Friday, March 22, 2013

Aromatherapy for Horses: Lavender Essential Oil

 Throughout the centuries, humans have used flower remedies, called essential oils, to heal or to strengthen the immune system. In fact, some doctors even use them today. But did you know that lavender can be used to calm horses?

This photograph comes from the McNeese State University website(see bottom of post).
 Recently, the McNeese State University has performed a study on the affects of lavender on horses. Horses are timid by nature. When their acute ears hear something unusual, or if they notice something strange, their instinct tells them to run.

 In humans, therapeutic oils such as lavender can reduce both stress and anxiety. So Dr. Ferguson, an animal scientist from MSU, decided to test this method of calming on horses. He states that environmental stimuli can cause chronic stress in many animals, horses included.

 After taking their resting heart rate, Ferguson exposed two groups of horse to humidified air, which caused stress. Then one group was allowed to sniff lavender from an essential oil air diffuser. One minute later, both group's heart rate were measured, and the students working on the project discovered that the horses exposed to lavender had a slower heart rate than that of the control group.

 "...There was a significant decrease in the change of heart rate from the stressed heart rate to the recovery heart rate in lavender-treated horses compared to the other group," explains Dr. Ferguson.

 Dr. Ferguson recommends the use of lavender in horses during post-competion examinations or any other time that your horse may  be stressed. He also says that aromatherapy is beneficial to the equine industry.

 This study has proven that lavender really can relieve stress in your horse just like it can relieve your own stress.

For more information on essential oils, visit:
McNeese State University: MSU study on aromatherapy for horses published


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