A Course in Bach Flower Remedies – Lesson 9

How the Remedies work/Therapeutic Action

Next, we’ll take a look at how the flower remedies work


Relationship to Herbs

Unlike herbs, flower essences contain no chemical plant substances. So far, medical science cannot detect anything material in a flower remedy. Only vibrational technology, such as a radionics machine, can detect variations in the energy patterns of different flower essences. Flower essences contain a vibrational energy which some have likened to the life-force or etheric imprint of the flower.


Relationship to Homeopathy

Flower essences also go a step further than homeopathic remedies. They do not use the products of illness or toxic mineral or plants or animal substances to cure illness. They are not based on the homeopathic principle of ‘like cures like’, or wrong replacing wrong as Bach put it.


Right replacing Wrong

The flower remedies are instead based on the principle of right replacing wrong. Disease is seen as the result of wrong activity or the consolidation of negative mental attitudes. In Bach’s system, the illness, wrong, fault or conflict is healed by flooding it with the opposing virtue. This is the direct opposite of the homeopathic principle of ‘like healing like’, and is one of the basic differences between the two systems of healing.

A Safe and Gentle Form of Healing

Because of the absence of material substances in the flower remedies, they are completely non-toxic, unlike most other forms of healing treatment. Herbs are certainly toxic, and homeopathic medicine also has its dangers.


They are Non-Toxic

Because of their non toxic nature, the flower remedies are safe for babies and children. They can be taken indefinitely, and can be safely used in combination with other forms of healing treatment, including medically- prescribed drugs.


Subtle Effects

Some describe the effects of the flower essences as subtle. This doesn’t tell us much, except to say that the effects are generally very gentle, so gentle that some might not even notice any change.


They restore Harmony to a State of Disharmony

Because they work by infusing us with the positive quality that we are lacking, or help to restore harmony to a state of disharmony, we might not even be aware that our earlier problem no longer exists.


They bring Perspective

The effects do vary with each individual. Some people notice an immediate positive change in their condition or outlook. The problem may still exist, but they no longer feel swamped by it. The remedies help us to see things with more perspective.


Release of Emotions

Sometimes, there is a feeling of tension easing, of emotions coming to the surface. We may have a realization about something and feel a sense of relief, for we are no longer ‘in the dark’.


Release of Emotional Blockages

So, the flower remedies help us to release emotional blockages which may be hindering our growth, and they offer us opportunities to learn more about ourselves. They help us to flow more with life, rather than fight against it. The remedies can act as very powerful catalysts to bring about major transformations in our lives.


Retrospective Awareness of Change

And even when we feel there has been no change, if we look back, some weeks or months later, and remember how we were when we began taking the remedy, we realise that there has been a change. Usually we are no longer preoccupied with the same problem or problems. It may have faded, or if it still exists, our attitude towards it is different.


Letting Go and Breakthroughs

Other people have reported that they have felt some burden lift from them. Or they feel they have moved out of a rut, or been able to let go of the past and move forward. Others say that it has helped them to make some breakthrough on an emotional or relationship level.


Taking Decisive Steps

In particular, I have noticed people making important decisions after beginning to take a remedy, taking a new and decisive step in their lives, feeling a new sense of motivation, determination and purpose. Sometimes, they are not even aware of it themselves, but I can notice the changes because I am standing on the outside.


Restoration to our True and Natural State

I think that one of the reasons that some people don’t notice any effects, is because what the remedies do is simply bring us back to what is really our true and natural state, and that is a state of peace and harmony. Edward Bach taught that our natural state is positive, not negative, that it resonates to the vibration of love and harmony, not negativity and disharmony. This is a basic spiritual teaching.


They work on Subtle Levels

Some say that the remedies work on ‘subtle’ levels. Others say that they work on ‘unseen’ levels. This can make the remedies seem like very airy-fairy things. What is really meant by this is that they don’t usually work on the level of the physical body, although physical problems can definitely be healed by taking them. They work on the causal levels of our being, at the emotional and mental levels, which are seen as the causative factors in creating physical illness. As I mentioned before, Bach defined disease as a kind of consolidation of a mental attitude.



Now, one thing I must mention is the subject of negative reactions or aggravations. Generally speaking, the effects of the remedies are very gentle. But very occasionally, a person may experience what to them feels like a negative reaction. This usually takes the form of an intensification of the symptoms.

For example, someone who is being treated for fear may feel even more fearful for a few days after beginning the remedy. It is natural that the person should feel a bit alarmed and concerned about this reaction. After all, they are expecting to get better, not worse.

Release of Feelings: Generally, this sort of intensification of symptoms can be seen as a good sign, a sign that the difficult feelings, in this case fear, are coming to the surface to be released. It also puts the spotlight on the problem, increasing our awareness and therefore our motivation for change.

Physical Reactions: Very occasionally I have also observed a physical reaction to the remedy. I must say that this has only occurred in one or two cases out of hundreds of remedies I have prescribed. What can happen is that the person may come down with a physical ailment which corresponds to the emotional problem.

Case Studies: I have a couple of examples. I once prescribed a remedy for a woman who was suffering from overwork, exhaustion and burnout. She was struggling to keep going. The day after beginning the remedy, she came down with the flu. What she needed was a good rest, and the flu provided her with the necessary excuse.

Another remedy I once recently was to help a woman to relax, to release fear and to express her true feelings towards others. She felt she had been holding herself back. After two doses of the remedy, she developed diarrhea which continued for a couple of days. Her need to express herself manifested in physical elimination. But this was a very powerful message to her, and it made her realize that she really was starting to let go of some of the restrictions which were holding her back.

Temporary State: Any reaction, whether emotional or physical, does tend to pass quickly. But if you, or the one you are prescribing for, really doesn’t feel good about continuing the remedy, then by all means stop taking it. You are the best judge. You have to feel okay about it, or there is no point.

Discontinue Treatment and take Rescue Remedy: What I do suggest is that you stop taking the remedy for a couple of days, and take Dr Bach’s Rescue Remedy instead. This will help to neutralise and balance whatever is being stirred up. And then when you feel better, you can begin taking the remedy again.


A Preventative Measure

I must mention here that there are two stages in treatment. The first stage is the causal stage and the second is the physical. At the first stage, this is when we can become aware that we are experiencing an overdose of a particular negative emotion or emotions. Something is really bothering us and we feel like we are going ‘under’ with it. This is where we can use the Bach Flowers in a preventative way. So we treat this unhappy state of mind when it occurs, and this conflict will not develop into a physical ailment. Or, if we don’t resolve it or treat it, it can move into the second or physical stage. Then we’re likely to get a cold, or something like that. The emotional problem or conflict has consolidated into a physical illness.


Experiences with Mood Changes developing into Illness

I have experienced this on numerous occasions with my son when he was very young. I would observe my son’s mood change. All of a sudden he would become more demanding, fussier than usual, perhaps a little aggressive. We would start having conflicts with him and increased hassles about eating, dressing and going to bed. We would describe him as being “off the air”. We would struggle on for a day or so, not thinking of making a remedy, or thinking about it, but putting it off, and then he would wake in the middle of the night with a fever, or a terrible cough and be well and truly ill by morning. Then I would think, belatedly, I should have made him a remedy yesterday. I have no doubts that if I’d given him Chicory, Vine and Impatiens when I first noticed the changes, that he wouldn’t have come down with the illness.

This and similar experiences have really reinforced for me the connection between our emotions and our physical bodies. It also demonstrates the wisdom of Edward Bach’s recommendation that we treat ourselves when we first notice a change in emotion or mood, BEFORE it manifests in some physical way.


Next lesson we will look at some specific applications for the Bach Flowers.

-by Candy Hillenbrand