Developed by Dr. Edward Bach in the 1930’s, Bach flower remedies are a safe and natural way to help alleviate stress and to correct emotional and spiritual imbalances. Similar to homeopathic remedies, the flower essences are dilutions of plant material. Each of the remedies contains the energetic nature of the flower or plant used. When a person takes these remedies, this energy is then transmitted to them, helping to bring about balance and harmony.
Dr. Edward Bach
Dr. Bach was a British physician during WWI working in the field of bacteriology. Although it was his desire to help people heal that drew him to medicine, Dr. Bach had always been very interested in spirituality.
He believed that disease was in fact an end-state; a physical manifestation of a conflict between a person’s personality and their soul/spirit. These conflicts manifest themselves as negative emotional states such as unhappiness, fear, worry, hatred etc. The essences work to gently cast out these negative emotions and restore the balance between mind and body. Once harmony and contentment is restored, the body is then free to heal itself of any physical health imbalances.
Dr. Bach observed that certain personality types tended to suffer from similar health problems. He had a very strong inclination towards research and much of his work centred on this correlation. He began formulating specific patterns of gut flora (healthy microorganisms that reside in all animals) based on the personality types he discovered. At the time most medical doctors were using vaccinations as a way to administer medicines. Dr. Bach used his gut flora vaccinations on soldiers who became ill. Of all the doctors who worked on soldiers during the war, his remedies worked the best. This allowed him to continue and further his research.
After the war, Britain passed a law that prohibited doctors from conducting their own private research in publicly funded hospitals. It was this change that eventually brought Dr. Bach to the field of homeopathy. While searching for a new hospital to work at, a position as a bacteriologist became available at a homeopathic hospital in London. Having been inspired by Hanniman’s work, Dr. Bach eventually made homeopathic remedies (called nosodes) from his seven patterns of gut flora. He also discovered that if he prescribed his remedies based on psychological and emotional states, as opposed to physical conditions, the results were much better.
In the final stage of his career, Dr. Bach decided that he wanted his remedies to work in tune with nature. It was at this time that he developed the Bach Flower Remedies that we know today. Instead of working with gut flora, he created a system of essences that used flowers and other plant material instead of gut flora. Dr. Bach believed that a flower represented the highest vibrational level of that plant and therefore used the flowers of plants in the creation of most of the 38 remedies.
How Bach Flower Remedies Are Made
Bach flower essences are made by one of two methods. The first method, which is used most often, is the sun method. The plant material (usually flowers) is placed in a clear glass bowl of spring water in the early morning sun. Dr. Bach believed that the sunlight acted as a catalyst, transmitting the healing energy of the flowers into the water.
The second method, known as the boiling method, was used for plants that flowered much earlier in the season or those that contained ‘hard parts’ such as twigs and leaves. Spring water and the plant material were collected in a pot and decocted (boiled).
The steps that follow are the same regardless of the method used to infuse the water. The spring water is then mixed in a 1:1 ratio with alcohol (traditionally Bach used brandy) making what is known as the ‘mother tincture’. The Bach Flower remedies that can be purchased in stores are known as a ‘stock remedy’. To make a stock remedy, two drops of the mother tincture are added to a 25-30 ml bottle of alcohol (again usually brandy).
Which Remedies Should I Take?
The answer to this question is as personal as the person asking it. The traditional method for choosing flower essences was a consultation process. Each consultation lasts approximately 45 minutes, but this of course varies with each individual. After the consultation the practitioner works with the client to choose the remedies that are most applicable to their life and current circumstances.
As an alternative to the consultations you can learn about each of the remedies yourself and decide which ones were most appropriate to you. There are a multitude of books and resources available on this subject. A list of some resources can be found below.
- Advanced Bach Flower Therapy – Gotz Blome
- Encyclopedia of Bach Flower Therapy – Mechthild Scheffer (*)
- Heal Thyself – Edward Bach, M.D.
- The Bach Flower Remedies – Edward Bach and E.J. Wheeler
- The Bach Flower Remedies Step By Step – Judy Howard
- Twelve Healers and Other Remedies – Edward Bach, M.D.
(*) This book was used as our textbook in class