Bach Flower Remedies

A wooden box of flower extracts for the preparation of Bach Flowers remedies. The bottle labels have the scientific name of the plant.

What are Bach flower remedies?
Bach flower remedies were introduced in the 1930s by Edward Bach, M.D., (1886-1936) a British physician, who developed what he called a “theory of types” by which he divided people into seven groups based on their reactions to illness. He listed these types as fear, uncertainty, loneliness, oversensitivity, lack of interest in present circumstances, despondency, and over-concern for others. Dr. Bach believed that negative moods and emotions were responsible for the breakdown in health that leads to illness and determined that treatment had to address patients’ emotional and mental states. He devised 38 wild flower essences, or remedies, for treatment for these negative moods and emotions. More floral remedies have since been added by Dr. Bach’s followers. Proponents of flower remedies reportedly maintain that their mode of action does not depend on molecular or pharmacological mechanisms but on the subtle energy that is transmitted from the flowers to this remedy.

What conditions are Bach Flower remedies used for?
A study by Edzard Ernst, a professor of complementary medicine at the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth in England, published in August 2010 in the Swiss Medical Weekly, reported that present day followers of Bach flower remedies use the remedies for treatment of anxiety, stress, depression, lack of confidence, emotional and physical trauma, cancer and HIV/AIDS. However, Prof. Ernst noted that no studies have confirmed that the remedies have any effects that differ from those of placebo. Bach flower remedies are available for treatment of children and animals, as well as for adults.

What should one expect on a visit to a practitioner who provides Bach flower remedies?
Flower essences may be used by homeopaths, naturopaths, chiropractors, herbalists, and Bach flower practitioners. Consumers can buy Bach essences for self care, along with other types of flower essences available at health food stores and online. In choosing a Bach flower essence consumers would have to know which particular emotional state they are trying to treat, or they can find out by responding to questionnaires available online at sites that sell the remedies.

Like many homeopathic remedies, the Bach flower essences are highly diluted and preserved in water and alcohol. They can be dropped directly on or under the tongue, rubbed onto the lips, temples, or wrists, or further diluted in water or juice before use.

For short-term use, the user is instructed to dilute the essences by adding two drops to a small glass of water sipped at intervals throughout the day. This treatment is supposed to continue until the condition improves.

For long-term use, add two drops of an essence to a 30 ml treatment bottle, top off with mineral water, and take four drops of this solution four times a day or more frequently if necessary. There’s no limit to how long individuals can continue to take the essences, although the idea is to stop when emotional states have improved. Since the essences are not a substitute for medical care, continue any regular treatment while using them.

Are there any side effects or conditions where Bach flower remedies should be avoided?
If you’re a recovering alcoholic or otherwise wish to avoid alcohol, you should be aware that Bach remedies contain diluted brandy. Individuals with emotional problems or serious medical conditions may be harmed if they substitute Bach flower remedies for conventional medical treatment or proven psychological approaches.

Is there an independent governing body that oversees or credentials practitioners qualified to use Bach flower remedies?
No. However, the Bach Centre in England certifies practitioners from all walks of life who have taken all three levels of Bach Centre-approved training. These individuals are listed on the Bach Centre website Specialized courses are available for homeopaths.

How does one get in touch with a practitioner of Bach Flower remedies?
Certified practitioners are listed on the Bach Centre website.

Are there other therapies that might work well in conjunction with Bach flower remedies?
Any form of treatment can be used with Bach Flower remedies. Individuals with serious medical or emotional conditions should not rely on Bach flower remedies alone for treatment.

What is Dr. Weil’s view of Bach flower remedies?
Dr. Weil views Bach flower remedies as harmless. He is not aware of any good studies to support the efficacy of Bach remedies or other brands of flower essence, but he knows that many people enjoy using them and that they appear to be free of side effects.

Categories: Wellness Therapies