Bach flower remedies
|Mind-body interventions - edit|
Bach flower remedies are dilutions of flower material developed by Edward Bach in the 1930s. He called this material "essences". The remedies are used primarily for emotional and spiritual conditions, including but not limited to depression, anxiety, insomnia and stress.
The remedies contain an small amount of flower material in a 50:50 solution of water and brandy. Because the remedies are extremely dilute they do not have a characteristic scent or taste of the plant. Vendors state that the remedies contain something called the energetic signature of the flower, and that this can be transmitted to the user. Controlled studies have found the flower remedies are no more effective than a placebo.
Each remedy is used alone or in conjunction with other remedies, and each flower is believed by advocates to impart specific qualities to the remedy. Bach flower remedies are also used on household pets and domestic animals, and have been said to be effective in calming them and improving problem behaviours. Some people say that they are also useful for the treatment of diseased plants. Remedies are usually taken orally.
The most well know flower remedy is the Rescue Remedy combination, which contains an equal amount each of Rock rose, Impatiens, Clematis, Star of Bethlehem and Cherry Plum remedies. The product is aimed at treating stress, anxiety, and panic attacks, especially in emergencies.
Rescue Cream contains the same remedies in a paste form, to be applied externally to treat minor skin problems such as itches and burns.
Research on the effects of a particular remedy is done by case reporting with consensus review by other users. For example, one person will report that using a particular remedy seemed to help with 'X', then other users will then focus on that same condition either in treating themselves or patients, and will report findings. Results found in this manner are often skewed by a confirmation bias, a tendency to search for or interpret new information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions and avoid information and interpretations which contradict prior beliefs.
Edward Bach thought that dew collected from the flowers of plants contains some of the properties of the plant, and that it was more potent on flowers grown in the sun. As it was impractical to collect dew in quantity, he decided to pick flowers and steep them in a bowl of water under sunlight. If this is impractical due to lack of sunlight or other reasons the flowers may be boiled.
The result of this process is what he called "mother tincture", which is further diluted before sale or use.
Bach was satisfied with the method, because it was of simplicity he had longed for, and involved a process of combination of the four elements:
The earth to nurture the plant, the air from which it feeds, the sun or fire to enable it to impart its power, and water to collect and be enriched with its beneficient magnetic healing.
Bach flower remedies are not dependent on the theory of successive dilutions, and are not based on the Law of Similars of Homeopathy. The Bach remedies, unlike homeopathic remedies, are all derived from non-toxic substances, with the idea that a "positive energy" can redirect or neutralize "negative energy".
A recent review concluded:
The hypothesis that flower remedies are associated with effects beyond a placebo response is not supported by data from rigorous clinical trials.
The most likely means of action for flower remedies is as placebos, enhanced by introspection on the patient's emotional state, or simply being listened to by the practitioner. The act of selecting and taking a remedy may act as a calming ritual.
The Bach centre states that "there have not been any proper clinical trials on the actions of the remedies".
List of Bach flower remedies
The Dr. Edward Bach Centre, which is the Centre founded by Dr Bach to promote and preserve his work, presents this list of the thirty eight remedies discovered by Dr Bach and directed at a specific characteristic or emotional state.
- Agrimony – mental torture behind a cheerful face
- Aspen – fear of unknown things
- Beech – intolerance
- Centaury – inability to say 'no'
- Cerato – lack of trust in one's own decisions
- Cherry Plum – fear of the mind giving way
- Chestnut Bud (made with horse chestnut buds) – failure to learn from mistakes
- Chicory – selfish, possessive love
- Clematis – dreaming of the future without working in the present
- Crab Apple – cleansing remedy, also for self-hatred
- Elm – overwhelmed by responsibility
- Gentian – discouragement after a setback
- Gorse – hopelessness and despair
- Heather – self-centeredness and self-concern
- Holly – hatred, envy and jealousy
- Honeysuckle – living in the past
- Hornbeam – procrastination, tiredness at the thought of doing something
- Impatiens – impatience
- Larch – lack of confidence and self-esteem
- Mimulus – fear of known things
- Mustard – deep gloom for no reason
- Oak – the plodder who keeps going past the point of exhaustion
- Olive – exhaustion following mental or physical effort
- Pine – guilt
- Red Chestnut (a type of horse chestnut) – over-concern for the welfare of loved ones
- Rock Rose – terror and fright
- Rock Water – self-denial, rigidity and self-repression
- Scleranthus – inability to choose between alternatives
- Star of Bethlehem – shock
- Sweet Chestnut – Extreme mental anguish, when everything has been tried and there is no light left
- Vervain – over-enthusiasm
- Vine – dominance and inflexibility
- Walnut – protection from change and unwanted influences
- Water Violet – pride and aloofness
- White Chestnut (made with horse chestnut blossoms) – unwanted thoughts and mental arguments
- Wild Oat – uncertainty over one's direction in life
- Wild Rose – drifting, resignation, apathy
- Willow – self-pity and resentment
Other flower remedies or essences
Makers of "flower remedies" all over the world have created thousands of additional remedies based on the original principles invented by Bach. The term "flower essences" is also commonly used these days, especially when referring to the non-Bach flower essences being made. Along with the sun-bowl method of preparation pioneered by Bach, a few other techniques have been developed, including some non-cutting methods.
Currently over 400 small (i.e., one or two people) to medium (i.e., up to fifteen or so employees) flower essence makers are active around the world, from Alaska to Australia, Brazil and India. In Britain alone over sixty different makers are registered with the British Association of Flower Essence Producers (BAFEP).
Some makers produce other kinds of what they call "vibrational essences," using sources such as minerals/gemstones, nonflowering plants, sea life, mushrooms, cacti, metals, intuitive methods, and natural environments.
- E. Ernst (December 30 2002). ""Flower remedies": a systematic review of the clinical evidence". Wiener Klinische Wochenschrift. 114 (23–24): 963–966. PMID 12635462. Check date values in:
- H. Walach, C. Rilling, U. Engelke (July 2001). "Efficacy of Bach-flower remedies in test anxiety: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial with partial crossover". Journal of Anxiety Disorders. 15 (4): 359–366. 11474820.
- Pintov S, Hochman M, Livne A, Heyman E, Lahat E (2005). "Bach flower remedies used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children — a prospective double blind controlled study". European Journal of Paediatric Neurology. 9 (6): 395–398. 16257245.
- Bach Centre
- Bach Flower Research Programme
- Flower Essence Society - California
- Bach Flower Remedies - introduction, history, materia medica & clinical classification at Hpathy.com
- Skeptic's Dictionary on Bach Flower therapy
- Sceptic Information from WhoNamedIt.com
- Homeopathy explored
- National Institutes of Health: Bach Flower Remedies no more effective than Placebo
- Journal of Psychosomatic Research: Personality traits predict response to Bach flower remedies