By Jean Hofve, DVM
Flower essences (remedies) are specially prepared extracts of the flowering parts of certain plants. They work through energy fields to heal stress and disease from the inside. Flower essences were first developed by Dr. Edward Bach, an English physician who gave up his busy practice to study and prepare the 38 flower essences which now bear his name. We frequently use essences to help with emotional, physical, and behavioral problems in animals.
Since Dr. Bach’s time, many other essences have been created around the world, not only from flowers, but also from gems, minerals, animals, butterflies, lakes, sacred earth sites, stars, celestial phenomena, and Ascended Masters. Many of them are very useful in helping our animals recover from trauma, injury, and stress. These non-flower essences are often referred to as “energy” or “vibrational” essences.
Dr. Bach believed each of us has a divine mission on earth, which we can discern through listening to our own instincts, wishes, thoughts, and desires. He also believed all disease is the result of disharmony between the soul and the mind. This occurs through allowing other people to interfere with the true course of our lives. Such interferences are not in themselves evil or malicious; they may be well-meaning, such as a friend who expresses concern about an action we plan to take. It is our response to them — the “permission” we give them to disturb us — which causes the inner disharmony. True causes of disease include fear, doubt, indecision, indifference, impatience, and grief.
In terms of Dr. Bach’s philosophy, it is easy to see how animals are similarly diverted from their “true course.” We forcibly wean them, take them from their families, and train them to exist with their human companions by altering or suppressing natural behaviors — even to the extent of surgery, such as spaying and neutering (or in extreme cases, mutilation such as de-clawing or de-barking). We are not being unkind or arbitrary when we require our animal companions to use the litter box instead of the carpet, or refrain from biting, scratching, bucking, or flying out the window. Our animal companions must make these necessary accommodations in order to share our lives. It is, however, not entirely natural, and can cause stress.
In humans, mental and emotional upset can have lasting physical effects. The cause, however, is internal, and we must heal from the inside. Animals too, have an active mental and emotional life. Therefore, they can similarly manifest not only behavioral but also physical problems, which have their roots in emotional stress. Stress-related conditions in animals include asthma, urinary tract problems, conjunctivitis, and gastrointestinal upset (vomiting and/or diarrhea). Of course, there may be underlying physical causes for these diseases, but acute flare-ups are very often due to emotional stress. And essences can help the animal heal the physical problems as well.
Essences heal underlying negative emotional states by “flooding” the patient with the opposite, positive quality. For example, the essence of Holly is love. Use Holly in any situation where there is a lack of love, such as anger, jealousy or rage. Similarly, the essence of Rock Rose is courage: it is helpful in cases of deep fears, panic, and terror.
Behavior problems such as chronic barking, litter box avoidance, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, separation anxiety, and inter-animal conflicts usually have an emotional component and are treatable with energy essences.
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Many behavioral issues are very easily treated with essences. Fear is very responsive to essence therapy. For example, Mandy was a little grey cat adopted from a shelter. She spent the first two weeks in her new home under the dresser, coming out only in the middle of the night to eat and use the litterbox. After just one dose of an essence combination, Mandy’s guardian reported that within two hours the cat was out exploring the house.
In another case, JoJo was grieving the loss of his canine companion, who had died. He would sit mournfully at the top of the stairs waiting for the dog to come bounding up as she always had. Essences helped JoJo get over his sorrow and interact with the family again.
Sissy had licked her tummy bare as a stress response to her guardian working extra-long hours. She was given essences for several weeks, and soon the hair grew back normally.
Even single essences or very simple formulas can have a profound impact. Ginger, a chestnut filly, was being treated for an eye infection. She had a drain sutured across her eye that had to be flushed twice a day. Not surprisingly, Ginger came to dread these treatments and began acting up. A few drops of Rescue Remedy on a horse cookie kept her calm and allowed treatment to proceed without further objection.
When choosing essences, remember our pets often mirror us, and essences appropriate for our animal companions are often the ones we need, too.
Since all physical disease also has a deep energetic component, energy essences can be used to help resolve these imbalances and aid the animal’s recovery.
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Essences are very easy to give! They can be administered by mouth, or in food or water. Just a few drops (3-5) at a time are sufficient. To increase the effect, give more often rather than more volume. Add a dropper-full to a spray bottle filled with spring water, and use it to spray a room, carrier, car, or around litter boxes. Or put a few drops in your hand and massage around the head and ears.
Since the essences act energetically, not physically, they are completely safe and non-toxic. They cannot be overused or misused, and are compatible with all other treatments. Even if you give the wrong remedy, it will not have any negative effects, but simply no effect. This allows us to use essences in food and water bowls, even when several animals share them.
Spirit Essences, founded in 1995, is the only line of essences created for animals by a veterinarian. Spirit Essences offers dozens of Special Formulas and single essences for physical, behavioral, and emotional issues for pets and people too! Please visit:
Flower essences do not directly treat physical illness, but may help resolve the underlying energetic causes of disease. They are not intended to be used in place of proper veterinary care. Always discuss all herbs, essences, and other supplements with your veterinarian before using. If your cat has a serious physical problem, please consult your veterinarian.