Bach Flowers for Cats: Miracle Cure for Stress or Just Humbug?

Bach flower therapy aims to stabilize the mental and emotional balance of cats. The calming effect is said to help stressed or traumatized fur noses in particular. Some proponents even swear by the healing properties of physical illnesses. However, the effectiveness of Bach flowers for cats has not been scientifically proven.

What is Bach Flower Therapy?

The British doctor Edward Bach (1886-1936) developed a procedure for physically ill people in the 1930s. Bach flower therapy, named after its founder, is a treatment method from alternative medicine (also called complementary medicine).

According to Bach, there are a total of 38 negative states of mind. This includes, for example, loneliness, fear, or insecurity. He assigned 38 different plants to these states of mind, which are supposed to help overcome negative moods. Depending on the underlying condition, the patient ingests an essence made from the plant blossoms. This is supposed to stabilize the balance between the soul and the personality of the patient. This spiritual and spiritual healing, in turn, can also heal physical illnesses.

How Effective is the Procedure in Cats?

Researchers have examined the effects of Bach flower therapy in several randomized, controlled studies. So far, however, they have not been able to prove any medical effectiveness. The administration of Bach flowers is scientifically ineffective. The procedure is therefore one of the so-called pseudosciences.

Nevertheless, Bach flowers can trigger the so-called placebo effect. This phenomenon describes the occurrence of verifiable effects after a dummy preparation (placebos), here the Bach flowers, has been administered.

Scientists assume that the healing effect does not come from the ingredients themselves but from a psychological stimulation of the endorphins (happiness hormones) in the body. Researchers have also been able to demonstrate this effect in animals. For this reason, Bach flowers can have a positive effect on cats and, for example, calm excited house tigers. But there is no guarantee that this will be the case.

What are Bach Flowers?

Edward Bach selected 38 different plants that are said to have a positive influence on negative mental states. Each plant has a defined numbering, English name, and a special area of ​​application.

Here are some examples:

  • 3: Beech (European beech)
  • 12: Gentian (autumn gentian)
  • 26: Rock Rose (yellow sun rose)
  • 35: White Chestnut

However, Bach flowers are not administered as a whole, but as essences. Bach has developed two production methods for this purpose:

  • Sun method: Cover a glass bowl filled with clear water with ripe Bach flowers. When the sky is cloudless and sunny, these then act for several hours. If the flowers have wilted and bubbles are visible, the essence of the flowers has passed into the water. This liquid is then mixed in equal parts with brandy.
  • Cooking method: Wooden plants, especially bushes and shrubs, are boiled for about half an hour. The resulting essence is filtered several times and also infused with alcohol.

In Which Situations are Bach Flowers Suitable for Cats?

Bach flowers have been part of the repertoire of alternative medicine since the 1930s. About 50 years later, the therapy was transferred to veterinary medicine. Cats in particular are very sensitive animals and often react to stressful situations with behavioral changes. They are then often anxious, aggressive, restless, or urinate in the apartment.

Proponents believe that Bach flowers have positive effects on cats, especially during and after stressful situations. The following situations are among the most common use cases:

  • after physical and mental abuse
  • after severe trauma, for example, physical trauma, sudden changes in the social environment, or moving house
  • for a stress-related obsessive-compulsive disorder such as compulsive licking

Administration of the Essences

There are around 38 different Bach flowers that can be put together in different ways. In addition, some manufacturers have developed special preparations for pets. They usually consist of a mixture of different Bach flower essences and are available as drops, but sometimes also as globules.

The drops can be administered orally, for example, during a trip, during a thunderstorm, or when visiting the vet. Since it is not a drug, but a food, dosage information is usually not listed. However, institutions specializing in Bach flowers recommend the administration of 24 drops – six times four drops – per day.

Do Bach Flowers for Cats Have Side Effects?

Since the agent has no scientifically proven effect, an overdose is not possible. Side effects and interactions with drugs are therefore excluded by the manufacturer.

Food or Medicine?

This question preoccupied the health industry in Bach flower therapy for a long time. In 2006 and 2008, the Hamburg Regional Court and the Hamburg Higher Regional Court came to the conclusion that Bach’s flower essences were food or cosmetics. The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) supported this decision. The manufacturer, therefore, adjusted the declaration of the product by adding a percentage list of ingredients.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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