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  • Writer's pictureLexie Haren

Harnessing the Ancestral Wisdom of Sheepskin Use

As we approach this holiday season, I'm reminded of the power and wisdom of our ancestors. I often think of a more simple life filled with natural fibers, wild food and lots of movement and fresh air. One way I'm tapping into this wisdom is through the traditional use of sheepskin in the home and as thoughtful, health-promoting gifts. Lately, I've found myself deep in the rabbit hole of natural fibers. I've found that sheepskin and wool barely scrape the surface in this natural fiber endeavor, but are of much value to bring attention to! Read on for some of the incredible health benefits and practical uses.


The Health Benefits of Sheepskin

The use of sheepskin is not only a nod to the wisdom of our ancestors but also carries a myriad of health benefits. Some of the key benefits include grounding, which may help with nervous system regulation, regulating body temperature, aiding with various skin conditions, and relieving pressure points. Sheepskin is also resistant to moisture and bacterial build-up, making it a great addition to any well-loved home. Additionally, it's therapeutic properties have made it the perfect fit for use in hospital and nursing settings for years (1,2). A practical application that seems to have been lost over time . . .


Sheepskin in Hospitals Interestingly, the use of sheepskin is not limited to homes. Its therapeutic value has been recognized in hospital settings for decades. Sheepskin has key features that make it an ideal addition in healthcare environments: it has been shown to be an effective tool in the prevention of bed sores & ulcers by reducing pressure points on bed-ridden individuals. It has low friction, helps dissipate moisture, and provides a sense of luxury and grounding (both valuable in the healing process of patients) (1,2,4,5).


I find the article "A Sheepskin as a Nursing Aid", written in 1961, to be quite informative and much more engaging than research articles now-a-days (1)! Take a look at a snippet from the article:

The Power of Lanolin Sheep wool (especially non-dyed and as natural as possible), contains a yellow fat known as lanolin. This natural substance has been shown to help calm skin conditions, alleviate pain and inflammation, and prevent water absorption and bacterial build-up. The lanolin naturally serves as a protective layer for the sheep from the harsh elements, but is also therapeutic in use. Common uses of lanolin now-a-days include being a key ingredient in beauty and skin products and serving as a natural remedy to help nursing mothers repair any nipple damage (3).

Purchasing Sheepskin When you're considering purchasing sheepskin, it's important to look for products from ethically raised animals. Preferably, the sheepskin should be organic, still have some degree of natural lanolin in the fur, and not be dyed.


One brand that I recommend for high-quality, ethically sourced sheepskin items is East Perry. Their quality standards and their ability to bridge the gap in a system where sheepskin was initially going to waste and is now being completely utilized is something I stand behind!


Home Uses for Sheepskin Sheepskin is incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of ways in your home. It can be used for dog beds, in the nursery as padding, slippers, blankets, rugs, mattress pads, pillows, and even clothing. These items are not only insulating and temperature-regulating, but also soothing, grounding, and luxurious. Everyone will reap the benefits (yes, even your cats)!


Sheepskin Gifts for all What I love about sheepskin gifts, is that there is literally something for everyone on your list! Sheepskin makes a great gift for everyone from new moms, babies, kids, the elderly, women, men, to even pets. You can see the products I have on my to-gift list in my 2023 Holiday Gift Guide.


Feel free to contact me for more gift ideas or to learn more about the benefits of natural fibers!


Cheers to getting back to the roots,


Lex

Works Cited

  1. EWING, M. R., GARROW, C., & McHUGH, N. (1961). A sheepskin as a nursing aid. Lancet (London, England), 2(7218), 1447–1448. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0140-6736(61)91263-6

  2. Jolley, Damien J et al. “Preventing pressure ulcers with the Australian Medical Sheepskin: an open-label randomised controlled trial.” The Medical journal of Australia vol. 180,7 (2004): 324-7. https://doi.org/10.5694/j.1326-5377.2004.tb05966.x

  3. “Lanolin.” Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed®), National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 15 May 2023.

  4. Leeds, Ken Montgomery BSc PhD, Damien Jolley MSc London MSc LaTrobe, and Robyn Wright RN BAppSc Nurs GDipAppSc. "The role of sheepskins in preventing pressure ulcers in elderly orthopaedic patients." Primary Intention(2000).

  5. Mistiaen, Patriek et al. “Cost-effectiveness of the Australian Medical Sheepskin for the prevention of pressure ulcers in somatic nursing home patients: study protocol for a prospective multi-centre randomised controlled trial (ISRCTN17553857).” BMC health services research vol. 8 4. 7 Jan. 2008, https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6963-8-4


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