“What are Bach flower remedies? (My daughter uses this I think.)”
Dr. Edward Bach was an early 20th century surgeon from London who left mainstream medicine after only a few years to concentrate on “natural” cures. According to published biographies of Dr. Bach, he was greatly interested in homeopathy but felt he could improve on it. Ultimately, he developed a line of remedies based on flower blossoms and today, those 40 or so remedies are known collectively as “Bach flower remedies”.
Like homeopathy, Bach flower remedies use dilutions. Bach called these dilutions “essences” and used them primarily to treat emotional and psychological conditions. Modern believers in Bach’s flower remedies believe that the remedies contain what they refer to as the “energetic signatures” of the original blossoms and this “energy” is transferred to the user when the remedies are taken.
Bach Flower Remedies Don’t Fare Well in Tests
As you can imagine, anything dealing with “energies” and “essences” is difficult to test scientifically. In controlled experiments, the remedies do no better than placebo.
Does Rescue Remedy Work?
By far the most popular of Bach’s flower remedies is a blend called “rescue remedy”. It’s a combination on rock rose, cherry plum, clematis, impatiens and a plant called star of Bethlehem. Available in a variety of both oral and topical forms, this remedies is wildly popular for anxiety, stress, fear and other psychological issues. While a few studies of this remedy have produced interesting results, no large double-blind study has found this or any other Bach flower remedy better than placebo.
Bach Flower Therapy Isn’t a Legitimate Therapy in the U.S.
Like most other “alternative” healing practices, Bach flower therapy is not a recognized therapy and the remedies can be sold only as herbal supplements with no specific health claims attached.
Not surprisingly, the lack of a regulatory “watchdog” means that remedies will vary widely in quality from supplier to supplier and many “practitioners” of Bach flower therapy will have little to no formal medical training. Finding a truly qualified practitioner who prescribes Bach flower remedies can be difficult.
Howard, J. (2007). Do Bach flower remedies have a role to play in pain control? A critical analysis investigating therapeutic value beyond the placebo effect, and the potential of Bach flower remedies as a psychological method of pain relief.
Pintov, S., et al. (2005). Bach flower remedies used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children—a prospective double blind controlled study.
The Dr. Edward Bach Centre. Retrieved from www.bachcentre.com on January 15, 2008.