One of the most interesting people in the history of the medicinal uses of flowers was an English physician named Edward Bach (1886-1936), who discovered the healing energies of selected plants and trees. In the 1930s, he pioneered the technique of creating healing tinctures by soaking a flower in water and exposing the preparation to heat or sunlight. This process imprints the essence of the flower into the water. The water is then strained and preserved in alcohol. The resulting essence has been demonstrated to restore people's mental and emotional equilibrium. This essence can be used on its own or with other healing systems.
Dr. Bach created thirty-eight different remedies that cover all of the emotions that we can experience. He is probably best known for his Rescue Remedy, which is found in home medicine cabinets around the world.
Flower essences treat the whole person rather than individual symptoms. They help people accept, acknowledge, forgive, and release long-held emotions, in order to enable healing to take place. They disempower and eliminate negative thought patterns and replace them with harmony and a more positive approach to life.
Dr. Bach wanted his essences to be as freely available as possible. At least forty companies around the world produce and market them, and many people gain pleasure, satisfaction, and benefit from making them their own.
Edward Bach was born near Birmingham, in England. He was a humanitarian who had considered entering the church before deciding on medicine as a career. He soon noticed that although his patients' physical well-being was being attended to, nothing was being done to alleviate their stresses and anxieties. While studying bacteriology at University College Hospital in London, he collapsed and after an operation was told he had three months to live. To everyone's surprise, he recovered and was soon back at work.
In 1919, while working at the London Homeopathic Hospital, Dr. Bach developed a range of vaccines for intestinal problems that are still being used today. These became known as the seven Bach nosodes. After observing the success of these, Dr. Bach noticed how similar types of people reacted in the same way to the different nosodes. This caused him to hyphothesize that humanity was divided into a number of distinct personality types, which meant patients could be treated by observing their mental states as well as their physical problems.
In 1928, Dr. Bach started experimenting with three flowers: impatiens, clematis, and mimulus. The results were so promising that he gave up his medical practice to focus on discovering healing herbs that worked on different mental states.
In the eight years of life left to him, Dr. Bach completed his work on thirty-eight essences and set up the Bach Centre in Sotwell, Oxfordshire. His legacy was considerable. Dr. Bach's essences are used to provide emotional support for people, animals, and plants. They are often used on people with physical illnesses, but they work just as well on those suffering from emotional and mental stress.
The Bach Flower Remedies:
Aspen: This is for people who fear something disastrous is about to happen. This remedy provides inner strength.
Beech: This is for people who are intolerant and critical of others. This remedy makes them more tolerant.
Centaury: This is for people who find it hard to say no, and who are easily pushed around by others. This remedy helps them stand up for themselves.
Cerato: This is for people who doubt their own judgment and rely on the advice of others. This remedy helps them trust their own inner wisdom.
Cherry plum: This is for people who find it hard to control their thoughts. This remedy provides hope.
Chestnut bud: This is for people who find it hard to learn from experience, and who constantly make the same mistakes. This remedy helps relieve repetitive thoughts.
Chicory: This is for people who are overly possessive and dominating. This remedy helps them look inside themselves for what they are searching for.
Clematis: This is for people who are dreamy, inattentive, absent-minded, and indifferent. This remedy helps them to be more attentive and better organized.
Crabapple: This is for people who feel unclean and hate themselves. This remedy helps them see life as it really is.
Elm: This is for people who feel overwhelmed, inadequate, and unable to cope. This remedy helps them gain strength and confidence in their abilities and worth.
Gentian: This is for people who are easily discouraged. This remedy helps them see life from a different perspective.
Gorse: This is for people who are in a state of despair and despondency. This remedy provides feelings of hope and optimism.
Heather: This is for people who are totally consumed by their own problems. This remedy enables them to feel more positive and outgoing.
Holly: This is for people who suffer from negativity, jealousy, envy, and hatred. This remedy provides love and harmony.
Honeysuckle: This is for people who suffer from nostalgia and who dwell in the past. This remedy enables them to live in the present and look forward to the future.
Hornbeam: This is for people who procrastinate and find it hard to start anything. This remedy clears the mind and instills motivation.
Impatiens: This is for people who are irritable and impatient. This remedy provides patience and understanding.
Larch: This is for people who lack confidence, feel inferior, and expect to fail. This remedy helps them gain confidence and self-esteem.
Mimulus: This is for people who suffer from shyness and timidity. This remedy provides courage and inner strength.
Mustard: This is for people who suffer from melancholy, gloominess, and depression. This remedy encourages feelings of happiness and joy.
Oak: This is for people who constantly struggle and persevered, despite constant setbacks. This remedy provides them with the necessary strength to do what they have to do.
Olive: This is for people who are lacking in energy and feel constantly tired. This remedy helps them gain strength and energy.
Pine: This is for people who feel unworthy and suffer constant guilt. This remedy eliminates unhealthy patterns of thought.
Red chestnut: This is for people who are overly concerned about others, especially loved ones. This remedy helps them overcome negative thoughts and feelings.
Rockrose: This is for people who feel scared and fearful. This remedy helps them feel calm, positive, and in control of their lives.
Rock water: This is for people who are overly rigid and deny themselves pleasure. Rock water is not a flower essence, but it is water taken from a natural spring. This remedy helps people go with the flow of life.
Scleranthus: This is for people who suffer from uncertainty and indecision. This remedy helps them regain control of their thoughts.
Star of Bethlehem: This is for people who are suffering from fright or sudden stress. This remedy helps rebalance the nervous system.
Sweet chestnut: This is for people who feel totally dejected. This remedy provides comfort and support.
Vervain: This is for people who are highly-strung and attempt too much. This remedy helps them regain a sense of proportion.
Vine: This is for people who are domineering, inflexible, and overly ambitious. This remedy helps them gain understanding of the needs of others.
Walnut: This is for people who are experiencing major changes or adjustments in their lives. This remedy provides protection from any negative forces.
Water violet: This is for people who are reliable, reserved, and cautious but find it hard to express their emotions. This remedy helps them become more involved in their lives.
White chestnut: This is for people who are preoccupied with unwanted concerns, worries, and thoughts. This remedy helps eliminate worry.
Wild oat: This is for people who are trying to find their correct path in life. This remedy helps them discover their true path.
Wild rose: This is for people who are apathetic, resigned, and lacking in ambition. This remedy helps them regain lost enthusiasm and energy.
Willow: This is for people who are full of resentment, bitterness, and self-pity. This remedy helps them forgive and look at life with new optimism.
Rescue Remedy is sometimes considered the thirty-ninth remedy. A mixture of cherry plum, clematis, impatiens, rockrose, and star of Bethlehem, it is an all-purpose remedy for anyone suffering from shock, fear, panic, emotional upset, stage fright, or facing a stressful situation such as an examination or a dentist appointment.
Excerpted from Flower and Tree Magic, by Richard Webster
Richard Webster (New Zealand) is the bestselling author of more than one hundred books. Richard has appeared on several radio and television programs in the US and abroad, including guest spots on WMAQ-TV (Chicago), ...