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Dr. Edward Bach's Recovery from Cancer and How His Flower Remedies Can Relieve Emotional Stress

Updated on November 18, 2015

Who Was Edward Bach?

In 1917, Dr. Edward Bach was given a virtual death sentence. Although he was just 30, and already an accomplished physician, a medical emergency sent him into the operating room.

He had fainted while tending to one of his patients, and was found to have internal bleeding. This was caused by a large tumor in his abdomen.

It looked as if his promising medical career in London would come to a halt. He was told to get his affairs in order, as he had just a few months to live.

Instead, Dr. Bach began to devote nearly all of his free time to research. He was trained in medicine and he wanted to cure the sick. Since he had few days left on earth, he wanted to make them meaningful. His plan was to leave a lasting body of work that would help others.

Close-Up of Rock Rose


His Illness Takes a Surprising Turn

However, much to everyone's surprise, the cancer didn't progress. Instead, it seemed to go away.

The young physician seemed to grow increasingly robust with each passing day. He began to ponder what was keeping him alive, and the only explanation that made sense was the he simply wasn't ready to die, since he had a lot more work to do.

Invigorated by his research, he also explored whether the mind played a role in physical disease.

Before long, he was tired of the mainstream medical approach that saw patients as a series of isolated body parts. So he switched camps and began to associate with the London homeopathic community, which, at the time, was a strong and well-respected movement.

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More Gentle than Homeopathy

Homeopathy is a very effective from of medicine that once dominated the British, as well as the American, medicine scene.

Homeopathic remedies have the ability to heal long after everything has been tried, and failed. However, it does have a couple of drawbacks. One is that it's often very difficult to find the right remedy, out of the hundreds of possible choices. There is also the matter of aggravations and "provings."

Because this is not an exact science, it's hard to know when to stop taking a particular remedy. Too many doses, and you'll likely wind up with the same symptoms you were wanted to alleviate. Although this "proving" will usually resolve on its own, in the meantime, it can range from distressing to annoying.

Dr. Bach knew the downside of homeopathy, and he set out to find an easier, and a more gentle approach.

Clematis is One of the Healing Flowers


Facts About Bach Flowers

  • This is a form of gentle emotional healing developed in the early 1900s by Dr. Edward Bach.
  • It works on a principle similar to homeopathy, but it's not true homeopathy because the remedies are not highly diluted and they are not shaken before use.
  • Bach Flower Remedies are safe, with no known side effects
  • Infants and children can also use these solutions

Restoring Health With Flower Buds

Now more of a natural healer than a homeopath, Dr. Bach began to use flowering plants to treat his sick patients. He tested numerous species that grew in the British landscape. He was specifically interested in the effect these plants would have on the psyche. That's because he was convinced that if you fix the mind, the body will respond and move itself to health.

Conversely, he believed, worry and anxiety can produce an array of physical symptoms, and may even evolve into chronic illness or a life-threatening disease.

In the end, Dr. Bach developed a list of 38 different plants that can be beneficial to people suffering from a variety of negative, non-productive emotions.

Here are some examples. Impatiens addressed what its name suggests - impatience.

An essence from the flower of the red chestnut has a different action. It will bring tranquility to someone who worries too much about loved ones. Rock water flower, on the other hand, is good for someone with an unbending, unyielding personality.

The elm flower is suitable for people with too much responsibility. These are sturdy folks with characters much like the solid elm tree.

These remedies can be mixed together and taken at the same time if multiple issues need to be addressed.

Perhaps the most famous Bach essence is a combination of five flowers. It's called Rescue Remedy, and it's meant to be used in crisis situations, or when a person hears disturbing or shocking news.

It can also be used if someone is going through a period of extreme and temporary distress. I used it myself a number of years ago when a loved one was dying. It really does work.

There is also a version of Rescue Remedy for pets. This would be very helpful for a trip to the vet or to a boarding kennel.

Dr. Bach also Used Star of Bethlehem Essence


A Discussion of Flower Remedies

Dr. Bach's Legacy

Dr. Bach survived in good health 20 years longer than predicted, probably outliving some of the same doctors who said he'd die within three months. He passed away in 1936 at 50 years of age.

Bach Flower remedies are now sold throughout the world. They are often recommended by naturopathic doctors and by chiropractors, as a means of balancing the mind and body.

Although Dr. Bach was healed of a malignant tumor, medical professionals would not recommend his essences as a stand-alone alternative cancer treatment, but, rather, as an adjunct to ease mental distress, which will undoubtedly have health benefits.

Because the remedies are easy to use, many people self prescribe, based upon their mental condition at the time. Others who prefer professional assistance can consult with a network of Bach-certified practitioners trained at the Bach Centre in the UK.

This is located in the small community of Brighwell-cum-Sotwell, where Dr. Bach spent his final years. His collection of work is stored there as well.


These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are not meant to diagnose‚ treat or cure any disease or medical condition. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use homeopathic remedies unless directed to do so by a healthcare professional.


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Tell Us About Your Experience With Flower Remedies

Submit a Comment
  • ologsinquito profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago from USA

    He lived for 20 years after being told he had "terminal cancer." I read somewhere that he believed his life work was complete.

  • ologsinquito profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from USA

    Hi Eric,

    Thank you for the kind words.

  • Ericdierker profile image

    Eric Dierker 

    6 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    And may I add that sometimes just reading one of this fine author's hubs can cure the blues. Awesome read.


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