Rather than treating a physical body condition, Dr Edward Bach, born 1886 and graduating from University College Medicine in 1914, developed the concept of first addressing one’s personality disorders. He practised conventional medicine as well as homeopathy for many years before becoming disillusioned and tunnel-visioned as to physical illness being a symptom of a complex problem between mind and emotions.


Dr Bach felt that Hahnemann was on the right track with homeopathy but he wanted to take it one step further, and rather than potentising (shaking and diluting) them by hand he decided to use the strength of the sun’s rays to “potentise” selected flowers. In 1930, Dr Bach left his conventional medical practise to further develop and refine his chosen 38 specific flower essences, each chosen for their specific action on the mind, and which form the basis of today’s Bach Flower Remedies. Bach was only aged 36 when he died, but he developed the foundation for a sound remedy, and one which countries all over the world have used as a basis for developing remedies for their own indigenous plants, such as our own wattles and natives here in Australia. A patient isn’t given the actual physical part of the plant, they are in fact given the liquid that the plant part sat in whilst exposed to the sun’s rays, this is said to contain the life force or essential energy from the original flower.

Bach believed that negative states of mind are the basis of many illnesses and placed the 38 specific remedies into seven groups:

· Fear

· Uncertainty and indecision

· Loneliness

· Insufficient interest in present circumstances

· Over-sensitiveness to ideas and influences

· Despondency and despair

· Over-care for the welfare of others


I will list the 38 remedies firstly in their category headings:

Fear– Aspen, Cherry Plum, Mimulus, Red Chestnut and Rock Rose

Uncertainty and Indecision– Cerato, Gentian, Gorse, Hornbeam, Scleranthus and Wild Oat

Loneliness– Heather, Impatiens and Water Violet

Insufficient interest in present influences– Chestnut Bud, Clematis, Honeysuckle, Olive, Mustard, White Chestnut and Wild Rose

Over-sensitiveness to ideas and influences– Agrimony, Centaury, Holly and Walnut

Despondency and Despair – Elm, Crab Apple, Larch, Pine, Oak, Willow, Star of Bethlehem and Sweet Chestnut

Overcare for welfare of others– Beech, Chicory, Rock water, Vervain and Vine


Agrimony is for the person who always puts on a bright and happy face, when inside, their true feelings of ill-health, anxiety, pain and worry remain hidden.

Aspen is for fear of the unknown and for the person who is full of fear for no apparent reason, sudden apprehension, fear of sleep for what will come, fear from dreams.

Beech is for the person who lacks empathy and tolerance and those who can be highly critical of another person’s behaviour.

Centaury gives strength to those who find it difficult to stand up for themselves. They are always eager to make other people happy and don’t know when to say “no”.

Cerato is a follower not a leader. It is for the person who doesn’t trust their own judgement and will later question a decision they made previously. They are weak willed and lack courage of their conviction, always asking the advice of other people, lacking of courage and their own conviction.

Cherry Plum is for desperation, fear of insanity, loss of control, or nervous breakdown. Ideal for people who have thoughts of suicide or impulsive thoughts of harming themselves or others (lack of emotional control) I recommend seeking professional advice though if you are indeed having these thoughts.

Chestnut Bud is for the impatient person who fails to think ahead, resulting in them making the same mistakes over and over without learning from them the first time.

Chicory is the clingy, stifling, over-protective person who is happiest when they feel needed.

Clematis people are full of fanciful dreams of the future instead of facing the realities of today.

Crab Apple is for the person who is obsessive about cleanliness and washing, often resulting in them being very house-proud

Elm is for those who are very capable and often carry great responsibility (like the boss of a large firm) but occasionally are over-whelmed by the magnitude of what they have taken on, resulting in a momentary loss of confidence which can result in great distress for them.

Gentian is best suited to the person who is melancholy, prone to depression and getting disheartened, and is easily discouraged. It is indicated for gloom and sadness.

Gorse is not just for despair but for the “chronic” in conditions – chronic depression, great hopelessness – they believe nothing can be done to help. Indicated for repeated failure or disappointment and genetic illness.

Heather personality types are greedy for the attention of others and are very talkative. They cannot bear to be alone and are fearful people who seek sympathy and live on the energy of others.

Holly is for the strongly negative person (I reckon we all know one of these people!). Nothing is ever right, they are angry, jealous, bitter, suspicious, bad tempered, selfish and full of envy and hatred. (ouch!)

Honeysuckle is for the person who lives on memories. These people are homesick and desire to escape the present in order to be in a romanticised place of the past including past loves, past successes or failures and past regrets.

Hornbeam is for a mental/physical tiredness that is only considered temporary. It is for when a lack of energy causes loss of interest - weariness and inability to cope with mundane and what they consider to be boring affairs, leading to a lack of interest in getting going in the morning to face the day.

Impatiens is for the irritable, impulsive and impetuous person who doesn’t like being restrained by boundaries. Everything is done at hurried speed. They are prone to being critical of another person’s short comings often finishing a person’s sentence because the person is talking too slow and everything has to be done “fast” for the Impatiens personality type. I feel they resemble the “executive A type” in that they are intelligent though prone to nervous tension and overexertion and outbursts of temper that will subside quickly.

Larch is for the person who has an inferiority complex and lacks self confidence. They are hesitant and prone to procrastination due to the fact that they expect they will fail at anything they undertake, leading them to not try very hard in the first place. They are actually quite capable if they would persevere but the sense of failure makes them despondent and may result in general depression and impotence.

Olive is for the exhausted person, either physically or mentally. This remedy can be especially useful for the person who has had a long illness and as a result has no energy left. It is equally applicable to someone who over-works or has been through a family crisis and as a result is left physically and emotionally drained.

Mimulus is for fear of wordly, physical things like animals, heights, pain, accidents, of water, the dar, of illness, death, being alone, of other people, stage fright.

Mustard is for the person who is prone to bouts of depression, deep sadness and gloom brought about by no obvious trigger. They are the generally serious person who’s melancholy and depression can lift just as quickly as it set in.

Oak the remedy resembles the tree it comes from. The person is strong and can shoulder great burdens without complaint. They are responsible people who are strong and dependable, persevering and never giving up hope despite obstacles that may be thrown in their way.

Pine is for the person who is apologetic, overconscientious and full of self blame. They often assume responsibility for a situation that is not their fault.

Red chestnut is for those who find it difficult not to be anxious for other people, anticipate trouble, imagine the worst, worry over other’s trouble.

Rock Rose is for emergencies, sudden illness or accident, for very great fear, terror, panic, hysteria, when life is despaired of, for the horror and dread of nightmares.

Rock Water is for the idealist who tries too hard and denies themselves in order to obtain perfection. They have very strict morals and are prone to being fanatical in their endeavour to strive to be a shining example to others.

Scleranthus personality types can’t make up their minds being changeable and indecisive. They lack concentration, are hesitant in decision making, and have a tendancy towards being unstable and unreliable.

Star of Bethlehem– this is one of the 5 remedies you find in “Rescue Remedy” it is for shock. It is great for preventing the effects of delayed shock, grief and distress. The person who needs consolation and comfort after having received bad news or had an accident or fright will really benefit from this remedy.

Sweet Chestnut– the name sounds so “sweet” but it for the person who is in a very “dark place” at the absolute end of their tether, full of terrible anguish and despair. It for the person who is at their uttermost limits of endurance where there appears to be no light or love left.

Vervain personalities have fixed opinions and very rarely change them. They are forceful, overbearing, highly strung, argumentative and fanatical.

Vine is for the very capable, bossy, demanding, rigid person who as a result of being very sure of themselves, tends to use their authority to gain power and dominate others. Think of Hitler when you think of this remedy as they are ruthless, violent, cruel and demanding of obedience.

Walnut is great for the person who struggles with change that has to happen and is out of their control such as starting school, starting a new job and getting married. It is also for teething and puberty, so any state where there is alteration to the person either mentally, emotionally or physically, in that it helps to “break from the old” and “establish the new”.

Water Violet people are often taken the wrong way. It is for the quietly confident person who can appear aloof. They thrive on being “loners”, can amuse themselves, avoid argument and confrontation, and have an inner peace and calmness. They may appear condescending but they are in fact very tolerant people who don’t like interfering in other people’s affairs. They suffer in silence holding any grief and sorrow inwardly.

White Chestnut is for the person with “mind chatter”. They constantly have thoughts running through their heads but are unable to resolve any of them. A drama is forever enacted in the mind as if they are experiencing a continual internal argument. This person is likely to have insomnia, repetition of a topic when you are having a conversation with them and a lack of calmness about them.

Wild Oat is for the person who has trouble in deciding what direction their career should take, they are indefinite and have unfulfilled ambition, drifters who allow ambition to fade. They are often talented but unable to follow one occupation that is their real calling. (Sounds like my son – sorry Jeff!)

Wild Rose is for the “dull” person who shows lack of interest in anything and has no spark or vitality. They fail to make an effort to do anything, are full of apathy and just drift downhill.

Willow is for person who gets bitter and full of resentment when things don’t go their way, blaming others and feeling hard done by. It is “all about them”, they are self-centered, self-pitying, self-justifying and prone to sulking and bearing grudges. (Bet we all have met someone who could use Willow)


Rescue Remedy is a combination of only 5 of the Bach Flowers specially composed by Bach in the early 1930’s as a “crisis” formula. It would be the first thing I would reach for when dealing with conditions such as shock, death, tooth extraction and stress and is outstanding when used topically for bites, sprains and bruises. Indeed, any situation involving panic, shock and mental numbness should respond well to Rescue Remedy. It is designed for people with acute (happening now) problems and not for the person who needs “rescuing” every day.

The 5 flower combination is:

Star of Bethlehem for shock and trauma

Rock Rose for great fear and panic

Impatiens for mental and physical tension experienced when a person can’t relax and the mind can be described as agitated and irritable

Cherry Plum for the loss of emotional control. When the sufferer screams, shouts or becomes hysterical

Clematis for the distant feeling one can experience prior to fainting


I am a homeopath first and foremost and you do not combine bach flowers and homeopathics, you either do one or the other. Bach flowers are really nice home remedies for you as you can’t do too much wrong with them and if you try them and don’t feel any different then you have done no harm. I had a minor car accident on the way to college one day and when I finally got to college delayed shock set in. My fellow students decided on giving me rescue remedy and to this day I cannot believe how effectively it worked despite my scepticism. It is also a great remedy when grieving.

Date posted: 2014-03-01 | posted by: debras

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