Who was Edward Bach?
Edward Bach, a trained physician from Birmingham England is the man who developed what are now known as Flower Remedies. Even as a small child Bach wanted to become a doctor and was most concerned with the aspect of human emotions and how they affected the health of the individual. After the completion of his primary medical training in 1912 Bach would eventually begin doing research with bacteria for the production of vaccines. This research would eventually lead Bach into discovering nosodes which were vaccines derived from bacteria in the body. In 1919 Bach took a position at the London Homeopathic Hospital where he continued his research as a bacteriologist. Bach was intrigued by homeopathy and envisioned both allopathic and homeopathic medicine coming together as the future of medicine.
Bach developed many techniques based on homeopathy and began to look at diet as it related to disease. Bach had noted much earlier in his career that medicine as it was practiced focused too much on the disease and not the person or their emotions. Bach was considered by some to be a very intuitive man. Whether or not it was by keen observation or intuition Bach began to notice patterns in people’s personalities and how they related to physical illnesses.
Bach could see that there was definitely a correlation between emotions and illness. Because of this Bach became more and more frustrated with the practice of diagnosing a particular disease and prescribing medications instead of looking at the person as a whole. Bach wanted to get to the root of the disease and discover what was causing it and therefore take steps to prevent the disease from ever developing.
By 1930 Bach was completely disillusioned by conventional medicine and decided to leave his practice to explore remedies for illness that derived from nature. Having already begun an outline for the different emotional types observed in individuals Bach would now begin his quest for the appropriate remedies.
Discovering the Cure:
Initially, Bach looked to himself as a subject in relating emotional and physical characteristics to a particular remedy. His thoughts were that if everyone had specific characteristics which pointed to disease so should he. Bach spent an exorbitant amount of time observing each and every plant, noting its characteristics, and perhaps even intuitively being guided by the plants energy. This observation and intuition would be the driving force behind each and every new discovery.
Preparing the Cure:
Bach’s techniques for preparations evolved over the years with the final outcome being a method of extraction via the sun. Bach states that when preparing the remedy it must be done near where the plant itself grows. Pure stream water is added to a small glass bowl to which the flowers are immediately added as soon as they are picked and while they still have plenty of life. The surface of the water is completely covered with the flowers without overlapping each other. The glass dish with the flowers is then left to sit in very bright sunlight until the blooms begin to fade. After the blooms have begun to fade the flowers are removed and the water is poured into bottles along with an equal amount of brandy which is used as a preservative.
In total Bach developed thirty eight distinct remedies. Each remedy has specific characteristics or vibrations which correlate to the negative emotions or characteristics found in certain individuals. These emotions or characteristics are what Bach’s remedies were designed to address. Bach believed that disease came about because of a disharmony, imbalance or disconnect between one’s personality and their higher self or spirit. This disconnect develops gradually and manifests itself in the form of negative moods, emotions or attitudes which later develop into physical illness. Bach believed that every illness was preceded by a negative emotional state such as fear, greed, or envy. The remedies as they were designed would increase the vibration and flow of energy throughout and reconnect the separate entities to create balance with the whole.
– A person who always presents themselves as happy and carefree while inside they suffer with fears and anxieties.
– Someone who is consumed with apprehension and irrational fears with a sense of impending evil.
– A person who is always critical, intolerant, judgmental and arrogant; unable to show understanding towards others.
– Someone who is good natured but who is also so weak willed that they are either guided by others or become subservient to others.
– This remedy is recommended for someone who lacks confidence in their own decisions and is constantly asking others for advice. The thirst for knowledge is great, but they may hoard that knowledge. The cerato person has a weak identity, always want to know what is “in”, need approval from others and have a tendency to imitate the attitudes of others.
– This person has a fear of losing control, of letting go and losing their mind. Cherry Plum people may have uncontrolled outbreaks of temper.
– This relates to someone who never seems to learn from their experiences and who tends to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
– Chicory people are very possessive, manipulative and are constantly interfering in others affairs. They may become angry if they are unable to get their own way.
– Is the Daydreamer who is very inattentive to what is going on around them.
– The Crab Apple person has a sense of self disgust and self- condemnation. They have a great need for cleanliness and often get stuck in details.
– Often overwhelmed by responsibilities with temporary feelings of inadequacy.
– This person is easily discouraged and pessimistic. Gentian people are usually skeptical, doubting and are uncertain due to a lack of confidence and faith.
– A very hopeless individual who has resigned and given up.
– This remedy would be for the “needy child” or for someone who has become very self-centered about their own concerns. Heather people want to be the center of attention, are self-absorbed and incessant talkers.
– A hard hearted person who is full of jealousy, hatred and distrust.
– No longer living in the “present”, longing for the past. Often has regrets from the past and has a hard time getting over the loss of a loved one.
– Exhausted, weary, and slow to recover. Gets up tired in the morning and needs stimulants like coffee to get going.
– Tense, spontaneous, impatient and irritable. Takes the words out of others mouth and gets frustrated when others work too slowly.
– Lack of self-confidence, feels inferior and always expecting to fail.
– Shy, timid and afraid of the world. Frightened of life and have specific fears and phobias.
– Someone who vacillates in and out of states of melancholia and deep gloom. Caught up in gloom, introverted and unable to overcome the moods or hide them from others.
– Someone who never gives up is overworked and exhausted, but still they continue on. Ignores need for rest and continues to work because of a sense of obligation.
– Deep inner tiredness completely exhausted and needs much sleep. Everything is an effort and there are no reserves left.
– Very apologetic and introverted with feelings of guilt and self-reproach. Sets very high standards for themselves and often feels partly responsible for the mistakes of others.
– Great attachment to people and a tendency to worry obsessively about the problems of others. Self-sacrificing, overprotective and over caring.
– Terror, fear and panic with panicky nightmares and poor energy reserves.
– A perfectionist who is very hard on themselves and who suppresses physical and emotional needs.
– Lack of inner balance, indecisive with moods that change from one minute to the next.
Star of Bethlehem
– Needs much comfort after the affects of disappointments, trauma, bad news or accidents.
– One who has reached their limits of endurance and who feels they have been backed up against a wall. Feelings of dejection and extreme despair, but lack thoughts of suicide.
– High strung fanatic who wants others to support their causes. Rarely deviates from their principles and wants to convince others that theirs is the “right way”.
– Not very flexible, dominating and strives for power. Very confident in their abilities and thinks they know what is right for others.
– Doesn’t adjust well during periods of transition. Someone who knows what they want and who tries to follow their own ambitions. Has a hard time escaping the influence of dominant people in their lives.
– Feelings of superiority which leads to isolation. Does not allow others to interfere with their lives and may be construed as being conceited.
– Worrying or unwanted thoughts that keep going round and round in the head. Constant mental chatter while going over the same problems over and over again.
– Unable to find one’s mission in life which leads to frustration, boredom and dissatisfaction.
– Lack of joy, ambition and interest in one’s life. Unhappy, sad and hopeless, but does not complain.
– Resentful and bitter because they feel they have been treated unjustly. Start to withdraw and give up on things they once enjoyed. Will accept help from others but will eventually alienate those who try to help. The victim; “Poor me”.
– A combination of five remedies used during times of stress and trauma.
Finding the right remedy:
It is recommended that before anyone begins using Bach Flower Remedies on others that they spend a year getting to know the remedies and how they are affected by those remedies. The symptom lists are merely a starting point and as one gets to know the remedies more intimately the picture will become more vivid. People often have a difficult time seeing their own symptom picture. Often the remedies that we think do not suit our character are actually the ones we may need. Once problems arise from our subconscious and we address them other experiences may begin to reveal themselves as we begin to work through problems leading back to our childhood. When you find yourself at your most vulnerable you may be able to identify those aspects of your true personality. Use those experiences to see how the remedies may address those needs and how you respond.
Once you have gotten to know the remedies through self exploration you may then consider using them on others. It is always important to know why you want to help others. If your intentions are good and your motives are genuine your success with others will be greater. Never try to help others when you yourself feel out of balance. Use your senses as a guide in determining remedies. There must be an atmosphere of trust between you and your client. Don’t think that you must always be right and never sit in judgment of others.
When working with others they must be willing to make a change and take responsibility for their illness or condition. The client must be an active participant in their own wellness and accept the energy of the flower essence. When helping others try not to dwell on the negative aspects of the personality, but rather emphasize the positive changes that may be brought about. It is also important to understand that the success of the remedies is not by our doing and is out of our hands.
By developing a dialogue with a client we are more able to be specific in our remedy selection. Allow the client to tell their story and make observations on how they express themselves. Is the client introverted or are they very talkative? This information can aid in defining a complete and clear symptom picture.
When determining the specific remedy(s) quite a number may come to mind. The most effective way to administer remedies is to correctly select one or two that seem to match the personality of the client. The more familiar we become with the remedies the more accurate we will become in administering effective remedies.
Scheffer, M., (1988). Bach flower therapy – theory and practice., Rochester, Vermont., Healing Arts Press
Barnard, J., (2002). Bach flower remedies form and function., Great Barrington, MA., Lindisfarne Books.