In the 1930s Edward Bach was a poo man — a gastroenterologist who practised in Londons famous Harley Street.
After many years of treating patients he began to see the connection between peoples emotions and their illnesses.
Dr. Bach was definitely on the right track. Stress, for example, reduces the effects of lymphocytes, part of the immune system. The stress hormones are also implicated in diabetes and heart disease. So anything that helps us emotionally, is also going to help us physically.
He retired from medical practice to develop his 38 remedies to help all sorts of emotional states. They’re called Bach remedies after Doctor Bach (rather than Dog bark or Tree bark, although he did draw on nature for his inspiration). Most of the Remedies are from trees and flowers with the exception of Rock Water, which is a remedy for people who are hardtaskmasters on themselves with very high standards.
The remedies are made up a little like homoeopathics, in that there is virtually none of the original substance in the final remedy, which is where we have a parting of the ways with orthodox scientific thinking. Lots of jumping up and down and contemptuous lip curling. It’s true…we can’t explain how it works in the model of current medical framework; however, the same can be said for acupuncture, which has treated millions of people for thousands of years. In practice, I find that some people seem to respond better to Bach flowers than others. It could be my prescribing, or it could be that this subtle energetic kind of medicine suits some people better than others.
Oak is for plodders. People who are terribly strong, like the Oak tree. They keep going and going and never give up…even when they should. Oak helps you know when to throw in the towel, before you drop from exhaustion. The vine personality tends to be a bit domineering. They like to control things — a bit like a creeper really! Aspen is a remedy for anxiety. If you visualise an Aspen tree (cousin to the Poplar), they shiver in the slightest breeze, and it is this sense of subtle fear that fits with the anxious Aspen personality.
Bach flowers are subtle. Whereas you might take a herb or a drug to treat a particular symptom, Bach flowers are more indirect. They help you to be more in control of a situation. You can never predict how someone will change, and the beauty is the change will bring out the best in the person to help them deal with any given situation.
Dr. Bach wanted his remedies people friendly, and there are easy-to-read charts that help you choose what you need. Sometimes it feels like all 38!
You can take Bachs flowers directly under your tongue, or add them to a glass of water. You can even put them in the bath — good for children. I often add Bach flowers to the herbal remedy I am prescribing.
Rescue Remedy is probably the most commonly used Bach flower, and it is made up of a combination of 5 remedies. Rescue Remedy is excellent for stressful times like sitting an exam, a relationship breakup, falling over or just feeling stressed out. Have a bottle handy at work and home. There is no doubt that the way we feel affects us — body and mind. Bach flower remedies are gentle and can be taken by anyone.