Do-It -Yourself Bach Flower Essences

By Dr. Jean Hofve

Bach Flower Essences were discovered by Dr. Edward Bach, an English physician and homeopath, in the early 1900’s. While originally developed for human use, we have found that the Bach Flower remedies work beautifully on animals, too. The remedies work on an energetic level, similar to homeopathy, acupuncture or Reiki. They affect the mental and emotional planes, and are useful for problems originating on these levels. Dr. Bach felt that even physical illness has its roots on the emotional plane, and by treating at this level, a general improvement in well-being could be achieved.

For more information on flower essences in general, see our article here.

ADMINISTERING BACH FLOWERS

To make up a combination, use 2 drops of each desired flower essence to one ounce of water; for Rescue Remedy use 4 drops per ounce of water. You can add up to 20% alcohol (usually brandy or vodka; 4 parts water to 1 part alcohol) as a preservative as desired, but some animals dislike the taste. (You can use flower remedies straight from the stock bottle, but they taste terrible!) Cats can be sensitive to alcohol, so if you are concerned, you can (a) leave the remedy dose open for a few minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate, or (b) add the remedy dose to a little bit of warm water to steam it off quickly. Or just dilute it in food or water, or use it topically.

You may use up to 6 essences in combination, with Rescue Remedy counting as one essence. In general, use the fewest essences possible.

The remedy can be given by mouth, which is the most effective method. Only a few drops (3-5) are necessary, and need not be swallowed, but only must contact the mucous membranes (gums, tongue, lips). Be careful not to contaminate the dropper by touching it to the animal (if this occurs, rinse the dropper in very hot water before returning it to the bottle). You can also add a dropper-full to the water dish, or a few drops on wet food (there is no effect of dilution). You can add a dropper-full to a spray bottle filled with spring water, and use it to spray a room, carrier, car, around litter boxes or plants, or other problem areas. You can even put a few drops in your hand and pat the animal on the head and around the ears with it–the head is very sensitive to energy and will absorb the flower essences in this way. In the case of chewing or excessive licking or hot spots, you might want to try applying the remedy directly to the problem spot (IF it isn’t too raw, otherwise the remedy will sting); the animal will then consume it when it next licks that area. For detailed directions on using flower essences, visit Spirit Essences’ instruction page.

DOSAGE AND TIMING

Just a few drops (about 3-5) at a time are sufficient. For serious or acute conditions the remedy can be given as often as needed, even every few minutes. For most behavioral problems, we recommend 3-4 times a day for 2-4 weeks. If the response to the remedy is adequate by that time, you can begin to wean off by decreasing the frequency of administration. You may need to add a dropper-full to drinking water or give once a day long-term for some problems.

MULTIPLE ANIMALS

The Bach Flower remedies are nontoxic and will not adversely affect any other animals in the household. It is fine to put the remedy in a common water dish. In some cases we may even want to treat multiple animals in this way. The Bach Flowers work through a principle of resonance; if the animal needs the remedy, the remedy will act. If the particular remedy is not correct, there will simply be no effect.

KEYNOTES OF THE BACH FLOWERS

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REMEDY KEYNOTE
AGRIMONY denial, “stuffing” emotions, inappropriate communication, allergies, physical irritants.
ASPEN vague fears, sense of impending doom
BEECH intolerance, allergies
CENTAURY meek, “doormat”, picked on by other animals
CERATO inattentive, easily distracted
CHERRY PLUM loss of control
CHESTNUT BUD to learn a lesson the first time or break habits
CHICORY possessive, clingy, manipulative
CLEMATIS consciousness, focus; post-op
CRAB APPLE cleansing; infections, toxins
ELM easily overwhelmed or frazzled
GENTIAN to see “light at the end of the tunnel”, restore hope; long illness rehabilitation
GORSE hopelessness, giving up; cancer, critical injury or surgery
HEATHER needy child, very clingy, talkative
HOLLY anger, jealousy, need for love; abandoned, abused
HORNBEAM mental weariness
HONEYSUCKLE grief, homesickness, depleted energy
IMPATIENS impatience, irritability, nervous energy; PAIN
LARCH lack of self-confidence
MIMULUS timidity, specific fears; illness that does not respond to treatment
MUSTARD depression, gloom, mood swings
OAK chronic exhaustion, overworked but keeps struggling; loss of control
OLIVE physical exhaustion from long strain
PINE perfectionist, guilt, feeling rejected: abuse
RED CHESTNUT worries about others
ROCK ROSE terror, panic
ROCK WATER inflexible, stiff; arthritis
SCLERANTHUS imbalance; neurologic problems
STAR OF BETHLEHEM trauma; need for comfort; any stray or animal from shelter
SWEET CHESTNUT at wits’ end, despairing
VERVAIN fanatic, hyperactive, over-enthusiastic
VINE control, domination
WALNUT transition, protection, over-sensitive to environment
WATER VIOLET grief, loner, reclusive, arrogant; to bring joy; most Cats
WHITE CHESTNUT repetitive thoughts
WILD OAT bored, feeling un-useful
WILD ROSE apathy, passive resignation; to “be here now”
WILLOW resentment
RESCUE REMEDY the 5-flower combination for any acute trauma or stress. Considered as a single remedy in combination

LOSS OF CONTROL/PANIC/ASTHMA ATTACKS*

*These remedies are NOT a substitute for Emergency medical care.

  • Cherry Plum (anxiety attacks, incontinence, seizures, breathing difficulties)
  • Rock Rose (extreme panic, breathing difficulties)
  • Oak (paralysis, incontinence)

CRYING, WHINING, BARKING

  • Heather
  • Beech
  • SPRAYING CATS
  • Beech
  • Holly (especially if due to inter-cat conflicts)
  • Willow
  • Agrimony

OLDER PET ANNOYED BY YOUNGER ANIMAL

  • Mustard
  • Beech
  • Wild Rose

GENERAL IRRITABILITY

  • Impatiens
  • Beech

HISTORY OF GRIEF, TRAUMA OR ABUSE

  • Water Violet (grief)
  • Star of Bethlehem
  • Pine (guilt; animals that cringe)
  • Chicory
  • Honeysuckle

BOARDING/KENNEL/CONFINEMENT

  • Heather
  • Honeysuckle
  • Star of Bethlehem (for comfort)
  • Wild Rose
  • Sweet Chestnut Water Violet (grief)
  • Wild Oat (boredom)

SEPARATION ANXIETY

  • Chicory
  • Wild Oat
  • Holly
  • Willow
  • Wild Rose
  • Heather

CONFLICTS AMONG ANIMALS

  • Willow (resentment)
  • Agrimony (open communication and harmony)
  • Mimulus (for picked-on animal)
  • Vine (for dominant, bully animal)
  • Beech
  • Holly
  • Walnut

TRAVEL REMEDY *(first 3 remedies are the Basic Formula)

  • *Rescue Remedy
  • *Elm
  • *Walnut
  • Mimulus (fear of riding in car)
  • Cherry Plum (for panic in car)
  • Scleranthus – car sickness (balance problems)

TRAINING FORMULA

  • Clematis
  • Chestnut Bud
  • Cerato

NEGATIVE ENERGY FORMULA (Courtesy of Dr. Steve Blake, the Pet Whisperer)

  • Rescue Remedy
  • Mustard
  • Walnut
  • Crab Apple
  • Wild Rose

RECOVERY ASSISTANCE

  • Gentian (to give hope)
  • Gorse (for animals that have “given up”)
  • Centaury (increases the will to live)
  • Sweet Chestnut (for increased energy)
  • Olive (for physical exhaustion)
  • Honeysuckle (restores depleted energy)

Flower essences do not directly treat physical illness, but may help resolve the underlying energetic causes of disease. They are not a substitute for proper veterinary care. Always discuss all herbs, essences, and other supplements with your veterinarian before using. If your pet has a serious physical problem, please consult your veterinarian; if it is urgent, seek emergency care.

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