Bach Flowers

Dr. Edward Bach studied medicine at the University College Hospital, London, and was a House Surgeon there. He worked in general practice, having a set of consulting rooms in Harley Street, and as a bacteriologist and later a pathologist. Despite the success of his work with orthodox medicine he felt dissatisfied with the way doctors were expected to concentrate on diseases and ignore the people who were suffering them. He was inspired by his work with homoeopathy but wanted to find remedies that would be purer and less reliant on the products of disease.

He found that energy of certain flowers can change negative or incorrect emotions into positive ones. For example if you are afraid, certain flowers can give you courage. Bach Flowers do not work directly on the physical body. They help on an emotional level and when the imbalance or cause is changed, the physical symptom or discomfort will improve. The remedies are designed to help the body heal itself by restoring emotional balance in the body.

The remedies come as a liquid, preserved in brandy, called the stock bottle. To take them, you dilute two drops of each remedy that you need (not exceeding 7 different remedies) into a 30ml dropper bottle, top up with mineral water, and take four drops four times a day. Alternatively you can put the two drops into a glass of water, and sip from that at intervals.

Facts about Bach Flowers

Possible side effects

The Bach Flower Remedies work by flooding out negative feelings and emotions. Sometimes the emotions that are dealt with have been repressed for some time and in order to clear them they have to be cleansed from the system. On very rare occasions this can take the form of a rash, or unexpected feelings may be stirred up. Where such things do occur they can be disregarded and there is no reason to stop taking the remedies.

Diluting a remedy does not reduce its potency

There is no difference in potency or speed of effect between taking the four drops from a treatment bottle and taking a stock remedy.

Rescue Remedy

The only ready-mixed remedy is the Rescue Remedy, which was prepared by Dr Bach to cover all the usual reactions people would have to crises and emergencies. It was intended as an emotional first-aid kit and not as a quick replacement for the 38 individual remedies. Therefore, after the immediate crisis is over the correct thing to do is to look at the individual response rather than go on giving Rescue Remedy indefinitely.

Reducing the alcohol in a remedy

You can put the drops of a remedy into boiling water, tea etc. and this should evaporate most of the alcohol. It will not affect the potency of the remedies.

Stopping a remedy

When the problem that is being addressed has gone, there is no need to continue taking the remedy in case it comes back. There is no need to wean off the remedies gradually, as you have to do with some conventional drugs.

Here is a list of the 38 remedies and their indications. Choosing a remedy is not based on physical symptoms, but rather a person’s negative emotions. For more information on the remedies and what they are for, please refer to a Bach Flower book reference or check out the Bach Flower web site at

Agrimony – mental torture behind a cheerful face

Aspen – fear of unknown things

Beech – intolerance

Centaury – the inability to say ‘no’

Cerato – lack of trust in one’s own decisions

Cherry Plum – fear of the mind giving way

Chestnut Bud – failure to learn from mistakes

Chicory – selfish, possessive love

Clematis – dreaming of the future without working in the present

Crab Apple – the cleansing remedy, also for self-hatred

Elm – overwhelmed by responsibility

Gentian – discouragement after a setback

Gorse – hopelessness and despair

Heather – self-centredness and self-concern

Holly – hatred, envy and jealousy

Honeysuckle – living in the past

Hornbeam – procrastination, tiredness at the thought of doing something

Impatiens – impatience

Larch – lack of confidence

Mimulus – fear of known things

Mustard – deep gloom for no reason

Oak – the plodder who keeps going past the point of exhaustion

Olive – exhaustion following mental or physical effort

Pine – guilt

Red Chestnut – over-concern for the welfare of loved ones

Rock Rose – terror and fright

Rock Water – self-denial, rigidity and self-repression

Scleranthus – inability to choose between alternatives

Star of Bethlehem – shock

Sweet Chestnut – Extreme mental anguish, when everything has been tried and there’s no light left

Vervain – over-enthusiasm

Vine – dominance and inflexibility

Walnut – protection from change and unwanted influences

Water Violet – pride and aloofness

White Chestnut – unwanted thoughts and mental arguments

Wild Oat – uncertainty over one’s direction in life

Wild Rose – drifting, resignation, apathy

Willow – self-pity and resentment

Information found on Reprinted with permission.