In Essence… A Series on Various Essential Oils for Animals

By Nayana Morag

This is one of 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.

Hay (anthoxanthum odoratum)

Hay is a tufted perennial grass with compact narrow leaves and dense compact flower spikes up to 3cm (1.5 inches) long. It is native to Europe, temperate Asia and Africa. There is an essential oil and an absolute made from this plant with the absolute being considered slightly safer to use. The oil is known as Flouve and has not been used much since the 1950s when trials showed it to cause liver cancer in mice because of its high levels of coumarin. However further trials have shown it to be safe for humans. In recent trials on hospital patients in Ireland, coumarin was found to reduce tumours in cancer of the breast, skin and kidneys, and to boost the immune systems of patients with glandular fever and chronic fatigue syndrome. Energetically it is earthy and stimulant with the feeling of summer meadows. It is very good for allergies that manifest in the respiratory system especially those triggered by grasses and pollens.

Physical applications: Allergies; head shaking; sinus problems; Cushing's syndrome; tumours; compromised immune systems; chronic or long running illnesses

Emotional applications: I have not used it for emotional/behavioural cases, unless you consider head-shaking to be behavioural, but it gives a feeling of warm, relaxed groundedness when I inhale so could be used to uplift those who are depressed or run-down.

Safety: Hay can have quite high levels of coumarin, an anti-coagulant, so should not be used in conjunction with drugs such as warfarin or heparin.

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 and plans to come back to the USA to teach in 2003. For info on attending or hosting a workshop check out