Bach Flower Remedies (aka essences) are an example of how versatile and fascinating herbs can be. First created by Dr. Edward Bach, there are 38 original remedies. As one of the most gentle herbal preparations, they're especially popular among pregnant women and children. These remedies primarily work on a mental and emotional level making them a nice compliment to other herbal preparations.
What are flower remedies?
The most easily understood definition is they are like a highly diluted sun tea. They are diluted similarly to homeopathic remedies. At your local health food store you'll find them in tiny dropper bottles- usually brown or blue.
How are they used?
Flower remedies primarily work on the emotional level. Herbalists use them topically, in room sprays, and internally. One of the most common ways to use them is a few drops into a water bottle to sip on all day. They are also mixed in with essential oil blends. More frequent dosing is recommended in crisis or acute situations. 2-4 drops is generally all herbalists suggest. Those tiny little bottled last a long time!
Not all herbalists are trained in the use of these remedies, however many are. Other alternative healthcare providers like naturopaths, craniosacral therapists, functional medicine doctors, and osteopaths may also incorporate them. There are also massage therapists, acupuncturists, and chiropractors who use them in their practice. We've even heard of a few counselors and psychologists who recommend them.
How are they made?
There are a couple methods of preparation. The most common is sun infusion.
- First, Flowers are harvested early in the morning- making sure to remove any debris while harvesting. In as much as possible the flowers should not be touched. Dr. Bach advocated for snipping the flowers directly into a glass bowl. This is important both to prevent wilting and ensure the flower is extremely fresh.
- Next, they are floated in a glass bowl of spring water for about three hours in the sun.
- Then, the liquid is turned into a 'mother tincture' by the addition of brandy for preservation.
- Last, the mother tincture is diluted into the dosing bottle. The most common dilution is two drops to every 30ml of liquid- a mixture of pure spring water and brandy.
What are the 38 original Bach flower remedies?
- Cherry Plum
- Chestnut Bud
- Crab Apple
- Red Chestnut
- Rock Rose
- Rock Water
- Star of Bethlehem
- Sweet Chestnut
- Water Violet
- White Chestnut
- Wild Oat
- Wild Rose
Herbalists have since gone on to expand to flower remedies made from hundreds of different flowers. There are even remedies made with a similar method from sound and colors!
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The Doctrine of Signatures