We take a look at one of the most well-known flower remedies – what it is, how it works and if it could help you in times of stress
Written by Helen Foster on February 25, 2019
Reviewed by Carolina Brooks on March 6, 2019
The phone is ringing, your boss is emailing, your other half has just texted ‘What’s for dinner?’, and you still need to leave the office to get some lunch. That’s if you don’t explode with stress first!
At times like this, a colleague may suggest using Rescue Remedy, a popular Bach Flower Remedy. But can it really help you get a handle on the situation and get back to feeling calm and in control?
What is Rescue Remedy?
Rescue Remedy is a five-flower combination remedy, designed to be used during times of sudden stress or upset.1 It’s said to help stabilise your emotions, or at least let you cope with what’s happening more effectively.
Flower remedies were developed in the 1920s by British doctor Edward Bach, who believed that flowers had the ability to change our mood. His theory is that each specific plant can tackle a specific feeling, helping to support our emotional health.2
He created a combination of remedies for emergencies when you need immediate emotional support, but there’s no time to construct a more personalised selection.3 So, Rescue Remedy contains five remedies indicated for the type of feelings you might experience under sudden stress, difficult situations or are in a crisis.4
- Rock Rose – for feelings of terror, fear or nightmares
- Impatiens – for impatience, irritability and frustration
- Clematis – for grounding and anchoring back to reality, while reducing fantasies about the future
- Star of Bethlehem – aims to help trauma, shock, loss, grief or bereavement
- Cherry Plum – fear of losing control to do something terrible, fear of acting irrationally or losing your mind
Rescue Remedy cream contains the same five remedies plus Crab Apple, a cleansing remedy often used for physical and psychological conditions that may manifest as skin problems.10
How does Rescue Remedy work?
Like all flower remedies, the research into its effectiveness is unclear. Dr Bach believed that the ‘life force’ of plants directly influenced the way we think, but the majority of studies suggest that flower remedies are no more effective than a placebo.11 In other words, it may be your mind making a difference rather than the remedy itself.
However, this doesn’t mean they don’t make you feel better. A 2007 trial by the University of Miami found nurses who developed highly anxious thoughts after being told they had performed badly at work – and were going to take a test because of it – felt much calmer after using Rescue Remedy than the group given a placebo.12
Other studies have found that flower remedies have a positive effect on boosting mood in women going through menopause or people experiencing chronic pain.13,14
How can I take Rescue Remedy?
Rescue Remedy comes in a dropper bottle, so when you need rapid relief in an acute situation, you can put four drops (the recommended amount) directly on your tongue. Or, if you’re experiencing long-term stress, add the four drops to a glass of water and sip continuously throughout the day.15
If you’re really stressed, taking more won’t amplify the effects so don’t over-do it. Practitioners say the key is to take more frequent sips from your glass during the day.16 Make an appointment with your GP or talk to a counsellor if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
There are no reported side-effects for Rescue Remedy,17 and it’s also considered safe for pregnant or breast-feeding women, children and pets. But – like all flower remedies – it is a mix of flower essences preserved in brandy, so should not be taken by anyone who is avoiding alcohol for religious, medical or other reasons. Ask your GP for advice if you’re unsure about taking it.
You can also find Rescue Remedy in pastilles or chewing gum, as alternatives.
Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies.
1. The Bach Centre. Dr Bach’s crisis formula
2. The Bach Centre. Our Founder, Dr Edward Bach
3. As Source 1
4. The Bach Centre. Guide to the remedies
5. The Bach Centre. Rock Rose
6. The Bach Centre. Impatiens
7. The Bach Centre. Clematis
8. The Bach Centre. Star of Bethlehem
9. The Bach Centre. Cherry Plum
10. The Bach Centre. Crab Apple
11. Thaler K, et al. Bach Flower Remedies for psychological problems and pain: a systemic review
12. Halberstein R, et al. Healing with Bach Flower Essences: Testing a Complementary Therapy
13. Siegler M, et al. Effects of Bach Flower Remedies on Menopausal Symptoms and Sleep Pattern: A Case Report
14. 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
15. The Bach Centre. How to take the remedies
16. The Bach Centre. FAQ
17. As above