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History of Bach Flower Essences & Dr Edward Bach

The history of Bach Flower Essences starts in the United Kingdom during the early 1920s. Bach Flower Essences were discovered by Dr Edward Bach, a well-known London doctor, physician, surgeon, bacteriologist, homeopath and medical researcher.

Dr Bach's own ill health led to his interest in alternative health methods

Bach suffered a haemorrhage when he was in his thirties, from which he was not expected to survive beyond three months. It was this sense of a limited time-left-to-live that spurred Bach to dedicate the majority of his waking moments to work and study.

Dr Edward Bach believed illness was caused by body and mind

History of Dr Edward Bach and Bach FlowersAs an in-demand Harley Street doctor, Dr Bach had become dissatisfied with orthodox medicine and its viewpoint of patients as having uniform causes behind every illness and disease. Dr Bach believed that illness was caused by disharmony between body and mind and that the resulting negative energy lead to physical disease. From this standpoint Dr Bach believed that illness could have multiple causes connected with the state of mind of the patient.

Unsurprisingly, Bach’s interest in healing modalities soon turned to alternative therapies. Whilst continuing to see patients at his respected Harley Street practice, Bach took on the position of Pathologist and Bacteriologist at the London Homeopathic Hospital. It was during this time that Bach began to study the works of Samuel Hahnmann (the founder of Homeopathy).

In 1926, seven years after commencing his Homeopathy studies, Dr Bach and his colleague (Dr C.E. Wheeler) published the book “Chronic Disease: A Working Hypothesis”.

Two years later at the age of 43, Dr Bach discovered his first three flower remedies (Impatiens, Mimulus and Clematis) whilst on a research trip to Wales, and it was another two years before Bach gave up his lucrative Harley Street practice to concentrate on plant remedies as a healing system.

What are Bach Flower Essences?

Bach flower essences are an infusion containing a select flower’s vibrational imprint.  They have no scent and are used for emotional, spiritual and mental healing and balancing. The flower essence is dropped onto the tongue or mixed with water and ingested.


Bach Flower Essences: The beginning & the early days

Cerato is a Bach FlowerUltimately, Dr Bach identified 38 basic negative states of mind through his research for which he found corresponding flowers that counterbalanced those thought patterns. In other words, the flowers he selected contained a positive vibration unique to that flora, which could cancel out the negative vibration of a discorded thought pattern.

For example, Bach identified one of these negative states of mind as that of living in fantasy land(e.g. someone who finds it difficult to live in the present moment and always finds themselves daydreaming about the future). The flower Dr Bach discovered to counterbalance this emotional condition was Clematis, which Bach intuited and confirmed as one that could enable grounding, awareness and acceptance of the present moment.

Although it is argued Bach derived his solutions using only his own intuition, it is undoubted that this process of selection and identification happened over a number of years and through trial and error, initially with Bach self testing the plants before using them on patients who had consulted him in his capacity as a homeopath.

When self testing the energetic qualities of the flowers, according to Bach’s Wikipedia entry:

“If he felt a negative emotion, he would hold his hand over different plants, and if one alleviated the emotion, he would ascribe the power to heal that emotional problem to that plant. He believed that early morning sunlight passing through dew-drops on flower petals transferred the healing power of the flower onto the water, so he would collect the dew drops from the plants and preserve the dew with an equal amount of brandy to produce a mother tincture which would be further diluted before use. Later, he found that the amount of dew he could collect was not sufficient, so he would suspend flowers in spring water and allow the sun’s rays to pass through them.”

Dr Bach’s method for preparing the mother tincture used in Bach Flower Remedies

The method Dr Bach used for preparing the Mother Tincture (i.e. the flower’s extract and the the first stage in the preparation of the Bach Flower Remedy) was very precise and exacting. Great care was even taken to the type of bowl used in preparing the flower essences.

To prepare the Mother Tincture from which Stock Level Remedies are produced (this is the final product we purchase from stores), Dr Bach would use either The Sun Method or The Boiling Method.

The Sun Method:

Dr Bach used this method to extract the essence of the most delicate of his 38 flowers. To extract the essence, the flowers are gently placed into a thin glass bowl containing spring water.

It’s interesting to note:
– It is recommended the sun method is only used under perfect blue skies.
– The sun method is used where the flowers are collected.
– Only healthy flowers are selected and away from areas with heavy artificial energy (e.g. roads and powerlines).

The Boiling Method:

Dr Bach used this method to prepare the remaining remedies from the more robust flowers from trees and bushes. The flowers and stems are placed in an enamel pan and covered with a litre of pure spring water. After a 30 minute simmer the flowers are removed using a twig from the same plant.

Drops of the Mother Tincture are preserved in Brandy which is the finished product we know as ‘stock level’ flower essences.

The Legacy of Dr Edward Bach

Dr Edward BachWhen Dr Bach died in his sleep on at the age of 50, the directions for the preparation of Bach Flower essences had been handed on to his personal assistant, Nora Weeks, and close friend, Victor Bullen. Shortly after his death, Dr Bach’s friends and colleagues established a Trust to carry on his important work. The Trust is is now known The Dr Edward Bach Centre & Healing Trust.

Not only does Dr Bach’s work live on through the gift of his 38 Bach Flower Remedies, but also through the significant mind/body/spirit books he authored such as ‘Heal Thyself’ which is an explanation of Dr Bach’s understanding of illness and its connection to the mind.

Today, Bach Flower Remedies remain the most well known and frequently used systems of all flower essences.

Bach Flower Essences by Crystal Herbs

There are numerous Bach Flower producers throughout the world but our favourite is UK producer of Bach Flowers, Crystal Herbs from the UK.

We love their product and we love their approach! Every bottle of Bach Flower essence created by Crystal Herbs is lovingly produced by hand according to the original instructions of Dr Bach. Plus every step of the manufacture, storage and shipment process is performed with light-filled intention. We become very aware of this when we started communicating with the team at Crystal Herbs as they were an absolute delight at every point of the process.

Crystal Herbs also have excellent information and support available to Bach Flower devotees.

Bach Flower Essences Summary

Bach Flower Essences are a gentle method of vibrational medicine. Expressly, Bach flower remedies are used to aid in replacing negative thought patterns with its positive counterpart.

For an indepth timeline on Dr Bach’s life and work with Bach Flower Essences, click here to visit the Bach Flower Research Organisation.