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Demystifying Bach Flower Remedies

Updated on April 7, 2008

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.

Flower Remedy Programme 341pp; hardback; illustrated; 25.5cm x 18.0cm ISBN: 0 9506610 7 4
Flower Remedy Programme 341pp; hardback; illustrated; 25.5cm x 18.0cm ISBN: 0 9506610 7 4

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

Dr. Edward Bach, developer of Bach Flower Remedies
Dr. Edward Bach, developer of Bach Flower Remedies

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.

Work Cited

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.


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      One thing I've learned about using flower remedies, specifically Bach, is the if you choose the wrong ones, they don't work. You simply don't notice any effect because you are not treating the right causes. And that's where the skill in using them comes in.

      People might take a remedy for feeling anxious (aspen) when it's actually guilt which is their issue (pine). It's like going to a fuse box to replace a broken fuse, and replacing a good one instead. Nothing changes.

      The most effective proof to see if Bach Flower Remedies work is if you ever get a burn, second degree, for instances, put the Rescue Cream on it. See how quickly it removes the pain and heals the scar. Put it on half the burn, and you will definitively see healing in action.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have been crippled by anxiety and over concern with others. As a result I lived from dread to worry and felt as though I had lost myself in the process. A wonderful person in a health food store mixed a bottle for me. Initially it was white chestnut and red chestnut. Since then she has added five other essences. I immediately experienced a calm that I have not experienced in years and it has been sustained. I do not get anxious in response to situations that normally trigger anxiety and obsessive thoughts and those around me are more relaxed because I am not a bundle of anxiety seeking to fix every thing. I am 60 something and loving my new found self. I am not sure if it works like this for everyone and if so why are people being poisoned with SSRIs and this is not common knowledge. I am usually a huge sceptic and this is not a hoax. Perhaps it may not work for everyone as dramatically but it will not harm either.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I highly recommend this informative, research based article about flower essences:

      Bottom line: It is a ridiculous idea!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      There is dogma even within the bach system. Now there are many remedys that are not standard or experimental. Some will have obvious results. The rescue remedy works, but if its your first remedy. Take it every day until it runs out. Even if you dont think you need it. I was having panic attacks a few months ago and the rescue remedy didn't work. And other things like sweet chestnut, and even worse, skunk cabbage was an intense rush that was not pleasant. The latter is potentially quite strong. I got a homochord compounded version of aspen and in so many words it was literally a profound religious experience. Like a switch the panic symptoms went away. Racing heart and all.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Demystifying the Gross and Subtle Nature of Creation to understand the Priciples of Holistic Medicine

      Conscious Power is to the Living World what Electromagnetic Power is to the Material World. Modern science declares that EM Power is the most basic and fundamental in all manifest physical world. But to cognize physical objects such as seeing the form of a plant with flowers and smell of their fragrance requires active consciousness (as different from that in a sleepy state)in a living being. This establishes the fact that conscious power is more fundamental and basic in all Creation including the sentient living and the inert gross physical. How can we establish this fact? A small piece of iron bar initially does not attract small pins but by rubbing it with a magnet "acquires" the property of magnetic power of attraction. It appears that the sentient consciousness with which a boy has magnetized an iron bar for his intended purpose has been transferred to the iron bar by way of magnetic power! Also rubbing a plastic piece on a woolen cloth "acquires" electrical power attracting small paper pieces. In both the examples we observe that a conscious power of "action" is a fundamental prerequisite for physical power of "transformation". Indeed it is so! The unique property of electron spins (action embedded)in iron lattice structures has been intentionally programmed by the Creator between positively centered nuclei and negatively charged spinning and rotating electrons in such a manner that a coherent alignment of spins by 'external action of magnetization' can transform itself into an 'inner action of unison' to exhibit magnetic power of attraction. Thus inert consciousness as a subtle microcosm is at work in all gross physical world rotating,translating and transforming dynamically as macrocosmic manifestations. Dedicated personalites endowed with sharp and subtle discriminative capabilities of conscious minds such as Dr.Hahnemann and Dr.Edward Bach could perceive this unity of subtle conscious action in all gross and subtle Nature of Creation in developing their holistitic philosophies and therapeutic principles in the Healing Art of alternative medicine.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      If you have the patience and interest in the wonders and fantastic cures of holistic medicines, including a lot of information on Ayurvedic cures, you would be fascinated by the book, "Radical Healing", by Rudolph Ballentine, MD. He describes his experiments with the flower essences, and is a graduate of Harvard, a psychiatrist, and studied medicine in India. He has priscribed flower essences and other herbal remedies to his allopathic MD friends and gives detailed accounts of the results plus a great many other detailed accounts on herbs.

    • Karen Ellis profile image

      Karen Ellis 

      10 years ago from Central Oregon

      I also wrote an article on Bach flower essences, because I was curious about them. Then, decided that I would do my own experiment. After investigating some different websites, I decided to not go with the Bach remedies. Instead, I chose a company in New Zealand because they grow their own flowers and complete all the steps themselves. I haven't received the flower essence yet. When I do, I plan on keeping a log of any changes. I actually hope it is successful and I can report on a hub.

    • mroconnell profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from France

      Thank you for your comments.

      Rajan, what you say is true. I think it's pretty obvious to a lot of people in the modern world that "plants have many medicinal properties."

    • rajans68 profile image


      10 years ago from SECUNDERABAD , INDIA

      The Indian medical system of Ayurveda is based on the belief that plants have many medicinal properties . Many medicines are made by combining the extracts of plants to cure many ailments .

      The allopathic system of medicine is following a similar policy while finding the cure for some of the ailments

    • mroconnell profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from France

      But you tried something new, and that's half the fun sometimes. :) Thanks for inspiring a skeptical but indulging hub.

    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 

      10 years ago from Connecticut

      Thank you for writing an objective hub about these remedies. I have tried the Rescue Remedy, and I am not quite sure that it did anything at all! :)


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