Based upon homeopathic principles,
Dr. Edward Bach began using flower remedies for his patients at the London
Hospital in 1900. Dr. Bach loved to be out in nature. Marveling at the
multitude of flowers, he came the conclusion that God could not possibly have
made flowers just because they were pretty; He must have made them to serve a
purpose. And so, Dr. Bach began eating flowers. He
noticed that they had a positive effect upon his emotional state with often led
to better physical states. He then began feeding flowers to his patients at the
hospital. They, too, responded well to the flowers. However, flowers were
seasonal. Using homeopathic principles, he started making a kind of early
morning sun tea from the flowers and then using this 'mother tea' to make long
lasting diluted tinctures. Dr. Bach discovered 38 useful flower remedies before
including the famous "Rescue Remedy" which is a combination of several
flower essences. In the last century, others have followed in his footsteps and
we now have a wide range of flower remedies for almost any emotion.
of the benefits of flower remedies is that like homeopathy, in their 100 years
of use we have no known side effects and no known drug interactions.
remedies are particularly helpful for children and animals as they can't always
voice their specific complaints, but we can certainly tell when they are weepy,
grumpy, tired, etc. and can offer a corresponding flower remedy.
Here is a list of the 38 remedies and some
basic information about selecting remedies:
- Agrimony - mental
torture behind a cheerful face. Their friends are often the last to know
that anything is wrong in the Agrimony person's life. They are the life of
the party for all appearances when in fact they are in great mental
- Aspen - fear of unknown things – as in
quaking aspens, all a tremble for no apparent reason
- great for anxiety
- Beech – intolerant and critical
- Being ‘beechy’
- Centaury - the inability to say 'no'
- easily taken advantage of because they can’t seem to refuse
- Cerato - lack of trust in one's own
decisions – always asking everyone else’s advice because they lack self
- Cherry Plum - fear of the mind giving way
- as in “Plum outta their minds” helpful for when one is going to
lose control of oneself and do something dreadful, which can include
injuring others and suicide
- Chestnut bud - failure to learn from
mistakes and constantly repeating them. Helpful for children with learning
issues or those of us that continually find ourselves in the same lousy
circumstances such as bad relationships, the same unfulfilling jobs, etc
- Chicory - selfish, possessive love. Think
mother hen constantly being pursued by those newly hatched chicks! Helpful
when given to the children, pets, lovers or spouses, and anyone else that
constantly clings to someone like socks in a dryer without a dryer sheet!
- Clematis - dreaming of the future without
working in the present, absentmindedness. Often helpful for attention and
- Crab Apple - the cleansing remedy, also for
self-hatred. There might be very real things wrong with someone in this
state, but they will disregard the big problems and concentrate obsessively
on one thing. Often helpful for obsessive, repetitive behaviors. Crab apple
is also helpful when we have some physical feature that causes us distress
such as a nose we don't like or a scar that makes us self-conscious
- Elm – “elmed” as in overwhelmed.
This remedy is helpful for those whose are competent and successful but
at times feel the weight of their responsibilities upon them and become
depressed and concerned that they will not be able to go on.
- Gentain - discouragement after a setback.
This remedy is for that ant trying to move that rubber tree plant. He
isn’t ready to give up, but sometimes he feels discouraged about his lack
- Gorse - hopelessness and despair. Think of
Eeyore the donkey from Winnie the Pooh, perpetually gloomy and always
looking for the pessimistic point of view. The gorse type has lost all hope
and plods alone seeing little point to anything, though their circumstances
are really not that bad.
- Heather - self-centeredness and
self-concern. The heather type hates to be alone and is thus a nonstop
talker often grabbing onto others to keep them captive to their ramblings
which consist mostly of their woes particularly their health. They can be
hyperactive and emotionally draining to be around. Unfortunately, they
almost never recognize these traits in themselves, feeling abandoned and
confused when people avoid them, never recognizing that in their desperate
need for company, they drive people away. Heather helps them to let go of
their self concern and become better listeners. They often become
compassionate and likeable companions when in balance.
- Holly - hatred, envy and jealousy
Holly is for very negative, aggressive feelings directed at others.
The basic problem is an absence of love, and the remedy works to encourage
generosity of spirit and openness towards others.
- Honeysuckle - living in the past. A common
remedy for the elderly or those in a midlife crisis. They feel that their
best days are behind them and that there is not much with which to look
forward. Consequently they prefer to dwell on past happiness (or past
misfortunes). Homesickness may also be helped with honeysuckle.
- Hornbeam - procrastination, tiredness at
the thought of doing something. Exhaustion that disappears once up and
moving. Often helpful for those that have difficultly loosing weight due to
lack of energy.
- Impatiens– Just like it sounds,
impatience! Quick in thought and action, they 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
and they will strive to make such people quicker any way possible. They
often prefer to work and think alone, so that they can do everything at
their own speed.
- lack of confidence - larches feel that they are not as good as others and
that they are bound to fail so they rarely put any effort into anything,
thereby becoming a self fulfilling prophesy.
- Mimulus - fear of known things.
Those with phobias – fear of flying, fear of spiders, etc
Particularly helpful for animals that are fearful of storms, traveling or
visiting the vet
- Mustard - deep gloom for no reason –
Can’t cut the mustard. Helpful
for mild depressive moods
- Oak - the plodder who keeps going past the
point of exhaustion. Oak types
are often healers, counselors, etc. They rarely take the time to care for
themselves because they are busy taking care of everyone else. Like the oak
tree, they will fester and rot from the inside out, exhausting all their
resources in the service of others and still not know when to quit.
- Olive – Exhaustion!
Often following great mental or physical strain, olive is the remedy
for all out exhaustion. They have difficulty getting in motion and even
greater difficulty staying in motion. They long for rest and no amount seems
to be enough.
- Pine – guilt and pain –
you can spot a need for pine when we are constantly saying, “I’m
Sorry,” Even though we have
done nothing for which we need to apologize. The perfectionists who set
themselves high standards which may cause them to over-work and strain to do
better, until it becomes too much for the physical body. Then they blame
themselves for the ensuing illness as they feel they are failing in their
duty. This guilt-complex takes so much of the joy out of their lives and
they become despondent and begin to despair.
- Red Chestnut - over-concern for the welfare
of loved ones to the point of one’s own detriment
- Rock Rose - terror and fright – Think
terror to the point of being frozen. The proverbial ‘deer in the
- Rock Water - self-denial, rigidity and
self-repression – Stubborn, obstinate, frugal to downright miserly, the
rock water type also often is so rigid in mind that they are rigid in body
and prone to stiff joints. If Scrooge had gotten some rock water, he
wouldn't have needed those visits from the Christmas ghosts!
- Scleranthus - inability to make choices
- wishy-washy. These types never seem to go anywhere because they
just can’t make a decision and stick with it. They will agonize over the
smallest choice such as whether to buy orange juice with the pulp or without
it. They may make several trips back to the juice isle trading one for the
other multiple times before leaving the store. The difference between
scleranthus and cerato is that the scleranthus types are usually quiet
people who are not inclined to discuss choices with others.
- Star of Bethlehem – shock and grief - From
losing a loved one to having life throw us an unexpected twist that changes
everything we had planned, this remedy is great for easing the pain and
frustration of any loss. Combines well with Walnut for unwanted life
- Sweet Chestnut- Extreme mental anguish -
Think Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web who just found out that his
purpose in life is to become bacon for farmer Zuckerman. Squealing
his sweeeeeeet lament. Sweet
chestnut is for those who are in great anguish and truly at the end of their
rope and no ability to do anything about it.
Can be a helpful remedy for children having difficulty coping with a
divorce or for those at the end stage of life
- Vervain – in the extreme, Vervain people
can become fanatics…. unable to listen to alternative points of view and
determined to convert everyone to their beliefs. They may put themselves
under a great deal of stress because they find it so hard to switch off and
relax. This remedy helps to pull us back
from time to time so that body and mind can be restored.
- Vine - dominance
- Intelligent and self confident, vines often think they know
what’s good for everyone else. When in the extreme, like a nightshade
vine, these types have a way of slowly and steadily wrapping themselves
around others and choking the life out of them. The tyrannical boss and the
overbearing father are prime examples. When in balance Vine people make
wise, gentle and loving guides who can inspire and lead others without
resorting to force.
- Walnut– the line breaker – great for
those dealing with change or to help one move on. I particularly like this
remedy for birthing and postpartum issues as it helps with transitioning to
new life stages
- Water Violet- pride and aloofness
- Creative, strong willed, introspective and many times intuitive,
the water violet refuses to compromise their values, often unintentionally
alienating themselves with society. They are the quiet and shy, ‘odd’
people… the wall flower that goes to every dance because she likes the
people, but never interacts with them or gets to dance.
- White Chestnut- unwanted thoughts and
mental arguments - think two
little white mice on a wheel going around and around!
Very helpful when the same thought keeps running through our minds
and just won’t let go
- Wild Oat- uncertainty over one's direction
in life - Highly Intelligent,
the wild oat type quickly learns new things and soon looses interest….
“been there, done that” seems to be their theme. While their varied
interests and experiences make them fascinating and knowledgeable people,
who often quickly rise in the workplace, they have difficulty remaining in
one company for any length of time because they become restless or bored and
move on. The same is true of their relationships. Wild oat helps them find
their niche in life and contentment being there
- Wild Rose
- drifting, resignation, apathy
- These folks seem to lack direction and passion. Unlike the wild oat
who is always seeking a new challenge, the wild rose types are simply
floating on the wind with little interest in where they land.
- Willow - self-pity and resentment – Take
a look at a weeping willow and you’ll know when to use this remedy. These
types are weepy and often have hanging heads and upper body. “Poor me”
is there motto. They resent the perceive fortunes of others and anyone who
tries help them look on the bright side.