What are Bach Flower Remedies?
Bach Flower Essences are potentized liquid preparations that convey a distinct electromagnetic impression from individual flower species that promote emotional balance and harmony. The original system, designed by Dr. Edward Bach in Wales, included 38 Bach Flower Remedies, and each one of them is aimed at a different state of mind or emotion. They do not treat physical illness directly, but by restoring harmony to the mind they allow the body’s natural defenses to work more easily This means that people can quite literally heal themselves. Dr Bach worked in the first three decades of our century. Today there are things in our lives that he knew nothing about, such as mass epidemics, negative media messages and large-scale environmental damage. But the emotions these things provoke are no different from the emotions provoked in Dr Bach’s day: we are scared of mass epidemic, full of righteous indignation at the harm done to our planet and worried about negative media. Dr Bach’s system is complete because it treats emotions & not the triggers that cause them. It is not just for today, yesterday, & tomorrow but all time.
The Sun and Boiling Methods
Dr Bach prepared his remedy plants using two simple methods. The sun method involved taking the flower heads from selected plants, floating them in a bowl filled with water and leaving them in full sunlight for three hours. The boiling method, which he mainly used for tougher, woodier plants such as Aspen, Willow, and Elm, was a matter of collecting flowers, stems, and twigs in a saucepan and boiling them for half an hour. These two simple methods are still used today by the trustees of Dr Bach’s home, Mount Vernon. The prepared remedies are mixed 50/50 with brandy to make the mother tincture. There are approximately two-thirds of a drop of mother tincture, diluted in more brandy – in every single-remedy stock bottle sold.
How do the remedies work?
Perhaps the hardest thing for people to understand about the Bach Flower remedies is how flowers can heal emotions. In a sense every attempt to answer this question involves using a metaphor, because in truth we still understand nothing at all about life and consciousness and emotions, except what our metaphors tell us. The metaphors used change over time, of course. In his earlier writings, Dr Bach used the metaphor of vibration and spoke of sympathetic vibration between particular plants and particular states of mind. Now many people talk of remedies as ‘energy medicines’ and believe that, like homeopathy, they work at the level of energy.
In the final analysis the metaphors used to describe the way the remedies work are not really very important. In fact they can be dispensed with altogether. This is what Dr Bach did: by the time he finished his work and prepared the final edition of The Twelve Healers, he no longer felt it necessary to talk about vibrations. ‘No science, no knowledge is necessary, apart from the simple methods described herein,’ he said, dictating the new introduction to The Twelve Healers in 1936, ‘and they who will obtain the greatest benefit from this God-sent Gift will be those who keep it pure as it is; free from science, free from theories, for everything in Nature is simple.’
The true cause of disease
Orthodox medicine is fairly clear about what causes most diseases. It is something external to the individual. So influenza and cold sores are caused by viruses, asthma has a number of possible causes including pollution and allergies. The question Dr Bach asked himself was why only some of the people exposed to these agents of disease went on to fall ill. He suggested that in fact the natural state of the human body was to be well. Only if the defenses were weakened by an imbalance in the personality and the emotions would the agents ever gain foothold. This is why he called imbalances the true cause of disease. It follows from this that the best time to take a remedy is when an imbalance first shows itself, long before a physical illness begins. And by the same token if the physical illness is already in place it can be helpful to attack the external agent with a symptom- based medicine or therapy while at the same time taking the remedies to regain emotional equilibrium and help restore the body’s natural state of wellness.
How many remedies?
Why not put all 38 remedies into a single treatment bottle and cure everything? Dr Bach was asked this question, so he tried it and found that is simply didn’t work. It seems that if you take more remedies than you actually need then the ones you don’t need will prevent the others from working as effectively. In practice you will rarely need to give more than six or seven remedies together. Dr Bach gave nine on at least two occasions – but that was in the course of helping thousands of people over a period of years.
For more information on how to combine, make, and use Flower Essences, join us for our next Flower Essences class – see the Classes page for details. The five part series includes the Bach Flower Remedies workbook and sample remedies to use each week. 26 CEUs are available for Massage Therapists, Acupuncture Physicians, Nurses, Midwives, and Dietitians in Florida!
Thanks to the Bach Centre, Alicia Sirkin, Elizabeth Wiley, Donna Bryant Winston and Rosemary Gladstar for these Flower Essence teachings