Natural Medicine has been around as long as mankind and possibly longer. Some animals know which plants to eat if they are feeling unwell, so plant and herb-based medicine may have been around a lot longer than we could imagine.
Some 2,500 years ago in India, a group of physicians working under the influence of Buddha developed healing to a point where they were able to abolish surgery altogether. Other key figures appeared throughout history, each presenting illness as something more than merely ‘physical’ but somehow related to an imbalance in a person’s entire ‘system’ – the mind, the body AND the soul.
In the last 200 years, Samuel Hahneman, the founder of homeopathy, furthered the treatment of individuals by addressing root-causes rather than just the external manifestations of an illness. Although not only ‘flower’-based, Hahneman’s work was instrumental in the thinking processes of Dr. Edward Bach, who earlier last century developed a system of medication to treat root-causes of illness based on flower and plant extracts.
Dr. Edward Bach, M.B., B.S., M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., D.P.H.
Dr. Bach, pronounced ‘Batch’, lived from 1886 to 1936, and was at least half a Century ahead of the medical world in his thinking about treating the whole person rather than disease or the symptoms of disease.
After following a fairly conventional path of medical training which led him to London’s University College Hospital and then a practice near Harley Street, his increasing dissatisfaction with orthodox medicine and its limitations led him to make a connection between the effects of a person’s attitudes and personality on their health.
For three years from 1919 he worked in the London Homeopathic Hospital as bacteriologist and pathologist, where he developed some oral vaccines based on the principles of Homeopathy to purify the intestinal tract, producing remarkable results on a range of conditions.
In 1928 he had a revelation at a dinner party, noticing that the range of character-types of the guests fell into distinct categories, and realising that each character-type would react to the same illness in a different way. From this revelation in the Autumn of that year he produced his first two ‘remedies’ from plants he brought back from a visit to Wales.
Mimulus and Impatiens were the first two flowers to provide the bases for ‘remedies’, shortly followed by Clematis. He continued to refine his approach with the introduction of other remedies, producing an initial ‘twelve’.
Gradually, the number of remedies grew to 38, including one which is strictly not ‘flower-based’ (Rock-Water), and one which is really a mixture of some of the others (Rescue Remedy�).
The Principles…and Practice
The main principle is that disease is entirely the result of conflict between our spiritual and mortal selves’ and happiness comes from being in harmony with our own nature. Disease is therefore the consequence of permitting others to interfere in our life or life’s purpose or plant doubts, fear or indifference in our minds.
To use the Bach Flower Remedies it is first necessary for you to identify the root-cause of your particular problem. It is not always easy to assess yourself dispassionately, otherwise you would not have any problems anyway (!) so ask someone you trust for an honest opinion of how you are seeming to them.
Root-causes may sound like the condition which you are experiencing, but it is necessary to go one step further to look at why you feel the way you do. Taking addiction as an example, you may successfully treat the ‘addiction’ without addressing the reason why you have addictive behaviour. To really cure the problem of addiction it is necessary to understand what was the reason behind you developing an addictive nature in the first place – whether for comfort, release, fear, resentment, or whatever. The appropriate remedies can then be used to treat not just the manifestation of addiction but also the root-cause.
The remedies work on the individual rather than on the disease or even the symptoms of the disease. This means that different individuals may need different treatments for the same condition – one patient may be resigned to their affliction while another may be aggressive towards it.
The remedies do not by-pass the individuals involvement in the healing process, but merely transform the negatives which prevent self-healing into positives which support it. It takes different lengths of time for different individuals to respond to their treatment, depending on how accurately the root-cause was identified. For example, depression may be alleviated immediately by two drops of of the Mustard Flower Remedy!
Flower Remedies can be mixed, and no harm is done if the wrong one is chosen – which makes Rescue Remedy� suitable as a safe ‘catch-all’ if you are unable to analyse the root-cause successfully. Bach Flower Remedies can be used without any conflict with conventional medicine, and in bottled concentrated form, the remedies have a shelf-life of around 5 years.
The directions for use couldn’t be simpler either: put two drops of the chosen remedy in a cup of water and sip at intervals, or two drops in a 30ml bottle of mineral water then dispensed as four drops taken four times a day. It is safe to take these as often as needed. The dose should be held in the mouth or on the tongue for a few moments before swallowing.
The Original 12 ‘Remedies’
The first 12 ‘remedies’ were based on Agrimony, Centaury, Cerato, Chicory, Clematis, Gentian, Impatiens, Mimulus, Rock Rose, Scleranthus, Vervain, and Water Violet.
These cover a range of the most-frequently encountered conditions – remember that they should be used to address ‘root-causes’ – see below for a description of which should be used to address which condition.
There are more conditions and more subtlety in treatment than can be addressed simply within those twelve. The full range of Bach Flower Remedies is ’38’, although these include Rescue Remedy and Rock-Water, making the set really 36 Flower Remedies, one mineral remedy, and one pre-mixed emergency treatment.