Properties: Roman chamomile is a soothing, relaxing oil, often selected by horses with an anxious temperament. Horses usually chose Roman chamomile to ease the presenting causes of stomach and skin conditions, rather than the symptoms of the conditions themselves.
The essential oil contains a molecule called apigenin, which produces an anxiety easing effect by reducing the activity of a substance called glutamate in the brain (Losi et al, 2004). Glutamate is a neural transmittor and works by ‘exciting’ neurons in the brain, so reducing the activity of glutamate has a calming effect.
Roman chamomile is known to have an antispasmodic effect and is a useful oil to offer when an animal is showing colicky symptoms – though veterinary opinion should always be sought if colic presents.
Roman chamomile is often inhaled when it is needed for anxiety or nervous conditions. By inhaling the essential oil, messages go straight to the limbic (emotional) centre of the horse’s brain, producing a rapid anxiolytic effect.
Useful when horses are over-reactive, especially if they suffer diarrhoea when anxious or have itchy, irritable skin.
Principle constituents: esters, ketones, terpenes – alpha pinene, beta pinene, chamazulene
Precautions: non-toxic and non-irritant