Bach® Flower Remedies

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Bach® Flower Remedies (BFR) are a Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) developed in the 1930s by the British physician Dr. Edward Bach. BFRs are believed to assist the body in healing itself by providing “a positive emotional state that is conducive to the restoration of a healthy equilibrium and by acting to catalyze an individual’s own internal resources for maintaining balance.”

According to Dr. Bach, the restoration of balance could be used for treating any medical condition. However, BFRs are commonly used for psychological problems and stress.

Dr. Bach’s 38 flower remedies each address one of the seven psychological causes of illness:

  1. Fear
  2. Uncertainty
  3. Insufficient interest in present circumstances
  4. Loneliness,
  5. Oversensitivity to influences and ideas
  6. Despondency or despair
  7. Over-care for the welfare of others.

The individual patient is prescribed particular remedies depending on the problem at hand, which should be individually tailored and adjusted during the course of therapy, typically over weeks to months.

Rescue Remedy, also known as “Five Flower Remedy,”  functions as an all-purpose emergency agent in situations of acute anxiety or distress. It contains a mixture of star of Bethlehem, rock rose, impatiens, cherry plum, and clematis. Rescue Remedy is recommended as a first aid preparation for situations where acute stress is likely to occur.

The Bach® Flower Remedies and their indications:

Agrimony mental torture behind a cheerful face
Aspen fear of unknown things
Beech Intolerance, perfectionist
Centazry the inability to say ‘no’
Cerato lack of trust in one’s own decisions
Cherry Plum fear of the mind giving way, fear of losing control
Chestnut Bud failure to learn from mistakes
Chicory selfish, possessive love, needs the appreciation of others
Clematis dreaming of the future without working in the present, absentminded
Crab Apple the cleansing remedy, also for self-hatred, poor body image
Elm overwhelmed by responsibility, pressures of work
Gentian discouragement after a setback, pessimism
Gorse hopelessness and despair
Heather self-centeredness and self-concern
Holly hatred, envy, and jealousy, feels victimized
Honeysuckle living in the past, overwhelming nostalgia for the past
Hornbeam procrastination, tiredness at the thought of doing something
Impatiens impatience
Larch lack of confidence, competent but fear failure
Mimulus fear of known things, shy, nervous personality
Mustard deep gloom for no reason
Oak the plodder who keeps going past the point of exhaustion
Olive exhaustion following mental or physical effort
Pine guilt, self-blame
Red Chestnut over-concern for the welfare of loved ones
Rock Rose terror and fright, useful for nightmares
Rock Water self-denial, rigidity and self-repression
Scleranthus inability to choose between alternatives
Star of Bethlehem Shock, loss, bereavement, trauma
Sweet Chestnut Extreme mental anguish, when everything has been tried and there is no light left
Vervain over-enthusiasm, perfectionism
Vine dominance and inflexibility
Walnut protection from change and unwanted influences, birth, puberty, divorce
Water Violet pride and aloofness
White Chestnut unwanted thoughts and mental arguments, unwanted thoughts, unable to concentrate
Wild Oat uncertainty over one’s direction in life
Wild Rose drifting, resignation, apathy
Willow self-pity and resentment
Rescue Remedy Composite remedy consisting of Star of Bethlehem, Rock Rose, Cherry Plum and Clematis; for emergencies to combat fear, panic, shock and fear of losing control

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How are Bach® Flower Remedies made?

Only flowers that grow naturally in the wild are suitable for preparation. BFRs are prepared in two ways following Dr. Bach’s directions: the sun method and the boiling method.

In the sun method, fully opened flower heads still fresh with dew are floated on the surface of pure spring water in a glass bowl and left for a few hours in the sunshine, whereas in the boiling method, used for trees and bushes, the branches and leaves are boiled in water for half an hour. In both methods, the plant is removed, and, according to Dr. Bach, the water retains the vibrations or energy of the flower. The liquid, called the mother tincture, is filtered and mixed with brandy, which acts as a preservative.

2. How do I take a Bach® Flower Remedy?

The remedies can be taken orally diluted in a glass of water or applied directly to pulse points such as the wrists, temples and behind the ears. They can be used individually or in combination with up to seven other tinctures. BFRs do not contain pharmacologically residues of the original flowers and are considered safe to use in combination with other medications, as well as by pregnant women, children, babies, the elderly, and pets.

3.  How do Bach® Flower Remedies work?

According to Dr. Bach, the remedies work through the life force energy or vibration that is transmitted from the flowers to the tincture. This vibration interacts on a subtle energy level with the individual to rebalance and dissolve old patterns of behavior. By alleviating negative feelings and relieving the underlying emotional and psychological problems of the patient, a physical healing is enabled.

4. Can I take Bach® remedies with other medicines?

Taking the Bach® flower remedies is safe, with no known side effects. However, it is always recommended that you consult with your health care professional prior to introducing anything new into your daily regimen.

5. Do Bach® remedies work faster if I don’t dilute them?

You might be under the impression that taking your remedy directly from the bottle has more of an effect than diluting it, but this is not the case.

Some prefer to take the Bach® Flower Remedies directly, simply adding 2 drops of the remedy on to their tongue. Others like to add it to water, or their favorite drink such as juice or tea and sip it throughout the day. Both methods are equally effective.

6. How quickly will I start to feel a difference?

We’re all different. Your best friend might see immediate results from the Bach® Flower Remedies and feel revitalized, whereas someone else might have to wait a bit longer…

Because this is a natural way of supporting your emotional health and well-being, you can continue taking it until you feel rebalanced and re-energized.

Don’t be disheartened if it doesn’t work as quickly as you want it to. Continue being consistent, focusing on the positive potential of your remedy or remedy mix, taking Bach® Flower Remedies until you feel like you no longer need to.

References:

  1. The Bach Flower Remedies http://www.bachcentre.com/centre/remedies.htm
  2. Dr Edward Bach Centre FAQs http://www.bachcentre.com/centre/faq.htm
  3. The Bach Flower Research Program http://www.edwardbach.org/aboutus.asp
  4. Nelsons http://www.nelsons.net/
  5. Edward Bach, MB, BS, DPH. The ESSENTIAL Writings of Dr. Edward Bach: The Twelve Healers and Heal Thyself. 2005
  6. Edward Bach, MB, BS, DPH. Heal Thyself: An Explanation of the Real Cause and Cure of Disease. 1996