Tag Archives: horses

I’m back!

Hi y’all, sorry for disappearing there for a while. You know when you work like crazy on something for a long time and then BOOM it suddenly happens? Well, that’s where I’m at. So today I’m gonna fill you in on a bit of what I’ve been doing.

1176375_168694203319630_638198620_nAs you know, I make botanical cosmetics and fragrances. For years I have been working with an associate on these products. After looking here and there at different production-plants, we decided to start our own production. As usual, I never really thought about what it would entail, which is a good thing because I learn as I go along and if I don’t know how “scary” it is, I just do it. But it’s a lot of work, complicated and fun! If you want to follow our adventurous journey, check our Facebook-page “Essential Factory“. We do a lot of different things with creative people.

On the personal side I have gotten so hooked on archery with focus on Mounted archery. That’s shooting arrows from the back of a horse, preferably at high speed. There’s a lot of fun and games involved, like playing at battle in the mountainous forest of Müllerthal with rubber-tipped arrows, climbing and running. Added bonus? Health and fitness!1451946_10151609135160834_1931436405_n

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VASELINE – hate it, love it

Time for another product information-post, Vaseline: The chemical name of Petroleum jelly is petrolatum, Vaseline is a trademark, though Vaseline is pure Petroleum jelly. It is a bi-product from the petro-chemical industry. Other bi-products are: wax, kerosene, diesel, tar, mineral oil, bitumen, roofing shingles, asphalt. For the history of Vaseline look here. (Quite interesting).

(The pic below is from this blog, read it, very funny about Vaseline in hair)

For a long time Vaseline was considered to be a miracle product for healing burns and softening skin. Aside from that, it is extremely cheap, stable and emulsifying. To this day Petroleum jelly and mineral oil is used in many creams and lotions, though research has shown that it, in fact, does nothing for the skin. The healing properties Vaseline was thought to have are due to its “sealing effect on cuts and burns, which inhibits germs from getting into the wound and keeps the injured area supple by preventing the skin’s moisture from evaporating”. (Wikipedia) In other words; Vaseline is like a plastic coating that hinders the skin’s natural secreting action, making it turn dry and brittle over time, creating what’s popularly known as Vaseline-dependency.

I would never, ever use Petroleum jelly in any formulations for skin-care. That said, I do use Vaseline (drum-roll and a shocked intake of breath) in some cases/products. The plastic-coating-property is very useful when you need something protective that the skin will not absorb:

  •  When infection eats away the tissue (necrosis). The infected tissue needs to be cut away, leaving deep open wounds. These wounds tend to heal first on the surface, leaving bacteria to fester in the wound. Such wounds need to be kept open and clean so they heal from the inside out. The best way to do this is by inserting a compress or tampon steeped in petroleum jelly. It doesn’t stick to the skin-tissue so it’s easily removed without causing tearing. The Vaseline can then be loaded with healing agents that will do the business.
  • Mud-fever on horses. Mud-fever can turn septic quickly and in very bad cases the infection spreads up the leg, under the skin, causing big patches of skin and fur to fall off, leaving heavily infected and raw patches. Here Vaseline rules! It protects the area, keeping it soft; the “spreadable plastic” effect. Again, I load the Vaseline with healing agents. If you catch the mud-fever at an early stage, healing is rapid. Vaseline is perfect because it creates an inert barrier to humidity and dirt in a way that no bandaging can do.

So how is Vaseline to work with? Sort of disgusting, to be honest. It is fatty but not in the same as vegetable fats, more like some kind of plastic goo that covers everything with a greasy film. It’s rather heavy and compact, making it hard to stir. I don’t melt it, I work it in its raw state. But no matter what you put in it, be it water- or fat-soluble, Vaseline just swallows it without ever separating – amazing. The more fats that are blended into the Vaseline, the softer it gets, but it still leaves that greasy, gooey film.

Last, but not least, the question of Petroleum Jelly being from an unsustainable source: It is a bi-product which means that as long as you put gas in your car, heat your house with oil, use plastic, asphalt and a bunch of other things that we consider necessary, Petroleum Jelly will be around, and as long as this is the case,  the argument is not really valid, is it?

CHAMOMILE

There are mainly 2 different chamomiles used in aromatherapy: German or “blue” chamomile and Roman chamomile.

German chamomile (Matricaria recutita): An annual aromatic plant, up to 60 cm high. It has a branching stem, feathery leaves and simple white flowers with a yellow center. It is native to Europe, but is now naturalized in North America and Australia. It is mainly cultivated in Hungary and eastern Europe where most of the oil is produced. All over Europe it can be found growing along fields and road-sides. The name “German” comes from earlier days when Germany was its main producer. It is often called Blue chamomile thanks to its deep blue-green color due to the chemical chamazulen. Chamazulen is not present in the fresh flower, it is only produced during the distillation process. The oil comes from steam-distillation of the flower heads.

It has a long tradition as a medicinal herb for all kinds of tension and for its anti-inflammatory properties. Usually it has been used in the form of tea or infusion. The scent is herbaceous with a fruity tinge.

USES:

  • SKIN: All kinds of inflammation; Acne, boils, dermatitis, eczema, inflammations, insect bites.
  • MUSCLE: Anti-inflammatory; rheumatism, inflamed joints, aches and pains, neuralgia, fibromyalgia.
  • EMOTION: Calming and relaxing to the nervous system; Headaches, insomnia, nervous tension, stress.
  • STOMACH: Anti-inflammatory and calming; Colic, indigestion and nausea. (Massage, tea & infusion)

This is a safe oil to use for children, elderly and weak individuals. Remember to keep the dosage down. The oil will stain both skin and materials.

Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile): A small perennial plant, up to 25 cm high with a branched hairy stem, feathery leaves and white flowers with yellow centers, the flowers are larger than those of German chamomile. The whole plant spreads in a creeping manner and has an apple-like scent. It is native to southern and western Europe, now naturalized in North America. It is cultivated in England, Belgium, Hungary, USA, Italy and France. The oil comes from steam-distillation of the flower heads, the scent is warm, sweet and herbaceous.

It has been used as a medicinal plant for at least 2000 years, especially in the Mediterranean area. The ancient Egyptians made note of it, as did the Romans. The ancient Greeks called it earth-apple (kamai – earth +melon – apple) which later turned into chamameleum.

USES:

It is used much in the same way as German chamomile, being calming, anti-inflammatory, hypnotic and a nerve sedative. The roman chamomile has a different, more profound calming action than the German C. According to Dr’s Franchomme & Penoel, Roman chamomile is useful as a calming agent before operations.

This oil is safe to use for children, elderly and weak individuals. Remember; lower dosage. Excellent oil for babies suffering from colic.

Experience: I have had great use of Roman chamomile for my children when they have suffered from stomach-ache or anxiety. Colic: Blend 1 drop in 5ml vegetable oil, rub on tummy (clockwise) cover with a warming pad, lay against shoulder and rock baby gently. The oil, soothing motion and the massage that is given by the rubbing against the shoulder usually helps baby to calm down.

German chamomile is brilliant as an anti-inflammatory for most skin-problems, even eczema. Just pay attention to dosage. I find the scent reviving though calming. I have used it with great success for horses; both emotionally and as a healing agent for wounds.

AROMATHERAPY & ANIMALS cont…

Essential oilsAnimals seem to know instinctively what they need. In the wild they search that which will heal them when they are unwell. This is the basis of treating animals with essential oils; of course you need to know the oils and how to use them, but the animal always chooses the oils:

When I first meet an individual I make a connection; I touch, feel, talk and watch, and I gather what information there is. Sometimes there is only that which I can pick up from the animal. Once I have an idea of what is going on, I make a choice of oils that I offer the animal to smell. The animal is free to come and go as it pleases. By watching its reaction to the oils I know which ones to use in treatment. I never ever force the oils on an animal, it always has the choice to accept it or not.

horses on the field

In the summer of 2000 I had, on a field, 2 mares with their foals and one mother-less older foal. One night they were badly chased by unknowns who managed to catch the mother-less foal and beat her  badly.  I then put them on a smaller field closer to the house to keep them safe and under supervision. I saw the leader mare and the hurt foal eating from a bush that normally no horses touched so I looked it up; this bush contained low levels of a slightly hallucinogenic substance. These two individuals were the ones most traumatized by the attack and they were the only ones eating from the bush…getting high, I suppose, to handle the trauma.

Since then I always plant herbs in the fields; mints, sage, chamomile and others. The horses usually never eat them, so it is also a good way to keep check of the horses; if the plants are eaten, I know something is going on. This way the horses are given a chance to heal themselves of minor stuff.

In the picture is the dog of a friend, she is large and sweet and totally afraid of everything, she doesn’t even know how to play; when I tried she got so scared she ran away to hide. I used rose-oil on her to help her relax and she became calm and cuddly…just from sniffing the oil from my hand. I love my work!!!

Treatment dog

AROMATHERAPY & ANIMALS

beautiful-black-horse

I get a lot of questions about animals and how I treat them. The first and main reason I even came to Luxembourg was because of horses and treating them; mainly one big very sad horse. Animals are individuals with very diverse personalities; some are pushy and some are shy – like the big sad horse; he is gorgeous with the step of an Olympic winner, but he is shy and insecure, and not very smart. He will never become the great competition horse he was meant to be. The pressure on him to succeed was so great that he became unreliable to handle, always ready to run away. He also had problems with the ligaments in one leg. With treatment (essential oils) and training à la Anna he became the nicest horse that even the smallest child could handle and his leg healed and stayed strong. But each time he went to competition he was a bundle of nerves. So in the end was acceptance from the very nice owners; they learned to just love their big wonderful horse and allow him to be part of the family.

Very often there is a communication-problem; things are expected and the animal can not deliver for different reasons. Sometimes the animal can be helped to develop the skills needed, sometimes it is just not there…it is the “wrong” individual. It is like asking an immensely shy person to speak to a large audience; they would rather die. Sometimes this skill can be trained, but not always.

Essential oils work with our emotions, memories, learning patterns and hormones, this makes them very powerful tools in any kind of healing or development. They transgress all existing barriers by going straight to the core of the individual.

With animals I usually work either with emotional imbalances or with obvious physical problems such as wounds, sprains etc. When there is an emotional imbalance or trauma I usually also do some ground-work and I train the owner and animal in communication so there is a lasting balance. For the owner this takes some work, thought, learning and energy. The ones who are prepared to do this end up with good results and lots of happiness with their animal.

Where there are physical problems I use the essential oils pharmaceutical; I check their chemistry and use them from that physical point of view. Essential oils used in this way is powerful medicine, and today research is being done on certain essential oils to see if they can be used on antibiotic-resistant bacteria-strains.

Thujone

AROMATHERAPY AND HORSES

Jade headThis is Jade. She is 34 years old and she did her last mounted-game competition when she was 30.

I told you in my last post that I work with horses. Apart from basic groundwork, natural horsemanship style, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_horsemanship I also work with essential oils. Sometimes in combination with training to help keep the horse focused and/or calm if there is nervousness. Most often I use essential oils with horses who suffer from some kind of trauma. Horses have an average life-span of about 15 years, a pony can get as old as 40. They are incredibly sensitive with an amazing memory – they remember everything. Very few horses stay with one owner for the full duration of their lives, some change owners very very often and the new owners rarely know anything about the past of the horse they just bought. If there is trauma it will make itself known in different ways and this is where I am called in.

This next picture is of a pony that belongs to a friend of mine. She was caught, with her foal,  in a very bad flood a few years ago and the foal drowned. She is a wonderful pony but she tunes out and goes into flight mode when pushed. I have done some ground-work with her and she always ends up going into a slight panic; breathing hard, sweating, rushing and becoming non-communicable. This weekend I brought my oils and she answered very well. We did some groundwork and she could stay calm, which is a good start, but there is still more work to be done. The oils she chose will be used for some time until progress is noticeable, then maybe she will need another oil/oils. Once her trauma is healed she will be an amazing pony.

DSCF0172

I have, through the years, also worked with a variety of different animals; dogs, cats, sheep, cows, lamas, snakes, birds, lizards, turtles, frogs etc with fantastic results. With animals there is no doubt, they instinctively know what they need to heal, and they seem to have a need to be whole. For this kind of work only top quality essential oils will suffice and then in very small quantities.

In England, Caroline Ingraham  works professionally with aromatherapy and animals. When I met her some years ago she was about to work with saving orangutans with severe trauma. She has done amazing work in this area and is the pioneer of animal aromatherapy. If this is interesting to you, you need to check out her home-page.

http://www.ingraham.co.uk/

BEING PRESENT

meditateBeing present or being in the now, is something I have been working on for very long, and it is really not that easy. We think we are present most of the time, but we actually hardly ever are. As I already mentioned in another posting; we judge everything based on something we already know, keeping us in the past or in the future. The present is a constant moment – it has no time. Everything is fresh and new – a possibility of learning or enjoying or maybe even suffering – yes, suffering is also part of being. All emotions are a learning experience, and the now is constantly loaded with possibilities. Changes are now, learning is now, experiencing is now, tasting, touching, seeing, smelling is now. When we are in the past we feel regret and when we are in the future we feel fear.                                                                                                                                                                                 We are constantly searching for our future, looking here, looking there – and the future always seem to elude us since it never comes; Each future moment becomes the present, at which point we completely miss it since we are still searching for the future. In a way we are living like slaves to our emotions; constantly struggling to go forward without ever stopping to reap the rewards.

When my children were small they had their favorite movie which they would watch over and over again, days – even weeks – on end. Each time they watched this movie it was like they saw it for the first time. This is being in the present. I used to watch them, mesmerized by their intense joy over something – to me – “worn down”. I was always in the future; next meal, next day, next chore. I was so busy that I very seldom stopped only to exist. My children showed me how to do this. They were the reason I learned to stop, because the joy of watching them exist made me still. My children were always my greatest teachers.

The source of our creativity is stillness.

I am very good at handling horses, somehow I know inside what they are feeling, what they are about to do. I have never learned about horses and I am not a brilliant rider, but I do know how they tick. Why? When I was a child I had an enormous love for horses,  and on the farm where we lived summers and holidays there were horses in a field. I used to spend my days there, watching them. I would bring a book and sandwiches and just watch.  With time I started to move with the horses, being part of their flock and this is how I learned horses. I learned their “language” and I learned that every movement means something. I learned that horses exist only in the present and this is the key to good horsemanship – the present. Horses were always my teachers.

Everything in the Universe comes from within; every idea, creation, thought, knowledge. Each time I stay in the present I learn something valuable – priceless. The things I do, know and understand best were learned in these moments. I watch my surroundings while being in the present – this is how I learn. But I have to work on it all the time since I slide so easily into the future.

Merlin & Wolfie i hagen