This method of complimentary medicine is named after a British doctor called Edward Bach, who was born in 1886. He studied at University College Hospital, London, and then worked there for a time, before setting up his own successful practice in nearby Harley Street. Inspired by homeopathy, Bach then decided to seek out remedies which would actually help his patients’ emotional well-being, rather than their illness directly.
Bach flower therapy uses completely natural ingredients in very small quantities. The idea is that the medicines encourage the natural self-healing ability of cats (or people) to work effectively.
Dr Bach moved out of London and turned to the world of plants in his quest for natural remedies. He developed 38 Bach flower remedies for particular traits, which he tested on himself. He adopted the mood that he wanted to treat and used various plants until he discovered one which overcame his state of mind. Today, in spite of the growing international interest in these remedies, which are widely sold through health food stores and chemists, they are still prepared in an almost identical fashion to that used by Dr Bach himself.
METHODS OF PREPARATION
In some cases, flowering twigs are boiled for 30 minutes in spring water, after which the solution is left to cool, with the plant matter being taken out. The remaining solution is diluted on an equal volume basis with brandy. The other method of preparation is used for flowers which can be floated in a clear glass bowl filled with spring water and placed in bright sun for a period of three hours. The same procedure is then followed, once the flowers themselves have been removed. These methods create the concentrated mother tincture, which is then diluted again before being bottled for sale. The contents of these stock bottles will last almost indefinitely, although the labelling recommends they are to be used within five years.
Dr Bach tried mixing all of the remedies together and administering them in a single dose, but this approach did not work successfully.
No scientifically-accepted clinical trials have been carried out to determine the efficacy —or otherwise — of Bach flower remedies.
One of the most widely-used Bach flower therapies for cats is the so-called Rescue Remedy, which is recommended in cases of shock.
Q. How are these remedies administered?
In liquid form. They can either be given directly to the cat, or added to its food. The stock solution which can be bought will need to be diluted, so add two drops of the remedy (four in the case of Rescue Remedy) to a 30m1 dropper bottle, fill to this volume using mineral water; administer four drops of the solution four times during the day.
Q. How do I know which of the different remedies to select for my cat? Seek advice from a veterinarian who has experience in this field, or choose according to their stated qualities. If you are using individual remedies, rather than Rescue Remedy (which is the only ready-mixed preparation), use no more than six together. There are no restrictions on which remedies can be used at the same time.