What are essential oils and how can they be useful to you around the farm?
“Essential oils” are highly concentrated oil extracts from certain species of flowers, grasses, fruits, leaves, roots and trees. They have been used for thousands of years for a number of purposes. Further, they are readily available at the health food store.
Hippocrates, the father of medicine, said that “the way to health is to have an aromatic bath and scented massage every day“. As far back as the fourth century BC, he recognized that burning certain aromatic substances offered protection against contagious diseases.
While my children love lavender back rubs when they are anxious about a thunderstorm, I had never given their use much consideration around my homestead. I’ve used essential oils for years, primarily for relaxation (by way of back and foot rubs), in diffusers to get my home schoolers focused, as well as to soothe my grumpy gallbladder.
I keep a little box of basic essential oils in my kitchen cabinet, plus a larger bottle of tea tree and lavender oil. Those two oils do so many things, it ridiculous.
It wasn’t until I was faced with a fly problem with our new miniature donkeys this year that I began to look for a natural way to deal with them. Sure enough, an overpriced “green” product was available at my feed store. ”What could be in this stuff?” I thought to myself as I read the label. Sure enough, it was laced with essential oils.
My next (cheap/frugal) thought was “I’m not paying this much, I can make this“. (Yeah, I’m known to be pretty cheap, just ask my kids!)
My focus today is how to use essential oils for domestic critters on the farm. So just what was in that “green” fly repellent spray? Here’s the list of essential oil ingredients…
Valerie Worwood, author of ”The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy” adds the following to insect repellent essential oils:
Rodents are particularly repelled by:
You don’t need all of oils listed to be effective, just a few will usually do. The wash/rinse that I made to clean out my tack room tonight contained just a few oils that I had on hand. After I cleaned the floor with a soapy mixture, I rinsed the floor and mopped the walls with my essential oil mixture with 4 gallons of water. Since I had a little leftover, I poured it around the perimeter of the barn. No flies for me for a while!
You can also make a natural flea collar with the above oils for your dog. Be cautious when using essential oils with your cats and educate yourself as to which ones are safe.
Essential oils work well with horses, dogs, goats, hamsters, rabbits, cows, bees and sheep! Once again, having a good aromatherapy book is the best bet to make sure you’re using essential oils correctly.
Have you used essential oils in and around your home? How so?