Flowers with mortar and pestle - natural flower remedies

Bach Flower Remedies

The world of natural treatment also includes natural emotion-balancing flower preparations. This system of healing was developed by Dr. Edward Bach (1897-1936). Dr. Bach believed that physical problems were secondary to emotional problems, that physical illness was a manifestation of an emotional imbalance. He taught that physical symptoms could be relieved by altering or alleviating destructive emotions. The various remedies he devised are used to treat illness by easing quite specific types of emotional and mental distress.

The Bach Flower Remedies are dilute essences of plants. Unlike chemical mood-altering drugs, the flower remedies-while effective-are gentle and easy to use.

Although beneficial and benign, these natural flower essences have remarkable emotional and mental balancing effects. Because they act quite gently, they can be used whenever you think they may help your child to feel better. When choosing a Bach essence, match your child’s overall temperament, personality, and fears, as well as the particular emotional distress he is experiencing. If no single remedy seems to address all of these concerns, you may combine up to three remedies. (Although there is no danger in blending more than three remedies at any one time, their effectiveness can be diminished in a blend that is too complicated.)

Choosing a Remedy

Once you have identified the primary emotional distress your child is experiencing, use the table on pages 31-34 to find an appropriate remedy. Match the child’s personality, temperament, fears, and upset with the suitable Bach Flower Remedy. Bach Flower Remedies are available at many health food stores. If you cannot get them at a store near you, you can obtain them through Ellon Bach USA, Inc. (644 Merrick Road, Lynbrook, NY 11563; telephone 516-593-2206) or Homeopathic Educational Services (2124 Kittredge Street, Berkeley, CA 94704; telephone 510-649-0294).

Administering Bach Flower Remedies

Bach Flower Remedies are essences of flowers that come in tincture form. The bottled remedy you buy at your health food store is called the mother tincture, and is the most concentrated form available. There are two different ways you can administer a Bach remedy to your child.

  • Place a drop of the mother tincture into a small glass of noncarbonated spring water and have your child sip this over a period of a few hours. For added benefit, teach him to swish the mixture around in his mouth before swallowing it.
  • If you prefer, you can make a diluted mother tincture. Fill a two-ounce glass bottle with spring water. Add three drops of mother tincture and shake gently to blend. When using a diluted mother tincture, give your child two droppersful, three times daily.

After giving your child a flower remedy, observe his response. As his emotional response and behavior change, the need for a particular remedy may cease to exist. Give a remedy until the situation has been resolved. Once your child’s mood and emotions have been gently altered, you may need to select another remedy to complete and sustain the alteration. If your child’s destructive emotions have eased sufficiently and his emotional and mental state has come into balance, discontinue the remedy.

Of all the Bach Flower Remedies, the overwhelming favorite of many parents is Rescue Remedy. This is a premixed combination remedy made from the essences of cherry plum, clematis, impatiens, rock rose, and star of Bethlehem. It is useful in many crisis situations, such as after hearing bad news, before a test, before going to the dentist, after falling down and getting hurt, or after waking up from a night mare. It helps to restore balance and relieve apprehension. It will help calm a child who is crying, afraid, panicked, or tense.

Rescue Remedy is particularly good in acute situations in which the cause of your child’s distress is not clear-when a child begins crying and feeling intensely frustrated for no apparent reason and refuses to be consoled. Put two or three drops of this remedy in half a glass of water and give it to your child to sip as needed, or administer as you would any other Bach Flower Remedy.

Bach Flower Remedies are dilute essences of plants that treat emotional, mental, and physical distress. As with homeopathic remedies, choosing a flower remedy involves dose observation of your child’s emotional state, and then finding a remedy that matches your observations. Many parents report that these gentle preparations are excellent for alleviating stress and easing a sick, uncomfortable, or unhappy child.

Bach Flower Remedies
Flower Remedy Primary Expression of Emotion Underlying Emotional Concerns
Rescue Remedy
(a combination
of cherry plum,
rock rose, star of
Fear; panic; apprehension; inconsolable crying; anxiety; tension; night terrors; unexplained screaming. This premier flower remedy is excellent for alleviating any crises-caused stress, major or minor. It will help calm an overwrought child, restore balance, and ease apprehension. Whether the cause is an accident, bad news, a nightmare, anxiety over an upcoming test, fear of going to the dentist, an imminent “big day,” or anything else, Rescue Remedy calms and alleviates stress. It is particularly useful in acute situations where the cause of a child’s distress is unclear, when a child is inconsolable, or appears intensely frustrated and begins screaming for no apparent reason. It is also useful given immediately after a child receives a vaccination. Of all the Bach remedies, parents reports being most appreciative of Rescue Remedy.
Agrimony Outwardly smiling and brave, inwardly, anguished and suffering. Look deep into the child’s eyes. The suffering will show. A determination to appear cheerful, despite suffering going on underneath. The anguish may be due to a family trauma, a significant disappointment, or anything your child may view as “failure.”
Aspen Fearfulness< Fears that the child can’t (or won’t) explain, often resulting in many nightmares or difficulty falling asleep.
Beech Impatience, intolerance. A tendency to be a perfectionist and to keep to oneself. This type of child is drawn to order, precision, and pure reason, has little patience with others, and rails against an upset in schedule.
Centaury Shyness, feelings of intimidation. A weak-willed nature. This child is often pushed around at school or on the playground, has great difficulty standing up for himself, and doesn’t want to be noticed.
Cerato Need for constant affirmation. Lack of self-confidence; low self-esteem. This child will do a project, then ask you to check it, certain that it is not quite right. He doesn’t want to try anything new or go anywhere alone. You may find yourself accompanying this child everywhere.
Cherry Plum Fearfulness Fear of situations over which the child has no control. This is the type of child who will never venture on a roller-coaster, for example.
Chestnut bud Incorrigible behavior. An inability (or unwillingness) to understand cause and effect or learn from past mistakes. As a result, reprimands may go unheeded. For example, this child may continue hitting a sibling even though he has been punished for it several times. Chestnut bud is especially helpful in alleviating this kind of behavior.
Chickory Need for constant attention; selfishness; possessiveness; easily hurt feelings. Insecurity and fear of being rejected. This child has difficulty sharing anything, especially his parents. His feelings are easily hurt and he often feels rejected. He says “mine” a lot, while snatching toys from a sibling or playmate.
Clemantis Indifference; apathy; short attention span. A tendency to daydream. This child doesn’t seem to care very much about anything. He becomes distracted and preoccupied easily, and appears indifferent to his surroundings. It is difficult to capture and hold his attention.
Crabapple Excessive neatness; compulsive behavior. An inability to tolerate disorder or untidiness, which may be related to a child’s feelings of shame about his physical condition or appearance. This child’s striving for neatness may border on compulsive behavior.
Elm Feelings of incompetence. Fundamental feelings of inadequacy. This child may often whine, “I can’t,” and complains of being incapable of doing things he wants (or needs) to accomplish.
Gentian Need for much praise and encouragement. A tendency to become discouraged by any setback, no matter how minor. This child requires much encouragement to accomplish anything. He typically tries something once, and if success is not immediate, he is unwilling to try again. Gentian is especially helpful for a child who is discouraged with schoolwork.
Gorse Feelings of deep despair, usually after a serious family trauma. Following a traumatic situation, such as death or divorce, this child knows that “nothing will ever be the same again,” and fears that he will never be able to be happy and carefree again. Without denigrating him or denying the child this period of grieving, supply much reassurance. Gorse can help to ease the feelings during this period.
Heather Self-centeredness. Utter self-absorption. This child believes the world begins and ends with him. He will talk exclusively (and at length) about his cuts and bruises, problems and concerns.
Holly Anger; fits of temper Insecurity and jealousy, such as a feeling of being displaced after the birth of a new sibling, that come out in displays of anger and bad temper.
Honeysuckle Obsession with happy times from the past; homesickness A feeling that past times were perfect, and an obsession with comparing them to the imperfect present. This child typically talks of times when he was particularly happy, such as when the family went to grandmother’s house on holidays, when his parents were still together, or when an older sibling doted on him. Honeysuckle is also helpful for a child who is homesick, perhaps because of being away from home for the first time.
Hornbeam Exhaustion. Fatigue and tiredness that keep a child from joining in family activities or play with other children. As a result, this child misses out on a lot of fun times
Impatiens Impatience; nervousness; hyperactive behavior. Feelings of impatience and tension. This child is easily irritated and nervous. Impatiens is also an excellent remedy for a hyperactive child who can’t sit still.
Larch Lack of self-confidence. Low self-esteem. This child is self-effacing and fears calling attention to himself. Standing in front of the class and giving an assigned presentation is an ordeal for this child. Larch will help bolster a child’s self-confidence before taking a test or giving an oral report.
Mimulus Frequent expressions of fears of one thing or another. Fearfulness, shyness, and timidity. This child typically talks of being afraid of specific people and/or things, whether teachers, other children, animals, accidents, or monsters. He blushes easily. Unlike the Aspen child, who has fears he can’t name, the Mimulus child has fears that are indentifiable and articulated.
Mustard Sadness Sorrow and depression. The cause may not be readily apparent, but often these feelings are related to a loss of some kind.
Oak Constant busyness and bustling. A ‘type-A” personality; a relentless drive to achieve. This child seems to feel that he must be a role model for others; he is an over-achiever who presses on without letup.
Olive Exhaustion Continual fatigue; a series of being exhausted to the very core. Gently stimulating Olive is the remedy of choice for this child.
Pine Feelings of guilt. A deep, internalized sense of shame and remorse. This child may feel he has done something so awful it can never be forgiven; he may blame himself for everything that goes wrong. Even when the fault lies elsewhere, this child feels guilty inside.
Red chestnut Inappropriate worrying. Excessive concern over the well-being of others. This child worries constantly.
Rock rose Absolute terror; panic. Irrational fears. This child often suffers from nightmares.
Rock water Inflexibility, unwillingness to forgive. A rigid, unforgiving nature, and a need to strive for perfection. This child is very hard on himself, as well as on others.
Scleranthus Feelings of uncertainty; vacillation. An inability to make a decision, to choose between different courses of action. This child feels torn between choices and often asks, “Should I do this?” or, “Should I do that?”
Star of Bethlehem Emotional shock following a life-changing experience. A traumatic and possibly life-changing event, such as sudden or shocking sad news, a severe scare, an accident, or a significant disappointment, that causes feelings of shock and loss. Star of Bethlehem is excellent for alleviating the physical and emotional shock associated with traumatic experiences.
Sweet chestnut Anguish and torment. Feelings of exhaustion and alienation. For whatever reason, this child is in torment and feels very much alone.
Vervain Tension; drivenesss. Perfectionism that causes a child to strive so hard that he becomes nervous and tense. This child may have difficulty sleeping normally.
Vine Selfishness; ruthlessness. A need to have one’s own way, no matter what. This child will do and say anything to swing others his way, and can be utterly ruthless in pursuit of his desires.
Walnut Tendency to be very easily influenced. A nature that is sensitive and easily cowed. Even if a proposed course of action is not to his liking, this child will “follow the leader” rather than following the dictates of his own head and/or heart.
Water violet A tendency to be alone, removed from peers. An asocial nature that feels no need or desire to to associate with other children. This child prefers to be alone, aloof, and removed, “above” the daily hurly-burly.
White chestnut Obsessive thinking. A tendency to dwell on ideas or events without letup. Long after you thought the subject had been forgotten, this child may still be fixated on the same idea. This remedy is very helpful for a child who obsesses about being accepted into a particular group or clique.

From Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child by Janet Zand, N.D., L.Ac., Robert Rountree, MD, Rachel Walton, RN, ©1994. Published by Avery Publishing, New York. For personal use only; neither the digital nor printed copy may be copied or sold. Reproduced by permission.

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Written by Janet Zand LAc OMD

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