Veterinary science has matured in leaps and bounds over the last few decades. Today, many of the same treatments that work well for people are now known to work well for animals too.
In the same way, the field of alternative healing and wellness is now recommending the use of potent holistic treatments like essential oils for both humans and animals, including horses. Equine essential oils work because horses experience many of the same types of health issues people do.
For example, Equine Wellness Magazine reports how essential oils can provide horses with relief from pain relief and other age and lifestyle-related soreness and aches. But equine essential oils can do much more than this, as you will read about in this article.
Of course, it is vital to use the right essential oil for the job at hand, which is what the next section will review.
10 Top Equine Essential Oils
Here is a short list of the top equine essential oils and the major properties of each.
1. Basil essential oil. Basil is great for easing muscle spasms.
2. Chamomile essential oil. Chamomile is fabulous for calming nerves and anxiety. It is a natural analgesic (pain relief), anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agent.
3. Lemongrass essential oil. Lemongrass has natural anti-septic properties to aid in wound healing, especially for shins and tendons. It can also enhance mental alertness. Lemongrass is a natural anti-septic, analgesic (pain relieving), anti-depressant, anti-microbial and anti-pyretic (fever reducing) agent.
4. Lavender essential oil. Lavender eases swelling and heat in the body. It can also be calming. Lavender has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-septic properties.
5. Eucalyptus essential oil. Eucalyptus is a time-honored remedy for viruses, germs and respiratory ailments. Eucalyptus is a natural antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic (gastrointestinal muscle relaxant) agent.
6. Bergamot essential oil. Bergamot is known for its ability to ease skin issues, including irritation and itching. Bergamot is a natural antibiotic, antiseptic, anti-anxiety and antispasmodic agent.
7. Citronella essential oil. Citronella is a bug repellant that can send small biting insects packing. It is also known to be a natural anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, anti-bacterial and anti-spasmodic.
8. Tea tree essential oil. Tea trea is a natural disinfectant so it can be used to keep wounds clean and treat parasites and infections. Tea tree has been recognized for thousands of years as a potent anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, anti-oxidant, anti-septic and anti-inflammatory agent.
9. Peppermint essential oil. Peppermint is naturally cooling. It can can ease sore and aching muscles and joints, ease stress and clear the mind. Peppermint is a natural anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory agent.
10. Geranium essential oil. Geranium repels insects and serves as a natural way to decrease swelling and ward off infection and parasites. Geranium, often called “poor man’s rose,” is a natural anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory and hormone balancing agent.
How to Use Equine Essential Oils
The Naturally Healthy Horse strongly recommends permitting your horse to sniff any essential oil you plan to use before you apply it. By allowing your horse to smell it first, you can watch for any potentially averse reactions – or positive reactions, for that matter.
It is also easier to start with use of single essential oils rather than blends, since this way you can quickly figure out if your horse has a reaction to a single essential oil.
How to Safely Use Essential Oils for Your Horse
It is critical to use equine essential oils in an informed manner. For instance, not all essential oils can be taken internally with safety.
Be sure to use only therapeutic or medicinal grade essential oils for equine health issues.
There are three main ways essential oils can be used:
1. Inhalation. You can use a diffuser to spread the diluted scent throughout the stable or simply allow your horse to get a waft of scent from the open essential oil bottle.
2. Topical. You can place one dot of essential oil on the area, or massage a small portion of essential oil in with a carrier oil or other carrier, wash, lotion, liniment or rub over the affected area. NOTE: Not all essential oils can be applied to the skin safely without prior dilution with a carrier.
3. Internal. Do not ever use essential oils internally with your horse without first consulting with your equine veterinarian.
These are each suitable carriers for use with equine essential oils:
- Aloe vera juice or gel.
- Castile soap.
- Horse-safe skin lotion.
- Carrier oils (almond, coconut, avocado, et al).
Natural Horse Magazine states that you can get good results by using a single essential oil with a carrier or mixing together multiple essential oils (four or fewer is best) with a carrier.
For instance, your horse may have a swollen muscle that is causing pain. But the injury is also causing your horse anxiety. So you might want to combine essential oils for both issues together in a carrier to treat your horse fully.
By understanding the basics of how essential oils work, the unique properties of each, appropriate carriers to use and how to begin, your horse can enjoy fast relief from common health issues.