Earth Heart Helps with a Variety of Travel Woes

Ed Forteau's picture

Car sickness. Mosquito bites. Ticks.  Traveling with your pets. What do all three of these things have in common? Earth Heart has a product for them all!

Earth Heart makes natural products for these conditions (and more), taking care of them naturally and without harsh chemicals. We've reviewed Travel Calm, and I'd like to share my own experience with Buzz Guard™! We used Buzz Guard™ at our cottage in the northern Michigan woods, on a lake. Yes, it is perfect for those really large mosquitoes (and the really large skeeter bites). Buzz Guard™ smelled pleasant, worked well, and was safe to use on everyone. It didn't last for hours (probably because of those dips in the lake), but was effective at keeping mosquitoes away.


We had a chance to sit down and talk with Vicki Rae Thorne, master herbalist, certified aromatherapist, and founder of Earth Heart™ Inc., about her company, products, and how plant-based remedies can help travelers. Here's what she had to say...


Vicki Rae Thorne



WE: Please tell us about Earth Heart™ Inc.

VRT: For nearly 20 years, Earth Heart™ has developed natural products using pure essential oils and other plant-based ingredients – products that are easy to use, affordable, safe and effective for the whole family.

Our focus shifted when a kennel owner asked for my help in calming dogs during arrival time and feeding times. We discussed the range of emotions the dogs could experience when they were visiting the kennel: they could be anxious or angry, agitated or depressed, and they missed their families. I formulated what is now known as Canine Calm, and it was effective in calming the dogs from day one. Customers liked the effect of the product, and they wanted to use it at home and also when traveling. That was almost 12 years ago!



WE: What led you to aromatherapy and using essential oils?

VRT: I had been studying herbal medicine on and off for many years. In the spring of 1992, I was drawn to attend a weekend seminar on aromatherapy, and…it was love at first smell! I bought several books and essential oils, cross-referenced them according to medicinal properties and common ailments, and formulated a few massage blends to relieve my own stress and pain. Massage therapists and their clients loved the massage oils, which led me to start blending other body care products. Because I was pregnant at the time and had a 5-year-old, safety has always been paramount, so all of our products – even the canine line – are family friendly.

I founded Earth Heart™ to teach people about integrating herbs and aromatherapy into everyday life, offering a wide selection community and continuing education classes for the novice as well as licensed massage therapists.



WE: Your Buzz Guard™ works well for mosquitoes - what is the reason for its success in keeping bugs away?

VRT: Buzz Guard™ uses neem seed oil as a key ingredient to deter insect pests. Neem is effective at a low concentration, but the scent is quite strong, even disagreeable to some people.  So Buzz Guard™ also contains essential oils that not only improve the scent but are also effective in deterring insect pests. Feedback from customers on both scent and effectiveness has exceeded expectation.

We field tested several formulations over a 4-year period in several areas of the US. The final formula was selected as it proved to have the best result for deterring mosquitoes, fleas, flies, no-see-ums and ticks. One test subject lives on property that borders a nature preserve and her dogs are there all the time, which provided us with an ideal setting for testing Buzz Guard™. She and her dogs really liked the formula and found it did quite well with repelling mosquitoes and fleas, and she did not find a trace of them near her dogs. Although she did find some large ticks on her dogs multiple times during the testing period, she also found that they did not attach to their skin, as they did when not using Buzz Guard™.



WE: You're also focused on pet health - can you share more about what your products do for that?

VRT: We know that stress is responsible for most illness, and many dogs suffer from the same stressors as their human caretakers. Earth Heart™ products are part of a holistic health plan for your dog, offering tools that are easy to use and effective for over 95% of our customers’ dogs.

Canine Calm™ was formulated to help dogs relax during stressful times, such as thunderstorms, fireworks, bath time, grooming, travel, competition, training, transition, and clinic or kennel visits.

Travel Calm™ helps ease restlessness and stomach upset that many dogs experience during travel.

Guard Well™ was formulated to help relieve skin irritations and other minor illness caused by exposure to environmental irritants such as pollens, lawn or pool chemicals, viruses or bacteria, and medications.

Earth Heart™ strives to provide safe products that show quick results, using time-tested ingredients. The essential oils selected for our products have been traditionally used in remedies for relaxation, travel sickness and immune support.


Earth Heart





WE: Can you please tell us more about Travel Calm™?

VRT: Many dogs experience restlessness, drooling, panting, whimpering and tummy upset during travel, creating a very nervous situation for dogs and dog lovers. Travel Calm™ was created to help dogs who experience these traumas during travel or at the first sign of a travel crate or vehicle.  The formula contains all natural ingredients including pure essential oil of ginger, which is a proven natural remedy for stomach upset. We’ve heard many stories from families who can now travel with dogs (and children) who are more relaxed, and are not getting car sick…without the use of prescription medications.



WE: How can essential oils work to support health?

Essential oils are the volatile oils produced within the seed, flower, leaf, bark, root or resin of aromatic plants produced within the plants for self-preservation. When inhaled, scent molecules trigger an emotional or behavioral response in the limbic brain. When inhaled or topically applied, they are absorbed into the bloodstream, promoting a physiological response.



WE: What do you love most about creating these products and working with essential oils?

VRT: When I was first learning to blend, I would describe the “symphony of scent” that the blend went through over time. The variations fascinated me, especially when there would be a brief return to the initial impression - and then off it went again.

While that experience still gives me great joy, I most love the stories that our customers share with us – it is so fulfilling to hear about some of the dramatic changes that are just a mist away…



WE: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

VRT: Essential oils are volatile oils that are produced within the seed, flower, leaf, bark, root or resin of aromatic plants. They are highly concentrated – for example, 200 pounds of lavender tops are distilled to make one pound of lavender essential oil – and so it is accepted practice to dilute essential oils before use to avoid problems such as skin irritation or overwhelming the sense of smell. This is especially important with remedies for dogs, because they have a more acute sense of smell than humans.

Diluting essential oils can be as simple as using a car or room diffuser, or placing one drop on a favorite bandana or blanket. Ready-to-use products are also available for purchase, but check all labels to be sure these products use pure essential oils, and not fragrance oils. Synthetic fragrances, such as peach, apple or strawberry, are not therapeutic, and can actually cause problems, such as headaches, agitation or allergic reactions.

Because dogs respond well to scent and touch, calming sprays and massage or grooming products containing pure essential oils, can be physically applied to create a bonding experience and potential behavior modification. It is helpful to introduce aromatherapy during a nonthreatening time to help associate the scent with comfort.

As with any home remedy, it is important to know the use and safety guidelines, and to recognize when it is time for professional help from your veterinarian.

About Earth Heart™ Inc:

Earth Heart™ Inc. was founded by Vicki Rae Thorne, a master herbalist and certified aromatherapist. The company has a long-standing reputation for providing high quality wellness products using pure essential oils and other plant-based ingredients to help dogs live a happier, healthier life. Giving back is a major part of the Earth Heart™ brand providing donations to over 30 rescues, shelters and other charitable organizations in 2010. Featured in Dog Fancy, Modern Dog, and listed as one of the Top 100 Best Dog Products and Wellness Products of 2010 by Fido Friendly Magazine, Earth Heart products have been recommended by dog lovers, trainers, veterinarians, groomers, and kennel owners. Their products can be found in pet stores throughout the US and in Canada, as well as online pet shops; and can be purchased directly through the Earth Heart website. Visit or call 847-551-1806 for more information.


Feature photo: Vicki Rae Thorne, of Sleepy Hallow, pets "Lucky", a survivor of hurricane Charlie.  (Dave Shields/For Sun-Times Media)




note: We received a sample of Buzz Guard - thank you, Earth Heart!