This group of 38 essences complements traditional homeopathy.
Because they mimic certain homeopathic polychrests.
Flower remedies are not true homeopathy.
They’re not potentized like regular remedies and given on an ascending scale.
Instead, they’re taken for certain emotions, with the hope of relieving mental suffering.
Ultimately, this may lead to physical healing.
At least that was the idea when Dr. Edward Bach, MD his essences, made from plants that grew in his native England.
Previously, Dr. Bach developed a line of bowel nosodes still used by homeopaths today.
When he died in 1936 he left behind a new system of healing with flowers.
Flower essences are simple.
There are over 8,000 homeopathic remedies.
But only a limited number of Bach remedies. Making it infinitely easier to choose.
Dr. Bach thought his 38 essences by themselves or in combination covered the entire human spectrum of emotions.
He also created Rescue Remedy. This crisis formula contains five essences selected for shock and trauma.
Dr. Bach’s work is preserved at the Bach Centre, located near Wallingford, England.
The Centre educates and certifies Bach practitioners.
The remedies themselves, now produced by various companies, are widely used around the world.
Flower essences are widely accepted among alternative health practitioners.
They’re generally not recognized by mainstream medical doctors, despite the fact some scientific evidence exists to support their use.
A 2007 study published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice looked at the potential for flower essences to relieve pain. There was little evidence that Bach flower remedies could relieve pain, but 88 percent of the subjects “reported an improvement in their mental outlook.”
A separate study published in Complementary Health Practice Review found that a double-blind trial showed that Rescue Remedy was useful at reducing anxiety in high-stress situations.
Flower Essences Instead of Homeopathic Remedies
(This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase anything I received a small referral fee at no extra cost to you.)
There are various indications for flower essences.
One is for purely emotional states.
Someone may have tried regular homeopathy.
They may have progressed well. But they have a lingering negative emotion. Why not try a flower essence?
Another is for highly sensitive people.
Flower essences can “build them up,” in conjunction with other healing modalities, as you transition to regular remedies.
Flower essences are useful for individuals who’ve had bad experiences with high-dose prescribing.
Consequently, they’re reluctant to continue with homeopathy. But they may be open to flower essences.
You can take the essences orally.
But they also work well if you put them on your skin. Or on a pulse point.
Flower essences might help if you’re stuck on a case with a clear emotional component. Various indicated homeopathic remedies have failed.
Bach flowers like regular homeopathic remedies work very well in animals.
Rescue Remedy is very useful for fireworks or for high-stress occasions, such as trips to the vet.
It has pulled one of my young dogs out of a panic attack on a cross-country trip. She panted so heavily on the return trip that we might not have continued without an emergency vet visit.
After just one dose of Rescue Remedy, she slept the rest of the day. We were able to drive a couple of more days until we got home without incident.
It’s believed Bach flower remedies don’t cause aggravations.
But I’ve heard anecdotal reports that if you take these essences too frequently you can experience new symptoms, just like with regular homeopathic remedies.
My previous homeopath, now deceased, used to run Telios School of Homeopathy in the Boston area.
She and her students tried to prove Rescue Remedy. In one of our conversations she reported they experienced a wide range of symptoms.
I’ve also experienced an aggravation from repeated doses of Rescue Remedy during a high-stress situation.
Plus I’ve seen anecdotal social media posts of others who’ve had unwanted symptoms after taking a flower essence.
So it seems prudent to give flower essences only when needed and to stop using them when relief is obtained.
Flower Essences That Mimic Homeopathic Polychrests
My formal training is in traditional homeopathy.
But I wanted to learn more about flower essences, in order to help my clients.
Although it didn’t contain a lot of information on how to use Bach flower essences, it did present a good overview of indications for each remedy.
Sort of like a Materia Medica on flower essences.
- HONEYSUCKLE – Do you live in the past? Do you think you’ll never be as happy as you were before? Do you look to that time in your life with longing? Do you dwell on unpleasant experiences. Have you had a grief? Or lost someone close? Or suffered a painful romantic breakup? All signs point to Nat Mur. But it doesn’t work. In this case why not see if Honeysuckle flower essence can help. It mimics Nat Mur. Honeysuckle also has components of other major polycrests. It’s good for people with abandonment issues, an indication for both Pulsatilla and Nat Mur. It can also help with jealousy and suspicion. So it looks a little like Lachesis too. One of the big indications for Honeysuckle essence is homesickness. It resembles homeopathic Capsicum and Phosphoric Acid. Honeysuckle also has an element of Lycopodium, with an emphasis on physical attractiveness. Coupled with longing for a time when they had better looks. But Honeysuckle probably most resembles Nat Mur, with its nostalgia for the past and sentimentality.
- GORSE – This can look like Aurum Metallicum with its hopelessness. Grief and depression predominate. Someone may sigh a lot, just like Ignatia, Nat Mur and Calc Phos. But the polychrest that Gorse essence probably most resembles is Phosphoric Acid. Although Bach flowers are for emotional states, people who need this remedy may look worn down physically. (Just like Phosphoric Acid, with sunken features and blue circles around their eyes.) People who need Gorse are depressed and think their condition is incurable. They are hopeless and apathetic. Apathy is also a big feature of Phosphoric Acid. Consider Gorse for people who’ve suffered great loss. Or for those with a devastating medical diagnosis. Like Gelsemium and Ignatia, Gorse essence covers the state of “ailments from bad news.” In addition, Gorse resembles Nitric Acid with its negativity and dissatisfaction.
- OLIVE – Olive is given for the emotional effects of debility, fatigue or exhaustion. Or after physical or mental trauma. It looks like a number of polycrests, including Phosphoric Acid with weakness. With debility and fatigue after too much physical exertion, Olive also mimics Arnica or Rhus Tox. This essence also has elements of Calcarea Carb and Natrum Sulph. There’s that weariness from life and of doing too many tasks. Daily routine is a huge struggle. But if I had to pick one homeopathic remedy it most closely matches I’d say Cocculus. People who need Olive have depleted reserves after a long exhausting illness. Cocculus is known to be a good convalescent remedy. Also, someone who needs Olive may be drained after nursing a loved one. Cocculus is a major remedy to counter the effects of “night watching.” Olive is given to restore strength. For people who push themselves too hard. Or for those who are exhausted from too much worry. Too much anxiety can push people into a Cocculus state. Olive essence, like the other Bach flower remedies, has a wide sphere of action. So it looks like other frequently prescribed homeopathic remedies too, such as Carcinosin. Carcinosin is often given to people who’ve lived with extreme stress for a long time.
- PINE – This looks like Staphysagria. It’s given for extremely poor confidence. Or for people with inappropriate guilt caused by the actions of others. Yet they take responsibility. Similar to what abuse victims feel in a Staphysagria state. Like people who need Staphysagria, Pine essence has a deep sense of worthlessness. They feel they’re not deserving of love. They apologize frequently. Despite doing nothing wrong. They blame themselves for the mistreatment. You could make the case that Pine essence covers some of the indications for Causticum, a homeopathic remedy that complements Staphysagria. People may move into a Causticum state after abuse, betrayal or a sense of injustice. Therefore, they feel powerless and vulnerable.
- LARCH – This is for low confidence. Or a fear of trying new things. She compares herself to others. In her mind she comes up short. She expects to fail. Procrastination is part of the picture. Children who need this remedy don’t answer questions in class, for fear of giving the wrong answer. They’re afraid of being mocked. This essence looks a lot like Lycopodium. Larch is also good for alcoholics, similar to Nux Vomica, Lachesis and Sulphuric Acid. It also covers anticipation anxiety. So it could be used instead of Gelsemium, Argent Nit or Aconite.
- HEATHER – Heather people are extremely talkative, similar to the loquaciousness you see in Lachesis. They demand attention. They talk at you and not to you. Lacking social boundaries, they engage strangers in long conversations. They don’t respect spatial boundaries either. They latch on to others and talk about matters big and small. They talk, but don’t listen. They may overshare. Consequently, they are lonely because people avoid them. The need for Heather is also characterized by hypochondria and a deep fear of the slightest changes in their body. The Lachesis state can include fears that the heart will stop. Heather may also be useful for people who fit the Arsenicum and Nitric Acid states, with great worry about their health.
- HORNBEAM – This flower essence is typically given to procrastinators. They avoid or postpone tasks because the work involved is too much of an effort. They tire at the mere thought of doing something. They may be overworked. Similar to Nux Vomica.
- RESCUE REMEDY – The most famous Bach flower product is a composite of five essences known as Rescue Remedy. It’s often called “Crisis Formula.” Rescue Remedy contains Cherry Plum, Clematis, Rock Rose, Star of Bethlehem and Impatiens. Each of these essences addresses a different emotion. It’s good for any stressful situation, such as an accident, injury or before an interview. It can be used as a backup for Arnica or Aconite, especially if you don’t have these remedies on hand and you don’t have time to get them. Rescue Remedy can also be given for the shock of bad news, just like Gelsemium, Aconite or Ignatia.
Bach flower remedies work on the emotional plane. So they’re not a substitute for conventional homeopathy. Even though some Bach flower practitioners use them that way. Instead they complement traditional homeopathy.
They may be of great help with cases that are stuck. Or with people who are weak, sensitive or have suffered a bad experience with high-dose homeopathic potencies.
Also, some remedies seem to have an affinity for certain behaviors seen in animals, a plus if your homeopathic practice includes pets and livestock.