Flower Essences are among the most popular natural remedies for stressful conditions that can lead to high blood pressure. Flower essences are similar to homeopathic remedies in which vital essences obtained from flowers are diluted and preserved in grape alcohol (brandy). Flower remedies have a long history of use, in that many ancient cultures believed dew contains the healing life force – or essence – of the flower.
Contents Of This Article
- Bach original flower remedies
- How flower remedies are made
- Modern flower remedies
- How to use flower essences
- Rescue remedy for times of stress
- Is there any evidence that flower remedies work?
- Bach Flower Remedies List
- UNCERTAINTY AND INDECISION
- INSUFFICIENT INTEREST IN PRESENT CIRCUMSTANCES
- OVERSENSITIVITY TO INFLUENCES AND IDEAS
- DESPONDENCY OR DESPAIR
- OVERCARE FOR THE WELFARE OF OTHERS
Bach original flower remedies
Flower essences became better known when they were studied in the 1920s and 1930s by an English physician, Dr Edward Bach. Dr Bach recognised that people experiencing the same emotional problems benefited from the same homeopathic treatments, irrespective of their physical symptoms. This led him to the belief that physical symptoms were due to underlying emotional stresses which, if not remedied, would inevitably lead to more serious future illness.
Dr Bach went on to classify emotional problems into seven major groups, which he then subdivided into a total of 38 negative or harmful states of mind, including fear, hopelessness, depression, guilt, shyness and homesickness. For each of these emotional states, he identified a complementary English flower essence that could restore emotional balance.
Dr Bach found that using these flower remedies helped to rebalance emotions and, once these were addressed, any associated physical symptoms also tended to improve.
Bach’s original flower remedies are still made today by his successors, who are based in his old home in Oxfordshire. These remedies are now exported to at least 66 different countries, and are used by millions and millions of people around the world, including many doctors.
How flower remedies are made
Traditionally dew was collected from flower petals at dawn and used in healing for thousands of years. This dew was believed to containing the healing life force of flower.
Now-a-days, flower remedies are prepared either by infusion or boiling, using spring water and sunlight.
In the infusion method flower heads are placed on the surface of a small glass bowl which contains pure spring water. This is left to infuse in direct sunlight for 3 hours before the flowers are discarded. The infused spring water, which is believed to contain the healing, energy imprint or vibration of these flowers, is then preserved in grape alcohol (brandy). This resultant solution is called the Mother Tincture and is further diluted to create the individual homeopathic flower remedies.
In the boiling method short lengths of twig bearing flowers or catkins are boiled in pure spring water for 30 mins. The plant material is then discarded and the water allowed to cool before it is preserved in grape alcohol. The resultant solution is the Mother Tincture which is then further diluted for use.
While flower remedies used brandy to preserve their effects, the amount of alcohol taken in a typical dose of two to four drops is extremely small.
Modern flower remedies
Modern flower remedies are now available using flowers from all around the World, including Scotland, Tibet, the Andes, California and Australia. Some of these flower essences address more wide ranging concerns than those originally identified by Dr Bach, including sexuality, communication skills and spirituality.
How to use flower essences
To use a flower remedy or essence, you can either place drops from the bottle directly onto your tongue or add the drops to a glass of water and sip slowly until the feelings have passed (check different products for individual doses). Practitioners advise that you can use up to seven remedies in a glass of water at the same time.
You can also make up a stock bottle if you wish to use this method if you intend to take the same remedies over several days or weeks. To do this, add two drops of each selected remedy (up to seven remedies) to an empty 30 ml dropper bottle, add a teaspoonful (5ml) brandy and top up the bottle with non-fizzy mineral water. You can then take 4 drops of this treatment four times a day (or more frequently if needed).
Rescue remedy for times of stress
Some combination flower essences are used to combat more complex emotional states. The best known of these is Bach Rescue Remedy which is used to help overcome challenging forms of stress that can increase your blood pressure.
Bach Rescue Remedy is a pre-mixed combination of Rock Rose (for confidence and composure), Impatiens (for patience and tolerance), Clematis (for focus and motivation), Star of Bethlehem (for comfort and reassurance) and Cherry Plum (for self-control and stability). Rescue Remedy is a popular aid during times of crisis as the flower remedies it contains are intended to help counter the effects of stress and shock to help you gain control.
Is there any evidence that flower remedies work?
There are no randomised controlled trials to assess the effects of flower remedies for treating high blood pressure. In a review of 384 patients treated for a variety of conditions, however, including pain relief, 88% reported an improvement in their emotional outlook.
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence of benefit and there are some great reviews, which you can read here.
I have personally found Bach Rescue Remedy helpful during stressful times, and take great pleasure in placing a few drops on my tongue when work deadlines are looming. Many people use Bach Rescue Remedy before public speaking (including me!) or before travelling in an airplane or facing another fear. Maybe it’s the subtle taste of brandy, or perhaps it is just a placebo effect, but I find it really helps.
Bach Flower Remedies List
Here is a full list of Bach Original Flower Remedies and their traditional uses.
- Rock Rose (Helianthemum nummularium) for extreme terror, panic, fright, nightmares
- Mimulus (Mimulus guttatus) for known fears (eg phobias), timidity and shyness
- Cherry Plum (Prunus cerasifera) for fear of losing control, uncontrollable rages, tempers, impulses, fear of causing harm to oneself or others
- Aspen (Populus tremula) for vague fears and anxieties of unknown origin, sense of foreboding, apprehension or impending doom
- Red Chestnut (Aesculus carnea) for excessive fear or overconcern for others
UNCERTAINTY AND INDECISION
- Cerato (Ceratostigma willmottianum) For those who doubt their own ability to judge situations or make decisions
- Scleranthus (Scleranthus annus) For the indecisive and those subject to energy or mood swings
- Gentian (Gentianella amarella) for the easily discouraged, those who hesitate, are despondent or self-doubting
- Gorse (Ulex europaeus) for feelings of despair, hopelessness and futility
- Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) for “Monday morning” feelings of not being able to face the day, tiredness, procrastination, and those needing inner strength
- Wild Oat (Bromus ramosus) for those dissatisfied in their current lifestyle or career, and who cannot decide which alternative path to follow
INSUFFICIENT INTEREST IN PRESENT CIRCUMSTANCES
- Clematis (Clematis vitalba) for those who live more in the future than the present (escapism), lack of concentration, daydreaming, lack of interest in present circumstances, out-of-body sensations
- Honeysuckle (Lonicera caprifolium) For those living too much in the past, nostalgia, homesickness
- Wild Rose (Rosa canina) For apathy, resignation to circumstances, making little effort to improve situations or find happiness
- Olive (Olea europaea) For total exhaustion, mental or physical; weariness, sapped vitality especially during convalescence
- White Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) for persistent, unwanted thoughts, mental arguments, preoccupation with worry
- Mustard (Sinapis arvensis) for deep gloom descending for no apparent reason, melancholy and heavy sadness
- Chestnut Bud (Aesculus hippocastanum) For those who fail to learn from their mistakes
- Water Violet (Hottonia palustris) For those who prefer to be alone, or are superior, aloof, proud and reserved in attitude; for those who will advise but do not get personally involved in others problems.
- Impatiens (Impatiens glandulifera) For those who are quick in thought and action but irritable or impatient, especially with those who are slower.
- Heather (Calluna vulgaris) For excessive talkativeness and those constantly seeking companionship and an ear to listen. For the self-absorbed who find difficulty in being alone.
OVERSENSITIVITY TO INFLUENCES AND IDEAS
- Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria) For those not wishing to burden others, covering problems up with a cheerful facade, for those seeking out company and good times to avoid facing up to their problems.
- Centaury (Centaurium umbellatum) For those who cannot say NO. For the subservient, those who are anxious to please and easily exploited.
- Walnut (Juglans regia) For stabilising the emotions during periods of transition, eg puberty, menopause; For adjusting to new beginnings or relationships
- Holly (Ilex aquifolium) For negative feelings eg envy, suspicion, revenge, hatred.
DESPONDENCY OR DESPAIR
- Larch (Larix decidua) For those lacking in self confidence, who anticipate failure and make little effort to succeed.
- Pine (Pinus sylvestris) For self-reproach, guilt and those who are not satisfied with their own actions. For those who blame themselves for the misfortunes of others.
- Elm (Ulmus procera) For those who overextend themselves, are overwhelmed or burdened with responsibilities
- Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa) For those who have reached the limits of their endurance, for deep despair or unbearable anguish
- Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum) For mental and emotional stress following traumatic experiences eg grief
- Willow (Salix vitellina) For those who feel they have suffered unjust misfortune, and for resentfulness and bitterness.
- Oak (Quercus robur) For the brave and determined, who never usually give up despite adversity or illness, but who are losing their strength to fight.
- Crab Apple (Malus pumila) For feelings of shame, unworthiness, uncleanliness, poor self-image or fear of contamination. Helps to detoxify and cleanse.
OVERCARE FOR THE WELFARE OF OTHERS
- Chicory (Cichorium intybus) For those who like to keep their family and friends close by, and find it difficult to allow them to go their own way; for people who expect dutiful obedience in return for the love they give.
- Vervain (Verbena officinalis) For those with strong opinions, those incensed by injustice, the over-enthusiastic or argumentative.
- Vine (Vitis vinifera) For the strong-willed with a tendency to be ruthless, domineering, dictatorial or inflexible
- Beech (Fagus sylvatica) For the critical and intolerant, those who seek perfection and are continually finding fault.
- Rock Water (Aqua petra) For those who are overly strict with themselves, hard taskmasters with a severely disciplined lifestyle.
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