Flower Essences

A flower essence is the vibrational imprint of a flower that has been transferred and stabilized in water. Flower essences are infusions of flowers in water, that are potentized and then stabilized in a solution of brandy and water. They contain no scent or perfume and should not be confused with essential oils.

Flower essences are a botanically based healing system that has existed since ancient times. Evidence suggests flower essences have been used by civilizations such as the Ancient Egyptians, Sumerians and Chinese. They have also been used by most indigenous peoples all over the world such as the Native Americans and the Australian Aboriginals.

They believed the morning dew that appeared on the flowers contained healing properties. They would gather this dew and use it as ‘medicine’. Every flower has a particular knowledge that it imparts into that dew. When an individual ingests the dew, they integrate that healing information into their bio-energetic field.

In the 1930s, a British physician by the name of Dr. Edward Bach modernized this ancient concept of dew gathering for healing purposes. He believed that the root of all disease was a result of the personality being out of alignment with the soul.

He asserted that disease could only be eradicated when an individual was in a state of emotional equilibrium. He succeeded in creating a simple and non-invasive system that people could use to heal themselves. He gave up his successful medical practice and dedicated his life to cultivating and standardizing such a system. He identified 37 English wildflowers + 1 water essence that correspond to 38 different human emotions. Dr. Edward Bach is the father of modern day flower essence therapy.

How Do They Work?

Research has recently proved that water has a memory. Flower Essences are made by infusing the blooms particular vibration into water and then stabilizing it. Flower essences works on the premise that every flower has a particular healing attribute in the form of a vibrational frequency.

Similarly, an emotional imbalance also has a vibrational frequency. So if an individual is fearful, they may ingest the flower essence that floods their body with vibrations of courage in order to counteract the fear and begin to resonate in a state of courage and fearlessness.  This is called sympathetic resonance and is the science behind this system.

Can you think of a time that you felt better simply by being around a happy person?  Vibrations can be contagious and flower essences are a way to acquire the positive vibration of a particular flower.

The human body has within and surrounding it an electrical network. When we experience health, this electrical network is balanced and fully connected. When something in our life or environment threatens that balance, the electrical system responds by either short-circuiting or overloading.

That imbalance in the electrical system immediately impacts the central nervous system. The body then goes into high gear in an effort to correct the imbalance. If your body does not succeed, we physically manifest the imbalance. We get a cold or a headache, or our allergy pops up again or another migraine belts us. Or we get back pain, or our neck goes out again. Or we become seriously ill.

Flower essences work directly with both the electrical and the central nervous systems. By taking the correct essences, we immediately balance the electrical system, stabilize the nervous system, and stop the domino effect that leads to illness.

If we wind up getting sick, we can take the flower essences that will then stabilize and balance the electrical and nervous systems while the body gets on with the business of fighting off the problem. By assisting this process, flower essences drastically reduce our recovery time. In short, by using the essences, we are not asking our body to pull double duty ~ to do the work to heal us systemically and rebalance our electrical and central nervous systems.

The field of psychoneuroimmunology acknowledges the harmful influence of stress on the immune and nervous system. Flower Essences can help. They are a gentle and effective way of supporting a wide array of emotional dispositions that prevent an individual from living a happy, stress-free life. They can also comfort us in times of distress.

Flower essences can also help us recognize, resolve, or release different conditioned ways of perceiving the world and can help us experience greater well-being and harmony in our lives. By creating harmony within us, we often notice distinct changes in ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Flower essences can help us reduce stress in our lives, resolve old traumas, and deal with painful or negative emotions. They have helped many people to know and understand themselves, so they could more creatively find a sense of direction and life work. They can be used for short-term support in coping with difficult situations, as well as for long-term growth and change. Most people report feeling better about themselves and find an improved attitude toward life.

Some people believe that flowers are a physical manifestation of a universal principle or aspect of God. Many of those who use flower essences over a long period of time report a deepening sense of spiritual understanding. Each flower seems to have a specific theme, lesson, or aspect of a universal principle that it embodies. In this sense, flower essences represent the spirituality of flowers.

How To Use Flower Essences

Flower essences are a strong ally to wellness and can be integrated easily into any daily ritual. You can add them to any liquid that you ingest or apply topically such as morning coffee, water, juice, shampoos. You can also add them to your scent diffuser or mopping solution.

Suggested dosages are as follows:

  • Orally

Most flower essences can be used as they are from their original stock bottles. Use 4 drops under the tongue, repeat 4 times a day, or as needed. To enhance its effects, use it more often instead of increasing the number of drops. If you accidentally touch the glass pipette, rinse it thoroughly with hot water before putting the dropper back into the bottle to avoid contamination.

  • Orally, with water

Add 4 drops to a glass with water, repeat 4 times a day, or as needed.

  • Externally

It is not necessary to take flower essences orally. You can use any flower essence directly on the physical body. Some people like rubbing a few drops on chakra points or acupuncture points, or any place where your intuition directs you.

They can also be used by adding 7 drops to a sprayer bottle filled with water and misting a room or yourself. You can also spray clothes before ironing them, or spray your pillow before sleeping.

Another way of using a flower essence is to add a dropper full to your bath. What is important to remember is that flower essences are vibrational solutions, and surrounding yourself with them, inside or outside, is the best way to experience their effects.

  • Using with children

Babies and children respond very well to flower essences. A powerful and simple way to use them is by placing a few drops on your hands and touching gently the baby or child. You can also use 4 drops in a glass, sippy-cup, or baby bottle, with water. Repeat 4 or more times a day or as needed.

  • Using with animals

Pets and animals respond very well to flower essences. Use 4 drops in the animal’s drinking water, repeat 4 times per day, or as needed. For horses or other large animals, use 10 to 20 drops at a time.

Another powerful way to use them is by placing a few drops on your hands and stroking the animal down the spine or other parts of the body. The length of time to use an essence may vary from a few days to a few weeks. A guideline is to observe the animal’s behavior and use as needed.

  • Dosage bottles

If you are taking more than one flower essence at the same time, a convenient way to do so is to prepare what is called a dosage bottle, also known as a mixing bottle.

To prepare a dosage bottle, add 4 drops of each flower essence to a 1 ounce bottle (30 mL) filled with a solution of 75% water and 25% brandy, and take 4 drops, 4 or more times a day, as needed.

The 38 Remedies

Each of the 38 remedies discovered by Dr Bach is directed at a particular characteristic or emotional state. To select the remedies you need, think about the sort of person you are and the way you are feeling.

  • Agrimony – mental torture behind a cheerful face

Agrimony is the remedy for people who keep their troubles hidden under a mask of pleasure and happiness. The sad clown masking inner hurt by being the life and soul of the party is an Agrimony archetype. Friends are often the last to know that anything is wrong in the Agrimony person’s life.

Sometimes Agrimony people turn to drink or drugs to help them stay ‘happy’. They tend not to like being alone: the mask slips when there is no company. They seek out friends, parties and bright lights. Only at night when they are alone with their thoughts will the mental torture they have repressed come back to haunt them.

Agrimony helps us come to terms with the darker side of our lives and personalities, so that we can become more rounded human beings. We won’t lose our sense of humour or our ability to get through the day, but will find that laughing at our troubles dispels them rather than hides them. As a mood remedy, Agrimony helps anyone who is trying not to face a trouble and using jokes and false smiles to avoid a painful reality.

Dr Bach’s description:
The jovial, cheerful, humorous people who love peace and are distressed by argument or quarrel, to avoid which they will agree to give up much. Though generally they have troubles and are tormented and restless and worried in mind or in body, they hide their cares behind their humour and jesting and are considered very good friends to know. They often take alcohol or drugs in excess, to stimulate themselves and help themselves bear their trials with cheerfulness.

  • Aspen – fear of unknown things

Aspen is the remedy for any fear whose cause can’t be named. At one end of the spectrum the Aspen fear may be no more than a sense of foreboding, an uneasy anxiety that something unpleasant or frightening is going to happen. At the other it can be a real terror, with physical symptoms such as the hair standing on end.

Sometimes people think of Aspen as a night-time fear, related to dreams and night terrors. Aspen would certainly be the right remedy if you were lying awake in the dark scared of something but not knowing what it was. But in fact Dr Bach said that fear of the dark is a Mimulus fear, since the cause (the dark) can be named. And nameless Aspen fears are just as likely to occur in full sunlight as on a dark night.

Dr Bach’s description:
Vague unknown fears, for which there can be given no explanation, no reason. Yet the patient may be terrified of something terrible going to happen, he knows not what. These vague unexplainable fears may haunt by night or day. Sufferers often are afraid to tell their trouble to others.

  • Beech – intolerance

Beech was described by Dr Bach as the remedy for people who ‘feel the need to see more good and beauty in all that surrounds them.’

People in a Beech state are intolerant of difference. They lack compassion and understanding of the circumstances and paths that other people are given, and fail to see that they too are working towards perfection in their own ways.

Sometimes Beech intolerance is manifested as outbursts of irritability: the remedy helps to encourage tolerance and understanding, and as this happens so the irritability also fades.

Dr Bach’s description:
For those who feel the need to see more good and beauty in all that surrounds them. And, although much appears to be wrong, to have the ability to see the good growing within. So as to be able to be more tolerant, lenient and understanding of the different way each individual and all things are working to their own final perfection.

  • Centaury – the inability to say ‘no’

Centaury is for people who find it difficult to say ‘no’ to others. Centauries are kind, gentle souls and like to help. But sometimes other more ruthless people take advantage of this, and instead of being a willing servant the Centaury person ends up the slave of another’s wishes.

The Centaury remedy doesn’t harden us or make us callous. Instead it supports the development of courage and self-determination. We are better able to draw a line and make space where we can be ourselves, free of the desires and commands of others.

Dr Bach’s description:
Kind, quiet, gentle people who are over-anxious to serve others. They overtax their strength in their endeavours. Their wish so grows upon them that they become more servants than willing helpers. Their good nature leads them to do more than their own share of work, and in so doing they may neglect their own particular mission in life.

  • Cerato – lack of trust in one’s own decisions

Cerato is the remedy for people who lack faith in their judgement. Faced with the need to make a choice they can come to a decision without too much trouble – something which differentiates them sharply from people in a Scleranthus state.

Problems come after the decision is made. Doubts creep in and they are no longer sure if what they have decided is right. They go around asking for the opinions and advice of others, and end up confused or doing something that they know in their hearts is not right.

Cerato helps us have more faith in our judgement so that we can listen to our inner voice and trust our intuition.

Dr Bach’s description:
Those who have not sufficient confidence in themselves to make their own decisions. They constantly seek advice from others, and are often misguided.

  • Cherry Plum – fear of the mind giving way

Cherry Plum is one of the remedies that Dr Bach grouped together under the heading Fear. The Cherry Plum fear is very specific: it is the fear that one is going to lose control of oneself and do something dreadful, such as injuring others or harming oneself. Fears of going mad and of acting irrationally are Cherry Plum states.

Cherry Plum is also the remedy for a loss of control that has already taken place, because of the frantic fear and dread associated with such situations. Think of the fear a small child feels in the grip of a screaming, irrational tantrum: this too is a Cherry Plum state.

Cherry Plum is one of the ingredients in Dr Bach’s original crisis formula, which he put together for emergency use.

Dr Bach’s description:
Fear of the mind being over-strained, of reason giving way, of doing fearful and dreaded things, not wished and known wrong, yet there comes the thought and impulse to do them.

  • Chestnut Bud – failure to learn from mistakes

Chestnut Bud is for people who fail to learn the lessons of life. They may repeat the same mistakes over and over, such as taking a succession of identical jobs and being surprised to find each one unfulfilling. They may also see others making a mistake and fail to apply the lesson to their own lives. They go right ahead and make the same mistake themselves.

It’s good to move on and leave the past behind, but in a Chestnut Bud state we are almost too ready to do this. We give so little thought to the past that we fail to learn and are doomed to repeat our failures. Chestnut Bud helps us learn and move on to genuinely new experiences.

Dr Bach’s description:
For those who do not take full advantage of observation and experience, and who take a longer time than others to learn the lessons of daily life. Whereas one experience would be enough for some, such people find it necessary to have more, sometimes several, before the lesson is learnt. Therefore, to their regret, they find themselves having to make the same error on different occasions when once would have been enough, or observation of others could have spared them even that one fault.

  • Chicory – selfish, possessive love

Chicory people are full of love and care for their families and friends. But they expect to receive love and attention in return, with interest, and feel slighted and unnecessarily hurt if they don’t get all they expect. Their great love can lead them to hold onto their loved ones and try to keep them dependent and close to hand. This may stifle the development of other personalities, or simply drive people away.

When we fall into this state the remedy helps bring out the positive side of Chicory: love given unconditionally and in freedom.

Dr Bach’s description:
Those who are very mindful of the needs of others; they tend to be over-full of care for children, relatives, friends, always finding something that should be put right. They are continually correcting what they consider wrong, and enjoy doing so. They desire that those for whom they care should be near them.

  • Clematis – dreaming of the future without working in the present

Clematis is for people whose minds drift away from the present into fantasies of the future, or into alternative versions of the present. Often they dream of future success, creative endeavour and achievement. The danger is that they are not sufficiently anchored in reality to make their dreams happen.

The remedy helps bring us back to earth and back to ourselves so that we can act to build a better life, instead of living in daydreams.

Sometimes people confuse the Clematis state with Honeysuckle, but the two are quite different. In the Honeysuckle state we live in nostalgic fantasies of the past or relive old regrets; as Clematis people our thoughts drift away to imagined futures.

Clematis is one of the ingredients in Dr Bach’s original crisis formula, where it is used to help the fuzzy, faint, light-headed feelings that may come in emergencies.

Dr Bach’s description:
Those who are dreamy, drowsy, not fully awake, no great interest in life. Quiet people, not really happy in their present circumstances, living more in the future than in the present; living in hopes of happier times, when their ideals may come true. In illness some make little or no effort to get well, and in certain cases may even look forward to death, in the hope of better times; or maybe, meeting again some beloved one whom they have lost.

  • Crab Apple – the cleansing remedy, also for self-hatred

Crab Apple is known as the cleansing remedy, and as such is the added ‘sixth ingredient’ in the cream version of Dr Bach’s original crisis formula. Its main use is to help people who dislike some aspect of their appearance or personality, or feel that they have something unclean or poisonous about them.

Sometimes in a Crab Apple state we disregard genuine problems and concentrate obsessively on one thing that we have fixed on – sometimes a quite minor aspect of the whole. We might take Crab Apple to cleanse obsessive, repetitive behaviour such as hand-washing, re-checking that appliances are unplugged, and so on.

Dr Bach’s description:
This is the remedy of cleansing. For those who feel as if they had something not quite clean about themselves. Often it is something of apparently little importance: in others there may be more serious disease which is almost disregarded compared to the one thing on which they concentrate. In both types they are anxious to be free from the one particular thing which is greatest in their minds and which seems so essential to them that it should be cured. They become despondent if treatment fails. Being a cleanser, this remedy purifies wounds if the patient has reason to believe that some poison has entered which must be drawn out.

  • Elm – overwhelmed by responsibility

Elm is the remedy for people suffering a temporary loss of confidence due to the overwhelming amount of responsibility they have taken on. Genuine Elm types are people who are successful and carrying out work they believe in, but at times the burden brings them down and they feel will not be able to cope.

The remedy helps to dispel these feelings so that we can resume our lives without thought of failure.

The Elm state can be usefully contrasted with that of Larch. People in the former take up challenges willingly and only occasionally doubt their abilities; it’s the scale of a task, rather than the difficulty of doing something well, that causes the crisis. Larch people are convinced they are going to fail right from the start, and so tend not to try in the first place.

Dr Bach’s description:
Those who are doing good work, are following the calling of their life and who hope to do something of importance, and this often for the benefit of humanity. At times there may be periods of depression when they feel that the task they have undertaken is too difficult, and not within the power of a human being.

  • Gentian – discouragement after a setback

Gentian is for that relatively mild downheartedness we sometimes feel when things go wrong. We miss a bus; fail an exam; miss out on an opportunity: it knocks us back. Often the feeling lifts by itself, but the remedy can be used to lift it sooner so that we are able to make things go right instead of just hoping they will.

Gentian is often confused with Gorse, which is also a remedy for feeling down when things go wrong. The difference is largely one of degree. People in a Gorse state have decided to give up. They refuse to be encouraged, and even if they seek a solution they will do so grudgingly, assuring everyone that there is no use trying. People in a Gentian state are less pessimistic and more prepared to try again.

Dr Bach’s description:
Those who are easily discouraged. They may be progressing well in illness, or in the affairs of their daily life, but any small delay or hindrance to progress causes doubt and soon disheartens them.

  • Gorse – hopelessness and despair

Gorse is the remedy for people who have given up belief and hope. Gorse represents a stronger kind of downheartedness than the Gentian state, because Gorse people willfully refuse to be encouraged, so certain are they that their case is hopeless. If ill, they may think themselves incurable, and that nothing can be done.

Nevertheless, Dr Bach classified Gorse as a remedy for uncertainty, and not as a remedy for despair alongside Sweet Chestnut. This demonstrates that the main problem with Gorse people is a loss of faith: if we can be persuaded to see things in a different light there is usually a way forward. This is what the Gorse remedy helps to achieve.

Dr Bach’s description:
Very great hopelessness, they have given up belief that more can be done for them. Under persuasion or to please others they may try different treatments, at the same time assuring those around that there is so little hope of relief.

  • Heather – self-centredness and self-concern

Heather is for people who are obsessed with themselves but do not like to be alone. Dr Bach called them ‘buttonholers’ because they latch onto people, all the time talking at exhaustive length about their problems, great and small, until people begin actively to avoid them. Thus the thing Heather people fear – loneliness – is brought about because of their behaviour.

The remedy helps us see our own concerns in the context of other people’s. Having suffered ourselves from the need to talk, we become good listeners. As a result people seek us out for our compassion rather than avoiding us because of our self-centredness.

Dr Bach’s description:
Those who are always seeking the companionship of anyone who may be available, as they find it necessary to discuss their own affairs with others, no matter whom it may be. They are very unhappy if they have to be alone for any length of time.

  • Holly – hatred, envy and jealousy

Holly is often thought of as the remedy for anger – but this isn’t necessarily the case. In the Bach system anger is a secondary emotion and we need to look more closely at the cause. Anger based on impatience needs another remedy, for example, as do those angers based on feelings of personal unfairness or impersonal injustice, or where there is a simple loss of control.

Holly is actually the remedy for very negative, aggressive feelings directed at others – feelings such as hatred, suspicion, envy, spite. The basic problem is an absence of love, and the remedy works to encourage our generosity of spirit and an openness towards others.

Dr Bach’s description:
For those who sometimes are attacked by thoughts of such kind as jealousy, envy, revenge, suspicion. For the different forms of vexation. Within themselves they may suffer much, often when there is no real cause for their unhappiness.

  • Honeysuckle – living in the past

Honeysuckle is for people who live in the past instead of the present. They feel that their best days are behind them and that there is little to look forward to, and as a consequence they prefer to dwell on past happinesses (or past misfortunes). In a more minor key, homesickness and nostalgia are also Honeysuckle states.

The remedy helps us to learn from and recall the past without needing to relive it, so that we can progress into the present and take joy from today and tomorrow.

Dr Bach’s description:
Those who live much in the past, perhaps a time of great happiness, or memories of a lost friend, or ambitions which have not come true. They do not expect further happiness such as they have had.

  • Hornbeam – tiredness at the thought of doing something

Hornbeam is used against feelings of exhaustion and tiredness that come before an effort has been made.

The person in this state feels weary when he looks forward at the demands of the day. It’s easier to stay in bed or put off making a start, or find other things to do – but if an effort can be made to get started the weariness will fade, a sign that unlike the Olive state this tiredness is wholly ‘in the mind’ and can’t be traced to actual events in the real world.

Dr Bach’s description:
For those who feel that they have not sufficient strength, mentally or physically, to carry the burden of life placed upon them; the affairs of every day seem too much for them to accomplish, though they generally succeed in fulfilling their task. For those who believe that some part, of mind or body, needs to be strengthened before they can easily fulfill their work.

  • Impatiens – impatience

Impatiens is, as its name suggests, the remedy for impatience and the frustration and irritability that often go with it. Anyone can get into this state of mind, but there are also genuine Impatiens types, who live life at a rush and hate being held back by more methodical people. To avoid this irritation they prefer to work alone: the Impatiens boss is the one who sends staff home early so she can get the job finished quicker.

The remedy helps us be less hasty and more relaxed with others. It is also an ingredient in Dr Bach’s original crisis formula, where it helps calm agitated thoughts and feelings.

Dr Bach’s description:
Those who are quick in thought and action and who wish all things to be done without hesitation or delay. When ill they are anxious for a hasty recovery. They find it very difficult to be patient with people who are slow, as they consider it wrong and a waste of time, and they will endeavour to make such people quicker in all ways. They often prefer to work and think alone, so that they can do everything at their own speed.

  • Larch – lack of confidence

Larch is the remedy for people who feel that they are not as competent as others. They lack confidence in their ability to do things well, assume they will fail, and often don’t bother to try.

We can contrast this with people in an Elm state, where it is a willingness to take on too much that causes a crisis.

The remedy helps us to move ahead regardless of thoughts of success and failure. More prepared to take risks and get involved, we get more out of living.

Dr Bach’s description:
For those who do not consider themselves as good or capable as those around them, who expect failure, who feel that they will never be a success, and so do not venture or make a strong enough attempt to succeed.

  • Mimulus – fear of known things

Mimulus is the remedy for known fears. Whenever you are frightened or anxious about something, and you can say what that ‘something’ is, then Mimulus is the remedy to take.

Mimulus fears are those of every day: fear of public speaking, of the dark, of aggressive dogs, of illness and pain. Phobias can also be Mimulus fears if the cause of the fear – whether spiders, birds or open spaces – can be named. Rock Rose might be preferred where the phobia causes real terror. Where the fear is vague and there is general anxiety and apprehension without a specific named cause, there Aspen might be a better choice.

Mimulus is used as a type or personality remedy for those of us who tend generally to be nervous, timid and shy. We might blush easily or stammer, and will usually avoid social occasions and any event where we will be in the limelight.

Mimulus brings out the quiet courage and strength that lies hidden in all of us, so that we can face the everyday trials of life without fear.

Dr Bach’s description:
Fear of worldly things, illness, pain, accidents, poverty, of dark, of being alone, of misfortune. The fears of everyday life. These people quietly and secretly bear their dread, they do not freely speak of it to others.

  • Mustard – deep gloom for no reason

Mustard is the remedy for deep gloom and depression that descends for no apparent reason out of a clear blue sky.

People in this state often list all the reasons they have to feel happy and contented, but still everything looks black and hopeless to them.

The remedy helps to dispel the clouds so that we can once again appreciate the joy and peace in our lives.

Dr Bach’s description:
Those who are liable to times of gloom, or even despair, as though a cold dark cloud overshadowed them and hid the light and the joy of life. It may not be possible to give any reason or explanation for such attacks. Under these conditions it is almost impossible to appear happy or cheerful.

  • Oak – the plodder who keeps going past the point of exhaustion

Oak is the remedy for strong, steady people who never give up under adversity. They plough on with determination, and never consider resting until they are past the point of exhaustion.

Oaks often have many people relying on them, and their sense of duty is strong. They may feel frustrated and unhappy if illness or exhaustion mean they are forced to do less than they wanted.

So much is positive about the Oak person, but the negative side is the stubborn refusal to rest or sit back when the need for rest is obvious. The remedy is used to help us remain strong in adversity, while at the same time we learn it is better sometimes to let go rather than crack under the strain.

Dr Bach’s description:
For those who are struggling and fighting strongly to get well, or in connection with the affairs of their daily life. They will go on trying one thing after another, though their case may seem hopeless. They will fight on. They are discontented with themselves if illness interferes with their duties or helping others. They are brave people, fighting against great difficulties, without loss of hope or effort.

  • Olive – exhaustion following mental or physical effort

Olive is the remedy for tiredness and exhaustion after an effort of some kind, such as hard physical or mental labour, or the long struggle against illness.

Olive can be usefully contrasted with Hornbeam, which is the remedy for tiredness felt before an effort has been made.

The remedy gives us what we need to restore our strength and the faith we need to continue an effort. We may feel energised; or we may at last be able to rest properly.

Dr Bach’s description:
Those who have suffered much mentally or physically and are so exhausted and weary that they feel they have no more strength to make any effort. Daily life is hard work for them, without pleasure.

  • Pine – guilt

Pine helps when we blame ourselves for things done or undone.

In a Pine state we may feel guilty even when events outside our control have caused a problem, or we may assume responsibility for mistakes made by others. We suffer needlessly.

We sometimes feel so guilty in a Pine state that we end up saying ‘sorry’ all the time.

The positive aspect of Pine is seen when we acknowledge our faults without dwelling on them, and put right where we can the things we did wrong. But at the same time we know when we are blameless or have done our best, and are content.

Dr Bach’s description:
For those who blame themselves. Even when successful they think that they could have done better, and are never content with their efforts or the results. They are hard-working and suffer much from the faults they attach to themselves. Sometimes if there is any mistake it is due to another, but they will claim responsibility even for that.

  • Red Chestnut – over-concern for the welfare of loved ones

Red Chestnut is for people who feel fear for the well-being of others: the husband afraid when his wife goes out alone after dark; the mother fretting over what may happen to her child at school.

Red Chestnut fears are natural, normal concerns magnified to the point where they have a negative effect on the people who are the object of concern, undermining their confidence and self-belief.

When we are in this state the remedy helps us send out calm, unworried thoughts to our loved ones, so that instead of making everyone anxious we are rocks on whom others lean.

Dr Bach’s description:
For those who find it difficult not to be anxious for other people. Often they have ceased to worry about themselves, but for those of whom they are fond they may suffer much, frequently anticipating that some unfortunate thing may happen to them.

  • Rock Rose– terror and fright

Rock Rose is the remedy against terror, and as such is an important ingredient in Dr Bach’s traditional crisis combination.

The Rock Rose state may start out as a more everyday Mimulus or Red Chestnut state, but it is further along the path from these, being a panicky, terrorstruck fear that makes conscious thought and decision next to impossible.

The remedy provides calm and courage. We are able to forget fear as our courage is renewed.

Dr Bach’s description:
The rescue remedy. The remedy of emergency for cases where there even appears no hope. In accident or sudden illness, or when the patient is very frightened or terrified or if the condition is serious enough to cause great fear to those around. If the patient is not conscious the lips may be moistened with the remedy. Other remedies in addition may also be required, as, for example, if there is unconsciousness, which is a deep, sleepy state, Clematis; if there is torture, Agrimony, and so on.

  • Rock Water – self-denial, rigidity and self-repression

Rock Water is the remedy for people who take self-repression and self-denial to extremes.

People in this state seek to perfect themselves in some way. They set themselves rules and targets and are strict and harsh with themselves when they feel they are falling short.

If they seek to influence others it is by example only. They tend not to criticise out loud, as a Beech person would, nor do they persuade (Vervain) or command (Vine).

The Rock Water remedy doesn’t stop us from having high ideals or from trying to meet them. It simply allows us to unbend. We are kinder to ourselves and not so dismissive of life’s softer pleasures.

Dr Bach’s description:
Those who are very strict in their way of living; they deny themselves many of the joys and pleasures of life because they consider it might interfere with their work. They are hard masters to themselves. They wish to be well and strong and active, and will do anything which they believe will keep them so. They hope to be examples which will appeal to others who may then follow their ideas and be better as a result.

  • Scleranthus – inability to choose between alternatives

Scleranthus helps when we find it difficult to make up our minds. Sometimes there are two options, sometimes more.

Scleranthus uncertainty affects both small and not-so-small decisions. ‘Should I marry Joe or Peter?’ and ‘should I buy a red notebook or a blue one?’ may both be Scleranthus states.

But we should consider Wild Oat instead if indecisiveness is to do with our deeper ambitions for our lives: ‘I want to do something worthwhile – will marriage and a family bring me fulfilment?’

Sometimes Scleranthus indecisiveness manifests itself in other ways. Some people who suffer mood swings and motion sickness turn out to be suffering from Scleranthus indecision. But neither symptom by itself is a Scleranthus indication – the emotional state is always key.

Taking the remedy helps us know what we want. We reconnect with our intuition and are able to choose simply and decisively.

Dr Bach’s description:
Those who suffer much from being unable to decide between two things, first one seeming right then the other. They are usually quiet people, and bear their difficulty alone, as they are not inclined to discuss it with others.

  • Star of Bethlehem – shock

Star of Bethlehem is one of the remedies in the traditional crisis formula. It is the remedy for the after-effects of shock, such as is caused by unexpected bad news or any unexpected and unwelcome event.

It can be used just as well for the effects of a shock received many years ago, even very early in childhood.

This is also the remedy for that sense of emptiness and loss that sometimes occurs when a loved one dies or moves away. Star of Bethlehem is a comforting remedy to take in such circumstances.

Dr Bach’s description:
For those in great distress under conditions which for a time produce great unhappiness. The shock of serious news, the loss of some one dear, the fright following an accident, and such like. For those who for a time refuse to be consoled this remedy brings comfort.

  • Sweet Chestnut – Extreme mental anguish, when everything has been tried and there is no light left

Sweet Chestnut is the remedy for people who have reached the limits of endurance. They have explored all avenues and see no way out of their difficulties. They feel there is nothing left for them but annihilation and emptiness.

Whereas people in a Gorse state decide to give up when there are possible solutions untried, the person in a Sweet Chestnut state is genuinely at the end of the line: theirs is appalling, final despair.

In this extreme state, the remedy helps us remain masters of our lives, and renews our hope and strength. Sometimes a way ahead may open even when we expect it least.

Dr Bach’s description:
For those moments which happen to some people when the anguish is so great as to seem to be unbearable. When the mind or body feels as if it had borne to the uttermost limit of its endurance, and that now it must give way. When it seems there is nothing but destruction and annihilation left to face.

  • Vervain – over-enthusiasm

Vervain people are perfectionists with a keen sense of justice. They are blessed with extreme mental energy that they willingly throw into the causes they believe in.

The Vervain enthusiasm can be infectious, and they feel a strong need to persuade others to their own point of view. But at an extreme they are in danger of becoming fanatics, unable to listen to alternative points of view, and they may put themselves under a great deal of stress because they find it so hard to switch off and relax.

When we are in this state the remedy helps us regain our balance so that body and mind and be restored. It encourages the wisdom to enjoy life and the passage of time instead of always feeling the need to be active.

Dr Bach’s description:
Those with fixed principles and ideas, which they are confident are right, and which they very rarely change. They have a great wish to convert all around them to their own views of life. They are strong of will and have much courage when they are convinced of those things that they wish to teach. In illness they struggle on long after many would have given up their duties.

  • Vine – dominance and inflexibility

Vine is for people who know their own minds and think they know what is best for others. They are strong and enjoy the exercise of power, but in their negative states this can lead them to dominate others by force alone.

Tyrannical fathers and overbearing bosses are typical negative Vines, in that they expect absolute obedience from others and will not be overly concerned with winning hearts and minds as long as their orders are followed. In this respect Vine is very different from Vervain. Vervains attempt to convert others to their way of thinking; Vines are content with the simple imposition of discipline.

In their positive aspect Vine people make wise, gentle and loving guides who can inspire and lead others without resorting to force. When we fall into issuing orders the remedy is given to encourage us to show this positive side.

Dr Bach’s description:
Very capable people, certain of their own ability, confident of success. Being so assured, they think that it would be for the benefit of others if they could be persuaded to do things as they themselves do, or as they are certain is right. Even in illness they will direct their attendants. They may be of great value in emergency.

  • Walnut – protection from change and unwanted influences

Walnut is the remedy to help protect us against outside influences in general, and against the effects of change in particular.

Walnut people are fulfilling their purpose in life but sometimes doubt their path when they hear the opinions, theories or beliefs of others. Unlike Cerato people, those in a Walnut state don’t actively seek out the opinions of others. But opinions are offered anyway: they may be affected almost despite themselves.

As a remedy against the effects of change, Walnut is useful at all the transition points in life, from birth to teething to going to school to puberty to marriage to childbearing to retirement and beyond. It helps break links with the past so that we can move forward more easily.

Dr Bach’s description:
For those who have definite ideals and ambitions in life and are fulfilling them, but on rare occasions are tempted to be led away from their own ideas, aims and work by the enthusiasm, convictions or strong opinions of others. The remedy gives constancy and protection from outside influences.

  • Water Violet – quiet self-reliance leading to isolation

Water Violet is the remedy for those talented, capable people whose independence and self-reliance can make them seem proud and disdainful.

True Water Violet people tend to be upright, quiet and dignified. They prefer their own company or that of a few close friends.

We need the remedy when our natural reserve has built a barrier between us and others, leaving us lonely and unable to make contact with those around. Water Violet helps bring us back into balance so that we can be more involved with humanity.

Dr Bach’s description:
For those who in health or illness like to be alone. Very quiet people, who move about without noise, speak little, and then gently. Very independent, capable and self-reliant. Almost free of the opinions of others. They are aloof, leave people alone and go their own way. Often clever and talented. Their peace and calmness is a blessing to those around them.

  • White Chestnut – unwanted thoughts and mental arguments

White Chestnut is the remedy for unwanted thoughts and mental arguments that intrude into the mind and stop us concentrating.

White Chestnut thoughts are often described as ‘worrying’ – but they are not necessarily anxious or fearful, more repetitive. They worry at us like a dog worries a bone. White Chestnut thoughts go nowhere. They circle round and round in the head like a looped recording.

The remedy helps us think straight. We can deal calmly and rationally with any underlying problems that might be causing the trouble.

Dr Bach’s description:
For those who cannot prevent thoughts, ideas, arguments which they do not desire from entering their minds. Usually at such times when the interest of the moment is not strong enough to keep the mind full. Thoughts which worry and will remain, or if for a time thrown out, will return. They seem to circle round and round and cause mental torture. The presence of such unpleasant thoughts drives out peace and interferes with being able to think only of the work or pleasure of the day.

  • Wild Oat – uncertainty over one’s direction in life

Wild Oat is the remedy for people who feel they want to do something worthwhile with their lives but don’t know which direction to go. They tend to drift from one thing to another without finding a true path. They become frustrated and downcast as a result.

We can compare the Wild Oat state with that of Scleranthus. In the latter the goal itself isn’t in doubt, but we need to decide how to get there. For example, you might know that marriage is for you. But which partner to choose? That would be a Scleranthus problem, one of choosing between a limited number of options.

In a Wild Oat state the goal itself is less defined. For example, you know you want a fulfilling life. But does that mean getting married or staying single? Finding a career? Changing religion? It’s much more difficult in a Wild Oat state to define the options as our goal is not clear.

When we are in this state of frustrated and vague ambition, Wild Oat helps us find our true path. It puts us back in touch with our sense of purpose so that the way ahead seems clearer.

Dr Bach’s description:
Those who have ambitions to do something of prominence in life, who wish to have much experience, and to enjoy all that which is possible for them, to take life to the full. Their difficulty is to determine what occupation to follow; as although their ambitions are strong, they have no calling which appeals to them above all others. This may cause delay and dissatisfaction.

  • Wild Rose – drifting, resignation, apathy

Wild Rose is for people who have accepted all that life throws at them and have given up the struggle for fulfillment.

In this state we resign ourselves to the way things are, to the extent where we don’t complain or seem particularly unhappy. Instead we shrug our shoulders – there’s no point trying to change things – and just drift along.

The remedy helps reawaken our interest in life. In a positive Wild Rose state we are happy-go-lucky. Instead of apathy we feel a sense of purpose that brings increased happiness and enjoyment.

Dr Bach’s description:
Those who without apparently sufficient reason become resigned to all that happens, and just glide through life, take it as it is, without any effort to improve things and find some joy. They have surrendered to the struggle of life without complaint.

  • Willow – self-pity and resentment

Willow is for people who feel resentful and bitter about the way their lives have gone.

In a Willow state we begrudge others their success and happiness, and are reluctant to admit when our own lives go well. We prefer to grumble, and are prone to resentment and self-pity.

The remedy encourages the rebirth of optimism and faith. It helps us feel more generous towards others and more aware that negative thinking can attract the very ill-fortune of which we complain.

Dr Bach’s description:
For those who have suffered adversity or misfortune and find these difficult to accept, without complaint or resentment, as they judge life much by the success which it brings. They feel that they have not deserved so great a trial, that it was unjust, and they become embittered. They often take less interest and less activity in those things of life which they had previously enjoyed.

Dr Bach’s central message:

We are all healers. Everyone can use the remedies. Everyone can heal and in the process understand who they are and take charge of their own destinies.

Sources:

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