Wait a second, wasn't there just a discussion about essences — essential oils? Yes, there was, and in fact essential oils (which are plant derivatives) and flower essences do share the fact that they are extracts that promote healing. The difference is that the essences used for aromatherapy have strong smells and they are held in an oil-based solution. Flower essences have no smell, are typically taken through the mouth, and are prepared only in one place using specific directions as established by their founder.
Flower Essences Defined
The “father” of healing flower essences is Dr. Edward Bach. An English physician, Dr. Bach came to see disease as the result of physiological and psychological imbalances at work in the body. Healing, therefore, would come not in using something that would mask or annihilate the disease, but in something that would restore balance of the mind, the emotions, and the body. He believed the balancing elements were to be found in nature, and he went on to identify thirty-eight healing flowers and plants that now form his comprehensive Bach Flower Remedies.
The most popular Bach formulation is Rescue Remedy®, a combination of five essences. It is intended to calm and reduce stress and is suggested for anyone facing a situation from which they need to feel “rescued,” such as an important examination, speaking in public, handling a trip to the emergency room, and so on. It is as helpful for dogs as it is for humans.
Like essential oils, flower essences won't be of maximum benefit unless it is determined with some accuracy before taking them which ailment they should be addressing. In other words, looking for something to calm a dog is not as specific as looking for something to relieve the stress associated with loud noises (such as vacuum cleaners or thunderstorms). Similarly, flower essences can be used to reduce a dog's desire to lick himself all the time — but it helps to understand the source of the licking (is it nervousness, insecurity, boredom?).
A leading creator and supplier of flower essences in the U.S. is Anaflora, which offers thirty-two essences primarily for animal healing and deepening of bonding and communication. Learn more about them at www.anaflora.com.
To assist in targeting the correct remedy, Bach provided detailed descriptions of what each is for. There are many books that also help explain which remedy (or combination of remedies) is best for which problem(s). You can start your search on the Web site www.bachflower.com. A reassuring thing to know is that the essences are harmless; you can't overdose on them — of course, to get the desired results you need to choose the correct essence and take it according to the directions, which is in small doses over time.