Bach's Flower Remedies
The term Flower Remedies refers to Herbal medicine developed between 1930 and 1936 by Dr Edward Bach, a London bacteriologist and practitioner of Homeopathy. Dr Bach had become disillusioned with the side effects of drug therapies and turned his research to the healing power of nature. He believed that illness was a state of mental or emotional imbalance, and plants contained unique properties that could be used to rectify these imbalances and restore the awareness of wholeness.
Flower Remedies and Essences are liquid preparations created by boiling parts of plants in spring water or by placing the flowers on the surface of spring water and leaving them to infuse by natural sunlight for a period of time. After these processes, the water is preserved in brandy. Bach Flower Remedies are made of flowers found mostly in Britain.
The Remedies were originally intended for self use, although many practitioners from other disciplines also prescribe them. They are sold in concentrated form and the method of use is either by placing drops directly on the tongue, or by diluting them in liquid. Dr Bach also developed a compound of five flowers called Rescue Remedy to be used in emergency situations or for trauma.
There are 38 original Bach Flower Remedies, although more have been added by other practitioners. Unlike Homeopathic or Bio-chemic medicines, Flower Remedies did not originally have potencies. However, in the past few years, they have been sold by potency for greater ease of use.
A Holistic Approach to Disease
Dr Bach, after practicing both Allopathic medicine and Homeopathy, postulated that the only way to treat illness was to do so holistically, which is by presuming an interdependency of mind and body. He believed that the power of the mind is enormous, and how we think and feel influences our physical bodies. Hence his remedies were based on an individual’s mental patterns, not his physical ailments.
The Seven Emotional Categories and Sub-Categories
Based on his research and observations, Dr Bach delineated seven emotional categories, further subdivided into 38 negative feelings (for a list of Bach Remedy plants, go to http://www.edwardbach.org/edwardbach.htm). The Emotional categories and sub categories, each of which are associated with one specific plant, are listed below --
Fearfulness (sub categories include terror and nightmares, known fears and shyness, uncontrollable rage and impulses, vague fears and apprehension and excessive fear on behalf of family and friends)
Uncertainty (subcategories include lack of confidence in decision making, indecision and mood swings, hesitation and past disappointments, despair and hopelessness, tiredness and procrastination and dissatisfaction and lack of motivation)
Lack of interest in present circumstances (subcategories include lack of concentration and escapism, nostalgia and homesickness, apathy and resignation, lack of vitality and exhaustion, worry, melancholy and failure to learn from mistakes)
Loneliness (subcategories include aloofness and reserve, impatience. self-obsession, self-absorption and excessive desire for companionship)
Over-sensitivity (subcategories include concealed problems, anxiety to please, periods of transition and negative feelings such as hatred or envy)
Despondence and despair (subcategories include lack of self-confidence, guilt and self-reproach, sense of overwhelming responsibility, unbearable anguish, shock and grief, resentment and bitterness, loss of the strength to fight and feeling ashamed or unclean)
Over-concern for welfare of others (subcategories include possessiveness, selfishness, self-pity and over-protectiveness towards others; argumentative and overbearing; ruthless and dictatorial; critical and intolerant; self-denial and narrow-mindedness)
Method of Diagnosis
There is no set way to make a diagnosis using the Bach flower remedies. Dr Bach once famously said, ‘to gain freedom give freedom’ – in other words everyone should feel free to use the remedies as he or she feels most appropriate, but should give others the same freedom. That said, there are several effective diagnostic tools that have been used.
The classic counselling method relies upon listening to what the client says and relating it to the appropriate remedies.
Intuitive diagnosis uses the faculty which we may all possess, to sense what another person is feeling, or interpret what we are instinctively drawn towards.
Dowsing develops this intuition using a pendulum (or other indicator) to signal which remedy to select.
Kinesiology, like muscle testing, uses the client’s body as the instrument
How Bach’s Flower Remedies Work
Bach's Flower Remedies are prescribed keeping the patient's disposition in mind. Unlike allopathic medicines that focus on the manifestations of illness, Flower Remedies focus on the mental states that Bach believed caused the disease in the first place.
Each remedy provides a snap-shot of the mental traits of the person it will benefit. The assumption behind the prescription of any Flower Remedy is that if its description matches the disposition of the patient, it will cure all symptoms of disease by rectifying the negative behaviour patterns that cause it.
There are no dietary restrictions while taking Bach’s Flower Remedies. Further, they are considered complimentary to most other medications, although they are said to be most complementary to other holistic medical systems like Yoga, Ayurveda and Homeopathy.
The remedies may be taken as medicated globules, or in liquid form. They may be taken dry on the tongue or dissolved in water.
- How to use the Remedies
- Dr Edward Bach Centre