People sometimes wonder if Bach flowers and homeopathy are similar. The answer is both yes and no. To understand the two systems a little better, this article will discuss the following:
- Bach flowers and Homeopathy – What’s the Difference?
- Who was Dr Edward Bach?
- The 38 Bach Flowers: Their Discovery and Development
- Edward Bach’s Death
- How Bach Flower Remedies are Taken
- Emotions Helped by Bach Flower Remedies
But there are differences.
While Bach flowers hope to treat physical problems by relieving the mental-emotional symptoms that surround and perhaps cause them, homoeopathy acts at a deeper level to treat both at the same time.
Homoeopathy also works by a specific ‘like treats like’, or Law of Similars approach.
In contrast, the principle that underpins Bach flowers is still unknown and the way they create changes in mood and emotions, unclear.
While the beneficial effect of Bach flowers may come from the homeopathic ‘like treats like’ effect or from just a simple palliation or suppression of symptoms, without a proving there is no way of knowing.
Who was Dr Edward Bach?Dr Edward Bach was born in England in 1886.
As a young man he seriously considered entering the ministry. Fortunately for Bach flower users he decided upon a career in medicine instead.
Bach commenced his training at the University College Hospital and while there held the positions of Casualty Medical Officer and House Surgeon.
He also worked at the National Temperance Hospital and practiced from rooms at prestigious Harley Street.
In 1919, Bach commenced work at the London Homoeopathic Hospital where he was highly influenced by homeopathy and the teachings of its founder, Samuel Hahnemann.
During this period he also worked on vaccines and was jointly responsible for the development of a group of remedies prepared from bowel bacteria, called the bowel nosodes.
These nosodes are still in use today.
In 1930, dissatisfied with medicine’s focus on the disease rather than the patient, Bach left a successful medical practice to explore a more humane way of treatment.
Over the course of several years he perfected a natural system of medicine that relied on 38 different flower essences from plants and trees of the surrounding countryside.
These came to be known as the Bach flower remedies.
The 38 Bach Flowers: Discovery and DevelopmentFrom Bach’s experiences in medical practice, he had come to the conclusion that most physical illness was caused by negative emotions, and that if unbalanced emotions were corrected, physical health would return.
Along with being a researcher, Bach was also a highly sensitive and naturally intuitive individual. He found that by holding his hand over certain plants his own negative emotions would resolve.
After identifying which plants resolved which emotions he began to prepare them as remedies.
Originally he collected the dew off the petals and mixed them with an equal amount of alcohol to make the tincture.
He soon found impossible to collect enough this way to treat his patients so he progressed to suspending the flowers in jars of spring water and leaving them in the sunlight for several hours.
For woodier plants, buds and sprigs were boiled in water to collect their essence.
All three of these approaches produced a mother tincture that could then be further diluted to make the Bach flower remedy.
Edward Bach’s DeathDr Bach died from cancer at 50 years of age on the evening of November 27th, 1936.
While his death was early and untimely it must be kept in mind that nineteen years earlier he had been given only 3 months to live. Bach attributed in his prolonged survival in part to the Bach flowers with which he worked.
Fortunately for us his collection of remedies was complete by the time of his death and they are now known and used around the world.
How are Bach Flower Remedies Taken?Bach flower remedies are easy to prepare and easy to use.
They are sold in dropper bottles and can be dispensed as drops straight from the bottle or as sips once the drops are diluted further in a cup or bottle of water.
The resulting liquid is almost tasteless though the stock bottle does contain alcohol used as a preservative.
Bach flowers can be taken as individual remedies or in combinations or blends. For a printable pdf list of the Bach Flower remedies and the emotions they treat, please click here.
Bach flower remedies doses may be added to food and drinks or placed directly into the mouth.
They are non-addictive, will not interact with other medications, and do not have any side-effects. They can be safely used by humans, animals and even plants.
Emotions Helped by Bach Flower RemediesThe 38 Bach flower essences treat a variety of mental-emotional states, e.g. Scleranthus for indecision, Olive for mental exhaustion, Beech for intolerance and critical mindsets, Holly for extreme jealousy, and Larch for feelings of inferiority.
Of all the Bach flower remedies, Rescue Remedy is perhaps the best known. It is a combination of five Bach flowers that help during emergency situations or times of stress, such as anticipating an upcoming exam, a job interview, after an accident, or during a panic attack.