Bach flower remedies

Bach Flower Remedies are the original form of Flower Essence Therapy invented by Dr. Edward Bach. Bach’s flower therapy is a type of “homeopathic healing” invented in the 1930s by British physician Edward Bach (1886-1936). Bach claimed to have psychically or intuitively discovered the healing effects of 38 wildflowers. His “discoveries” were arrived at by his inspirations. While on a walk Bach had an inspiration that dew drops on a plant heated by the sun would absorb healing properties from the plant. He claimed that all he needed to do was hold a flower or taste a petal and he could recognize its healing powers. From these intuitions he went on to prepare “essences” using pure water and plants.

Bach claimed that these wildflowers have their own soul or energy with an affinity to the human soul. The flower’s spiritual energy is transferable to water. Devotees drink a homeopathic concoction of flower essence, mineral water and brandy in order to get the flower soul to harmonize their own soul’s energy. Each of the 38 flowers of the Bach system is used to balance specific emotional pains or, in advanced stages of the lack of balance, to remit physical symptoms.

Each remedy is used alone or in conjunction with other remedies. Each flower is believed by advocates to impart specific qualities to the remedy. They are typically specially prepared by a naturopath or other healer for each patient to meet his/her individual needs. These remedies are used primarily for emotional and spiritual conditions, including but not limited to depression, anxiety, insomnia and stress.

The best-known Bach flower remedy is Rescue remedy, a pre-blended combination of Rock rose, Impatiens, Clematis, Star of Bethlehem and Cherry Plum remedies. Rescue Remedy is so-called because the ingredients are believed to relieve acute stress, anxiety, and panic attacks, especially in emergencies.

Rescue Remedy and other Bach flower remedies are used on household pets and domestic animals, and have been reported to be effective in calming them and improving problem behaviours.

Bach Flower Remedies contain no artificial preservatives or additives. Unpreserved, the tinctures are perishable, therefore they are mixed with a grape-alcohol or other alcohol carrier (usually brandy or cognac mixed with water) as a preservative.

Bach Flower Remedies share, and have been criticized for, many of the characteristics and properties of homeopathic remedies.

LIST OF BACH FLOWER REMEDIES
There are 38 remedies discovered by Dr Bach and directed at a specific characteristic or emotional state.

Agrimony – distressed people by quarells

Dr Bach’s description
The jovial, cheerful, humorous people who love peace and are distressed by argument or quarrel, to avoid which they will agree to give up much. Though generally they have troubles and are tormented and restless and worried in mind or in body, they hide their cares behind their humour and jesting and are considered very good friends to know. They often take alcohol or drugs in excess, to stimulate themselves and help themselves bear their trials with cheerfulness.

Aspen – fear of unknown things

Dr Bach’s description
Vague unknown fears, for which there can be given no explanation, no reason. Yet the patient may be terrified of something terrible going to happen, he knows not what. These vague unexplainable fears may haunt by night or day. Sufferers often are afraid to tell their trouble to others.

Beech – intolerance

Dr Bach’s description
For those who feel the need to see more good and beauty in all that surrounds them. And, although much appears to be wrong, to have the ability to see the good growing within. So as to be able to be more tolerant, lenient and understanding of the different way each individual and all things are working to their own final perfection.

bach flower

Centaury – inability to say ‘no’

Dr Bach’s description
Kind, quiet, gentle people who are over-anxious to serve others. They overtax their strength in their endeavours. Their wish so grows upon them that they become more servants than willing helpers. Their good nature leads them to do more than their own share of work, and in so doing they may neglect their own particular mission in life.

Cerato – lack of trust in one’s own decisions

Dr Bach’s description
Those who have not sufficient confidence in themselves to make their own decisions. They constantly seek advice from others, and are often misguided.

Cherry Plum – fear of the mind giving way

Dr Bach’s description
Fear of the mind being over-strained, of reason giving way, of doing fearful and dreaded things, not wished and known wrong, yet there comes the thought and impulse to do them.

Chestnut Bud – failure to learn from mistakes

Dr Bach’s description
For those who do not take full advantage of observation and experience, and who take a longer time than others to learn the lessons of daily life. Whereas one experience would be enough for some, such people find it necessary to have more, sometimes several, before the lesson is learnt. Therefore, to their regret, they find themselves having to make the same error on different occasions when once would have been enough, or observation of others could have spared them even that one fault.

Chicory – selfish, possessive love

Dr Bach’s description
Those who are very mindful of the needs of others; they tend to be over-full of care for children, relatives, friends, always finding something that should be put right. They are continually correcting what they consider wrong, and enjoy doing so. They desire that those for whom they care should be near them.

Clematis – dreaming of the future without working in the present

Dr Bach’s description
Those who are dreamy, drowsy, not fully awake, no great interest in life. Quiet people, not really happy in their present circumstances, living more in the future than in the present; living in hopes of happier times, when their ideals may come true. In illness some make little or no effort to get well, and in certain cases may even look forward to death, in the hope of better times; or maybe, meeting again some beloved one whom they have lost.

Crab Apple – cleansing remedy, also for self-hatred

Dr Bach’s description
This is the remedy of cleansing. For those who feel as if they had something not quite clean about themselves. Often it is something of apparently little importance: in others there may be more serious disease which is almost disregarded compared to the one thing on which they concentrate. In both types they are anxious to be free from the one particular thing which is greatest in their minds and which seems so essential to them that it should be cured. They become despondent if treatment fails. Being a cleanser, this remedy purifies wounds if the patient has reason to believe that some poison has entered which must be drawn out.

Elm – overwhelmed by responsibility

Dr Bach’s description
Those who are doing good work, are following the calling of their life and who hope to do something of importance, and this often for the benefit of humanity. At times there may be periods of depression when they feel that the task they have undertaken is too difficult, and not within the power of a human being.

Gentian – discouragement after a setback

Dr Bach’s description
Those who are easily discouraged. They may be progressing well in illness, or in the affairs of their daily life, but any small delay or hindrance to progress causes doubt and soon disheartens them.

Gorse – hopelessness and despair

Dr Bach’s description
Very great hopelessness, they have given up belief that more can be done for them. Under persuasion or to please others they may try different treatments, at the same time assuring those around that there is so little hope of relief.

Heather – self-centredness and self-concern

Dr Bach’s description
Those who are always seeking the companionship of anyone who may be available, as they find it necessary to discuss their own affairs with others, no matter whom it may be. They are very unhappy if they have to be alone for any length of time.

Holly – hatred, envy and jealousy

Dr Bach’s description
For those who sometimes are attacked by thoughts of such kind as jealousy, envy, revenge, suspicion. For the different forms of vexation. Within themselves they may suffer much, often when there is no real cause for their unhappiness.

Honeysuckle – living in the past

Dr Bach’s description
Those who live much in the past, perhaps a time of great happiness, or memories of a lost friend, or ambitions which have not come true. They do not expect further happiness such as they have had.

Hornbeam – procrastination, tiredness at the thought of doing something

Dr Bach’s description
For those who feel that they have not sufficient strength, mentally or physically, to carry the burden of life placed upon them; the affairs of every day seem too much for them to accomplish, though they generally succeed in fulfilling their task. For those who believe that some part, of mind or body, needs to be strengthened before they can easily fulfil their work.

Impatiens– impatience

Dr Bach’s description
Those who are quick in thought and action and who wish all things to be done without hesitation or delay. When ill they are anxious for a hasty recovery. They find it very difficult to be patient with people who are slow, as they consider it wrong and a waste of time, and they will endeavour to make such people quicker in all ways. They often prefer to work and think alone, so that they can do everything at their own speed.

Larch – lack of confidence

Dr Bach’s description
For those who do not consider themselves as good or capable as those around them, who expect failure, who feel that they will never be a success, and so do not venture or make a strong enough attempt to succeed.

Mimulus – fear of known things

Dr Bach’s description
Fear of worldly things, illness, pain, accidents, poverty, of dark, of being alone, of misfortune. The fears of everyday life. These people quietly and secretly bear their dread, they do not freely speak of it to others.

Mustard – deep gloom for no reason

Dr Bach’s description
Those who are liable to times of gloom, or even despair, as though a cold dark cloud overshadowed them and hid the light and the joy of life. It may not be possible to give any reason or explanation for such attacks. Under these conditions it is almost impossible to appear happy or cheerful.

Oak – the plodder who keeps going past the point of exhaustion

Dr Bach’s description
For those who are struggling and fighting strongly to get well, or in connection with the affairs of their daily life. They will go on trying one thing after another, though their case may seem hopeless. They will fight on. They are discontented with themselves if illness interferes with their duties or helping others. They are brave people, fighting against great difficulties, without loss of hope or effort.

Olive – exhaustion following mental or physical effort

Dr Bach’s description
Those who have suffered much mentally or physically and are so exhausted and weary that they feel they have no more strength to make any effort. Daily life is hard work for them, without pleasure.

Pine – guilt

Dr Bach’s description
For those who blame themselves. Even when successful they think that they could have done better, and are never content with their efforts or the results. They are hard-working and suffer much from the faults they attach to themselves. Sometimes if there is any mistake it is due to another, but they will claim responsibility even for that.

Red Chestnut – over-concern for the welfare of loved ones

Dr Bach’s description
For those who find it difficult not to be anxious for other people. Often they have ceased to worry about themselves, but for those of whom they are fond they may suffer much, frequently anticipating that some unfortunate thing may happen to them.

Rock Rose – terror and fright

Dr Bach’s description
The rescue remedy. The remedy of emergency for cases where there even appears no hope. In accident or sudden illness, or when the patient is very frightened or terrified or if the condition is serious enough to cause great fear to those around. If the patient is not conscious the lips may be moistened with the remedy. Other remedies in addition may also be required, as, for example, if there is unconsciousness, which is a deep, sleepy state, Clematis ; if there is torture, Agrimony, and so on.

Rock Water – self-denial, rigidity and self-repression

Dr Bach’s description
The rescue remedy. The remedy of emergency for cases where there even appears no hope. In accident or sudden illness, or when the patient is very frightened or terrified or if the condition is serious enough to cause great fear to those around. If the patient is not conscious the lips may be moistened with the remedy. Other remedies in addition may also be required, as, for example, if there is unconsciousness, which is a deep, sleepy state, Clematis ; if there is torture, Agrimony, and so on.

Scleranthus – inability to choose between alternatives

Dr Bach’s description
Those who suffer much from being unable to decide between two things, first one seeming right then the other. They are usually quiet people, and bear their difficulty alone, as they are not inclined to discuss it with others.

Star of Bethlehem – shock

Dr Bach’s description
For those in great distress under conditions which for a time produce great unhappiness. The shock of serious news, the loss of some one dear, the fright following an accident, and such like. For those who for a time refuse to be consoled this remedy brings comfort.

Sweet Chestnut – Extreme mental anguish, when everything has been tried and there is no light left

Dr Bach’s description
For those moments which happen to some people when the anguish is so great as to seem to be unbearable. When the mind or body feels as if it had borne to the uttermost limit of its endurance, and that now it must give way. When it seems there is nothing but destruction and annihilation left to face.

Vervain – over-enthusiasm

Dr Bach’s description
Those with fixed principles and ideas, which they are confident are right, and which they very rarely change. They have a great wish to convert all around them to their own views of life. They are strong of will and have much courage when they are convinced of those things that they wish to teach. In illness they struggle on long after many would have given up their duties.

Vine – dominance and inflexibility

Dr Bach’s description
Very capable people, certain of their own ability, confident of success. Being so assured, they think that it would be for the benefit of others if they could be persuaded to do things as they themselves do, or as they are certain is right. Even in illness they will direct their attendants. They may be of great value in emergency.

Walnut – protection from change and unwanted influences

Dr Bach’s description
For those who have definite ideals and ambitions in life and are fulfilling them, but on rare occasions are tempted to be led away from their own ideas, aims and work by the enthusiasm, convictions or strong opinions of others. The remedy gives constancy and protection from outside influences.

Water Violet – pride and aloofness

Dr Bach’s description
For those who in health or illness like to be alone. Very quiet people, who move about without noise, speak little, and then gently. Very independent, capable and self-reliant. Almost free of the opinions of others. They are aloof, leave people alone and go their own way. Often clever and talented. Their peace and calmness is a blessing to those around them.

White Chestnut – unwanted thoughts and mental arguments

Dr Bach’s description
For those who cannot prevent thoughts, ideas, arguments which they do not desire from entering their minds. Usually at such times when the interest of the moment is not strong enough to keep the mind full. Thoughts which worry and will remain, or if for a time thrown out, will return. They seem to circle round and round and cause mental torture. The presence of such unpleasant thoughts drives out peace and interferes with being able to think only of the work or pleasure of the day.

Wild Oat – uncertainty over one’s direction in life

Dr Bach’s description
Those who have ambitions to do something of prominence in life, who wish to have much experience, and to enjoy all that which is possible for them, to take life to the full. Their difficulty is to determine what occupation to follow; as although their ambitions are strong, they have no calling which appeals to them above all others. This may cause delay and dissatisfaction.

Wild Rose – drifting, resignation, apathy

Dr Bach’s description
Those who without apparently sufficient reason become resigned to all that happens, and just glide through life, take it as it is, without any effort to improve things and find some joy. They have surrendered to the struggle of life without complaint.

Willow – self-pity and resentment

Dr Bach’s description
For those who have suffered adversity or misfortune and find these difficult to accept, without complaint or resentment, as they judge life much by the success which it brings. They feel that they have not deserved so great a trial, that it was unjust, and they become embittered. They often take less interest and less activity in those things of life which they had previously enjoyed.

Bibliography:

Edward Bach: The 12 Healers and other remedies