Bach Flower Essences

The History of Flower Essences

Flower essences were discovered and developed by Dr. Edward Bach. His set of 38 basic flower remedies are still the cornerstone of flower remedies today. His work has provided worldwide inspiration for many others, leading us to over 500 flower remedies today. Dr. Bach was a physician, bacteriologist, pathologist, immunologist and researcher from England who had an in depth knowledge of homeopathic medicine. Dr. Bach once wrote that behind every disease lies a person's fears, anxieties, greed, likes and dislikes. He was a pioneer and the first to make the connection of the mind and the body. He believed in not only treating the physical symptoms of a disease but to treat the emotional component. He believed that the body would only superficially fix itself if we looked only at the physical symptoms. To completely heal, he believed you had to address the emotional component as well.

What are Flower Essences

Flower essences are the healing properties of non toxic tress and plants that have been instilled in water through the sun. They focus on the healing of our emotional self which encourages an overall positive well-being. Between 1928 and 1932, Dr. Bach discovered his first twelve flower essences and identified the seven main negative emotional states. Dr. Bach grouped all of the original 38 flower remedies according to these seven emotional states. All the flower remedies were discovered by Dr. Bach during his travels throughout England, with the exception of Olive and Vine. It was Dr. Bach's extensive study of homeopathic remedies that led him to the discovery of flower remedies. Dr. Bach discovered when he collected the dew of a plant that the dew had been naturally potentized by the sun. This meant that the sun was able to activate and instill the plant's healing properties within the dew drops. Dr. Bach created his flower essences using the flower (which was made from the earth's nurturing), simple water, and the sun. During the remainder of his lifetime, Dr. Bach discovered 38 separate remedies. The remedies are still made according to Dr. Bach's specific process which entails the earth, simple water, the sun, and the flower.

How do Flower Essences Work

Flower essences do not work in any biochemical way. It is believed that the flower essence contains the energetic imprint of the plant's life force. To understand how flower essences work, you must believe that the human being is much more than a physical body and is also a life force. Human beings are made up of energy, spirit, and feelings as well. Flower essences are designed to be selected by your state of mind or how you feel. Many times the flower remedy will combine 5 to 6 flower essences to make a remedy specific to your emotional needs. Flower essences are extremely safe and effective and can be paired with any other modality. Flower remedies have been used by practitioners for over 70 years. Remember, healing the mind heals the body.

Flower essences work very subtly triggering the healing mechanism within the body as they gently resolve underlying emotional stress. It is the plants bio energetic imprint or frequency that repairs the imbalance in the human energy field caused by our emotions. Flower essences help remove the emotional blocks that can impede our recovery. Most flower remedies are effective within one to twelve weeks, however deeply rooted emotional problems may take longer.

Using Flower Remedies

Flower essences are simple and effective to use. They are safe for everyone including children and pregnant women. They are usually taken orally from a dropper bottle. The standard dosage is 2-4 drops four times daily. You can take them directly from the bottle or you can mix then in a glass of water. Flower essences can also be combined with other flower essences. If you choose to do this, you will take 2 drops of each essence and put them in a 1 oz bottle and fill the remainder of the bottle with clean spring water. You can also use them in a cream base, a salve, the bath, or misting sprayers.

Dr. Bach's Seven Categories of Emotions

Dr. Bach classified his 38 remedies according to seven basic mental states. They are as follows:

  • Fear - Rock Rose, Mimulus, Cherry Plumb, Aspen, Red Chestnut
  • Uncertainty - Cerato, Scleranthus, Gentian, Gorse, Hornbeam, Wild Oat
  • Insufficient interest in present circumstances - Clemantis, Honeysuckle, Wild Rose, Olive, White Chestnut, Mustard, Chestnut Bud
  • Loneliness - Water Violet, Impatiens, Heather)
  • Oversensitivity to influences and ideas - Agrimony, Centaury, Walnut, Holly
  • Despondence or despair - Larch, Pine, Elm, Sweet Chestnut, Star of Bethlehem, Willow, Oak, Crab Apple
  • Over-care for the welfare of others - Chicory, Vervain, Vine, Beech, Rock Water)

Dr. Bach's 38 Flower Remedies

  • Agrimony - Individuals who hide their feelings usually behind humor and put on a brave face.
  • Aspen - Fear of unknown and unseen events without knowing why.
  • Beech - Critical, intolerant, irritable, for the perfectionist who tends to have trouble tolerating other people's way of doing things.
  • Centaury - Can not say no, easily dominated, and exhaust themselves.
  • Cerato - Lacking confidence in your own ability, continually seeking the advice of others to make up their mind.
  • Cherry Plum - Fear of insanity or losing your mind, irrational thoughts or behaviors.
  • Chestnut Bud - Difficulty learning life's lessons and keep repeating the same mistakes.
  • Chicory - The over-protective, over possessive mothering type.
  • Clemantis - Preoccupied with fantasy, the daydreamer, someone who needs to focus.
  • Crab Apple - Feeling unclean or polluted -physically, emotionally, or spiritually.
  • Elm - Occasionally feeling stressed about all the responsibilities in their life.
  • Gentian - Easily discouraged by setbacks in life, uncertain about the good things.
  • Gorse - Suffer with feelings of hopelessness and despair, being stuck in a negative pattern.
  • Heather - Self centered, constantly talking about themselves and like to be listened to.
  • Holly - Overcome anger, hatred, jealousy, and strong negative feelings.
  • Honeysuckle - Dwelling on the past instead of living in the present.
  • Hornbeam - Stuck in a rut and having an uncertainty about the ability to cope, hopeless.
  • Impatiens - Individuals who do not like restraints and like to be alone. Impatient and irritable.
  • Larch - Feeling worthless, lacking self confidence or have low self esteem.
  • Mimulus - Fear of known things like accidents, pain, water and the strength to face them.
  • Mustard - Gloom and depression without a reason. Feels like you are under a dark cloud.
  • Oak - The fighter who never gives in taking on great responsibility but getting discouraged.
  • Olive - Preoccupied with mental and physical exhaustion, especially after a long struggle.
  • Pine - Feel guilty, blaming yourself, over humble. Always sorry when they are not at fault.
  • Red Chestnut - Fear for others, anticipating trouble, feeling bad things are going to happen.
  • Rock Rose - Feeling helpless, panic or terror with or without a reason.
  • Rock Water - Seek perfection and become fanatical about it.
  • Scleranthus - Difficulty choosing between two things, can not decide and make up their mind.
  • Star of Bethlehem - All types of shock, accidents, bad news, a trauma.
  • Sweet Chestnut - Ultimate despair, hopelessness, feeling there is no way out.
  • Vervain - Enthusiastic, strong will and can sometimes become overbearing with others.
  • Vine - Self confident, lacking sympathy, over dominating others (bullying).
  • Walnut - Protect yourself from outside influence during changes in your life. So you can develop your life without hassles.
  • Water Violet - Individuals who like to be alone, self contained.
  • White Chestnut - Mental chatter, overactive mind.
  • Wild Oat - Uncertain about the purpose of their life or their career path.
  • Wild Rose - For those who seem to drift through life without eventuality, fatalists.
  • Willow - Suffer adversity, feeling you have been treated unfairly, blaming others.

Nature's Sunshine offers unique flower essences for extra emotional support.

Written by Mara Gerke, CA, CNHP, All Rights Reserved.

References: Alternative Medicine The Definitive Guide by Trivieri and Anderson;
Healing Remedies by C. Normal Shealy