Edward Bach, a qualified medical doctor in England, inspired by the homeopathic system of preparing remedies, developed what are known today as Bach flower remedies. During his stint at the London Homeopathic Hospital, he developed seven bacterial nosodes homeopathic dilutions created from biological agents including vomit, feces or infected human tissue. These remedies did not receive much recognition, but his penchant for discovering new healing techniques led him to create more remedies, including those that were produced from flowers. These remedies became more popular and became known as Bach flower remedies.
Instead of recognizing that microorganisms are the cause of disease, Bach subscribed to the theory that illness is the result of ‘a contradiction between the purposes of the soul and the personality’s point of view’. He claimed that it is this internal conflict that leads to negative moods— resulting in consequent blockage of energy and disharmony that further leads to physical disease.
Bach claimed that some wildflowers have a soul or energy that has a close connection with the human soul. He claimed that he had to simply hold a flower or taste it to understand its healing power. Bach flower remedies do not include any part of the plant. Instead, as claimed by Bach, they are based on the transfer of the ‘spiritual energy’ of a flower to water. He considered that dew drops on a plant heated by the sun were enough to transfer the healing properties from the plant. The remedy is therefore prepared by a concoction of flower ‘essence’ and mineral water or brandy.
The better known Bach flower remedies are those prepared from plants that are believed to relieve stress, anxiety and panic attacks. These flowers are chosen from a wide variety depending upon the type of emotion. For example, to alleviate stress symptoms arising from general anger and bitterness, holly is the preferred plant. Vervain is used in cases of hatred that stems from injustice.
The theory that flowers have healing properties and a method of preparation can be created to use these healing properties to cure conditions is based on Bach’s intuitions and physical discovery of the healing powers of 38 wildflowers. Although inspired by homeopathy, the remedies are not prepared according to the strict principles of dilution and succession; hallmarks of the process of preparing homeopathic remedies.
That a simple dilution of dew drops over a plant will provide stress relief seems to be a matter of faith rather than logic. But the fact is that flower remedies are still popular and there exist anecdotal evidences that prove efficacy. These are harmless concoctions, and if prepared according to strict laws governing preparation of medicine, they should not do harm.