Bach Flower Essences for the Family

The Bach Flower Remedies

Includes Dr. Bach’s original writings on the remedies.

Bach Flower Therapy: Theory and Practice
Mechthild Scheffer

Flower Essence Repertory: A Comprehensive Guide to North American and English Flower Essences for Emotional and Spiritual Well-Being
Patricia Kaminski and Richard Katz

Flower essences

Bach Flower Remedies

In the 1930s, Dr. Edward Bach, a British physician, bacteriologist, and pathologist, developed a system to heal the emotional imbalance behind disease using water specially prepared using different wildflowers.  Flower essences are similar to homeopathic remedies in that they do not work because of the chemical composition of the remedy. They are vibrational in nature, and they work through the energy field that is imparted to the substance of the remedy in its preparation. Bach developed thirty-eight different flower remedies. Each one is designed to bring a particular mental or emotional state back into balance. I believe that these remedies work on the finer bodies with the help of the Higher Self.

One of Dr. Bach’s most well-known formulas is Rescue Remedy, composed of five different flower essences. Even prior to my diagnosis, I carried Rescue Remedy in my purse or briefcase. It is used for stressful situations or medical emergencies such as accident, sudden bad news, bereavement, or situations where a patient is going into shock. It can even be used before a difficult meeting or before taking a test—any situation that can raise your stress level. Like all Bach Flower Remedies, Rescue Remedy is not intended to replace medical treatment, but it can provide invaluable support while waiting for medical help in an emergency. It is natural, safe, and gentle and will not interfere with any form of medical treatment.

As I used Bach Flower Remedies, I found that they had subtle but often profound effects on my mood, emotions, thought processes, and personal psychology. I would not notice anything initially, but perhaps a few hours or days later I would notice that my outlook on life had changed.

I bought a few of the many books that describe the flower remedies and the specific action of each one. I prayed and asked to be shown the right remedy. Often when I opened the book, the first one I saw would seem to match exactly what I needed at that time. Here are some that helped me in my healing journey.


Dr. Bach described Olive as the remedy for “those who have suffered much mentally or physically and are so exhausted and weary that they feel they have no more strength to make any effort. Daily life is hard for them, without pleasure.”([1] The remedy helps to restore enthusiasm for life. It helps you tap into a higher source and thereby find new energy and restoration at all levels.


Elm is for those who “suddenly feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities and feel inadequate to deal with them or keep up with events; this is often brought about by taking on too much work without taking care of oneself. As a result they feel depressed and exhausted, with a temporary loss of self-esteem.” The remedy helps you find balance in your life, setting realistic expectations and goals. It also helps you to be open to receiving assistance from others and from the Higher Self, instead of relying exclusively on the energies of the ego and the lower self. When you are “overwhelmed by responsibility,” as many cancer patients feel, this remedy can help find a new perspective and determine a practical course of action.


Walnut is a remedy specifically to help in dealing with change of any sort: divorce, marriage, change in career, menopause, or any change in circumstances. I often use Walnut for dealing with jet lag and the general effects of moving from country to country. Anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer is already facing a major change in life, and many people facing this situation find that they want to make changes in a number of areas of their life as part of their healing. Walnut can help you navigate through change in a positive way, following your inner direction, while at the same time protecting you from negative external influences.

I bought my own kit of the Bach Flower Remedies and made my own little bottles of remedies from the stock bottles. I would tailor my own formula from several different remedies that met my needs at that time. Every week or so, I would look at things again, see how I was doing, and maybe change the formula if I had made progress in some areas, or if new issues had arisen.

One combination that I used to alleviate feelings of discouragement, despondency, and fear included Mimulus, Cherry Plum, Aspen, Agrimony, Gentian, and Mustard. Mimulus is known for helping you face difficulties with courage and confidence; Cherry Plum helps you think calmly and rationally; Aspen helps to replace fear and worry with confidence; Agrimony helps you communicate your feelings and see problems in perspective; and Gentian and Mustard bring hope when there is discouragement and despair.

Other flower essences

Dr. Bach’s original remedies using English wildflowers are the most popular and widely-known flower essences, but other people have developed many other flower-essence remedies based on the same principles. I have tried some of the new formulas based on North American wildflowers and found them to be very helpful. I took Yarrow and Pink Yarrow to help set appropriate boundaries in my life and promote the healing of the inner child, or the soul.


Yarrow helps those who have vulnerability to their environment, those who are easily depleted and tend to absorb negative influences from their environment. I used this remedy successfully to help me to concentrate on my own healing and not get too tied up in the other patients and their illnesses.

Pink Yarrow

This formula has similar to Yarrow. It is especially known for helping the individual distinguish between true compassion and overly sympathetic identification with others. I found Yarrow and Pink Yarrow useful when I entered the hospital environment, which can be very draining to many patients. Although hospitals are dedicated to healing, they often lack a truly healing environment for those who are in them—they are busy places, full of sick and worried people.

Yarrow Special Formula

This remedy contains flower essences of Yarrow, Arnica, and Echinacea, with fresh tinctures of these plants in a base of seawater. It was originally developed in 1986 after the Chernobyl accident to help heal the body and strengthen the aura when dealing with the harmful effects of nuclear radiation. I used this formula while undergoing radiation therapy to help minimize negative effects from exposure to the radiation.


1. Edward Bach, “The Twelve Healers,” in The Bach Flower Remedies (New Canaan, Conn.: Keats Pub., 1997).


Excerpted from A Journey through Cancer, by Neroli Duffy