Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Flower Based Medicines such as Bach's Rescue Remedy

Our vet is a "holistic vet," so when we asked for something to calm down our cats for a drive, she recommended Rescue Remedy. I would rather have had a real medicine, but too late.

England's Bach Flower Remedies makes Rescue Remedy. it contains heliathemum nummularium, clematis vitalba, impatiens glandulifera, prunus cerasifera, ornithogalum umbellatum in 80% glycerine and 20% water.  Generally these are common plants that look good in the garden. I had a hard time finding any of them that cause drowsiness. Most are harmless, but one is a mutagen, with a wide range of medicinal uses.

Heliathemum nummularium is the common rock rose which is native to Europe. It does not especially have any medicinal uses.

Clematis vitalba: I can't find medicinal uses except in Rescue Remedy itself. I used to grow clematis in the garden, and it is a nice enough flower. One site regards clematis vitalba as an invasive weed.

Impatiens grandulifera is another common garden flower. It causes indigestion, and it should not be eaten in large quantities because it has a high mineral content and may cause kidney stones et al. It is most commonly used topically for poison ivy or bee sting, not internally.

Prunus cerasifera or the cherry plum is a tree. One site says when dissolved in water it gives off hydrocyanic acid, which is poisonous. I could find no mention that it causes sleepiness.

 Ornithogalum umbellatum, or Sleepy  Dick, is the biggest problem.  It is thought to be a mutagen and poison. No animal eats it in the wild. It probably should not be given to animals. Herbalists use it for everything from depression, to ulcers, to flatulence.

The glycerine is the carrier, and it is sweet to taste. It is used in some medicine as a soothing agent, but not a medicine.

All in all,  I am pretty worried about this witch's brew of herbal extracts. Unless this is used in homeopathic quantities, it is probably more harm than good. The label mentions homeopathy, so perhaps it is more of a placebo for the pet owners.

Supporting the homeopathy idea are the label dose instructions for 4 drops for each animal, and this product is recommended for lots of animals including HORSES and BIRDS. The idea that a horse could take the same amount of medicine as a parakeet is pretty funny. Only an ineffective & harmless medicine could make that claim.