Bach Flower Remedies are sometimes confused with Aromatherapy, because both are prepared from plants. Although they are, in fact, rather different ways of using the energy of plants in healing, they are totally compatible with each other, and often Bach remedies are used at the same time as essential oils.

The remedies are prepared in a completely different way from essential oils. Whereas the latter are highly concentrated substances usually extracted from the plant by distillation, the Bach remedies are made by floating the flowers on a vat of clear spring water and exposing them to sunshine until the flower's healing energies have been transferred to the water. This is then put into clean bottles, with an equal amount of brandy to act as a preservative, and this forms the 'Stock Bottle'. A few drops of this mixture can be put into another clean bottle, filled with half spring water and half brandy as before and used as a remedy. You will see that the dilution begins to resemble that of homoeopathic remedies, and in fact these flower tinctures work on a very subtle level.

Each of the remedies is associated with a certain mental/emotional state, or a personality trait, which, in the experience of Dr. Bach, affected the way that different people reacted to physical illness. By healing the mind, the body would be healed too. There are thirty-eight remedies in all and one person may have need of a variety of them in different circumstances and at different times in his or her life. Some practitioners develop such an intimate knowledge of the properties and appropriate uses of each remedy that they can 'match' each one to a person's needs intuitively, while others dowse with a pendulum to find the most appropriate one.

As previously mentioned, each of the 38 remedies discovered by Dr Bach is directed at a particular characteristic or emotional state:

Agrimony - mental torture behind a cheerful face
Aspen - fear of unknown things
Beech - intolerance
Centaury - the inability to say 'no'
Cerato - lack of trust in one's own decisions
Cherry Plum - fear of the mind giving way
Chestnut Bud - failure to learn from mistakes
Chicory - selfish, possessive love
Clematis - dreaming of the future without working in the present
Crab Apple - the cleansing remedy, also for self-hatred
Elm - overwhelmed by responsibility
Gentian - discouragement after a setback
Gorse - hopelessness and despair
Heather - self-centredness and self-concern
Holly - hatred, envy and jealousy
Honeysuckle - living in the past
Hornbeam - tiredness at the thought of doing something
Impatiens - impatience
Larch - lack of confidence
Mimulus - fear of known things
Mustard - deep gloom for no reason
Oak - the plodder who keeps going past the point of exhaustion
Olive - exhaustion following mental or physical effort
Pine - guilt
Red Chestnut - over-concern for the welfare of loved ones
Rock Rose - terror and fright
Rock Water - self-denial, rigidity and self-repression
Scleranthus - inability to choose between alternatives
Star of Bethlehem - shock
Sweet Chestnut - Extreme mental anguish, when everything has been tried and there is no light left
Vervain - over-enthusiasm
Vine - dominance and inflexibility
Walnut - protection from change and unwanted influences
Water Violet - pride and aloofness
White Chestnut - unwanted thoughts and mental arguments
Wild Oat - uncertainty over one's direction in life
Wild Rose - drifting, resignation, apathy
Willow - self-pity and resentment

By far the best known of the Bach remedies is the Rescue Remedy, which is a mixture of several plants. It can be used in every kind of emergency, both physical and emotional, and does not need any special knowledge. It is one of the best antidotes to shock known, and can also be used before a traumatic event, such as a surgical operation, or a particularly important interview or examination, to minimise bad reactions. It is simple to use - simply put a few drops on the tongue, and if somebody is unconscious or unable to swallow, it is equally effective to moisten the lips wilh the remedy.

In recent years, healers in America have continued to use Dr. Bach's methods, seeking out many more plants to prepare in the same way. These are known in America as 'flower essences' and confusion with aromatherapy sometimes arises because of this.

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