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Giant's Interview with Caroline Ingraham By Gergely Hollodi

Pg. 6-15 10 minute read

Welcome to the 2024 Spring edition (11.1) of Aromatika magazine.

Gergely Hollodi had the pleasure of interviewing Caroline Ingraham for our "Giant's" column. Caroline is the founder of Applied Zoopharmacognosy, which is commonly but probably not correctly referred to as 'animal aromatherapy'. This is a very powerful and interesting interview.

What is your first memory about your first contact with essential oils?

It was when I experienced their powerful healing abilities first-hand. During my first aromatherapy lesson, I came down with cystitis, a condition that would take hold fast and which I had struggled with for years. In the past, I had always relied on antibiotics to treat it, since other holistic modalities hadn't worked, but antibiotics were taking longer and longer to take effect, and on occasion I would end up in hospital. In class, Robert used kinesiology to test the strength of my psoas muscle, which is related to the kidneys; he then found three oils to strengthen it: yarrow, sandalwood, and juniper berry. He massaged the oils over my kidney area, and to my amazement, the pain dissolved. However, even though the pain over my lower back had dissipated, the symptoms of cystitis were still there the next day, although much milder. Robert recommended adding a couple of drops of juniper berry to hot water and inhaling its vapours, then, when cool enough, to drink it. To my astonishment, as I sipped this incredible aromatic water, within minutes, all the sensations of cystitis disappeared.

Where and who did you study with?

I studied aromatherapy in 1984/85 with Robert Tisserand at the Raworth Centre, Dorking, Surrey, UK. While, Applied Zoopharmacognosy was the result of my own observational and scientific research over the past 40 years.

Who was your inspiration or the most influential person/people in the aromatherapy/aromatic medicine field, and why?

Dr Jean Valnet, because he was using essential oils for their therapeutics and efficacy in the same way he would use pharmaceutical medicines. He once said that essential oils work best in their undiluted state. I have also found this to be true, especially when treating isolated areas topically, such as for infection or viruses, although one does need to know what they are doing and be thoroughly trained in the oils. If essential oils are to be used for massage, then dilution is appropriate.

You specialize in and are the founder of Applied Zoopharmacognosy, which is commonly but probably not correctly referred to as 'animal aromatherapy'. Can you explain the main points of Applied Zoopharmacognosy?

Aromatherapy for animals tends to use the same principles as for people. A practitioner has a consultation with a client, they decide which remedies would best suit that client or animal, and then generally speaking, dilute the blend or remedy and apply it topically.

Applied zoopharmacognosy is a practice that validates animals as active not passive beings. It believes animals and people are born pre-set up with multiple signalling pathways that link different problems or conditions to different olfactory (smell) and gustatory (taste) pathways, which alter taste and smell preferences depending on the internal state of the individual. Wild animals and those that are not free to forage are incredibly accurate in selecting the plant extracts they need. They do not just choose any plant remedy that is offered to them; they will show distinct behaviours that express interest or disinterest towards each specific aromatic offered. If an animal is suffering from an infection, antibacterial plant compounds would be perceived as more pleasant, whilst an injured animal would perceive pain-relieving plant compounds as more attractive. However, if the animal is perfectly healthy, then these secondary metabolites are either perceived as neutral or, if they have detrimental effects, unpleasant. The fact that our perceptions of taste and smell can change depending on the internal state of the body is well established.

The Spring issue of Aromatika Magazine is packed with heartfelt and inspiring articles. To read the complete article, order your copy of our Spring issue of Aromatika Magazine (11.1) or subscribe to our beautiful E-Journal yearly subscription by following the link in our bio or simply copy and paste the link here:

Over the 100 colourful pages in our Spring issue, we have some of the most knowledgeable aromatherapists and educators from around the world.

We thank you all for your continued support and hope you'll enjoy the fascinating chapters of our SPRING e-journal.

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