Bach Flowers and Dr Edward Bach
Comparing the Bach Flowers and Rescue Remedy with modern flower essences.
“Bach Flowers? Dr Edward Bach? Flower essences?
Oh! Rescue Remedy! Yes! I carry a bottle of Rescue
Remedy in my hand-bag.”
“Not exactly sure what it is, this Rescue Remedy. You say it's a mixture
of five of the Bach Flowers, as formulated by Doctor Edward Bach, way back in the
1930's, and that the Bach Flowers were the world's first “flower essences”?
Certainly, this Rescue Remedy stuff seems to help me whenever I feel upset.
I don't know much about these Bach Flower thingies, only that this Rescue Remedy
was recommended by my doctor, who is quite open-minded about such things.”
So, what are they, these Bach Flowers? We see them there on the shelf at the health-food
store, in their little bottles, we maybe have that bottle of Rescue Remedy in our hand-bag.
We have heard the name of Doctor Edward Bach mentioned in relation to these Bach Flowers,
but we have only a vague idea as to who he is.
OK.... let me explain. The Bach Flowers originate from the period 1928 to 1936,
the work of Dr Edward Bach, who was a medical doctor, and who worked as a pathologist,
bacteriologist, immunologist and homeopath. Dr Bach had a successful medical practice,
and achieved some fame with his original work in those fields. But, in 1930, he closed his
London practice and spent the remainder of his years wandering through the countryside of
Wales and southern England, where he found the thirty-eight flowers that were to become
the basis of the Bach Flowers.
Dr Bach had actually found the first three of his flowers in 1928, during a visit to his native
Wales. Beside a mountain stream he found Impatiens and Mimulus, and later in 1928 he
discovered Clematis. But it was from 1930, through the early 30's, that most of his work
of finding, making, testing and proving the flowers that became known as the Bach Flowers
As his work progressed, Dr Bach noticed that he was becoming very sensitive, in that, for
several days before finding a new flower, he would himself intensely experience the emotional
and mental symptoms that this new flower was for healing. For example, for a
few days prior to finding the Holly flower, Dr Bach may have experienced a lot of feelings of
anger and jealousy. (Note that this is a hypothetical example, and that I am not
asserting that this is what definitely happened. I offer this as an illustration of how the process
Certainly, for many modern-day workers who are “following in the footsteps”
of Dr Edward Bach, this is how it works. My own personal experience is that when I am in the
process of finding a new flower to make into a flower essence, I often experience the symptoms
(emotional, mental, and even physical) that this new flower essence will be effective in treating.
An example of this from my own experience includes the
Tyriana Rose. For several days before finding this flower, I had an awareness that I was
neglecting the “housekeeping” of my business, the “nuts and
bolts” everyday routine tasks, and this feeling became really intense on the
morning that I was to find this flower. And, sure enough, this is what this
Tyriana Rose is for, to help one to come more into balance in finding the time
to do those essential housekeeping, routine type tasks. Once I had made the essence,
and taken a few doses, I very quickly came into balance and was able to strike a healthy
balance in my priorities.
Every single one of the hundreds of flower essences that I have made, has been for an
issue that I have needed help with myself, and I would suggest that this
is always the case, for all of us, all of the people who are “walking
the path first trod by Edward Bach”.
Anyway.... back to Dr Edward Bach. From 1930 until his death in 1936, he spent a lot of time
tramping around the countryside of Wales and southern England, finding those thirty-eight
wildflowers that were eventually to be the Bach Flowers. What was he doing, during this time?
And, what did he do with each of those flowers when he found a new one?
As already mentioned, whenever Edward Bach was about to find a new flower, he would experience
the symptoms of the “issue” or “problem” that the flower would be
for treating. Let's imagine that he is tramping around, aware that there is another flower almost
ready to appear, and he notices that he is feeling very much like he wants to be alone, to close
himself off completely from other people. He knows that this is not his usual state of mind, so
it must be due to the impending discovery of a new flower.
He walks around the side of a hill, following a path through some tress, and suddenly he comes
upon a small stream. And yes, there it is! Water Violet! He feels a surge of recognition. This is
what he needs to find. And, already, he begins to feel better, the intensity of the the symptoms
he has been experiencing are lessening already.
It just happens to be a nice sunny day, perfectly suited to the making of a flower essence, so
he takes his equipment from his pack. He checks the stream to make sure the water is clean
and unpolluted. He fills a large wine glass with water from the stream, holding the water-filled
glass up in the bright sunlight to make certain that the water is clear and totally clean. His wine
glass is a large, plain, crystal glass, with no markings or pattern on the glass.
He carefully places the glass on the top of a nearby boulder, in the sun, in a position where it
will continue to be in the sun for several hours, and he then approaches the wild violet flowers.
He pauses for a moment, connecting with the energy of the flowers, feeling a sense of harmony
and wonder, and communing with the intelligence of the flowers, like he is asking their permission
for what is about to happen. And, then, using a small pair of scissors that he has kept sterile for
this purpose, he cuts just a few of the flowers and places them on top of the water in the wine
glass, so that they are floating on the water. He only needs just enough to cover the surface of
the water, and with these few flowers he makes enough of the flower remedy, the Bach Flower,
to last a long time, to treat many thousands of people.
He then leaves the flowers on the water, in the sunlight, for several hours, where the action of
the energy of the sun causes an energy transfer from the flowers into the water to take place.
While this process is happening, maybe he sits quietly nearby, making sure that no animals
disturb the glass, and maybe working on a draft of one of the booklets he was to publish on the
subject of health and wellness, or maybe he just dozed off in the warm sun.
Anyway..... let us now skip forward a few hours. The sun is now low in the sky, as he takes
up the glass and, using a twig or stem from the water violet plants, he removes the flowers
from the water, thanks them for their service, and discards the flowers. He takes out a bottle
from his pack, and carefully tips the water (which is now energised with the healing energies
from the water violet flowers), into the bottle, using a small funnel and some filter paper to
filter out any trace of plant material, pollen, etc.
He carefully labels his bottle “Water Violet - Mother Tincture”, with the date
and location, packs the bottle and equipment away in his pack, and, with the sun low in the sky,
heads back to wherever he is staying, possibly some country inn, or maybe the house of a
That evening, after dinner, (or, “tea”, as the English often call the evening meal)
Dr Bach relaxes by the fireside, writing up the day's work in his journal, noting down all of
the emotional and mental feelings and thoughts that he experienced during the process, and,
maybe that evening, or maybe over the next few days, he comes to the point of knowing exactly
what this latest of his Bach Flowers is for, the exact nature of the symptoms and dis-ease that
this flower remedy, this Water Violet Bach Flower, will be for healing.
The next day, Dr Bach complete the process. He carefully adds a good measure of high quality
brandy to the bottle of Water Violet Mother Tincture. And, in a smaller bottle, that he labels
“Water Violet - Stock”, he places in this other bottle a mixture of pure water and brandy,
along with a few drops from the “Water Violet Mother Tincture” bottle. It is from
this “stock” bottle that he will dispense the Water Violet Bach Flower to his patients,
a few drops from this stock bottle into another bottle filled with water and a little brandy, and it is
this “treatment bottle”, as we call it, from which the patient will take a few drops
several times per day.
Because of this two-step dilution process, a single bottle of Mother Tincture, made with a tiny
quantity of flowers, will be enough to treat many thousands of people, and the Bach Flowers,
and also all other flower essences, are therefore a very ecologically sound form of natural
Between 1928 and 1936, Dr Edward Bach was to repeat this process thirty-eight times, once
for each of the new type of flower remedies that became known as the Bach Flowers. Dr Bach,
being a homeopath, actually considered his Bach Flowers to be a special type of homeopathic
remedy, as is obvious from what he said in a speech he made in February 1931, to a gathering
of homeopathic doctors. However, the method of preparing all flowers essences, of which
the Bach Flowers were the first, is a lot different from the method used to manufacture homeopathic
remedies, and they are now generally regarded not to be homeopathic remedies in the true sense,
but have been given the generic name “flower essences”.