What Are Bach Flower Remedies?

Bach flower remedies are an alternative or complementary treatment that is used for emotional problems and pain. They’re made out of watered-down extracts from the flowers of wild plants.

Edward Bach, a medical doctor and homeopath, created these remedies in the early 1900s. Homeopathy is the belief that the body can cure itself. It uses small amounts of natural substances like plants and minerals to treat the body or mind. The idea behind Bach flower remedies is similar to homeopathy. But they use fewer materials and don't work directly on physical symptoms, but instead on the emotions.

Bach believed that healing negative emotions helps the body heal itself. His system contains 38 remedies that each address a specific negative emotion. The emotions are grouped into seven broad psychological causes of illness:

  • Fear
  • Uncertainty
  • Lack of interest in present circumstances
  • Loneliness
  • Oversensitivity to influences and ideas
  • Sadness or despair
  • Cares for others at the expense of self

How to Choose a Bach Remedy

Select a flower remedy according to the emotional issue or issues at the root of your problem. You might choose one remedy or mix several together.

You can buy them at a health food store or work with a specialist or someone trained to use them. Also, some naturopaths, homeopaths, herbalists, chiropractors, and acupuncturists offer them.

There’s also a combination remedy that was developed by Bach himself. People use it to help stay calm in stressful situations

How to Use Them

Bach remedies usually come as liquids in dropper bottles. You can either drop the remedy on your tongue or mix it into a glass of water to drink. The dosage varies, but most people take several drops a few times a day.

Some remedies are also found as pills, sprays, skin creams, and bath salts.

Do Bach Remedies Work?

People have used Bach remedies for many conditions, including anxiety, depression, stress, emotional and physical trauma, cancer, and HIV. Existing reliable research does not back up these claims.

Results are mixed when it comes to whether they help with emotional issues or pain. They seem to make some people feel better, but it isn’t clear if this is a result of the placebo effect or not. The placebo effect means something helps because people expect it to work.

Side Effects and Safety

Studies have found that Bach remedies are safe. Some have a small amount of alcohol, so check the label if you want to avoid it.

Don't take Bach remedies in place of any prescribed medicine. Let your doctor know if you have any problems.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on January 15, 2019

Sources

SOURCES:

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine: "Bach Flower Remedies for psychological problems and pain: a systematic review."

British Homeopathic Association: "Bach Flower Remedies."

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: "Homeopathy."

Annals of Epidemiology: "When less is better: a comparison of Bach Flower Remedies and homeopathy."

Cancer Research UK: "Essence Therapy."

Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice: "Do Bach flower remedies have a role to play in pain control?"

Swiss Medical Weekly: "Bach flower remedies: A systematic review of randomised clinical trials."

Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: "Exploring the Effectiveness of External Use of Bach Flower Remedies on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome."

The Bach Centre: “The Bach Foundation International Register.”

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics: “Homeopathy in Iowa.”

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