Essential oils, your health, and your pets

Darian Graivshark

There is evidence, as well as recorded history, that shows the use of aromatic oils as early as 4500 B.C.E.

The Egyptians were those who had the first recorded documentation of the oils. One herbal preparation they are most known for is called Kyphi, which is a mixture of sixteen different ingredients of plants. Kyphi was used for perfumes, incense, or the aromatic oils.

In China, the use of these were first recorded around 2697 and 2597 B.C.E. during the reign of the Yellow Emperor. The Chinese typically used the oils in their medicine.

Even Greece had a history of using the oils, between 400 and 500 B.C.E. A famous physician, Hypocrites, was known as the Father of Medicine in Greece. Hypocrites documented the effects of plants including thyme, peppermint, cumin, and saffron. This is only a few, however, out of some 300 other plants that he studied.

Essential oils are not new to the world. However, more people have begun looking to use them. Not only in their homes, but in offices and as post-workout regimes. Some have strayed away from modern medicine, even, like antibiotics, and have begun searching for more natural remedies through essential oils.

For example, health benefits that derive from peppermint oil include the treatment of Urinary Tract Infections (UTI's), Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and improving digestions. Additionally, peppermint oil is an antispasmodic.

Lavender is another popular essential oil. Lavender is used for reducing anxiety, healing wounds, reducing itchiness, cell regeneration, headaches, and produces calming effects which may aid in better sleep.

My personal favorite would have to be Frankincense. Frankincense is used to help alleviate stress and pain. Another great use for the oil is treating dry skin and reducing the appearance of wrinkles, age spots, and scars. Overall, it is shown to have general health benefits in regards to the heart, immune system, and blood pressure.

Today, in places like France, England, and Germany, a pharmacist will even give customers the option of receiving a doctor prescribed medication, or a natural essential oil remedy. Although U.S. pharmacists don't offer this, many individuals who prefer the use of natural products will research what is best for them to use at home.

What may make oils popular among many people is the fact that they are typically affordable, fast-acting, and easy to use. Many people believe they begin to feel the effects of oils more quickly, and feel better, faster, versus taking a pill.

Oils are non-toxic, unless you have an allergy to a plant in the oil. However, they are toxic to animals.

Over the last few years, diffusing oils has become more popular, especially in homes. Before, we would not even think that an oil could have a negative impact on our pets in our homes. Usually, the realization comes after-the-fact when animals begin to act differently.

A few oils that are dangerous to both cats and dogs include tea tree oils, wintergreen, cinnamon, thyme, pine, citrus, clove, and sweet birch. These are only a few, though. There are oils that are specific to certain animals, too. For example, lavender is toxic to cats, while garlic is toxic to dogs. To avoid this, consider using oils in a room that animals may not enter, versus using them throughout the whole house.

Things to look for in animals if you suspect they have been exposed: vomiting, weakness, fatigue, drooling, difficulty breathing, pawing at the mouth or face, muscle tremors, or difficulty walking or stumbling, among many other behaviors. You can take an animal to the nearest vet to get treatment, if necessary, or end the use of the diffuser and give them fresh air as soon as you notice changes.

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