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Bach Flowers

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 his death, 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.

One 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.  

Flower 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: 

  1. 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 distress.
  2. Aspen - fear of unknown things – as in quaking aspens, all a tremble for no apparent reason  - great for anxiety
  3. Beech – intolerant and critical  - Being ‘beechy’
  4. Centaury - the inability to say 'no'  - easily taken advantage of because they can’t seem to refuse anyone
  5. Cerato - lack of trust in one's own decisions – always asking everyone else’s advice because they lack self confidence
  6. 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
  7. 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 
  8. 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!
  9. Clematis - dreaming of the future without working in the present, absentmindedness. Often helpful for attention and memory issues. 
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. 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 of progress.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19.  Larch - 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.
  20. 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
  21. Mustard - deep gloom for no reason – Can’t cut the mustard.  Helpful for mild depressive moods
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. Red Chestnut - over-concern for the welfare of loved ones to the point of one’s own detriment  
  26. Rock Rose - terror and fright – Think terror to the point of being frozen. The proverbial ‘deer in the headlights’.
  27. 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!
  28. 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.
  29. 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 changes.
  30. 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 
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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
  34. 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.
  35. 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
  36. 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
  37. 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.
  38. 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.



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