Flower remedies have an air of the ‘very alternative’ about them; how can a few drops of something distilled from plants have an impact? But practitioners and fans claim they are one of the most effective ways to help rebalance body and mind.
There are many different types of flower remedies available around the world, but the most established in the UK are Bach Flower Remedies. Developed by Dr Edward Bach in the 1920s, he believed they can help restore balance between the mind and body.Although flower remedies are considered an alternative therapy, Dr Bach was actually a conventional doctor. He was a surgeon and medical researcher in London when he started working on the remedies.3
There are 38 Bach flower remedies, each associated with tackling a specific way of thinking that Dr Bach determined by how he felt when holding the plant. The remedies are divided into three different groups: 12 ‘healers’ associated with personality types, seven ‘helpers’ associated with long-term emotional states, the ‘second 19’ associated with emotional responses.The theory is that by using the remedies, you can help overcome that emotional state or the characteristic associated with that remedy.4 For example:5
One of the most well-known remedies, Rescue Remedy, is a combination of five flower remedies designed to be used in times of sudden stress, anxiety, crisis or shock.While flower remedies are mostly used to ease emotional issues, they could also help with physical conditions where emotions might contribute to the problem, such as headaches , insomnia, stomach upsets or pain. They don’t act specifically on the condition itself, but instead tackle the emotion that may be triggering or aggravating it.6
Research has also shown flower remedies may be helpful for people dealing with mood changes and emotions linked to the menopause,10 and for anxious thoughts and feelings caused by a stressful situation like a test.11
Most flower remedies are packaged in dropper bottles and traditionally taken as a drink in water. Some, such as Rescue Remedy, can also be found in alcohol-free formulas, creams or pastilles.To choose a remedy, read through the emotions it tackles, and then pick the remedy (or remedies) that best suit your situation and/or personality type.12 Then add two drops to a glass of water and drink it. You can also mix remedies if one doesn’t directly address your emotions, and up to seven can be used at a time.
While most people self-prescribe flower remedies using Dr Bach’s descriptions, you can also book sessions with a practitioner. These might be homeopaths, naturopaths or other types of therapist, but if they have trained with the Bach Centre you’ll find the letters BFRP after their name.13
Sources1. The British Flower and Vibrational Essences Association. The BFVEA Guide to Flower and Vibrational Essences 2. The Bach Centre. Making mother tinctures 3. The Bach Centre. Our Founder, Dr Edward Bach 4. British Homeopathic Association. Bach Flower Remedies 5. The Bach Centre. Guide to the remedies 6. Halberstein R, et al. Healing with Bach Flower Essences: Testing a Complementary Therapy 7. Ernst E. Bach flower remedies: a systematic review of randomised clinical trials 8. Thaler K, et al. Bach Flower Remedies for psychological problems and pain: a systematic review 9. Howard J. Do Bach Flower Remedies have a role to play in pain control? A critical analysis investigation therapeutic value beyond the placebo effect, and the potential of Bach flower remedies as a psychological method of pain relief 10. Siegler M, et al. Effects of Bach Flower Remedies on Menopausal Symptoms and Sleep Pattern: A Case Report 11. Walach H, Rilling C, Engelke U. Efficiency of Bach-flower remedies in test anxiety: A double-blind placebo-controlled, randomized trial with partial crossover 12. The Bach Centre. How to take the remedies 13. The Bach Centre. Your nearest active BFRP 14. The Bach Centre. FAQ 15. As above