WHAT ARE FLOWER ESSENCES?
Flower essences are dilute extracts of various types of flowers and plants that are used to treat animals and people. They are similar to homeopathic remedies and herbal remedies and like homeopathic remedies they are diluted and potentized to make them more effective than just using the original flower as a herbal extract. The person who first developed the original flower remedies was Dr. Edward Bach, a famous English physician. He developed the Bach Flower Remedies when he was working as a homeopathic practitioner and devoted the last years of his life to researching and developing his remedies, from 1930 onwards. He wanted to find a simpler form of treatment that would not require anything to be destroyed or altered.
Dr. Bach believed that diseases of the body come about as a result of imbalances or negativity at the level of the soul, and by correcting the problem here healing would result and the body would heal on all levels. The flower remedies act to balance inharmonies in the emotional and spiritual body, and bring about a gentle healing by bringing the body back in balance with itself. They act almost a catalysts to cause healing. There were originally thirty eight Bach Flower Remedies that at that time Dr. Bach felt would correct all imbalances that were possible. There are remedies such as Holly which he found would heal the state of anger, and open the heart, and remedies that deal with a variety of other emotions from lack of confidence to over enthusiasm and impatience.
Animals respond just as well to Bach Flower remedies as people, and seem to have similar emotional imbalances that can be corrected with the appropriate remedy. The flowers are gathered from nature when they are just at the point of perfection and it is important that the flowers are free from any toxins and preservatives. The remedies are made by leaving the flower out in the sun and the extracted essence is then diluted in water and preserved with alcohol to make a mother tincture. The resulting remedy is then diluted in spring water to make a solution that can be taken by an animal or a person.
Subsequent to Bach’s work other Flower Essence Societies have been formed and remedies have been developed that are appropriate to that particular area, or the times we are living in. The most important of these are the California Flower Essences that are developed from native American plants in the Sierra Nevada foothills in California. The Flower Essence Society has developed an extensive research program and been very important in helping people understand and use Flower Remedies as a healing tool.
BACH FLOWER REMEDIES
As mentioned above the first flower remedies were the Bach Flower Remedies and there are thirty eight of these, which are used to treat a lot of different problems in both people and animals. These are a great place to start and to study to get familiar with the Flower essences and you can really treat almost every condition with these alone. Each essence treats a particular imbalance and they can be used alone or in combination depending what the problem is. It is often more effective to use a single essence, as this is more focused. It is possible to use more, but the maximum recommended number of remedies to combine is seven, and it is best to use as few as possible for maximum results.
One well chosen flower remedy will be more powerful in its action. In practice three or four related remedies seem to work well together for example, a combination might be made up for treating fear composed of the following three Bach Flower Remedies. Mimulus may be used for fear of known causes, Aspen for groundless fears, Rock Rose for acute fear or panic. Together these three remedies will cover most aspects of fear, and will act as a good general fear remedy. If the fear was due to some trauma that had happened in the past then another remedy called Star of Bethlehem may be considered, as this helps release any shock and trauma from the body, however long ago it took place.
The most useful Bach Flower Remedy of all is actually a combination of five other remedies, that act synergistically to calm stress and fear. This is wonderful any time there is shock, stress or trauma. It is an invaluable addition to the first aid kit that any pet owner would find useful. It can be safely used before visiting the vet office or after any kind of injury. It will often revive animals that are in shock and help in their journey to the vet and subsequent recovery, though it is obviously not a replacement for immediate veterinary care. It has definitely saved many animals and is totally safe.
The five remedies are Star of Bethlehem for trauma and numbness, Clematis for being grounded and to prevent passing out, Rock Rose for panic, Impatiens for tension and irritability and Cherry Plum to prevent losing control. Basically four drops of the stock bottle are added to a one ounce glass dropper bottle of spring water and shaken up. It is best to make this up immediately before use as the mixture will not keep too long.Three or four drops of the mixture can be given into the mouth or onto the gums every five minutes until a response is seen. Rescue Remedy can also be given in the water during any time of stress and in this case it is best to use ten drops every time the water is changed.
Rescue Remedy and the other thirty eight remedies are available in most good health food stores. They are very valuable healing essences and well worth using. The other remedies can be prepared by adding two drops of each remedy that is indicated into a one ounce dropper bottle, and adding spring water, and a dropper or two of a preservative such as brandy or apple cider vinegar. For people alcohol is used as a preservative but I find in small animals like rabbits it is best to use plain spring water. Four drops can be given on the gums four times daily, for about six to eight weeks to achieve the desired effect.
The California Flower Essences, known as quintessentials, are made by the Flower Essence Society in the Sierra Nevada foothills in California. The non-profit organization was formed by Patricia Kaminski and Richard Katz and is very scientifically based. They have an extensive practitioner research program and are continually researching new flower essences. The Society has three purposes which are the research into therapeutic uses of the flower essences, training and certification programs and communication and referrals between people and practitioners interested in flower remedies.
FES makes a large number of different essences and several are worth mentioning individually. There is a Special Yarrow Formula that is effective in protecting both people and animals against harmful environmental influences, such as radiation, pollution, electromagnetic radiation, for example from computers. This also protects against negative emotions that can affect health and well-being. Animals and children are particularly sensitive to picking up the emotions and moods of the people around them and this formula helps to prevent this. Emotional stress in animals, picked up from the family, can manifest as psychological stress such as inappropriate urination, feather plucking or chewing on themselves, and this formula can often help in these situations.
Bleeding heart is another very useful flower remedy that as it suggests helps heal the heart. It is invaluable after any kind of grief, such as the loss of a family member or other pet, for both the people and animals suffering the loss. It can be used for a female animal after her puppies or kittens leave to other homes, or after a divorce or separation, where animals are affected just as much as people to the stresses and painful emotions. Chamomile is useful, as is the herb (which is often made as a tea) for calming the emotions and soothing irritable and fractious animals, and is especially useful for younger pets and children, when they are teething and tend to be restless and cranky.
There are numerous other California Essences which are useful too, for specific emotional problems and they can be combined most successfully with Bach Flower Remedies or other essences. One essence that works well on the physical body is Garlic, and this helps to repel fleas, and does not have any of the other effects of garlic, including the odor, some animals are sensitive to garlic as a herb, and it should not be used in too large dosages, and the flower essence garlic offers a safe and effective alternative, which can be used on a daily basis, and helps to enhance the function of the immune system.
OTHER FLOWER REMEDIES
There are several other excellent sources of Flower Remedies. The first of these are made by Perelandra Flower Essences. Perelandra is a wonderful place of nature, founded by Machaelle Small Wright. They grow their own flowers and make essences. The Perelandra essences work deeply and at a more spiritual level and are useful for deep seated emotional problems. Some essences help with the physical body such as Celery which restores balance to the immune system when it is stressed or overworked, and during long-term viral or bacterial infections, tomato also helps the body in throwing off infection or disease.
Green Hope Farm are another extensive source of Flower Remedies, in the USA. In addition to many single essences they also have various special formulations including some developed specifically for animals, including ones for flea relief, called Flee Free, and one for emergency animal care. These are very useful general essences for the pet owner to keep at hand, and they seem to have the most extensive range of animal essences, so are well worth looking into further.
Australian Bush Essences is an excellent company based, as the name suggests, in Australia, They have a range of essences from that country, which has very different flora and fauna to the United States. Some people believe that the essences made near to where you live are more effective, for people and animals living there, and it certainly makes sense to use the flowers that are growing locally, and take the gifts which they offer. The Bush Flower Essences have fifty well researched flower essences that were developed by a naturopath from Australia, named Ian White, from plants growing wild and free in the beautiful Australian bush, which is still a relatively unadulterated wilderness.
Master’s Flower Essences are the oldest essences outside UK. They are a wonderful range of 20 essences that address a lot of modern issues, such as success and achievement. They can be extrapolated for animals, for example the remedy for assuredness and success would suit an animal that was used in the show ring, or a horse that was required to race or achieve certain goals. Often is is useful for an animal and a person to take flower remedies at the same time, and sometimes the same remedy is indicated, as animals tend to take on the emotions and stresses of their human companions. There are many essences available to choose from and the only way to find out which is best is by reading and researching or even better by consulting a qualified flower essence practitioner.
USES OF FLOWER REMEDIES
As described above, flower remedies and essences have many and varied uses, but act mainly on the higher emotional levels. The body is affected very much by the emotions and the mind, and by healing at a deeper level flower remedies can shift illnesses, either alone, or more often in combination with other forms of treatment. For example, skin problems may manifest in animals during times of anxiety and stress, such as when a new pet or a human baby, enters the household. The physical symptoms may be due to jealousy, anger, resentment, loneliness or other emotions, but by careful questioning an idea of what may be going on can be determined and a remedy mixture made up to address the root cause of the problem. In the meantime the skin may also need to be treated, but the end results with addressing the issue at both these levels are much better than merely treating the skin alone.
Flower remedies can help a lot with behavioral problems, such as biting and aggression. It is important to combine the remedy with training and behavior modification, and both these approaches are enhanced by the use of flower remedies. Fear, which is a common problem in animals, also can be helped by suitable remedies, and a combination of Rescue Remedy and the fear remedies mentioned above will often help in situations such as fear of thunderstorms, or general lack of confidence. Animals that have been rescued or abused in the past often benefit wonderfully from the use of appropriate flower essences, and they can help to restore their confidence and build trust.
Rescue Remedy, combined with the homeopathic remedy Aconite makes a wonderful calming essence that can be used on wild animals, and for rehabilitation, as mentioned above it works well on any kind of stress or fear situation and definitely helps with survival rate in these situations. A few drops of the combined essence on the gums or even onto the ear of the rescued animal will calm them down and make them easier to handle. It can even be sprayed onto the skin or ears with a spray bottle and will still have a beneficial effect. A dropper of the combination can be put in the daily water for rescued animals to help them withstand the stress of captivity, and make them more manageable.
Other problem pets such as animals that tend to wander away from home, cats that urinate and defecate all over the house, animals that suffer from separation anxiety can all benefit from flower remedies, and their problems can be improved. It depends on the situation, often if the change will be permanent, some problems are related to other animals in the household, such as territorial behavior, and this may persist as long as another cat is present. Nevertheless appropriate flower essences can help alleviate and resolve many of these situations, again combined most effectively with behavior modification and possible changes to the living environment.
COMMON FLOWER REMEDIES
For animals that are very fearful, for no apparent reason, and are very sensitive to anxiety and apprehension. They may tremble with fear and anxiety without any obvious causation. (Bach)
For grieving animals that have suffered a loss of either another animal or person. It also helps animals who have never recovered from a loss or grief that happened in the past. (FES)
For animals that are overly submissive and eager to please, tending to be bullied by other animals. For animals that grovel and urinate from submissive behavior when petted. (Bach)
This is a calming remedy that helps fractious and irritable animals. It is especially useful if they are teething and also helps the animal that tends to have terrible temper tantrums. (FES)
For animals that cannot control their behavior, such as aggression and biting, and tend to have violent impulses towards other animals and people, and even be dangerous. (Bach)
For the overly possessive and maternal animal that wants attention all the time and is also jealous of other animals or people who might compete with them for affection. (Bach)
For cleansing the body and getting rid of toxins. This remedy acts more on the physical body than any of the other essences and is good for any situation where cleansing is required. (Bach)
For animals that are easily discouraged and give up easily and are easily set back. For example in training programs they will give up if they make even a small mistake. (Bach)
For animals that hate to be left alone, and suffer from separation anxiety. These animals tend to be very vocal, and may whine and cry a lot if they have to be left alone. (Bach)
For the impatient, fast moving, hyperactive animal that never seems to slow down. These animals can be snappy and irritable and they tend to rush ahead, or pull on the leash. (Bach)
For animals that lack self confidence and tend to be timid and shy, can help animals that need to perform in the show ring but dont have the confidence to show themselves well. (Bach)
This remedy is for animals that are scared of known things, such as thunderstorms, other animals or people. It helps them to overcome their fears and be timid and scared of the world. (Bach)
For animals that are exhausted and drained by a long strain or a difficult illness, such as a chronic disease. This will help them handle the ordeal better and become stronger again. (Bach)
Helps protect animals from negative emotional energy, such as during a divorce, or stressful family situation, or when another animal or person is sick or draining their energy reserves.
The single most useful flower remedy combination, helps with any kind of stress or trauma, such as accidents, birthing, illness, stress, and it even helps recovery after a seizure. (Bach)
This is useful for animals that are very scared and prone to panic attacks, for no known reason. They become totally rigid with fear and tend to be very highly strung and nervous. (Bach)
This is a wonderful remedy either alone or in combination. It helps healing by stimulating the innate healing reserves of the body and is useful in any illness to bring about healing. (FES)
Special Yarrow Formula
The Special Yarrow formula helps protect animals and people from negative external influences such as environmental pollution, toxins, electromagnetic energy and other factors. (FES)
Star of Bethlehem
For animals that have suffered any kind of trauma, emotional or physical, such as an accident or abuse. It will help them to recover from this shock, however long ago it took place. (Bach)
This remedy helps with aggression and animals that tend to bite and snap. It helps them release aggression and be less hostile, and opens them up to learning to co-operate with others. (FES)
This is good for the very enthusiastic animal that is over bearing and highly strung. It helps calm hyperactivity and restlessness and suits the animal that wears people out by their excess energy. (Bach)
This remedy helps with the dominant animal who wants to be the boss of all the other animals and people. They are bullies to the other animals around them and hate to be disciplined. (Bach)
This is an extremely useful remedy for any time of transition, such as moving house, becoming pregnant, adjusting to new animals or family members, or going to a new situation. (Bach)
This remedy tends to suit cats that are unusually introverted and detached, and it helps open them up to be more friendly and outgoing and less aloof and emotionally distant. (Bach)
Helps the restless animal that never seems to know what they want or to settle down into anything, it helps them to focus their energies and be less scattered in their approach to life. (Bach)
This remedy helps with resentment and bitterness and often helps cats that urinate everywhere, due to a change in the household, such as the arrival of another animal or a baby. (Bach)
Australian Bush Flower Essences
8A Oaks Avenue
61- 2- 9927- 1033
Flower Essence Society
PO Box 1769
Nevada City, CA 95959
Flower Remedy Sources
Alaskan Flower Essence Project
PO Box 1369
Homer, AK 99603
PO Box 125A
Meriden , NH 03770
100 Research Drive
Wilmington, MA 01887
Spirit-in-Nature Flower Essences
14618 Tyler Foote Road
P.O. Box 3603
Dr. Anna Maria Gardner is a holistic veterinarian, based in Washington State, and is certified in acupuncture and homeopathy. She lives in Washington with her daughter, two dogs, seven cats, sixteen chickens, two goats, a donkey, a horse, two ducks, a pair of geese and one bossy parrot.