Animal Aromatics

6a01156fa075f4970c0133f1e82522970bCaroline Ingraham is renowned in the animal World for pioneering the study of domestic animals self medicating with herbs and plants. Known as Zoopharmacognosy, Caroline explains, “It’s is the oldest therapy on the planet; its where life began. If left to our own devices we would be able to heal ourselves naturally and many wild animals still do.”

Caroline began her career training with the great Robert Tisserand in the use of essential oils and their uses. “I was extremely impressed by the effects of the oils and in particular when I was cured from recurring cystitis with a few drops of Juniper in hot water. I later rescued a really ill dog from Battersea Dogs Home; she hadn’t eaten for days and the Vet wanted to put her to sleep. I had never treated an animal with the oils but massaged Frankincense into her belly and within an hour she was eating. She made a full recovery as did another dog I had that got bitten by a Rattle Snake in California. The snake bite cause massive internal bleeding which is often fatal. My dog was bleeding heavily from the nose and I gave him carrot seed oil as I knew studies had proven it reduced blood loss. Immediately the blood slowed to a slow drip and by administering more at regular intervals, he too made a full recovery. The oils are simply miracles in a bottle,” she adds passionately.

And it’s not only domestic animals that the dedicated animal lover has treated. “The Sheltered Trust (as seen on the Elephant Diaries on BBC TV recently) asked me to fly out and treat a very sick elephant for them (see photo). I had to go immediately as the vet was planning on putting her down the very next day. She had fallen into a putrid water well and had the most horrific injuries that had also gone septic. Hyenas had mutilated her trunk and she was in shock. Elephants can only have two courses of antibiotics due to possible complications so there was nothing more the vet could do for her. I put Green Clay on the wounds which dried them up, drew the bad stuff out and kept the flies off. The elephant also selected huge quantities of garlic essential oil to boost her immune system. The vet gave her a reprieve that very afternoon. Five days later, she was playing with a stick and the wounds healed completely within 11 days.”

So what is the difference between plants eaten for food and plants eaten for medicine? “If an animal eats vegetation for calorific effect,” answers Caroline, “the food is stored as fat or energy; the body retains food. If a plant is eaten for medicinal purposes, as soon as it has done its job the body detoxes it to prevent poisoning. All animals know instinctively what they need to feel better and to maintain good health and will therefore select their own oils. They also know the correct individual dosage they need,” adds Caroline, “which is why we shouldn’t add the supplements to their food bowl. We need to remember and respect how our four-legged friends would have lived in the wild; dogs often drink from muddy puddles as they need the algae in the water. Despite being domesticated, animals are still intuitively able to identify the plants chemicals they need for perfect health and the hedgerows are simply Nature’s Medicine cabinet!”

Find out more about Caroline’s courses, case studies and the books she has written by popping into

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