The British Edward Bach (1886-1936) was a Harley Street doctor in London, and a bacteriologist, pathologist and homeopath at the London Homeopathic Hospital. He felt dissatisfied with focusing on diseases and ignoring the people who were suffering. He was inspired by homoeopathic remedies in some ways.
In 1930, at 43, he gave up his lucrative Harley Street practice and left London, determined to find what he needed for the system of medicine in nature. [He was an idealist]. He would rely on his natural gifts as a healer, and use his intuition. One by one he found remedies, and after he had moved to Mount Vernon in Oxfordshire in 1934, he soon had 38 remedies in all.
When Dr. Bach passed away at 50, he had made a non-complicated homeopathic-linked system that is now used world-wide: It is mainly focused on mental states and is largely fit for self-care efforts.
Agrimony ⁓ Aimed at those who habitually hide their feelings. Mental torture, but putting on a brave face
Aspen ⁓ Fear of the unknown and of unknown things
Beech ⁓ The perfectionist may have to adjust and accept that others and even himself/herself may not fully make it. Against intolerance
Centaury ⁓ Aimed at mild ones that want to please, while lacking in gruff responses. Against inability to say 'no'
Cerato ⁓ One needs to adjust toward trusting one's own rather intuitive judgements. There is lack of trust in own decisions
Cherry Plum ⁓ Depression and anxiety. Fear of the mind giving way
Chestnut Bud ⁓ There is a need to learn (better) from previous experiences. Failure to learn from mistakes
Chicory ⁓ Over-possessiveness, including selfish, possessive love
Clematis ⁓ There is a need to attain more or better concentration. Against being over-dreamy and against over-dreaming of the future
Crab Apple ⁓ Tackle hygiene issues better. Helps against loathing an self-hatred. The preparation is used for cleansing
Elm ⁓ You need to say no to decor so as to attain better. Overwhelmed by the burdens of responsibility and other burdens.
Gentian ⁓ There is a need to attain more of a "do your best" attitude deep inside. Aimed at those who need to or desire to take courage and think they are in a rut too. Also: discouragement after setbacks
Gorse ⁓ Pessimists. Hopelessness and despair
Heather ⁓ Talkative and grossly self-centred; there is much self-concern
Holly ⁓ Wants revenge. Can harbour hatred, envy and jealousy
Honeysuckle ⁓ Needs to attain more interest in one's future. Stuck in the past. Living in the past
Hornbeam ⁓ The mere idea of work exhausts them. Good for old people. Too eager to please. Procrastination, tiredness
Impatiens ⁓ One needs to get things done well and be resolute, although there is also a deeper need for some more compassion first. For resolute attainers. Some can be over-impatient, in a hurry. The preparation counteracts over-impatience.
Larch ⁓ Attain to dear self-preservation. There is a need to tackle inferiority feelings and grave lack of confidence. Vitality is lacking.
Mimulus ⁓ One is stiffening and hence finds oneself less charming to be with. Everyday fears, fear of known things, and a bit nervousness. There could be a need to surprise a bit better.
Mustard ⁓ Attain to the support of one's deep, inner being. There is a need to be capable of going on. A deep gloom for no apparent reason
Oak ⁓ These persons are brave. Attain to some strength, and tackle limits and limitations somewhat better, more cleverly. Attain to regulating things by setting wise boundaries firmly. There is a need of wise boundary-setting, therefore. Otherwise one may be in for being overwhelmed by responsibility. Oak is also a preparation against being exhausted while struggling on; there should be no need for that.
Olive ⁓ Exhaustion, either mental or physical
Pine ⁓ Guilt
Red Chestnut ⁓ Over concern for welfare of loved ones
Rock Rose ⁓ Terror, fright
Rock Water ⁓ Self denial, rigidity, self repression
Scleranthus ⁓ Inability to choose between alternatives
Star of Bethlehem ⁓ Shock
Sweet Chestnut ⁓ Extreme mental anguish
Vervain ⁓ Over enthusiasm
Vine ⁓ Dominance and inflexibility
Walnut ⁓ Protection from change
Water Violet ⁓ Pride and aloofness
White Chestnut ⁓ Unwanted thoughts, mental arguments
Wild Oat ⁓ Uncertainty over direction in life
Wild Rose ⁓ Drifting, resignation, apathy
Willow ⁓ Self pity, resentment
Rescue Preparation ⁓ A combination preparation for 'emergencies'
Most of the information that follows, is either gleaned from or taken verbatim from The Twelve Healers and Other Remedies by Edward Bach First published 1933, revised 1934, this new enlarged edition 1936. The work is licensed by the Bach Flower Research Programme for copying for research purposes.
Agrimony* ⁓ The jovial, cheerful, humorous people who love peace and are distressed by argument or quarrel, to avoid which they will agree to give up much. Though generally they have troubles and are tormented and restless and worried in mind or in body, they hide their cares behind their humour and jesting and are considered very good friends to know. They often take alcohol or drugs in excess, to stimulate themselves and help themselves bear their trials with cheerfulness.
Aspen ⁓ Vague unknown fears, for which there can be given no explanation, no reason. Yet the patient may be terrified of something terrible going to happen, he knows not what. These vague unexplainable fears may haunt by night or day. Sufferers often are afraid to tell their trouble to others.
Beech ⁓ For those who feel the need to see more good and beauty in all that surrounds them. And, although much appears to be wrong, to have the ability to see the good growing within. So as to be able to be more tolerant, lenient and understanding of the different way each individual and all things are working to their own final perfection.
Centaury* ⁓ Kind, quiet, gentle people who are over-anxious to serve others. They overtax their strength in their endeavours. Their wish so grows upon them that they become more servants than willing helpers. Their good nature leads them to do more than their own share of work, and in so doing they may neglect their own particular mission in life.
Cerato* ⁓ Those who have not sufficient confidence in themselves to make
their own decisions. They constantly seek advice from others, and are often misguided.
Chestnut bud ⁓ For those who do not take full advantage of observation and experience, and who take a longer time than others to learn the lessons of daily life. Whereas one experience would be enough for some, such people find it necessary to have more, sometimes several, before the lesson is learnt. Therefore, to their regret, they find themselves having to make the same error on different occasions when once would have been enough, or observation of others could have spared them even that one fault.
Chicory* ⁓ Those are who very mindful of the needs of others; they tend to be over-full of care for children, relatives, friends, always finding something that should be put right. They are continually correcting what they consider wrong, and enjoy doing so. They desire that those for whom they care should be near them.
Clematis* ⁓ Those who are dreamy, drowsy, not fully awake, no great interest in life. Quiet people, not really happy in their present circumstances, living more in the future than in the present; living in hopes of happier times, when their ideals may come true. In illness some make little or no effort to get well, and in certain may even look forward to death, in the hope of better times; or maybe, meeting again some beloved one whom they have lost.
Crab Apple ⁓ This is the remedy of cleansing. For those who feel as if they had something not quite clean about themselves. Often it is something of apparently little importance: in others there may be more serious disease which is almost disregarded compared to the one thing on which they concentrate. In both types they are anxious to be free from the one particular thing which is greatest in their minds and which seems so essential to them that it should be cured. They become despondent if treatment fails. Being a cleanser, this remedy purifies wounds if the patient has reason to believe that some poison has entered which must be drawn out.
Elm ⁓ Those who are doing good work, are following the calling of their life and who hope to do something of importance, and this often for the benefit of humanity. At times there may be periods of depression when they feel that the task they have undertaken is too difficult, and not within the power of a human being.
Gentian* ⁓ Those who are easily discouraged. They may be progressing well in illness, or in the affairs of their daily life, but any small delay or hindrance to progress causes doubt and soon disheartens them.
Gorse ⁓ Very great hopelessness, they have given up belief that more can be done for them. Under persuasion or to please others they may try different treatments, at the same time assuring those around that there is so little hope of relief.
Heather* ⁓ Those who are always seeking the companionship of anyone who may be available, as they find it necessary to discuss their own affairs with others, no matter whom it may be. They are very unhappy if they have to be alone for any length of time.
Holly ⁓ For those who sometimes are attacked by thoughts of such kind as jealousy, envy, revenge, suspicion. For the different forms of vexation. Within themselves they may suffer much, often when there is no real cause for their unhappiness.
Honeysuckle ⁓ Those who live much in the past, perhaps a time of great happiness, or memories of a lost friend, or ambitions which have not come true. They do not expect further happiness such as they have had.
Hornbeam ⁓ For those who feel that they have not sufficient strength, mentally or physically, to carry the burden of life placed upon them; the affairs of every day seem too much for them to accomplish, though they generally succeeded in fulfilling their task. For those who believe that some part, of mind or body, needs to be strengthened before they can easily fulfil their work.
Impatiens* ⁓ Those who are quick in thought and action and who wish all things to be done without hesitation or delay. When ill they are anxious for a hasty recovery. They find it very difficult to be patient with people who are slow, as they consider it wrong and a waste of time, and they will endeavour to make such people quicker in all ways. They often prefer to work and think alone, so that they can do everything at their own speed.
Larch ⁓ For those who do not consider themselves as good or capable as those around them, who expect failure, who feel that they will never be a success, and so do not venture or make a strong enough attempt to succeed.
Mimulus* ⁓ Fear of worldly things, illness, pain, accidents, poverty, of dark, of being alone, of misfortune. The fears of everyday life. These people quietly and secretly bear their dread, they do not freely speak of it to others.
Mustard ⁓ Those who are liable to times of gloom, or even despair, as though a cold dark cloud overshadowed them and hid the light and the joy of life. It may not be possible to give any reason or explanation for such attacks. Under these conditions it is almost impossible to appear happy or cheerful.
Oak* ⁓ For those who are struggling and fighting strongly to get well, or in connection with the affairs of their daily life. They will go on trying one thing after another, though their case may seem hopeless. They will fight on. They are discontented with themselves if illness interferes with their duties or helping others. They are brave people, fighting against great difficulties, without loss of hope or effort.
Olive ⁓ Those who have suffered much mentally or physically and are so exhausted and weary that they feel they have no more strength to make any effort. Daily life is hard work for them, without pleasure.
Pine ⁓ For those who blame themselves. Even when successful they think that they could have done better, and are never content with their efforts or the results. They are hard-working and suffer much from the faults they attach to themselves. Sometimes if there is any mistake it is due to another, but they will claim responsibility even for that.
Red chestnut ⁓ For those who find it difficult not to be anxious for other people. Often they have ceased to worry about themselves, but for those of whom they are fond they may suffer much, frequently anticipating that some unfortunate thing may happen to them.
Rock rose* ⁓ The rescue remedy. The remedy of emergency for cases where there even appears no hope. In accident or sudden illness, or when the patient is very frightened or terrified, or if the condition is serious enough to cause great fear to those around. If the patient is not conscious the lips may be moistened with the remedy. Other remedies in addition may also be required, as, for example, if there is unconsciousness, which is a deep, sleepy state, Clematis; if there is torture, Agrimony, and so on.
Rock Water ⁓ Those who are very strict in their way of living; they deny themselves many of the joys and pleasures of life because they consider it might interfere with their work. They are hard masters to themselves. They wish to be well and strong and active, and will do anything which they believe will keep them so. They hope to be examples which will appeal to others who may then follow their ideas and be better as a result.
Scleranthus* ⁓ Those who suffer much from being unable to decide between two things, first one seeming right then the other. They are usually quiet people, and bear their difficulty alone, as they are not inclined to discuss it with others.
Star of Bethlehem ⁓ For those in great distress under conditions which for a time produce great unhappiness. The shock of serious news, the loss of some one dear, the fright following an accident, and such like. For those who for a time refuse to be consoled this remedy brings comfort.
Sweet Chestnut ⁓ For those moments which happen to some people when the anguish is so great as to seem to be unbearable. When the mind or body feels as if it had borne to the uttermost limit of its endurance, and that now it must give way. When it seems there is nothing but destruction and annihilation left to face.
Vervain* ⁓ Those with fixed principles and ideas, which they are confident are right, and which they very rarely change. They have a great wish to convert all around them to their own views of life. They are strong of will and have much courage when they are convinced of those things that they wish to teach. In illness they struggle on long after many would have given up their duties.
Vine ⁓ Very capable people, certain of their own ability, confident of success. Being so assured, they think that it would be for the benefit of others if they could be persuaded to do things as they themselves do, or as they are certain is right. Even in illness they will direct their attendants. They may be of great value in emergency.
Walnut ⁓ For those who have definite ideals and ambitions in life and are fulfilling them, but on rare occasions are tempted to be led away from their own ideas, aims and work by the enthusiasm, convictions or strong opinions of others. The remedy gives constancy and protection from outside influences.
Water Violet* ⁓ For those who in health or illness like to be alone. Very quiet people, who move about without noise, speak little, and then gently. Very independent, capable and self-reliant. Almost free of the opinions of others. They are aloof, leave people alone and go their own way. Often clever and talented. Their peace and calmness is a blessing to those around them.
White Chestnut ⁓ For those who cannot prevent thoughts, ideas, arguments which they do not desire from entering their minds. Usually at such times when the interest of the moment is not strong enough to keep the mind full. Thoughts which worry and will remain, or if for a time thrown out, will return. They seem to circle round and round and cause mental torture. The presence of such unpleasant thoughts drives out peace and interferes with being able to think only of the work or pleasure of the day.
Wild Oat ⁓ Those who have ambitions to do something of prominence in life, who wish to have much experience, and to enjoy all that which is possible for them, to take life to the full. Their difficulty is to determine what occupation to follow; as although their ambitions are strong, they have no calling which appeals to them above all others. This may cause delay and dissatisfaction.
Wild Rose ⁓ Those who without apparently sufficient reason become resigned to all that happens, and just glide through life, take it as it is, without any effort to improve things and find some joy. They have surrendered to the struggle of life without complaint.
Willow ⁓ For those who have suffered adversity or misfortune and find these difficult to accept, without complaint or resentment, as they judge life much by the success which it brings. They feel that they have not deserved so great a trial, that it was unjust, and they become embittered. They often take less interest and less activity in those things of life which they had previously enjoyed.
Source: The Twelve Healers and Other Remedies by Edward Bach (1936).
These suggestions are from the standard directions.To prepare, take about two drops from the stock bottle into a small bottle nearly filled with water; if this is required to keep for some time, add some preservative.
This bottle is used for giving doses, and but a few drops of this, taken in a little water, milk, or any way convenient, is all that is necessary.
In urgent cases the doses may be given every few minutes, until there is improvement; in severe cases about half-hourly; and in long-standing cases every two or three hours, or more often or less as the person feels the need.
In those unconscious, moisten the lips frequently. [The temples and the area slightly below the ears and behind the jaws are OK too]
Whenever there is pain, stiffness, inflammation, or any local trouble, a lotion [can] be applied in addition. Take a few drops from the medicine bottle in a bowl of water and soak a piece of cloth in this and cover the affected part; this can be kept moist from time to time, as necessary.
Sponging or bathing in water with a few drops of the remedies added may at times be useful.
The blooms of the plant are picked and immediately floated on the surface of the water, so as to cover it, and then left in the bright sunshine for three or four hours, or less time if the blooms begin to show signs of fading. The blossoms are then carefully lifted out and the water poured into bottles so as to half fill them. The bottles are then filled up with brandy to preserve the remedy. These bottles are stock, and are not used direct for giving doses. A few drops are taken from these to another bottle, from which the patient is treated, so that the stocks contain a large supply. The supplies from the chemists should be used in the same way.
The following BACH essences were prepared as above:
Agrimony, Centaury, Cerato, Chicory, Clematis, Gentian, Gorse, Heather, Impatiens, Mimulus, Oak, Olive, Rock Rose, Rock Water, Scleranthus, the Wild Oat, Vervain, Vine, Water Violet, White Chestnut Blossom.
Rock Water. It has long been known that certain wells and spring waters have had the power to heal some people, and such wells or springs have become renowned for this property. Any well or any spring which has been known to have had healing power and which is still left free in its natural state, unhampered by the shrines of man, may be used.
The specimens, as about to be described, were boiled for half an hour in clean pure water.
The fluid strained off, poured into bottles until half filled, and then, when cold, brandy added as before to fill up and preserve.
Chestnut Bud. For this remedy the buds are gathered from the White Chestnut tree, just before it is bursting into leaf.
In others the blossom should be used together with small pieces of stem or stalk and, when present, young fresh leaves.
All the remedies given can be found growing in the British Isles, except Vine, Olive, Cerato, although some are true natives of other countries along middle and southern Europe to northern India and Tibet.
For those unable to prepare their own supplies the remedies can be obtained from the Bach Centre, Nelson's Pharmacy in London, or local health stores.
This is a rendering of the philosophy behind the use of Bach remedies:
Aiming at selecting the most beneficial remedy or remedies comes first. Either we use them for something, or against things, like mild troubles or distress, trying to be cured.
Observant people can notice some of their mind-changes quite well, often before physical troubles or tensions follow. That is the ideal. When illness has been present for some time, the mood or mind changes of the sufferer will guide to remedies.
Mind remedies may effect both body and mind through psychosomatic pathways. And good faith in remedies may do the same, tell placebo studies. You can get allied with placebo effects to the degree you have faith in the placebos.
The mind is a most delicate and sensitive part of each one, and - if you can interpret it - shows the onset and the course of disease far more clearly than the body, so changes in the outlook of mind and mood changes can be a good guide as to which remedy or remedies seem fit.
To sum up: Dealing with mind symptoms, think of the outlook, mood changes or other strong peculiarities involved in the one in distress.
Some of the links work, and many don't.
There is also a combination remedy called Rescue Remedy.
Bach, Edward. 1952. The Twelve Healers and Other Remedies. Reprint ed. Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, Oxon: The Bach Centre. ⍽▢⍽ Also in the form of an e-book from 2005.
Ball, Stefan. 2000. Bach Flower Remedies (Teach Yourself). London: Teach Yourself Books. ⍽▢⍽ A self-teaching guide written by a Bach Centre expert.
Boericke, William and Oscar. 1927. Homoeopathic Materia Medica. 9th ed. Philadelphia: Boericke and Runyon.
Chancellor, Phillip, ed., comp. 1990. The Illustrated Handbook of the Bach Flower Remedies. Rev. ed. Saffron Walden, Essex: C. W. Daniel. ⍽▢⍽ Dr Chancellor cooperated with the Bach Healing Centre. This is an ancillary to Edward Bach's basic work, The Twelve Healers and Other Remedies. The book combines remedy descriptions and case histories. Further, each Bach remedy is compared to similar remedies.
Lockie, Andrew and Nicola Geddes. 1995. The Complete Guide to Homeopathy the Principles and Practices of Treatment. London: Dorling and Kindersley.
Vithoulkas, George. 2000. Homeopathy: Medicine for the New Millennium. 26th ed. Alonissos: IACH (The International Academy of Classical Homeopathy). ⍽▢⍽ In 1995, Vitoulkas (born 1932) established the International Academy of Classical Homeopathy (IACH) in Alonissos, Greece. He won the Alternative Nobel Prize in 1996. 9.000 medical doctors and homeopathic practitioners from 32 countries have been trained in the Academy he founded. His books have been translated into 23 languages. In this one he presents basics for practice.
Voegeli, Adolf. 1991. Heilkunst in neuer Sicht. 7. Aufl. Heidelberg: Haug, 1991 (orig. 1955)
Voegeli, Adolf: 1976. Homoeopathic Prescribing. Wellingborough: Thorsons.
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