What are they?

Formulated in the 1930s by Dr Edward Bach, a Harley Street doctor and homeopath, Bach Flower Remedies aim to restore balance, overcome negative feelings and encourage the mind and body to help “heal itself”.

Using the theory “treat the patient, not the disease”, Dr Bach, who had become interested in immunology and worked as a bacteriologist, based the remedies on the philosophy that only once there is harmony between the physical and spiritual side, can the body begin its own natural healing process.

The remedies are made from wild flowers and leaves of plants, which are diluted to a homeopathic level and preserved in grape alcohol. Available in health food shops, chemists and many supermarkets, they are safe for humans and animals alike.

There are 38 remedies which treat specific emotions, such as olive for exhaustion and convalescence, aspen, mimulus and rock rose to help combat different types of fear, and vervain, which has proved helpful where animals are highly strung and nervous.

Probably the best known is Rescue Remedy, which Dr Bach created as an emergency combination to help reduce fear or nervousness, as well as to cope with stressful events and shock. It is also a useful addition to first-aid kits in cases of accident or injury.

Rescue Remedy contains five flower remedies: impatiens, star of Bethlehem, cherry plum, rock rose and clematis.

How do they work?

A few drops of the chosen remedy can be fed either on a sugar lump, piece of apple or directly on your hand for your horse to lick off. Drops can also be added to buckets of water in the stable.

Where do I find out more?

Information on all the Bach Flower Remedies and their uses can be obtained from Dr Edward Bach Foundation, Mount Vernon, Sotwell, Wallingford, Oxon OX10 0PZ (tel: 01491 834678) or Nelsons Pharmacy (tel: 020 8780 4200).

For more information about alternative therapies see this week’s Horse & Hound (19 July) which includes an eight-page special on Natural Horsecare or click here to subscribe to Horse & Hound magazineclick here to subscribe.