Introduction to Bach Flower Remedies
Dr. Edward Bach, through his advanced sensory capabilities, discovered that flowers in nature can positively change our emotional states. He found the energies from different flowers can remove emotional pains which over time harm our health and impair our ability to heal.
He ended up creating 38 Bach (pronounced Batch) Flower Remedies, with each remedy being associated with a basic human emotion. They work on an energetic level to gently bring back balance between mind and body by removing negative emotions such as fear, worry, loneliness or indecision.
As a result, the Bach Flower Remedies through regular use allow peace and happiness to return to a person so that the body is free to heal itself.
One of the fantastic things about the Bach Flower remedies is they are a totally safe and natural and so they work in harmony with nutrition, herbs, medications and they are great for children, pregnant women, elderly and even pets.
Dr. Edward Bach’s Philosophy and Key Principles
It is important to understand how these flowers came about and reasoning behind their use to truly understand their benefit.
Dr. Bach became unhappy with conventional medicine and was convinced there must be a system of healing based purely in nature. Dr. Bach realised that people reacted differently to illness, so he wanted to treat a person as a whole rather than the disease they were suffering from (naturopathic principle).
In 1934, Bach wrote the following about the way the Bach Flower Remedies work which is worth noting:
“They cure, not by attacking the disease, but by flooding our bodies with the beautiful vibrations of our Higher Nature, in the presence of which, disease melts away as snow in the sunshine. There is no true healing unless there is a change in outlook, peace of mind and inner happiness.”
Dr. Edward Bach also wrote “Disease of the body itself is nothing but the result of the disharmony between soul and mind. Remove the disharmony, and we regain harmony between soul and mind, and the body is once more perfect in all its parts.”
These quotes perfectly sum up his philosophy and illustrate the importance of good mental health and looking at the body as a whole in order to heal. The following key principles reiterate his philosophy:
- A healthy mind is the key to recovery. The Bach Flower remedies work by gently balancing out negative emotions. The remedies help the physical body to gain strength and help the mind to become calm and widen its outlook. As a result, it brings peace and harmony to the person as a whole.
- The key is to cure the personality, because different personalities react to illness in different ways. The Flower Remedies deal with the personalities i.e. treating the patient and not the disease (naturopathic principle).
- Everyone has a purpose in life, but often got lost on the way. The Flower Remedies help us to become our true selves through balancing out negative emotions, which then helps a person rediscover our true purpose in life. Once this is achieved, health and true healing are said to follow shortly after.
Bach Flower Remedies – 38 flowers – 7 Groups
There are 38 Bach Flower Remedies in total which can be separated into 7 emotional groups. This makes it easier for practitioners or individuals to identify the flower essence which is most applicable to them. These emotional group are as follows:
- Despondency or Despair
- Insufficient interest in present circumstances
- Uncertainty / Indecision
- Over-sensitivity to ideas and influences of others
- Over-care for the welfare of others
Despondency and Despair Bach Flower Remedies
Crab Apple – is for people who dislike a part of their personality or appearance or alternatively if they feel something not quite clean about themselves. This essence is useful to cleanse habitual or obsessive patterns linked with cleanliness, for example, a person who constantly washes their hands.
Elm – is appropriate when an individual suffers a loss of confidence due to responsibilities in life that feel overwhelming. This essence ultimately helps to dispel these feelings so the individual can resume their responsibilities without the thought about being a failure.
Larch – in contrast to Elm, is when an individual suffers a loss of confidence because they don’t feel as capable or successful as others. The often doubt their ability, assume they will fail and as a result don’t bother to try. This essence helps an individual to regain self-esteem and confidence in themselves.
Oak – is for people who are over-achievers that keep on working, often over-working, till they reach the point of exhaustion. They tend to be strong, steady people who have a strong sense of duty. This essence helps bring an individual back into balance remaining strong while learning sometimes it is better to let go.
Pine – is beneficial when for people who feel guilt or blame themselves, often for other people’s mistakes or if anything that goes wrong. The essence allows an individual to acknowledge their faults without dwelling on them.
Star of Bethlehem – helps when you experience shock due to trauma, serious news, loss of someone dear, the fright following an accident etc. Star of Bethlehem is a comforting remedy to take in these situations.
Sweet Chestnut – helps an individual when the anguish they are suffering with is too great and seems unbearable. Their mind or body feels like it has reach the uttermost limit of its endurance – final despair. In this extreme case, the essence renews the individuals hope and strength.
Willow – is for an individual who feels resentful and bitter about their lives and tend to feel self-pity. This essence helps to re-build optimism and faith and the realisation that the negative thinking can attract the very ill-fortune of which we complain.
Fear based Bach Flower Essences
Aspen – can help an individual when they feel fearful without knowing the reason why. Essentially, the type of fear is vague and unexplainable and may haunt the individual during the day or night.
Cherry Plum – is more specifically for those who fear losing control of their thoughts and actions. For example, this can be when an individual feel like doing things they know are bad for them or which they consider wrong. The essence allows greater trust in one’s spontaneous wisdom and the courage to follow one’s path.
Mimulus – in contrast to Aspen, helps when you feel fearful of a known cause. For example, this could be the fear spiders, being in public, being alone or the fear of illness. Interestingly, it also applies to the speaking freely of it to others or shyness.
Red Chestnut – is for individuals who are fearful that something negative or unfortunate will happen to their loved ones. They often find it difficult not to be anxious for other people.
Rock Rose – helps when the fear experienced is more linked to terror or a strong fright that leaves the individual frozen and they are unable to move or think clearly.
Uncertainty based Bach Flower Essences
Cerato – is the flower essence for people who lack faith in their own judgment and decision-making ability. Once in balance, an individual increases their faith so they can listen to their inner voice and trust their intuition.
Gentian – is for that mild downheartedness we can feel when something goes wrong or when faced with even small delays of difficulties. Gentian helps lift this feeling so a person is less pessimistic and more prepared to try again.
Gorse – can often be confused with Gentain, but applies when there is a greater feeling of hopelessness in a person, and they have given up belief that more can be done.
Hornbeam – is for individuals who feel they do not have enough strength whether that be physically or mentally to deal with the pressures that life has placed on them. This is usually a feeling of exhaustion or tiredness before an effort or action is to be made.
Scleranthus – is ideal when a person has a hard time making up their mind. This can involve choosing between two options and sometime even more. Taking the essence helps us to know what we want. It does this by reconnect us to our intuition and are able to choose simply and decisively.
Wild Oat – is similar in nature to Scleranthus, but it is to be used when the uncertainty stems from a deeper feeling of wanting to do something worthwhile in their life but not knowing which way to go. When in this state of frustration or vague ambition Wild Oat helps an individual find their true path.
Low motivation based Bach Flower Essences
Chestnut Bud – helps individuals who keep making the same mistakes without understanding and learning the lessons from these mistakes. In general, it’s good to move on and leave the past behind, but sometimes we are almost too ready to do this and as a result repeat the same mistakes.
Clematis – is for those whose mind wanders away from the present moment into fantasies of the future. As a result, they tend to be ungrounded and emotionally indifferent to everyday life. They often dream of success, creative activities and achievement. The essence helps bring the individual back to reality and act in the present rather than living in daydreams.
Honeysuckle – in contrast to Clematis is for people who live in the past instead of the present. This stems from a feeling that there is little to look forward to and as a result an individual will reflect on past happiness. This essence allow a person to move into the present and take joy from today or tomorrow.
Mustard – helps when an a person feels suddenly depressed without any reason. It feels like a cold dark cloud that destroys normal happiness and cheerfulness.
Olive – is similar to hornbeam but more to do with tiredness and exhaustion after an physical or mental effort. For example, this can be after the long struggle of illness. The essence helps to regain energy, vitality and interest in life.
Wild Rose – is for people who have resigned to the challenges of life and accepted their life for what it is. In this state individuals don’t seem to complain or be particularly unhappy but just drift along. The essence allows an individual to reawaken their interest in life and a sense of purpose.
White Chestnut – helps when the mind is muddled with unwanted thoughts and mental arguments which stop an individual from concentrating. The thoughts are constantly looping in an individual’s mind and this can often be seen as a state of ‘worrying’ but not necessarily being anxious or fearful.
Loneliness based Bach Flower Essences
Heather – is for people who obsessed with themselves but do not like to be alone. They tend to latch onto people, often constantly talking about their problems until people actively start to ignore them. As a result, the feeling they fear the most, loneliness, is brought about by their behaviour.
Impatiens – as the name suggests is for those who have no patience for what they see as the slowness of others due to their act and think quickly nature. As a result, they often prefer to work alone rather than in groups. The essence allows to individual to feel empathy and understanding of and patience with others.
Water Violet – is for people who prefer being by themselves but as a result leaves them lonely and unable to make contact with those around them. The typical characteristics of a water violet person are very quiet, independent, capable, upright, quiet and dignified. The essence allows an individual to develop warmer relationship with other people.
Over-sensitivity to influence based Bach Flower Essences
Agrimony – is for people who hide their feelings behind a mask of pleasure or happiness. As a result, an agrimony person can turn to alcohol or drugs to arouse this state. The essence allows an individual to communicate their real feelings and worries.
Centaury – is for people who find it difficult to say no, and therefore easily get imposed on. As a result, they often find themselves serving others whilst neglecting their own needs. Centaury helps develop courage and self-determination in a person.
Holly – helps when you suffer from angry thoughts such as jealousy, envy, revenge and/or suspicion. This essence works to encourage our generosity of spirit and an openness towards others.
Walnut – helps protect a person whilst they are fulfilling their purpose in life from the influences and opinions of others. These opinions often make them doubt themselves. Walnut helps to give consistency and protection from outside influences.
Over-care for others based Bach Flower Essences
Beech – is for people who intolerant to differences in others. They often lack compassion and understand of other people’s situations and circumstances. It helps an individual be less critical toward other people and accept them as they are.
Chicory – is for people who are full of love for others but with the expectation of getting that love back if not more than was given. As a result, they tend to keep their loved ones close by and have them dependent on them. Chicory helps individual to love unconditionally and with freedom.
Rock Water – is for people to who expect too much of themselves. They take their self-denial to extremes and place rules and targets on themselves when they fell they are falling short. Rock water helps these individuals to be kinder to themselves.
Vervain – is suitable for individuals who are perfectionists by nature and who hold strong views. They put full effort (mentally) into causes they believe in and they feel the strong need to persuade others to their point of view.
Vine – is for people who have strong opinions and think they know what is best for others. They typically expect obedience those around them and are not overly concerned with making friends as long as their orders are followed. Vine helps these individuals to respect other people’s views and ideas.
Rescue Remedy – a combination of essences for emergencies our crises
Bach flower remedies are widely used around the world with Rescue Remedy, which is a combination of bach flower remedies, being the most popular and widely used. It contains:
- Cherry Plum
- Rock Rose
- Star of Bethlehem
It has gained a lot of celebrity praise over the years due it ability to quickly balance negative emotions in people especially when individuals are experiencing high levels of stress or pressure.
Jennifer Anniston says it keeps her cool under pressure. Cate Blanchett swears by it, and Salma Hayek has been a fan for years. Martha Stewart uses Rescue Remedy and Rescue Sleep.
Jennifer Meyer Maguire recommends Rescue Remedy by Bach: “a homeopathic spray that instantly calms you down when you’re stressed out.”