging. Drink fruit juices too, since they will nourish the skin and give your body the vitamins and minerals that are needed by the skin.

The weather may be freezing cold, but we can still look good and keep skin damage free with these simple steps. Stay warm! I think I’ll have a hot cup of tea now.