Heidi Kübler, Dr.med.vet.
Today flower essences are well known all over the world. More than 20 different flower essence systems with more than 1.000 different essences are existing. The founder of the modern flower essence therapy was the English human doctor Edward Bach in 1930-36.
Flower essences are watery dilutions of plants or flowers. They were produced with water, crystal glass and energy and were conserved with alcohol. They are not homoeopathic, not herbal and not aromatic in their preparation.
Flower essences contain no pharmacologic means, have no scientific support at this time and no scientific studies in man or pets. The mechanism of action is really unknown today. They influence the mental, emotional and physical balance of the individuum.
Flower essences are composed of water as a carrier of information an alcohol for conservation. The identification of essences is possible by spectroscopy. There is no defined dose-effect relation; the effects are based on resonance phenomenon.
To understand how flower essences can work, it is necessary to look at the structure and properties of water: It has a dipole structure and forms stable and instable clusters. A rapid information transfer is possible between different clusters for example by shaking a watery solution.
In a living system frequencies of flower essences interact with frequencies of the system. In human beings you find frequencies from < 1 Hz to over 1018 Hz, so you can have an endless number of interactions.
The founder of the modern flower essences, Dr. Edward Bach (1886-1936) established the Bach Flower System: He found 37 individual plants, spring water and one combination of 5 plants (Rescue Remedy). The essences of the Bach Flower System are numbered from 1-39 and listened alphabetically from Nr. 1-Agrimony to Nr. 38-Willow. Bach prepared his remedies of flowers of non toxic wild plants, bushes and trees and spring water he found in the English countryside. He developed special methods of preparation using spring water, sun and decoction.
English Flower Essences are concentrated (stock bottles) and have to be prepared before use. They were diluted in a solution containing 3 parts of spring water and 1 part of alcohol (vodka, brandy). To make a mixture for use in animals (and man) you add 2 drops of each essence per 10 ml solution. Only the famous Nr. 39 Rescue Remedy makes an exception: you add 4 drops of Nr. 39 per 10 ml water. A mixture can contain several essences.
The dosage in small animals is about 1-5 drops 1-4 times a day--dependant on the species and the reaction of the animal. You can give the mixture into the mouth, add it to food or water or drop it on the head of the animal.
Originally the Bach Flower System was found for treatment of man. Since about 25 years we can see an increasing use in treatment of animals. It is based on the concept that correction of emotional dysfunction can help heal physical dysfunction and can complement other forms of therapy-either conventional or alternative medicine. This form of therapy is demanded more and more by pet owners.
According to Edward Bach's philosophy you can treat all diseases in man (and animals) with his flower therapy. But Bach Flower Therapy is only one of many instruments we use in curing animals. It also has its possibilities and its limits!
Bach Flower Therapy is indicated for all psychosomatic problems, for behavioural problems, for diseases resistant to all used therapies-for example fearful and timid animals, mourning animals, hyperactive animals, barking dogs, spraying cats or animals refusing medicaments.
Before using Bach Flower Therapy in animals, look whether they aren't undercooled, starved or totally exhausted. Contraindicated is flower therapy in deficiencies in food or environment, lack of vitamins or minerals, orthopedic problems which need surgical care, dangerous diseases like failure of organs (liver, kidney, heart) or non-acceptance of the therapy by the owner.
But don't give up good therapies to use Bach Flower Remedies as only treatment in diseases without any psychic disorder, for example accidents, wounds, fractures.
The most famous remedy of the Bach Flower System is Nr. 39-Rescue Remedy, the only combination in the system. It is composed of 5 flowers: Nr. 6 Cherry Plum, Nr. 9 Clematis, Nr. 18 Impatiens, Nr. 26 Rock Rose, Nr. 29 Star of Bethlehem. It can be used in every case of emergency as a first aid medicament--in practice by the vets assistant, at home by the owner. You can drop a few drops on the head between the ears and repeat every 15-20 minutes until the animal gets quiet.
You can use Rescue Remedy in terror, panic phobias, extreme fear for example during driving in a car, during examination in practice, during thunder, lightning and storms, when animals are afraid of firecrackers, after accidents or fights.
Summary: Bach Flower Therapy is easy to learn, easy to incorporate in veterinary practice and easily accepted by pet owners. Bach Flower Therapy is a good working, non invasive therapy to treat psychosomatic problems in small animals. I'll invite you to test it in your practice!
Short Materia Medica of the Bach Flower Essences
1. Agrimony: Animals are sensitive and easily distressed when there is disharmony, "peacemaker", do not like to stay alone;
2. Aspen: Animals are afraid of anything unfamiliar, become nervous for no obvious reason, can not stay alone;
3. Beech: Intolerant animals, tolerate only their master, do not like other animals or people, show territorial aggression; selective eaters, intolerance of pollution, heat, cold or changes in barometric pressures
4. Centaury: Animals are subservient and eager to please; pleasant, good-natured, tolerant animals, dominated by other animals, can't stay alone;
5. Cerato: Animals are uncertain, irresolute, easily distracted; lack of natural self-confidence, home-sickness when the owner is in holydays;
6. Cherry Plum: Animals show suppressed anxiety, can outbreak in uncontrolled panic reactions; fear of losing control;
7. Chestnut Bud: Helps animals to learn basic skills and can help to break bad habits; Animals seem restless, inattentive and indocile;
8. Chicory: Animals demand attention, are self-confident, may be overly protective of the house or family; tend to destroy, tend to protest reaction;
9. Clematis: Animals are distracted, indifferent, apathic or inattentive, have a tendency to unconsciousness or absence;
10. Crab Apple: Cleansing remedy; animals may have skin problems or tend to lick excessively themselves
11. Elm: Animals seem to be overwhelmed by a demanding situation, such as travel, competition or pregnancy;
12. Gentian: Animals are uncertain, suspicious, and easily discouraged either emotionally or physically;
13. Gorse: Animals are resigned, weak and tired, they have given up their selves, appear hopeless, refuse food;
14. Heather: Animals demonstrate excessive attention-getting-behavior, are uncertain, can't stay alone, vocalize constantly or show protest reactions;
15. Holly: Animals are aggressive, jealous and suspicious, tend to uncontrolled reactions, when something misfits them;
16. Honeysuckle: Animals are mourning for the past after removal, change or loss of owner, have problems with new situations;
17. Hornbeam: Animals seem tired and exhausted, have lost interest in life; animals who appear fatigued during work;
18. Impatiens: Animals are impatient, irritable, hectic and nervous, nothing goes for them quick enough; tend to extreme reactions when irritated;
19. Larch: Animals are shy and timid, have no self-confidence, are extremely uncertain and cower in submission;
20. Mimulus: Animals have specific fears that can be identified; for example fear of thunder, lightning, noise, air balloons;
21. Mustard: Animals suddenly become depressed, prefer solitude and stay in one place without a real reason;
22. Oak: Animals continue their efforts in spite of exhaustion; they work too much but can't stop it, they are struggling forward;
23. Olive: Animals are physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted without clinical signs of certain diseases;
24. Pine: Animals are devoted and submissive, they may cower and make constant attempts to please their owners;
25. Red Chestnut: Animals seem afraid for those they love; overly anxious about their young, do not tolerate separation well;
26. Rock Rose: Animals have uncontrolled panic attacks in threatening situations; extreme fear, panic phobias
27. Rock Water: Animals tend to have routines, are stubborn, inflexible, have problem to accept new things;
28. Scleranthus: Animals may have severe mood swings, tend to lose balance, are uncertain, tend to motion sickness with vomiting and salivation;
29. Star of Bethlehem: Animals are paralysed after shock; helps to digest physical, emotional or mental stress and shock;
30. Sweet Chestnut: Animals have given up, feel they have reached the limit of their endurance; apathic, exhausted, show no interest in anything;
31. Vervain: Animals are hyperactive, strong-willed, seem to have inexhaustible energy, tend to pace, jump and bark;
32. Vine: Animals are dominant, ambitious, imperious, inflexible strong-willed thinkers; very difficult to train, tend to aggression;
33. Walnut: Helps to protect the animal during any state of change, such as a move, new owner, the animals have problems when something changes in their environment;
34. Water Violet: Animals are aloof, want to stay alone and tend to be antisocial with other animals and people;
35. White Chestnut: Animals are unbalanced, nervous and restless, seem under internal tension, have problems with concentration;
36. Wild Oat: Animals seem really dissatisfied, uncertain, feel bored; they are talented but endurance is lacking;
37. Wild Rose: Animals are totally apathetic, seem to lack energy and motivation, seem to give up, stop eating and don't groom;
38. Willow: Animals are suspicious, discontented, out of temper and offended, they show their displeasure by urinating, defecating or destroying the house.
1. Bach, E., Wheeler FJ.: The Bach flower remedies, New Canaan, Conn., 1979, Keats Publishing Inc.
2. Chancellor PM.: Dr. Philip M. Chancellor's handbook of the Bach flower remedies, New Canaan, Conn., 1980, Keats Publishing Inc.
3. Kaminski, P., Katz, R.: Flower essence repertory, Nevada City, Calif., 1994, The Flower Essence Society
4. Kübler, H.: Bach-Blüten-Therapie in der Tiermedizin, Johannes Sonntag Verlagsbuchhandlung, Stuttgart, 1999
5. Kübler, H.: La floriterapia di Bach in veterinaria, Tecniche Nuove, Milano, 2001
6. Scheffer, M.: Die Original Bach-Blüten Therapie, Heinrich Hugendubel Verlag, München, 1999
7. Sheffer, M.: Bach flower therapy theory and practice, Rochester, Vt, 1986, Thorsons Publishers Inc.
8. Weeks, N.: The medical discoveries of Edward Bach, physician, New Canaan, Conn, 1973, Keats Publishing Inc.