Zoopharmacognosy, or animal self-medication, is a fascinating subject, and one I am lucky enough to observe pretty much every day of my life. I was happy to find this article, which gives some good examples of how wild animals seek out the herbs and minerals they need.
Sweet Fennel bridges the Traditional Chinese Medicine seasons of Late Summer and Autumn (Fall). The sweet yet pungent fragrance, tell us that Sweet Fennel belongs to Earth and Metal, governors of those seasons. Traditionally used as a digestive aid, working on the stomach and large intestine, Sweet Fennel also helps to clarify mental confusion, let-go of obsessive behaviour and to express yourself clearly. Late summer is the time for integrating lessons learnt over the fruitful summer time and Autumn is the time for letting go of that which is no longer serving you.
I can tell Late Summer is here by the state of my hat (sweat-stained and a bit battered!) and the outbreak of Damp Heat. I don't just mean we are hot and sweaty, I am referring to the Chinese internal climate of Damp Heat, which leads to fungal infections, digestive problems and some types of itchy skin.
Gipsy is an old dog now. As we walk meditatively around the block it is hard to remember the days when she would chase balls endlessly and run three miles for every one I rode. However, I still have a lot to learn from her, the end-of-life lessons can be powerful. Recently I had a lesson in simplicity and seeing what is in front of my nose without undue emotion. An oft repeated lesson I have to admit.
It's May and I'm in England. The sun is shining brightly, the oak trees are out before the ash, which is hopeful (Oak before ash we're in for a splash, Ash before oak we're in for a soak), and the green fields here on my friend Pauhla's organic farm are full of healthy lambs. I am walking down the lane with Doug the Collie, who at 18 months old needs time out from his brother and sister and a little special attention to keep him on the track to being a good citizen.
Aromatics help all animals heal One of the great things about being a teacher is sharing in the adventures and successes of my students. The principles of zoopharmacognosy (animals self-selecting healing herbs and essential oils) apply to any animal, so once you have learnt how to use essential oils with animals, you can offer them to [...]
And on the Eighth Day!
I often mull over the fact that with our animals we play God, creating them in our own likeness: the nervous rider whose horse jumps at everything, the over-anxious dog owner whose dog is aggressive to strangers, the owner who is unhappy with their life so keeps finding non-existent problems in their horse, even the super-happy person with super-happy pet!…. For me one of the most important things animal owners can understand is how they affect their animals and how their own world view will affect what they see in their animals.
Lemon essential oil is simple and unassuming, but so useful, and at the moment it seems to be everyone's favourite.
The horses surprised me by selecting it this weekend when I was demonstrating self-selection during a workshop here. Ellie chose it first, then her daughter and brother joined in, till they were all standing around in a trance. Then I was working with a Level 2 student, teaching meridian assessment and oil selection, and lemon came up again for her dog with warts.