5.3.5 Flower essences.

From Suzanne E. Sky, L.Ac.

Flower essences are liquid preparations, containing only minute traces of actual flowers, which convey the vibrational pattern and essence of specific flowers. Because of this, their action is subtle and extends beyond the physiological. Their action is not biochemical, but is vibrational. These gentle essences enjoy a reputation of being very safe. They have no side-effects and are non-toxic. Some people state they don't 'feel' any change or effect from using flower essences. However, many people find the flowers provide an essential factor in their healing process. Each person responds to flower essences according to their inner rhythm and needs.

Research in the modern field of psychoneuroimmunology shows a clear interrelationship between physical illness, stress and emotional/mental outlook. Flower essences help address issues which often underlay stress and health problems, helping to 'untie' or release these mental/emotional energetic knots. Flower essences can help transform emotions, attitudes or patterns of behavior to enhance one's development, growth and awareness. Flower essences expand our understanding of health care, recognizing the interweaving of spiritual, mental, emotional and physical aspects of wellness. The name most closely associated with flower essences is that of Dr. Edward Bach, the English physician who first discovered them. In the 1930's, he introduced his set of 39Flower Essences that changed the world of natural medicine forever.

Dr. Bach's Life and Discovery of Flower Essences

Dr. Edward Bach was a remarkable man. He was an early pioneer of natural medicine who discovered results when he treated the person rather than the disease. Born in 1886, Bach entered the medical profession from a sincere desire to help others. Early on in his practice he noticed that the patients personality or temperament was more helpful in deciding which medicine would be most effective than any other factor.

Early in his career, Bach studied bacteriology and became fascinated by the connection between a person's colon flora and their health. He discovered that a vaccine made from the patient's intestinal bacteria, and injected into their blood stream, gave excellent results, especially in chronic diseases. When Bach discovered homeopathy, he modified his method and made homeopathic preparations known as nosodes (remedies made from pathological tissues). He classified the intestinal bacteria into seven main groups and made preparations still known today as Bach's Seven Nosodes. Soon, he found that when a patient entered his office, he could immediately tell which type of flora would be predominant in that person, and which nosode they would need. From this Bach correlated seven main personality types and began prescribing the Nosodes solely on the basis of the patients personality, rather than laboratory tests. The results were even greater than he expected, and he saw clearly the importance of treating the person rather than their disease.

While Bach had great respect for homeopathy and its founder, Dr. Hahnemann, he refuted the basic premise of homeopathy, that like cures like. Bach states "It is obviously fundamentally wrong to say that 'like cures like'. ...Like may strengthen like, like may repel like, but in the true healing sense like cannot cure like. ....And so in true healing, and so in spiritual advancement, we must always seek good to drive out evil, love to conquer hate, and light to dispel darkness. Thus must we avoid all poisons, all harmful things, and use only the beneficent and beautiful." (Collected Writings, page 113)

Bach became dissatisfied with using the intestinal Nosodes, desiring to find a natural method which would not require using pathological material. He felt herbs would provide the most suitable material and began investigating the plant world. As Bach continued to work with and observe people, he became even more convinced that a person's temperament and personality were the factors that determined what illnesses they were prone to and what medicines would help them.

The first two plants he discovered and used in his practice, that are still flower essences today, were Impatiens and Mimulus. The third one was Clematis. This was in 1930. Bach was so pleased with the results, he decided to give up his use of nosodes altogether and seek out other herbal remedies to add to his repertory. Dr. Bach gave up his successful, lucrative and prestigious Harley Street office and set out for Wales to discover new healing plants. Little did he know he was about to discover a whole new form of natural medicine and herbal preparation.

Tromping around Wales for many years led him to discover the remaining 36 flower remedies. Bach was very particular in his selection of flowers and where he found them. Each of his remedies is a specific botanical entity, and substitutions are not equally effective. Bach was a sensitive as well as a medical researcher and physician. This blend made him search out only non-toxic plants that offered the highest vibratory patterns. Of the 39 essences we attribute to Bach, 37 are from plants, trees and bushes. One remedy, Rock Water, is from a special spring. The 39th, is a combination of several remedies, used for acute and emergency situations.

Bach found great results using the flower essences with people who came to him from all over. No matter what illness the person had, he only gave remedies in accord with their mental/emotional state of being. Bach himself became ill several times and only recovered after discovering and using the appropriate flower essence. He discovered several essences in this way.

Dr. Bach died in his sleep in 1936, feeling his life work was complete. He stated that the 38 flower essences he discovered would cover every possible area of need. His goal was to discover a safe, effective system of medicine that even the simplest person could use to help themselves, without a doctor. He felt he achieved this goal with his system of the Flower Remedies, which anyone can learn and apply with a little study.


Flower essences work most beneficially as part of a wholistic program of health care, including exercise, nourishing diet, stress reduction, inner work, play, and rest. They are not a substitute for medical attention or professional psychological counseling. If you are ill, please consult a qualified physician.

This entry was much longer - but this is the medicinal herbFAQ, not the flower essence FAQ, so for the full entry go to this page: http://henriettes-herb.com/articles/bachflow.html