The Pharmacy Tree – Neem for Petsfrom Becky
I mentioned that I was in Arizona editing the last issue, but I did not tell you what I was doing. My family all met in Sedona with a gentle theme of birthdays. I’m American, and now a Kiwi, settled in New Zealand for the past 15 years, so trips to the US are pretty exciting. Sedona was incredible; red rocks, blue sky & green trees. Truly a magic place for the eyes & being together was a great top up for my heart.
Then, I went to a business conference with 400 other on-fire, super interesting, highly motivated, heart-centred entrepreneurs led by Jeff Walker from Product Launch Formula. It was a HUGE power up for my sense of being of service. One of the themes was the BIG WHY, that is, what is your highest motivation? This motivation then becomes the transformation that you offer to people who come into contact with your business.
My first BIG WHY that I said in the small groups was “Because I love” which I then shortened to “Love”, enough said. But, over the next few days, I found a way to shape that BIG WHY more clearly for my business. It became “Joy is ours to discover, naturally.” I’m ready to tell you that it’s not just about using natural products or eating healthier. Deciding to take steps to living a more natural life is a daily practice of Joy. No, it’s not straightforward or easy. Our world is not well in so many ways; our planet is polluted, and most of us are stressed more, rather than less. Crisis seems to be a common word. But, in the decisions made each day, these small steps to wellness, you will find joy & wonder. And when you find Joy, guess what? you pass it along. You naturally impact the people around you. Your personal efforts get reflected out far larger than you might imagine. It is absolutely worth the effort. I promise.
This week Jules gives us an amazing story of the Pharmacy Tree, and the long tradition of understanding how nature provides everything we need. She also shares some recipes. I would love to hear if anyone has a cat that likes baths. If you have signed up as an email subscriber to this e-magazine, you have access to the Check it Out section of the magazine, where Jules offers a draw for her fantastic Neem based pet care products. Thanks very much Jules.
In Joy, Becky
The Pharmacy Tree – Neem for Petsby Jules Smith
Fleas are an absolute blight on any pet owner’s life. They bite you, bite your family and make your pet’s life a misery.
Treating the problem is not as easy as it might seem. There are many types of commercial flea treatments available but they’re insecticides designed to be absorbed through the pet’s skin. Many of these treatments have been linked with pet deaths and pet health issues, and you have to wonder how readily these treatments, that last for weeks, can also end up on you and other members of your family.
Some time ago I discovered Neem Oil. I was making handmade soaps and a friend asked me if I could add some to the bars so she could try it on her dog who had sensitive skin and was allergic to fleas (amongst many other things). I hadn’t heard of the oil before, but after some research and then seeing the amazing results on her dog, I became a Neem convert. In fact I started a business developing natural pet products with the Neem soap as my hero product.
Neem is known as the “Pharmacy Tree” in India where it has been used in Ayurvedic (Indian) Medicine for at least 2,000 years. References to Neem can be found in Sanskrit writings from over 4,000 years ago. Whilst scientists aren’t entirely sure how its insecticidal properties work, a number of studies have been undertaken that confirm its effectiveness. They have found that Neem renders insects useless in a number of ways, but primarily it acts as an anti-feedant, anti-oviposition, mobility disruptor and inhibits sexual communication. In other words, when used on a dog, the fleas stop eating, stop laying eggs, stop moving about and breeding before they drop off to die. Impressive result for something that grows on trees!
Interestingly enough it works in a similar manner on pests in your veggie garden bugs stop feeding on your plants and lay about until they are returned to your veggie patch as nutrients.
Unlike chemical flea treatments Neem needs to be applied regularly as its effectiveness only lasts 4 to 8 days after it has been exposed to the elements. With that in mind, it is good to know that studies have also shown that the oil can be used regularly and in very low doses; effectiveness on some insects an be achieved with concentrations as low as 1 ppm (part per million).
The benefits of Neem don’t end there. Amongst other things it is also used for skin care and to treat skin disorders. We have found it relieves the redness and itching of irritated skin on dogs, humans, chickens, guinea pigs and horses. Some claim it lightens scars and according to supermodel Christy Turlington (who has a range of skin care products containing Neem) it has an anti-aging action and helps in the control of acne.
I love the idea of people making their own pet care products if they have the time or the inclination. Here are a few recipes you might like to try:
Neem Dog Shampoo– Add 5mls of Neem oil to 100mls of a gentle shampoo. Wet your dog and work the shampoo into the coat starting with a ring around the neck to create a moat that the fleas can’t cross to escape to the safety of the dog’s head. Lather up all over the body and rinse.
Neem Spray– Mix 5mls of Neem oil and 1ml detergent to 1 litre of warm water and shake well. Detergent isn’t that natural but, unfortunately, it’s needed to help suspend the Neem oil in the water. Use this spray on your dog between washes, especially the legs and tummy before you go out for a walk.
Neem Rinse for Cats– I don’t advocate you use the Neem Spray on cats, because of the way cats continually groom themselves, the accumulation of ingested oil and detergent isn’t recommended. Try this rinse instead. I do know that some cats will put up with a bath (sadly mine won’t), but if you have a cat that doesn’t mind water, this is a great way of treating them for fleas. Pour boiling water over some Neem leaves, much like you would make a very strong cup of tea. Strain the leaves and add the liquid to a bowl of warm water and bathe the cat.
Jules Smith is a founder and director of WashBar an emerging New Zealand company specialising in natural products for pets. Pets have always been a big part of Jules life. Her mother bred Labrador dogs and Siamese and Devon Rex cats. As a child she had pet guinea pigs and even a pet rat. Later in life she became concerned about the long term effects of chemical toxicity on pets. WashBar was born from that concern and a request from a friend to develop a natural skin treatment for her dog.
Jules lives on a 40 acre lifestyle property with her husband Pete, 2 cats, twenty odd cattle and an expanding herd of goats. The property borders the Wairua River in Whangarei, and with 1.5 kilometres of river frontage, the couple have set about fencing livestock off the waterways, and planting hundreds of trees every year. The property generates its own power, and no, we aren’t hippies, quite the reverse. I couldn’t live without the big screen TV, the dishwasher or my espresso machine. You can take the girl out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the girl.
I invite you to think about the BIG WHY in your life & share it either in our comments at the bottom of the web issue, or on our page Facebook. Why do you live your life the way you do? What is your service? In stating it for the world, you make it stronger & it will give you even more focus. Yes, it might be a bit scary, but don’t blow it off, even if you don’t want to say publicly, answer it for yourself, again & again.
Come play with me, friends, we’re a part of the energy of wellness for ourselves & the world.
Tell us, what’s your BIG WHY
How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains! ~John Muir