A Series on Various Essential Oils for Animals
By Nayana Morag

This is the third in a series of articles that will teach you about individual essential oils and how they can be used for your animals. These oils are all ones I use regularly in my practice with animals.

Birch, yellow - betula alleghensis

Birch is one of the 'must have' first aid oils and is invaluable in the treatment of strained or overworked muscles, tendon damage and arthritis. Betula alleghensis and betula lenta are native to North America and are almost the same in their actions; there is also European silver birch or betula alba whose properties are similar, but which is more often used for irritated skin conditions. The birch I use the most is yellow birch.

The principal constituent of birch, up to 98%, is methyl salycilate - otherwise known as aspirin! The remaining 2% of the oil is made up of a complicated blend of ingredients that prevent the side effects seen in artificially synthesised aspirin. As you would expect the oil is analgesic, anti-inflammatory and reduces fever.

Traditionally it has been one of the main ingredients in liniment rubs and so the smell is very familiar and 'medicinal'. The essential oil is produced through steam distillation of the bark macerated in warm water and is a colourless to pale yellow liquid. Care should be taken with the undiluted oil as it can be harmful in concentration. It is also not advisable to offer this oil orally.

Physical applications:
sore muscles
tendon injuries
musculo-skeletal inflammations
any accumulation of toxins in soft tissue

Emotional applications: none

Dilute well before use as it can, in concentration, be an irritant, mucous membrane irritant, and marine pollutant. Do not use if taking other aspirin based medication or blood thinners.

A word on quality.... it is very important that you buy essential oils that are authentic and unadulterated. Companies that supply to professionals are a good bet. Order oils using their Latin names to avoid confusion. Through my website I supply essential oils in 5% dilution that are safe to use with animals.
Familiarity breeds intuition..... There are so many essential oils, many of which have similar actions, that I suggest you start with only a few and get to know them intimately, expanding your collection slowly as need or curiosity dictates. Be safe: essential oils are potent chemicals, albeit natural, and should never be used undiluted; be sure you read the caution for each oil.

Nayana Morag is a qualified Essential Oil for Animals Therapist and a member of GEOTA. She has worked with horses all her life specialising in the ones no one else wanted! She has also developed her own method of teaching riding based on the martial arts and body-awareness techniques and is the author of the "Riding Raps" series of audio tapes. Nowadays she lives in the UK and concentrates on educating animal owners in the use of essential oils and our role in our animals' well-being. She also teaches on the GEOTA certification course. She is presently looking for people who would like to host her workshops in the USA. More info at www.essentialanimals.com