Saturday, January 13, 2018

Aromatherapy for Pet Birds

Aromatherapy for Pet Birds:  Why Hydrosols May Be Helpful
By Christi R Pugh for Nature’s Gift Aromatherapy

Recent forum discussions focusing on animal aromatherapy (which is an expertise all its own!) eventually led to questions about using essential oils and hydrosols with domesticated pet birds such as Amazons, Macaws, Conures, Parakeets, and English Budgies. 

Most of us are aware enough to know cats cannot metabolize essential oils, thus essential oils are never to be used on cats and many folks take the extra step of choosing not to diffuse around them either.  

As a longtime bird lover and owner, and someone trained as an aromatherapist, my advice is to always err on the side of caution.  I am not an expert in animal aromatherapy and can only share what I have researched, practiced, and observed over the past fourteen years. 

You may wonder, why is it a problem to use these “natural, healing oils,” around pet birds.  The main reason is that birds have very small lungs and cannot tolerate smoke, chemical smells from pots and pans, synthetic cleaners, etc.  There are reports of pet birds dying from exposure to Tea Tree essential oil, as well.  Some uninformed individuals spread word online that birds are “allergic” to Tea Tree.  This is untrue as far as I can tell, because many of these birds, particularly parakeets in Australia, regularly live in these trees and eat the leaves.  The problem lies in the concentration of Tea Tree and other essential oils with the aroma and chemical composition overwhelming their lungs and their body systems.  My thought about Tea Tree killing little pet birds, is that it happened to be the most often used essential oil in the home for cleaning, etc., and sadly some birds exposed to it did die. (Perhaps an owner cleaned the cage or perches with full-strength Tea Tree.  This could definitely overwhelm a pet bird.)

So how can aromatherapy be beneficial to our pets, particularly our birds?  Birds love, love, love being spritzed with water for an impromptu birdy bath.   Hydrosols or floral waters is the safe way to bring aromatherapy to your birds.  Over the years I’ve found my birds have a fondness for Neroli Hydrosol and German Chamomile Hydrosol as everyday spritzers.  My English Budgie, Opie, even makes a loud kissing noise (sweet kisses) after I spritz her with Neroli or German Chamomile hydrosol.  

 Recently after she fell and injured her eye, I spritzed Lavender Hydrosol in and around her house (cage) to calm her and I spritzed German Chamomile and HelichrysumHydrosols several times per day around her injured eye.  After two weeks her eye injury was a memory and the area completely healed up.  I was astonished and grateful.

A caveat on using Hydrosols or Floral Waters around pet birds:  some companies label essential oil sprays/blends as floral waters or hydrosols.  These are not to be used on pet birds, ever, no exceptions.  Make sure you know what you are purchasing and read the ingredients beforehand.  Hydrosols contain only the water based distillate which is the result of the steam distillation process.  This is the water left behind after the essential oils are removed, so hydrosols contain trace amounts of the plant in the water itself.  Hydrosols do not contain preservatives.  If you see a hydrosol labeled with alcohol or something else as a preservative, do not use it on or around your bird.   

Storage:  Always keep hydrosols refrigerated for safety. 

If you do not feel comfortable using a hydrosol “on” your bird, you can always spritz around inside the cage on their chew toys, etc.  Neroli (Orange Blossom) for an anxious bird or Lavender for an unsettled bird…both are calming. 
As I said in the beginning, I am not an expert in animal aromatherapy, but these are some suggestions from my own personal experience.  To learn more about using aromatherapy with pets, a good starting point is Kristin Leigh Bell’s book: Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals.

Nature's Gift offers a full array of pure, natural, true hydrosols here.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Starting the year with Gratitude

Over the holidays we received wonderful feedback from several different people who said that our oils made a difference.  There is no greater gift...that is what keeps us going. As we begin our 23rd year of doing what we love, following our passion, we wanted to share these success stories with you.

Cindi gave one of our diffusers and some FluFoil to a neighbor as a Christmas gift.  Said neighbor's
elderly dog had been very sick, apparently viral pneumonia. The poor dog had spent two overnight's at the vets and basically had, I think, been sent home to die.  He would not eat or drink, or leave his bed.  The neighbor set up her new diffuser, over night, with FluFoil, not for the dog, but because she worked with several people who had just come down with "Flu-like symptoms" and wanted to try to protect herself.  Contrary to suggestions, she ran the diffuser overnight.

The next day her dog was up, walking around, and looking for water, and interested in a bit of his favorite food.  Not an instant recovery, not a magic wand, but definitely had turned the corner.  

Our first dose of gratitude...

Next, one of my dear friends has been battling MRSA infections for several weeks.  Sores/boils ... swollen, seeping, hot, inflamed, nasty.  Her doctor had her on several rounds of Bactrim, and using Neosporin which seemed ineffective. She started using our MERCY body wash and gel, applying the
gel to the bandages, rather than directly to the open wounds. She alternated the MERCY gel with Benchmark Thyme and Manuka, also in food grade Aloe Vera Gel.  Within 24 hours of the first application the swelling had gone down, the areas were still purple, but less angry looking, and not nearly as hot to the touch.  Now, 10 days later, the sores are still there, but the swelling is gone, the cellulitis is resolved, what had felt like huge lumps under the skin are now tiny, and still shrinking.  One is still draining, but it is below the skin and so draining is a good thing.   She had been on Rx medication for 20 days with no effect at all when she started the essential oils.  The improvement has all happened since she started the MERCY, Manuka, and Benchmark Thyme, in conjunction with the medication.

Her doctor tells her to continue doing what she's doing.

(She just  messaged me that she did find another small area, surface only, caught it and began treatment before it started hurting or swelling, is drying up now. 34 days total on so far on Anti-MRSA medications and 14 on our oils.)   Obviously we've not been able to give her a magic wand,  but she is healing, slowly with the use of the aromatic blends, and was not, with the medication alone. 

and... from a grateful mother in Alberta:

To the entire Nature's Gift crew, but particularly to Marge,

I would like to share this with you.  We live in Calgary, Alberta.  My daughter and her husband planned a trip to Hawaii with my three grandchildren for their first family vacation.  Ever.  Much excitement; however my daughter suffers severe anxiety and panic while flying. It is 7 hours from Alberta to Maui.  She was valiant in her efforts to keep her fear from her children 9, 7 and 3 but it was affecting her anticipation. 

So, as any mother would, I went to work investigating oils that would ease her anxiety and fear.  Reunite.  In the description were these words "This is my personal blend that I wear during situations that are apt to induce anxiety or panic attacks".  Exactly!  I ordered the skin safe anointing oil, printed the description, wrapped it around the bottle and gave it to her as soon as it arrived earlier this week. 
Having built a solid trust of Nature's Gift through my own use of your single oils, hydrosols and blends, you were my first stop - this was beyond my experience and so very, very important.  I came across

I just now received a text from my daughter, they must have still been at the airport.  She said:  "I'll send more info later - but we are here and that oil you gave me saved my Life - what an amazing difference!  Anxiety and fear almost gone.  Thank you-love you- thanks for your oils."  Her message might have brought a tear to my eye.

Thank you Nature's Gift for helping me give the gift of an anxiety-free flight to my daughter.

We love feedback like this, proving that what we do makes a difference.  Our wish for you during this new year is that, no matter what it is that you spend your days doing, that you know what what you do makes a difference.  There is no greater gift.