Bach Flower Remedies

by Jacqueline Sehn, DVM

Flower essences are exquisitely refined, non-toxic herbal infusions capable of correcting emotional imbalances and altering moods in a positive manner. The current form of the flower remedies was first prepared and introduced to the world in the 1930s by Dr. Edward Bach, an English bacteriologist and homeopathic physician. Dr. Bach was a pioneer in the mind-body- spirit healing connection. During the early 1930s the world was suffering from the impact of the Great Depression. It was during this time that Dr. Bach discovered the potential for healing psycho-emotional imbalances with flower essences, opening the path to restored mental and physical health.

Bach identified and collected 38 flower essences, each targeting a different emotional state, helping to combat feelings of sorrow, fear, confusion and being overwhelmed. Bach's legacy lives on, as the flower remedies are used worldwide. The flowers are grown in environmentally pristine conditions, picked at their most vibrationally powerful stage of growth, when their 'life force'  is most potent. Although considered "energy medicine", the remedies differ from homeopathic medicines. They do not follow the "Law of Similars". Like homeopathy, however, the proof of their efficacy lies in observing their healing effects on children and animals--blissfully unaware of the placebo effect.

The most widely used remedy today is the Rescue Remedy, or 5-flower remedy. Its constituents include cherry plum, rock rose, clematis, impatiens and star of Bethlehem and it is useful in situations involving shock, trauma, anxiety, terror and hysteria (a trip to the vet!!!). Certified Bach flower consultants are extremely helpful because their objectivity can separate the true motivation of our pets' behaviors and feelings from our perceptions of them, thus, making it easier to choose the right "recipe". Bach flower consultants typically work via telephone consultations. Their fee usually includes the price of the remedy, shipping and handling, and a follow-up call. The remedies usually come in one ounce bottles, preserved with a small amount of brandy or vodka and diluted with spring water. Dilution does not affect their potency. Up to seven essences may be blended into one remedy, which is then shaken vigorously before administration. Standard administration calls for: 4 drops 4 times a day for chronic symptoms and 4 drops every 10 minutes for emergencies. The same dose is used for all species, horse or hamster. The essences are most potent if given by mouth, but they can also be misted onto the face, applied to tips of ears, paw pads, and dropped into water dishes. They are more effective if given without food. They are compatible with all other alternative treatment modalities, and they cannot be overdosed.

There are hundreds of flower essences being used today, although purists continue to regard (and only use) Dr. Bach's original 38. Today, it is common knowledge that negative emotions are capable of suppressing the healing process. Flower essences seek to restore emotional imbalances in a safe, gentle, highly effective way, thereby restoring health. At MercyVet, flower essences are used in a variety of ways. Before a patient is placed in an exam room, a flower-essence compound is sprayed to diffuse anxiety and calm the patient. Flower essences are dispensed for a patient who might be grieving the loss of a mate, a guardian, or a former home. There are "recipes" for traveling, for lodging, learning to adjust to a new pet being introduced into the family, separation anxiety, depression and pain. Flower essences addressing loneliness, separation, and enclosure are placed into the water dishes of cats in our lodging facility, and placed into the mouths of recovering surgical patients to ease pain and swelling. The effects are truly amazing!

BACH'S ORIGINAL 38 FLOWER ESSENCES

FEAR

Aspen.................... fears and worries of unknown origin
Cherry Plum............. fear of the mind giving way
Mimulus...................fear of known things
Red Chestnut............over concern for the welfare of others
Rock Rose................terror and fright

UNCERTAINTY

Cerato................... constantly seeks advice and confirmation from others
Gentian.................. discouragement, despondency
Gorse.....................hopelessness, despair
Hornbeam................procrastination, weariness at the thought of doing something
Scleranthus..............inability to choose between alternatives
Wild Oat..................uncertainty over one's direction in life

ISUFFICIENT INTEREST IN PRESENT CIRCUMSTANCES

Chestnut Bud............ failure to learn from past mistakes
Clematis.................. dreaming of the future without working in the present
Honeysuckle..............living in the past
Olive.......................exhaustion following mental or physical effort
White Chestnut..........unwanted thoughts and mental arguments
Wild Rose.................drifting, resignation, apathy

LONLINESS

Heather....................self-centeredness, self-absorption
Impatiens..................impatience
Mustard....................gloom for no reason
Water Violet...............pride and aloofness

OVER-SENSITIVITY TO INFLUENCES AND IDEAS

Agrimony...................mental torment behind a brave face
Centaury...................weak willed and subservient
Holly.........................hatred, envy, jealousy
Walnut......................protection from change and unwanted influences

DESPONDENCY OR DESPAIR

Crab Apple..................a cleansing remedy, also for self-hatred
Elm...........................overwhelmed by responsibility
Larch.........................lack of confidence
Oak...........................the plodder who keeps going past exhaustion
Pine..........................guilt
Star of Bethlehem..........shock
Sweet Chestnut............extreme mental anguish, where all else has failed
Willow........................self-pity, resentment

OVER-CARE FOR THE WELFARE OF OTHERS

Beech........................intolerance
Chicory......................selfishly possessive
Rock Water.................self-repression, self-denial
Vervain......................over enthusiasm
Vine..........................dominance and inflexibility

EMERGENCY USE

Rescue Remedy.............for anxiety, agitation, upset, terror, shock
A combination of Impatiens, Star of Bethlehem, Cherry Plum, Rock Rose and Clematis