Related Terms

  • Bach flower essence method, Bach flower essence system, Bach flower essences, Bach flower remedies, Dr. Edward Bach, Five Flower Remedy®, flower remedies, Rescue Remedy®, water-brandy mixture.

Background

  • Dr. Edward Bach (1886-1936) was a British physician who believed that illness is the result of disharmony between the body and mind and that symptoms of an illness are the external expression of negative emotional states. The term “flower remedies” refers to a set of preparations developed by Dr. Bach. Flower essences are also products derived from Dr. Bach’s work.
  • Dr. Bach classified various emotions into seven principal categories. These categories were further divided into 38 negative feelings, each of which was associated with a particular therapeutic plant. He also developed a compound of five flowers called Rescue Remedy® to be used in emergency situations for trauma. Currently, Bach flower remedies are most often used for treating stress or anxiety.
  • Bach flower remedies are usually consumed as alcohol-based preparations, but they are also available as creams. Australian bush remedies, Alaskan flower remedies, and treatments made from Brazilian rain forest plants are believed by some to be therapeutically similar to Bach flower remedies.
  • Bach flower remedies are not listed on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list. However, Bach flower therapy uses essential oils extracted from various plants that may be listed on the GRAS list.

Evidence Table

    Disclaimer

    These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

    Anxiety

    A small number of studies report that the effects of Bach flower remedies are similar to the effects of placebo for the treatment of anxiety. Additional research is needed before a firm conclusion can be drawn.

    Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

    Little human data are available on the effects of Bach flower remedies on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. More research is needed before a conclusion can be made.

    Major depressive disorder

    Depression is one of the major uses of Bach flower remedies. Currently, there is not enough high-quality scientific evidence supporting this use.

    Pain

    Early, low-quality studies suggest that Bach flower may benefit patients experiencing physical pain. More research is needed in this area.

*Key to grades:

Tradition

    Disclaimer

    The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

Safety

    Disclaimer

    Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.

Attribution

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration ().

Bibliography

    Disclaimer

    Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to . Selected references are listed below.

  • Alex, D, Bach, TJ, Chye ML. Expression of Brassica juncea 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl CoA synthase is developmentally regulated and stress-responsive. Plant J 2000;Jun, 22(5):415-426.
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  • Armstrong, NC. and Ernst, E. A randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial of a Bach Flower Remedy. Complement Ther Nurs.Midwifery 2001;7(4):215-221.
    View Abstract
  • Armstrong, NC, Ernst, E. A. randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled clinical trial of a Bach Flower Remedy. Perfusion 1999;11:440-446.
    View Abstract
  • Downey, RP. Healing with flower essences. Beginnings 2002;Jul-Aug, 22(4):11-12.
    View Abstract
  • Ernst, E. “Flower remedies”: a systematic review of the clinical evidence. Wien.Klin Wochenschr. 12-30-2002;114(23-24):963-966.
    View Abstract
  • Ernst, EE. Ernst’s rejoiner to P. Mittman and D. Ullman on the Bach flower remedy study. Altern Health Pract 2001;6(3):247-248. No PMID.
  • Howard, J. Do Bach flower remedies have a role to play in pain control? A critical analysis investigating therapeutic value beyond the placebo effect, and the potential of Bach flower remedies as a psychological method of pain relief. Complement Ther Clin Pract 2007;13(3):174-183.
    View Abstract
  • Hyland, ME., Geraghty, A. W., Joy, O. E., and Turner, S. I. Spirituality predicts outcome independently of expectancy following flower essence self-treatment. J Psychosom.Res 2006;60(1):53-58.
    View Abstract
  • LaTorre, M. A. Integrative perspectives. Integrating Bach flower remedies into a therapeutic practice. Perspect.Psychiatr.Care 2006;42(2):140-143.
    View Abstract
  • Long, L, Huntley, A, Ernst, E. Which complementary and alternative therapies benefit which conditions? A survey of the opinions of 223 professional organizations. Complement Ther Med 2001;9(3):178-185.
    View Abstract
  • Masi, MP. Bach flower therapy in the treatment of chronic major depressive disorder. Altern Ther Health Med 2003;9(6):112, 108-112, 110.
    View Abstract
  • Mantle, F. Bach flower remedies. Complement Ther Nurs Midwifery 1997;3(5):142-144.
    View Abstract
  • Pintov, S, Hochman, M, Livne, A, et al. Bach flower remedies used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children–a prospective double blind controlled study. Eur J Paediatr.Neurol. 2005;9(6):395-398.
    View Abstract
  • Szterenfeld, C. Country watch: Brazil. AIDS STD Health Promot.Exch. 1995;(4):8-9.
    View Abstract
  • Walach, H, Rilling, C, Engelke, U. Efficacy of Bach-flower remedies in test anxiety: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial with partial crossover. J Anxiety.Disord. 2001;15(4):359-366.
    View Abstract