Let’s get one thing straight: Bach flower remedies have nothing to do with classical music (I say this because that was my immediate assumption when I first heard the term, while living in England).
Edward Bach (1886-1936) was an English physician who worked at the National Temperance Hospital and practiced for over twenty years in London as a Harley Street consultant and bacteriologist. After doing research in immunology, he developed an interest in homeopathy and joined the laboratories of the Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital in 1919. Despite his success as a conventional medical practitioner, he felt uncomfortable with the way doctors were expected to concentrate on diseases and ignore people. He turned to alternative therapies as a more sensitive approach to healing. He was convinced that dis-ease is the result of dis-harmony between body and mind. Symptoms of an illness, he believed, are the external expressions of negative emotional states. In 1928, he began work on his own remedies made from plants.
Bach Flowers are, as stated, compounds of flowers whose properties are both chemical and, to the proponents of the system, symbolic. They facilitate a therapeutic fusion between the material and the spiritual domains of life, helping us access Inner Guidance (this is always capitalized in the Bach Flowers literature) needed to navigate through a crisis. There are 38 Flower Remedies supporting different aspects of the psyche; each one has its own message of healing for the body and mind. This book shows how to combine the remedies for different specific curative properties.
The book is a manual designed to let an ordinary person analyze his or her own dilemmas and find the remedy that best supports a solution. It functions as a workbook for a multitude of highly specific crises or emotional barriers. It invites the reader to participate by identifying the emotional blockage and use the right combination of flowers for relief. An example would the “reaction clusters,” beginning with statements such as “I feel subservient…” with a number of corresponding reactions, such as “to what other people want.” The flower remedy in that case would be a combination of centaury and agrimony. If the statement beginning “I feel subservient” concluded with “to the moods and whims of other people,” the remedy would be walnut, willow and Star of Bethlehem. As you see, these are no ordinary (one hesitates to say “garden variety”) flowers. One would need to purchase the remedies and use them as directed.
The best known Bach flower cure is “Rescue Remedy” (Star of Bethlehem, Rock Rose, Impatiens, Cherry Plum and Clematis) and is often sold in whole food stores and alternative medicine shops even if all the other flower remedies are not necessarily available. I have used Rescue Remedy and can attest to the fact that it works in cases of sudden pain and mild shock. Most flowers in the Bach bouquet are meant for longer-term disturbances, but having Rescue Remedy in your medicine cabinet would be a good idea.
Each of the 38 Bach Flowers is described in this book, with its medicinal qualities and the modality of its healing characteristics. Rock Rose, for example, is the Liberation flower. It promotes spiritual presence and constructive handling of stressful demands. The dominating emotional theme of those who need the curative power of Rock Rose is internal panic. Key symptoms: reactions are panicky and you have overwhelming feelings of terror. The solution: recognize the spiritual misunderstanding and correct it, using empowering statements such as “I will survive, I know things will go well, I see things clearly.”
Readers expecting a general survey will be surprised at the detail and specificity of the human ailments catalogued in this manual. Examples are “I no longer understand my 14-year-old daughter’s world,” “Does my husband belong to his extended family, or to me?” or “I found out that my husband cheated on me.” Undoubtedly these problem statements will resonate with many ordinary people looking for solutions to their emotional challenges. They can decide for themselves whether the Bach Flowers offer the help they seek.