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I first encountered flower remedies when visiting a couple who had just lost a long-awaited infant by miscarriage. Although their home was very much a place of mourning, they bore their grief with fortitude. At one point during the conversation, they brought out a small bottle, placed a few drops under each other’s tongues, and then continued talking.
I had to ask.
Bach’s Rescue Remedy, they answered, a combination of several of Bach’s homeopathic flower remedies. Handing me the bottle to inspect, they added that Rescue Remedy should be in everyone’s medicine chest. Just as the name implied, I was told how the contents of the little bottle could calm the spirit and restore the soul during times of greatest distress.
After a little research, I learned that Rescue Remedy worked the way everything else seems to work in alternative medicine: by stabilizing invisible energies within the body (called the vital force in homeopathy and qi in Chinese medicine). With energies balanced, peace is restored to the soul.
Conventional medicine would have given the young couple some tranquilizers (the preferred term now is anti-anxiety agents), which definitely make you feel tranquil to the point of fogginess. But restoratives to the soul? Nothing like that anywhere in the Physicians’ Desk Reference, not even as a side effect.
You may have seen Bach Flower remedies in health food stores. A neat little display of identical tiny bottles bearing lovely names like Sweet Chestnut, Clematis, Rock Rose, and Star of Bethlehem. Thirty-eight plants from the British Isles, plus the combination Rescue Remedy. Modern spin-offs from the original Bach Remedies have been extracted from other plant species and even from rocks and gems.
You can work with a Bach Flower practitioner if you like, but really, if you’re willing to ponder the emotional issues in your life and are open to alternative therapies, you can certainly use Bach remedies on your own.
Edward Bach was a British homeopathic physician during the early part of the 20th century. Homeopathy is based on the idea that “like cures like,” so that a patient’s symptoms are evaluated and then cured by administering a miniscule amount of something that could induce the same symptom if given in large amounts to a healthy person.
Bach added to this what we now accept as the mind-body connection in illness: that emotional turmoil can result in disease. The key to both preventing and treating illness, Bach felt, should begin on an emotional level. He wisely perceived that emotional states such as chronic grief, loneliness, hypersensitivity, and lack of confidence could be underlying reasons for chronic health disorders.
If you want to make progress on your personal healing path, these unhealthful psychological traits need to be addressed. More on this next time.