Flower essences have been used since ancient times to provide vibrational healing for mind, body and spirit for people. Hildegard von Bingen (12th century) and Paracelsus (15th century) both wrote about the use of flowering plants to treat health imbalances. The healing method became better know in the 1930’s when Dr. Edward Bach, a British practitioner of homeopathy and bacteriology, developed his range of 38 essences known as the Bach Flower Remedies. The most well-known of his remedies is probably Rescue Remedy®.
As interest in holistic modalities for animals increases, flower essences are being used as a gentle, yet effective tool to enhance and improve their overall well-being.
Cats seem to be particularly responsive to these essences. They can help with a wide range of feline problems, from stress to litter box aversion to territorial issues.
What are flower essences?
Flower essences are obtained by extracting the vibrational healing properties of the blossoms after leaving them in sunlight and pure water for several hours. The resulting essence is then diluted out even more, and preserved with alcohol, usually brandy. Some flower essence manufacturers use alternate preservatives such as vinegar. The preservatives do not alter the vibrational quality of the essence.*
How do flower essences work?
Emotional and mental imbalances, if left untreated, will eventually manifest as physical illness. This is no different for cats than it is for people. Flower essences are vibrational medicine. They work in the energy field, similar to homeopathic remedies. They are safe to use, and, unlike some herbal treatments, do not interfere with allopathic drug treatments.
What types of problems can flower essences help with?
Flower essences are particularly effective for behavioral problems and stressful situations, whether it’s a move, trip to the vet, or a new cat in the household. I’ve used Rescue Remedy® for may years for my cats prior to visits to the vet, or during thunderstorms. (I also use it for myself during stressful situations.) I’ve been using flower essences to help with some of the behavior challenges Allegra was dealing with when I first adopted her, and I credit the progress we’ve made in no small amount to the essences.
How are flower essences administered?
Flower essences can be given orally, mixed with food or water, rubbed on the inside of the ear, or rubbed into the fur at the top of the head or base of the tail. Since they’re energy medicine, the only thing that matters is that they get into the cat’s energy field – how that is achieved is of secondary importance.
The Bach Flower Essences are widely available in health food stores, including national chains like Whole Foods. There are many other lines of essences available. I use the Green Hope Farm essences for Allegra.
I’ve recently become interested in Spirit Essences, the only line of flower essences developed by a holistic veterinarian, Dr. Jean Hofve. Spirit Essences is owned by nationally known feline behaviorist and star of Animal Planet’s “My Cat from Hell,” Jackson Galaxy. During my interview with Jackson for The Conscious Cat, he graciously offered to send me a couple of his essences for Allegra. I’ll let you know how she does with them.
If you haven’t used flower essences for your cat, I’d encourage you to give them a try. If you have used them, I’d love to hear your experience with them.
*Please note that flower essences are not to be confused with aromatherapy or essential oils. Essential oils are generally not safe to use around cats. This has become a hotly debated topic in holistic circles. Even though some practitioners or suppliers of essential oils will claim that their products or techniques are completely safe for cats, the fact remains that cats have a unique physiology and process these oils differently from other species. Some oils can even be deadly to cats. I do not recommend the use of any essential oils around cats.
About the author
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.