For a long time, I never really took Bach flower remedies very seriously as a healing option. They seemed too delicate to really make any difference. And from what I’d read, you needed to repeat the doses a lot … and that just seemed like too much work.
But then I had a couple of amazing experiences using them for my dogs, and I changed my mind! And of course, as a flower essence convert, now I want everyone to know about the magic of the Bach flower remedies.
An Extraordinary Effect
Here’s my experience with the power of these gentle flower remedies.
I fostered two dogs who came down with canine flu shortly after they arrived from a shelter. A few days later, my dogs caught the flu too.
My dog Tarka is very anxious and closely bonded with me. But as he started getting over his flu, my usually loving dog was being strangely distant with me. He was refusing to show me any affection or give me a tail wag. He was even glaring at me in an accusatory way as if to say, “this is all your fault.”
Okay, maybe that last part was just my imagination … but he was definitely emotionally out of sorts and feeling sorry for himself.
I mentioned this to my friend Ellen Kohn, who does energy healing work and is an animal communicator. She thought Tarka was feeling overwhelmed by the extra dogs in the house and with everybody being ill. She asked me what flower essences I had.
I gave her a list of the few bottles I had, and she picked Crab Apple for him. I put a few drops on my hands and let him sniff them, and rubbed some around his ears. Then I sat down at my computer to work.
About 5 minutes later, Tarka came over to me, wagged his tail for the first time in several days and looked up at me with a happy smile. He lay down at my feet and immediately fell asleep. When I got up a bit later to make a cup of tea, he shifted into his “give me a belly rub” position (yep, he got his belly rub). Later that day he was running around the park in his normal happy way.
It was remarkable to see Tarka’s demeanor completely change in those few minutes, after just one little dose of Crab Apple. He seemed to recover emotionally, and his physical energy returned to its normal high level. Except for a bit of coughing for a few more days, his flu symptoms all but disappeared.
That’s What Dr Bach Intended
This kind of result is exactly what Dr Edward Bach (pronounced “Batch”) intended when he created his flower essences. He found that treating his patients’ personalities and feelings unblocked their healing potential and helped them recover from physical disease … just like Crab Apple did for Tarka.
At the 2015 Natural Canine Health Symposium (NCHS), homeopath Maria Ringo spoke about the Bach flower essences. In learning about their use, it’s helpful to understand the history of how the flower essences came about.
In the early 20th century Dr Bach had a thriving practice in London. He was researching bacteria in the intestine and created 7 “vaccines” from these bacteria that later became known in homeopathy as the Bowel Nosodes.
One day in 1917 Dr Bach collapsed from illness; he had throat cancer.
With an expected 3 months to live, he decided to put that time to good use. He worked day and night to contribute as much to science as he could in that time. And miraculously, he recovered from his cancer.
The Importance Of Mental State
Dr Bach felt his sense of purpose and very determined mental state helped him get well. His own healing convinced him of the vital importance of the mental state in the healing process.
Dr Bach started making notes on the character and the mental and emotional states of his patients, developing remedies to fit the different personality types. He used plants and flowers because he wanted his remedies to be very gentle and pure.
Bach dedicated the rest of his life to this work, with the help of his assistant Nora Weeks who continued his research after his death in 1936.
The Bach Flower Remedies
There are 38 flower remedies in all, covering 38 states of mind. The remedies can be combined to produce hundreds of different variations.
Each remedy is aimed at a different mental state or emotion, and the 38 remedies are divided into these seven emotional states:
- Insufficient interest in present circumstances
- Oversensitive to influences and ideas
- Despondency or despair
- Overcare for others
You can buy a set of all 38 remedies (often beautifully packaged in wooden boxes). It’s ideal to have the full set so you’re ready for any emergency, but at $300 or more, the sets are quite expensive. You can also buy individual remedies, which cost around $12 to $16 depending on the supplier. There are many online suppliers, and Whole Foods also carries some of the more popular remedies.
It’s a good idea to buy a book to help you with your choice of remedies. Maria Ringo recommends the ones listed below. You can Google the titles to find an online store … or the Bach Centre has a very good selection and so does Amazon.
- Bach Flower Remedies for Animals by Stefan Ball and Judy Ramsell Howard
- The Twelve Healers by Edward Bach
- Teach Yourself Bach Flower Remedies for Dogs by Heather Simpson
When deciding on a remedy for your dog, try to see things from her point of view. Think about what’s changed in her environment that could have caused her current condition.
The good news is that you can’t go far wrong. The remedies are so gentle that you can’t do any harm with them. If the remedies you choose aren’t right for your dog, the worst that happens is that they won’t have any effect on her.
If your dog’s state seems to fit more than one remedy, you can safely combine two or more remedies into a blend. Read about how to do this under How To Dose below.
There’s one popular blend you may know. You may even have used it on your dog during a trip to the vet, in a thunderstorm or when the fireworks are booming all around you on the 4th of July. This blend is known as Rescue Remedy. It contains 5 single essences and can help with all kinds of stressful situations for your dog:
- Impatiens – a remedy to help with impatience, irritability, agitation
- Clematis – for spaciness or faintness, detachment
- Rock Rose – for terror, panic, hysteria
- Cherry Plum – for loss of self control
- Star of Bethlehem – for trauma or grief
Rescue Remedy is a good example of how you can combine different essences to cover a range of states of mind.
One important thing to remember is that you should only use the flower essences to treat your dog’s emotional state. They don’t match specific physical disorders, so your dog may need additional care methods for a physical ailment. But you can safely use them alongside other treatments like homeopathy – and they won’t interfere with homeopathic remedies.
Some Useful Individual Remedies
To start you off, here are descriptions of the 5 flower essences in the Fear group of remedies. Check out the downloadable PDF below for descriptions of all 38 remedies.
You may recognize Rock Rose as one of the essences in Rescue Remedy. Rock Rose helps with panic, a state of paralysis or nightmares. You could give this to your dog who hides under the sofa in fear, trembles and cowers, or wants to run away when you approach the vet’s office.
Mimulus helps relieve fears of known origin, or shyness. It can bring courage to dogs who are afraid of specific things like the vacuum cleaner, thunder, fireworks or the groomer, or being alone.
Cherry Plum helps dogs who seem to lose control of themselves. You could give it to a dog who reacts with panic or hysteria, or who barks uncontrollably or can’t stop scratching or licking herself.
Aspen helps with fears of unknown origin. In humans it would fit a person who feels anxious or nervous but doesn’t know why. If your dog barks or seems agitated for no apparent reason, that might be a time to try Aspen. It could also combine well with Cherry Plum.
Red Chestnut is helpful is a good remedy for people who are over-concerned about others. Use it for your anxious dog who follows you around the house or is overprotective.
How To Dose
You can put 2 drops from the remedy stock bottles into your dog’s water bowl or directly onto her tongue.
But it’s really best to make up a treatment bottle instead of giving the remedies straight from the stock bottles. Your remedy will last longer diluted like this, and you won’t risk contaminating your stock bottle if you accidentally touch your dog’s mouth or tongue with the glass dropper when dosing.
- Get a clean 30 ml amber glass dropper bottle
- Put 2 drops of your selected remedy into it
- To blend more than one remedy, add two drops of each remedy
- Top up with spring water (don’t use distilled water)
- To preserve it, add ½ tsp of brandy
Dosage From Your Treatment Bottle
- Give your dog 4 drops at least 4 times a day.
- Give the remedy for 4 to 5 days
Remember you can use Bach flower remedies not just for your dog, but also for yourself, your family, horses, other pets and even farm animals. Give them a try next time your dog seems upset and you may experience your own little bit of flower essence magic.