Demystifying Bach Flower Remedies
Some woman talks about vibrating your soulstrings with flower essences
Do Bach Flower Remedies Work?
Evidence pointing in either direction is usually culled from dubious case studies with very small sample sizes. It's hard to get funding for this research and I can't really find any proper studies. That said, the most rigorous studies seem to suggest to critical difference between Flower Remedy users and control groups. The Flower Remedy users tend to recover from medical ailments as quickly and effectively as the Placebo users in these double blind studies.
Furthermore, the individual effects of various recipes is entirely untrustworthy from a scientific perspective. The few pseudoscientific approaches to categorizing the effects of different Bach Flower recipes largely rely on subject interviews in with subject-expectancy plays an enormous role and largely invalidates the data being collected.
That said, there are many things that still exist as medical mysteries. The Placebo Effect itself has been observed in patients who don't have brain function in the areas we associate with placeboes. Also, doctors know better than anybody that human biology is a peculiar science and the application of medicine is not governed by wide-ranging Universal laws like physics and chemistry. Medicinal treatments and responses vary between individuals.
Some people swear by Flower Remedies (like Bach, for instance). While studies don't show the treatments to work, studies suggest that they aren't harmful. If you think it might help or put your mind at rest, then ask a doctor about finding a treatment course. Sometimes it helps to have an alternative medicine as long as it doesn't conflict with your current course of treatment.
How to Pick a Bach Flower Remedy
I have to repeat that there are no significant clinical trials showing the effectiveness of any Bach Flower Remedies, much less showing that one treatment has a specific effect that another doesn't have.
I've actually seen people advocate pendulum dowsing. Not dowsing with a stick like you would to find water springs, but rather holding a pendulum over an object to find its essences.
Alternatively, you could pick out popular recipes like Rescue Remedy which combines equal portions of Impatiens, Clematis, Cherry Plums, Rock Rose and Star of Bethlehem in order to help manage stress, anxiety and ulcers.
Finally, you could mix and match your own recipes based on what people believe to be the properties of individual ingredients. These effects are based off the ingredients' reported essences and they vary from medical applications to more abstract psychological and spiritual effects. For example, the individual ingredients in Rescue Remedy are sometimes explained to help alleviate the following problems:
- Cherry Plum - Fear of mentally buckling in
- Clematis - Focusing too much on the future
- Impatiens - Impatience
- Rock Rose - Fear and nightmares
- Star of Bethlehem - Shock
Preparation - The Mother Tincture
Bach thought that the dew collected on plants had special properties unique to the plants. He made his remedies as tinctures or alcoholic extracts from the plant, but a lot of my research indicates that contemporary medicine is made by boiling the plants to collect these essential characteristics.
When boiled, the water with the plant's essence evaporates leaving behind trace elements and the refined essence can be blended with an alcohol to preserve its qualities and water it down so to speak.
Ernst, E. December 30, 2002. ""Flower remedies": a systematic review of the clinical evidence". Wiener Klinische Wochenschrift 114 (23-24): 963-966.
Pintov S., Hochman M., Livne A., Heyman E., Lahat E. 2005. "Bach flower remedies used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children - a prospective double blind controlled study". European Journal of Paediatric Neurology 9 (6): 395-398.
Walach H., Rilling C., Engelke U. July 2001. "Efficacy of Bach-flower remedies in test anxiety: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial with partial crossover". Journal of Anxiety Disorders 15 (4): 359-366.