Bach flower remedies for mental wellness
Bach flower remedies are used as complementary therapy to help treat emotional pain. In a similar vein to homeopathy (using natural substances to induce physical healing), this holistic approach to treating negative emotions and feelings uses essences of flowers from wild plants to stimulate the mind’s own healing properties.
Some now recognise this practice as a helpful complementary treatment for anxiety, depression and stress and you might have even used them (like I did) without knowing!
If you’ve ever wandered into your local health food store you might have come across Bach flower remedies, and as Helen Swan, Bach flower practitioner says, they are more common than you might realise, “Everyone has heard of Rescue Remedy, but maybe few know where it comes from. Rescue remedy is a comforting mixture made from five of a total 38 individual essences, each prepared from flowers soaked in sunlight.”
This remedy dates back to the early 1900s when Dr Edward Bach, homeopath and scientist recognised a clear correlation between negative emotions and specific physical diseases. “Bach wandered the woods, looking for spiritual inspiration, peace, and the relief of suffering. He found answers not only in trees but in the flowers of trees,” says Helen. “He infused the flowers in sunlight to extract the healing essence, and preserved them with brandy, and these are the flower essences we have today.
Bach believed that sickness comes from conflict between our higher soul and our personality or experiences: a state of disharmony. He believed that flowers can restore that harmony.
So how do these remedies work today for mental wellness? Let’s take a look.
How do Bach flower remedies work?
Practitioner Jacqueline Denton is a strong advocate of Bach flower remedies due to their gentle yet powerful disposition. She notes that it is the extract’s energy quality that makes them so effective. “Bach Flower Remedies are a vibrational healing treatment which uses natural flower extracts stored in water, which is a carrier for the energies, to counteract the negative emotions we feel and therefore support our physical bodies.”
It is this energetic quality of the active flower ingredient that is thought to be stimulated by exposure to the sun or heat and this is the key to activating the mind’s own natural healing abilities. Jacqueline notes that when Bach realised that by supporting ourselves when we feel negative emotions, we support our mental health and reduce the strain on our physical bodies, thus restoring the body’s equilibrium as a whole.
Bach flower remedies generally come as liquids that you can drop onto your tongue or into a glass of water. Remedies can also be found as gummies to eat, pills, sprays, creams and bath salts. The dosage will vary depending on the individual and the goal they seek and it’s always important to use Bach flower remedies under the guidance of a trained practitioner.
The seven emotional groups
Bach flower remedies consist of seven groups based on an emotion that disturbs the equilibrium in the body. Among these groups (also thought of as personalities), 38 flower essences can be divided aiming to support your mental wellness and enhancing your aura.
This group focuses on worry, fear and anxiety in varying degrees. Fear can present itself as a slight nervousness, butterflies in the tummy, or exist as severe panic attacks. Essences such as Aspen, Red Chestnut, Rock Rose, Mimulus and Cherry Plum can help soothe worries and bring about a state of calm.
Uncertainty and indecision
Uncertainty can manifest itself as insecurity, low frustration tolerance, low-self esteem and shyness and these remedies work to raise self-confidence and courage levels.
“Uncertainty can be made up of different emotions,” says Jacqueline. “Larch will support lack of confidence, Cerato supports lack of trust in intuition, Pine helps with feelings of unworthiness, and Hornbeam for procrastination. In fact, up to five different flower remedies can be combined in one bottle.” Other essences for this personality include Gentian, Wild Oat, Scleranthus and Gorse.
Insufficient interest in present circumstances
A variety of reasons can lead to a person lacking enthusiasm for their current circumstances, often meaning they are constantly dreaming of another life and future, or stuck reminiscing of the past, both without acknowledging the present. Essences such as Clematis, Honeysuckle, Chestnut Bud, Whistle Chestnut, Mustard, Wild Rose and Olive can encourage a sense of mindfulness and bring about awareness to this personality.
Heather, Water Violet and Impatiens are recommended to help combat feelings of loneliness and isolation. They are effective in enhancing the feeling of connection with others. This group also considers the fear of loneliness, helps to soothe impatience with others that leads to loneliness and enhances deeper relationships for people who might consider themselves introverts.
Over-sensitivity to ideas and influences of others
This emotion group covers individuals who find it difficult to say no to others, who hide their true emotions behind a mask of happiness and their personalities are highly susceptible to the moods and beliefs of others, often using them to guide their own path.
Jacqueline recommends using Walnut that directly supports over-sensitivity or Centaury that helps if you easily become subservient to others or feel weak-willed. These essences enhance focus on your own needs and purpose. Other helpful remedies include Agrimony and Holly.
Despondency or despair
Essences known to soothe emotional suffering include: Willow, Crab Apple, Pine, Elm, Larch, Oak, Sweet Chestnut and Star of Bethlehem. This group includes the emotional states and personalities such as burnout, imposter syndrome, high guilt load, shock and trauma and extreme anguish.
Over-care for the welfare of others
Personalities in this group often place their well-being on other people, with an excessive commitment to another’s way of life. This commitment and interference can become a burden for this personality. To strengthen the perception of well-being for the self, you could use Beech, Rock Water, Vine, Vervain and Chicory.
How to choose the right flower essence for you?
Helen suggests carefully considering your state of mind, and choosing an area that troubles you the most. “You can’t do everything at once, so select a few flower remedies that match your main difficulties. Perhaps three or four remedies in a bottle and take them at least four times a day, for a few weeks. Then reassess, and possibly change your mixture. Always work with the issues that trouble you most right now.”
Bach flower remedies are considered generally safe to use for most people however you should always consult your doctor if you are on medication and considering trying the remedies. Pregnant people and adults with children may wish to consider remedies that have been preserved with vegetable glycerin instead of brandy.
We always recommended working with a qualified practitioner such as Helen or Jacqueline. If you’re interested in Bach flower therapy and want some support, use the advanced search tool to find a qualified practitioner, typing ‘Bach flowers’ into the keyword box.
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