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Flower Essences


Bach Flower Remedies

The series of 38 remedies made from wild flowers and plants is named after its originator English physician Dr Edward Bach who lived from 1880 to 1936.


Although his family originally came from Wales, Edward Bach was born in Moseley in Birmingham, and in the transition the Welsh ‘Bach’ became ‘Batch’ and that was how he was always known. He trained and qualified as a Doctor at University College Hospital and in the early 1900’s, he achieved the Diploma of Public Health (DPH) at Cambridge. For several years he worked investigating the role of bacteriology in chronic disease. This work led him to recognise that there were clear personality types that related to the various patterns of ill health, irrespective of the physical symptoms being presented by the patient.

Connection between emotional state and illness.

In this, he was taking a very unusual view, but soon became more interested in the patients themselves - with their problems – rather than with their disease. He would sit by their bedsides and give them time to talk to him, and by listening to them he would discover the real cause of their ill health. He sat with a female patient who was suffering from Asthma which was so severe that hospital treatment was required. It was obvious to him that she was a very anxious and frightened woman. She poured her troubles out to him that her only son and taken a job away three months before and that she had not heard from him and was terrified that he had met with an accident where no one knew him and where to contact her. She imagined him injured or even dead and her imagination tortured her increasingly. One day her son visited her out of the blue and told her he had found a job closer to home. Her asthma subsided and within days was clear. Dr Bach considered that she had recovered because she no longer needed to hold her breath for her son.


These days the link between stress and physical is well documented. Dr Bach’s conviction grew that the body was so often reflecting the fears, anxieties and angers of the mind and that by treating the patient by helping him overcome these anxieties, the physical recovery was often the natural result. He also believed that talking through his worries with the patient was simply not enough and something more was needed but what?


Through his work as a bacteriologist, he was, for some time researching the effects of orthodox medicines and, although he still found them largely unsatisfactory – he was still treating the disease rather than the patient – he was steadily increasing his knowledge and understanding of people, of human nature and the complexities of human emotions carving their marks deeply into the human psyche.


By lucky chance he came across the practice of homeopathy, he had found a medicine with the principle that the patient and his personality is the most important factor in healing. Homeopathic remedies were being prescribed for the personality and mental characteristic of the patient, as well as the physical symptoms of the illness.


For some considerable time Bach carried out research work in the laboratories of the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital. Whilst working at the Hospital Dr Bach was involved in researching the relationship between intestinal toxaemia and chronic disease. He was able to isolate seven groups of intestinal flora and he homeopathically prepared nosodes from them which were given to his patients orally. These nosodes had the effect of cleansing the intestinal tract very successfully. These seven bowel nosodes are still in use today


Then he made an important discovery. The seven nosodes needed to be matched, not to the appropriate group of intestinal flora or the patient’s illness, but the emotional states of the patients. Hence all the patients suffered the same emotional difficulties needed the same nosode, irrespective of their type of disease. The patients who were anxious and fearful needed a different nosode from those who were angry and aggressive irrespective of their physical illness;

Natures Pharmacy

Dr Bach believed, without any doubt, that all our needs and all our healing had already been supplied in nature. All he had to do was find the appropriate healing plants. So sure was he that in 1930 he gave up his work in London and moved to the country.


Through his work and his beliefs he had become psychologically and physically highly sensitive. He produced each negative emotional state, noted the physical symptoms that ensued, and then wandered about the countryside looking for the flowers which would restore his peace of mind. Having found it, the physical complaints would disappear in hours.

The 38 Remedies

Dr Bach discovered 38 flowers to heal the 38 negative emotional states from which we can suffer. He then sub-divided the 38 remedies into 7 groups

  1. for fear
  2. for uncertainty and indecision
  3. for loneliness
  4. for insufficient interest in present circumstances
  5. for over sensitivity to ideas and influences
  6. for dependency and despair
  7. for over-care for the welfare of others

With three exceptions, the flowers he used were simple wild flowers of the countryside. He prepared essences from the flowers only, because they grow with their faces in the air and sunlight and they carry, deep in their centres, the seed which the embryo of the continued life of the plant.

The seven groups

1)        For fear:                    


                                          Cherry plum


                                          Red Chestnut

                                          Rock rose

2)        For uncertainty and indecision:






Wild oat

3)    For Loneliness:



Water Violet

4)   For insufficient interest in present circumstances:


                                                Chestnut Bud





                                                Wild Rose

5)    For Over-sensitivity to ideas and influences





6)   For Despondency and Despair  

                                                Crab Apple





                                                Star of Bethlehem

                                                Sweet Chestnut


7)  For over-care for the welfare of others:



                                                Rock Water




What the remedies are

They are the life force of the plants collected for the energy field or aura of the plant. Life force energy is what gives plants, animals and people their vitality, the life force. The existence of energy fields around plants, people and other living things has been demonstrated by Kirlian photography. In making flower essences the life force energy of the plant is captured by picking flowers at dawn, at the height of their vitality, and placing them in water in sunlight for several hours’


Flower essences are not herbal extracts, even though some are made from the flowers of such herbs as chamomile, comfrey and goldenseal etc. Extracts of tinctures contain the actual plant and have potent effects on the body, being prepared specifically for medical purposes. Because of their strength, herbs and herbal extracts are not to be taken lightly. Giving the wrong amount of the wrong part of the plant, herbal extracts can be toxic.


Flower remedies however, are self – adjusting, which means that when the remedy is

incorrect, it simply has no effect. There are no harmful side effects. The essences are

not medications for physical ailments, although they can support physical healing. Their effect is not direct. There is no remedy for example, for ulcers or high blood pressure, instead, an improved emotional state leads to an improved physical condition. Traditional physicians are now recognising that stress has a profound effect on health and that negative destructive emotions can lower our resistance to disease.

Exploring for ourselves

Finding out about the 38 plants is both fascinating and instructive and we can experiment with making plant essences for ourselves. The process of learning brings knowledge. Dr Bach discovered his plants by walking the highways and bye-ways  we can do the same. The wild plants are unfortunately becoming rarer in some instances, hedgerows have been uprooted and the increased use of weed-killers and insecticides has taken their toll. Dutch elm disease arrived twenty years ago to destroy for ever the look of the traditional English Countryside.

Preparing your own essences



  • Jug
  • Funnel
  • Glass bowl
  • Saucepan
  • Bottle for storing the essence

* These should be sterilised by boiling for 30 minutes. Dry and wrap in clean cloth *

  • Bottle of purified water
  • A little Brandy to preserve the essence
  • Filter papers
  • Scissors



Choose unpolluted locations and flowers that are in perfect bloom. Select flowers from several different plants or trees and pick them on a fine day.

There are two methods of preparation, the sun method and the boiling method.


Sun method

Choose a clean, bright sunny morning with cloudless day and begin making the essence before 9 am.


  • Take a thin glass bowl, about half pint size and fill with water
  • Pick the flowers and float them immediately in water.


Carry the flowers to the water on a large leaf to avoid contact with the hands. Alternatively, hold the bowl so that, as the blossom is snipped from the plant it falls directly into the water.


  • Cover the surface of the water with blossom and top up with water if necessary.
  • Leave the remedy in the sunshine, in the same spot as the remedy plants, for 3 – 4 hours (or less if the flowers show signs of fading).
  • Avoid letting shadows fall across the bowl
  • If the sun becomes hidden by clouds during this time abandon the essence.
  • When the time is up, lift the flowers from the bowl using a twig or stem of the plant rather than your finger.
  • Half – fill the clean, empty bottle with essence and top – up with equal amount of brandy as preservative.
  • Label the bottle


Boiling Method

Again choose a bright day and pick the flowers before 9 am.

·        Place the flowers directly into a clean, enamel saucepan filling it three – quarters full with flowers and stems or twigs about 15 cm long.

( a stainless steep pan would do, but aluminium should not be used. Enamel is by far the best).

·        cover the pan and take it home immediately. Pour in 1 litre of spring water and bring to the boil, without the saucepan lid.

·        Simmer for half an hour, gently pressing down the contents from time to time with a twig. Then replace the saucepan lit and place the pan outside in the open air to cool

·        When liquid is cold, filter the essence and bottle it with equal quantity of brandy as in sun method.


You will find that the oiling method produces a large amount of essence and you will not need to keep it all, but try a glassful on its own (i.e. without the brandy!)

  • The saucepan should be cleaned thoroughly and then boiled for 20 mins before future use for essences.
  • Label the bottle of essence.


Essence, to stock, to medicine

If the essence is carefully prepared and stored, it will keep for some time ( brandy is an excellent preservative) and it will retain its potency. The medicinal remedy is prepared adding two drops of essence to a 30 ml bottle of pure brandy. Dosage is then 4 drops of this 4 times per day. The drops may be put into a small glass of water and sipped, or, using a small glass dropper, taken directly onto the tongue. Care should be taken not to touch the dropper with the tongue, mouth or fingers, to avoid contamination. The original half pint of sun method essence, when added to a half pint of brandy, will produce around 7,000 drops.









The website is copyright of Lynne Wheatman 2007 - 2009

fairies through the site,  courtesy of Gwynneth and Artist Amy Brown