Essential Oils 101: Lavender and Peppermint

Karlie Mitchell explains how she has incorporated these two complimentary essential oils into her horse care routine.

Flickr/Peter Reed/CC

If you mentioned lavender a year ago I’d probably picture the plant with the purple flowers. As for peppermint I’d think of tea or candy mints. My uses of these two things have expanded greatly this past year. I learned how to use them in massage therapy and other aspects of horse care.

Essential oils are concentrated liquids with aroma compounds from plants. They are made from the leaves, flowers, bark, roots, or other parts of a plant. These liquids are very concentrated and a couple drops go a long way.

They are not perfumes or fragrances. They are pure and contain no artificial substances. There are various essential oils, but I’m going to cover use of lavender and peppermint with horses.

I have an oil mix of 50/50 lavender and peppermint. They are combined, but each has its own purpose.

Lavender aroma is known to be calming. This is great while performing massage therapy to allow the horse is relax into the session more. This is good especially when some can get a bit touchy and anxious on sore spots. Lavender as an essential oil can also help aid in tension, headaches, soreness, and strains. That is why when used with massage it can help relieve the horse even further of discomfort and pain.

We know some horses love peppermint for treats, but there’s a lot more to peppermint than just being a treat. Peppermint oil is believed to aid in relief for sore muscles, joints, as well as be relaxing. Very similar effects to lavender.

My use of these oils has been greatly beneficial to one of my horses with TMJ as well as some soreness around his poll. He started displaying head issues and sensitivity to the bridle, especially the noseband. (Yes, his teeth are routinely floated). Massaging and cranial sacral holds did help, but when the oils were added in treatment went further. Another application I’ve seen great results in is applying it to the lumbar vertebrae region before doing soft presses to relieve pain and tension in the horse’s lower back.

I have my little bottle of essential oil that I will definitely be keeping on hand. For TMJ to headaches to sore joints it has proven to me to be a great little tool to add to my massage practices. Keep in mind to always check with your vet or an appropriate person before trying an essential oil. Sometimes a little bit of natural goes a long way!

Have you ever used essential oils?


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