Flower Remedies

The curative power of Bach flower essences lies not only in curing physical symptoms, but also in tackling emotional states of our mind

White flowersEdward Bach, MD, was a pioneer. Like most pioneers, he abandoned his lucrative medical practice, in London, on the grounds that medicine focussed on disease and ignored people that suffered from them. Relying on his natural gift as a healer and guided by intuition he found floral remedies that were pure, with each aimed at a particular mental state or emotion. Bach spent spring and summer finding and preparing his remedies, and in winter giving advice to all those who sought his flower prescriptions.

Flowers and the mind

When Bach treated the person and his/her feelings, he discovered that their unhappiness and physical distress reduced as he unlocked the natural healing potential in their own bodies. By affecting the emotional state that he sought to cure, he experimented with a variety of plants and flowers until he found plants that helped them.

It was in the lanes and fields in his Mount Vernon neighbourhood in Oxfordshire that Bach compiled his series of 38 remedies. Not only that. He wanted to keep his treatment simple so individuals could use it themselves without professional advice. As a result, Bach's 38 remedies are good enough when used in combination - they are endowed with the power, as Bach suggested, to work on every human emotional state.

Flower works

  • Bach flower remedies don't actually treat physical complaints directly. Instead, they treat the individual's emotional state that triggers the physical symptom
  • The remedies come in the form of a liquid preserved in alcohol. Two drops of each remedy are diluted and put into a 30 ml dropper bottle, topped up with mineral water and taken — four drops, four times a day. Alternately, it is all right to put two drops in a glass of water and sip at intervals
  • According to flower therapy practitioners, it is possible to determine which remedies are right for someone just by talking and listening to the person. The key to selecting the remedies is to ask how the person is doing right now - not yesterday, or last month - and, also to consider the type of person s/he is
  • The remedies can also be added to tea, coffee and fizzy drinks. This does not affect the potency of the medication. This is especially recommended for those who are averse to the smell/taste of alcohol; in addition, the hot beverage causes alcohol, the preservative, to evaporate
  • There are absolutely no side-effects. If the remedy combination is wrong no effect will be seen
  • When the problem being treated has disappeared, one stops taking the remedy. Unlike conventional medication, there is no weaning period
  • Sometimes, the remedies can bring to the surface repressed feelings. They may need to be cleansed before complete healing can take place
  • If there is no improvement despite the remedies, there may be two reasons: insufficient time taking them, or wrong selection of remedies. Deep-rooted problems may need the remedies to be taken for years before results can be seen
  • Always check for the Bach signature on the label and the logo of a flower within a circle when buying remedies.

Making flower remedies

There are two methods employed to make Bach remedies: the "sun" method and the "boiling" method. The sun method involves floating flower heads in a clear glass bowl filled with natural spring water. This is left in bright sunlight for three hours - the flower heads are, thereafter, removed and energised water is mixed half and half with alcohol. In the boiling method, the flowering twigs are boiled in a pan of spring water for half-hour. The pan is left to cool, the plant matter removed and the water mixed half and half with alcohol. In both instances, the resulting mixture is the mother tincture which is further diluted to make the stock bottles sold in shops.

Choosing a remedy

If an asthmatic were to look for a flower remedy, s/he needs to understand there is no Bach remedy for asthma. It is in looking at the kind of personality s/he has that the remedies are chosen.

For example, if the person is a shy, timid sort who gets nervous at the thought of public speaking, s/he is a Mimulus type. This would be the first remedy to select. If s/he is anxious that his/her young son about to start school may be bullied, Red Chestnut is the remedy for fear that something bad will happen to one's loved ones.

If one is overworked at office and exhausted? This indicates the need for Olive. In like manner, a combination of remedies is selected. For the treatment of a short-term problem, the easiest way is to add two drops of each remedy in a glass of water and sip at least four times a day, or until relief is obtained. For chronic problems, a treatment bottle may be prepared and stored in a cool place. This should last 2-4 weeks. If you must carry it in your handbag, add a teaspoon of alcohol to the bottle. This will keep the water going.

To know more about Bach flower remedies, speak to a local therapist, or contact Bach Foundation at Bach Centre online.

Floral Power

Bach flower remedies are a delicate way of using plants to heal our "emotional illnesses." Bach remedies are mild, effective, and totally free of side-effects.

First developed by Edward Bach, a physician, bacteriologist, homoeopath, and researcher, Bach flower therapy aids us to understand and deal effectively with negative behaviour patterns of our nature - envy, impatience, the powerlessness to say "no," apprehension, and inappropriate guilt. These outlines are viewed by Bach flower therapists as the essential cause of physical illness, no less.

Bach therapists believe - and, rightly so - that our mental/emotional attitude plays a vital role in maintaining health and recovering from illness.

Bach: Symptom Picture

Centaury Inability to say "no"
Beech Intolerance
Chestnut Bud Failure to lean from mistakes
Aspen Fear of unknown things
Elm Overwhelmed by responsibility
Holly Hatred, envy, and jealousy
Larch Lack of confidence
Pine Guilt
White Chestnut Unwanted thoughts and arguments
Vine Dominance and inflexibility
Willow Self-pity and resentment

NB: The list is only indicative, not diagnostic.

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