Discovering the Bach Flower Remedies - Dr Bach's Journey
Finding the Flowers for the 38 Remedies
The 38 Bach Flower Remedies were discovered by Dr Edward Bach in the course of a seven year period between 1928 and 1935. The creation of the remedies was born of a strong inner drive in Bach to find a cure for the human condition based not on the use of disease ( as with the Bach Nosodes ), but in the the fields of nature. His journey was guided by a rich and deep inner connection both to himself and the higher realms, which allowed him to clearly hear his soul guidance and to have a high sensitivity to the energies of the flowers. During his journey of discovery he pioneered a new approach to working with the flowers that he discovered in nature and created two new systems for potentising them.
Dr Bach's beautiful set of 38 Bach Flower Remedies were created out of a true desire to help humanity in a practical way to understand and heal the patterns and difficulties that we all experience in life.
Dr. Bach was above all things practical, so that great was his joy when he discovered that there were certain herbs and trees of Nature endowed with the power to remove our fears, our anxieties, our impatience and such-like, and to assist in bringing back to us the joy of living.”
Victor Bullen - a friend & colleague
Dr Bach's Journey of Discovery....
Bach knew that he was looking for the simple wild flowers that he could find growing in the rural countryside which would contain the right qualities to help humanity. He narrowed his search by ruling out any poisonous plants, any of what he called primitive plants and anything used as a food. So this left him looking for flowers that held the right vibrational frequency, flowers which would have "the power to elevate our vibrations, and thus draw down spiritual power, which cleanses mind and body, and heals."
The Twelve Healers
The Twelve Healers were what Dr Bach called the first of the series of flower remedies that he discovered. He felt that the twelve states that these remedies worked with represented the great life lessons that we had come to learn as a personality. He started his journey of discovery with this series of flowers in 1928 and found the last of the first twelve in the summer of 1932.
Finding the Flowers for the Twelve Healers...
Crickhowell, Wales - 1928
Impatiens - for impatience and frustration
Dr Bach had been looking extensively for flowers in Kew Gardens in London, but had not found what he was looking for there. Then in late September 1928 his intuition prompted him to travel to Wales, and it was while he was staying in Crickhowell that he discovered the beautiful pale mauve Impatiens flower and the yellow flowered Mimulus, both of which were growing profusely near a mountain stream. He also later found the wild Clematis. This was right at the beginning of Bach's journey with flower remedies and initially he made these homoeopathically, but when he discovered his new sun method of preparation in 1932 he abandoned the homoeopathic preparations and remade them using his new method.
Wales - 1930
In May 1930 Dr. Bach left London and focussed entirely on his new work with the flower remedies. Between May and July of that year he was in Wales and while he didn't discover any new flowers to make remedies from, he did discover and perfect a new way of preparing the remedies; the Sun Method of potentisation. This was a pivotal discovery and from that point on he stopped using all of his previous methods of preparation and started to make what we now know as a flower remedy. So it was really from this point onwards that Dr Bach started to make the remedies that we know and love today.
Cromer - 1930
Agrimony - for expressing your true feelings and emotions.
After his time in Wales, Dr Bach moved to the beautiful town of Cromer on the north Norfolk coast. During his first stay in Cromer, starting in August 1930, he spent a lot of time walking the fields and lanes and found another six remedies. The first was the yellow spired Agrimony, then the blue flowered Chicory which he found in bloom amongst the uncut corn, and then the tiny flowers of the Vervain plant. Next he re-made the Clematis remedy ( which he had previously made homoeopathically ) and then made two new remedies; Centaury and Cerato. Towards the end of September he also made a remedy from the flowers of the sturdy little Scleranthus plant.
Sussex & Oxfordshire - 1931
Over the next little while Dr. Bach also explored many counties in England and Wales and in 1931 he made further discoveries. Firstly Water Violet in the dykes around Lewes in East Sussex, and Gentian in the hills beyond Eweleme in Oxfordshire in July of that year.
Oxfordshire - 1932
He then completed the first Twelve of his remedies when he discovered Rock Rose, in the summer of 1932, growing in the same field in which he had previously found Gentian.
The First Twelve...
Dr Bach named this series of remedies the Twelve Healers and in 1933 wrote a pamphlet about these remedies, which he also called the "Twelve Healers".
The Seven Helpers
By January 1933 Dr Bach was feeling the inner promptings to explore and discover more remedies. If the Twelve Healers worked with the great life lessons that we had come to learn as a personality, then the next in the series he felt would be for "the states of mind which had become more persistent than those of the first group". These next seven remedies he called the Seven Helpers, and he found them between Easter and Autumn 1933.
Finding the Flowers for the Seven Helpers...
Marlow on the Thames - 1933
Gorse - for feelings of hopelessness and despair.
The first of this new series he discovered was the bright and cheerful Gorse flowers, from which he first made a remedy in Easter 1933 in the fields surrounding Marlow on the Thames.
Cromer - 1933
After Gorse came the Oak remedy, made from the tiny delicate flowers of the mighty Oak tree. Bach had an intuitive sense that he needed to return to Cromer to make this, which he did from a large group of Oaks growing around the old Roman camp at Felbrigg near Cromer.
Crickhowell, Wales - 1933
Dr Bach was still in Cromer in the late summer of 1933 when he felt a strong prompting to head back to Wales on a flying visit. Here he made a remedy from Heather, close to where he had originally made Impatiens and Mimulus. While there he also made Rock Water, a remedy quite unlike the other 37 remedies in that it was not made from a flower at all, but from from the water of an old well renowned for its healing properties.
Switzerland & Italy - 1933
The next two remedies of this series were not native to England or Wales. Dr Bach must have made a remedy from both Vine and Olive in the U.K. at some point and found them to be what he was looking for. So in order that they should be prepared in their native surrounding he asked friends in Switzerland and Italy respectively to prepare these two for him.
Sotwell - 1934
The final remedy in the Seven Helpers series was Wild Oat, which Dr. Bach discovered growing in the hedgerows of the lanes around the village, and made a remedy from this in May of that year.
The First Nineteen Remedies
So with Wild Oat, Dr. Bach had finished making the first nineteen of what would become the 38 Bach Flower Remedies, and he knew that for now his researches were complete. All of these were made using the Sun Method of potentisation, and formed what he felt were a powerful set of healing remedies to help humankind.
The Second Nineteen
By the time Edward Bach started on the second nineteen of his remedies, he was more or less permanently based in the village of Sotwell, which at the time was in the county of Berkshire. The second nineteen were conceived and even prepared in quite a different way to the first nineteen. Bach would experience very strongly the states of mind for which that particular remedy was required in the days leading up to finding the flower that would help. With the exception of White Chestnut, all of these new remedies were made by Dr Bach's new Boiling Method of preparation. He started this series of remedies by finding Cherry Plum in March 1935 and discovered the remaining 18 remedies over the course of the next six months.
Finding the Flowers for the Second Nineteen...
In and Around Sotwell - 1935
Cherry Plum restores the qualities of balance, calmness and positive control of the mind.
All of the second nineteen remedies were discovered in the countryside around Sotwell, which he explored on foot, bicycle and occasionally by car. The first remedy in this new series was Cherry Plum, and the days leading up to its discovery were very difficult for Bach. Nora Weeks in her biography of Bach said: "For some days before he had been suffering from severe inflammation of the frontal sinuses, an agonising pain across the cheekbones, and a blinding and persistent headache; the pain was so intense that he felt desperate, as though life was no longer possible without loss of reason." As Cherry Plum flowers early in the year, and often before the sun has built up much strength he decided to boil it, and thus Cherry Plum was the first remedy made by the boiling method of preparation.
The Boiling Method
It is something of an enigma as to why all but one of the second nineteen were made by the boiling method, even in the summer months. No notes were left by Bach or Weeks as to why he used this method almost exclusively for this new series of remedies, or what brought about the change. Maybe the qualities of the fire from the earth ( the qualities of the heat from ancient sunlight ) gave the remedy some quality that was different to the direct heat of the sun?
The Next Eighteen - In and Around Sotwell - 1935
Over the next six months Dr Bach went through the emotional and mental states associated with each of his new discoveries. Nora Weeks doesn't describe this process in any detail, so we are left to imagine what he went through and the external factors that were related to them. During this period he was drawn to make a remedy from the flowers of the following trees, bushes and plants:
The Completed Set of Remedies
So the second nineteen had started with Cherry Plum and ended with Sweet Chestnut, the last remedy that Dr Bach discovered, which he made in August 1935. With that he had what he considered to be a complete set of 38 remedies. As was his way, he immediately published the information about the new remedies as a pamphlet inserted in his book "The Twelve Healers and Seven Helpers".
In 1936 he published the 'Twelve Healers & Other Remedies', his completed understandings about his remedies and their uses.
Dr. Bach's Rescue Remedy
The journey of discovery wouldn't be complete without a quick look at the origins of what Dr. Bach called his Rescue Remedy, and what we call Revival Remedy. This is a combination that Dr Bach put together for emergency situations, as Nora Weeks said "to use in emergencies, in cases of accident, shock, unconsciousness, great pain, fear or panic; this he called the Rescue Remedy, carrying a bottle of the mixture always in his pocket."
The original combination was Impatiens, Clematis and Rock Rose, ( which he had discovered in 1928, 1930 and 1932 respectively ) and and was probably first used in Cromer in 1933. A big storm had caused the grounding of a 65 ton barge called Sepoy off the coast of Cromer and a dramatic rescue, lead by the famous life boatman Henry Blogg, resulted in two men being rescued from the boat. It is said that Dr. Bach used his new combination to help revive one of the rescued men.
Later, after he had discovered Cherry Plum ( early 1935 ) and Star of Bethlehem, he added both of these to his rescue combination. The final combination must have been formulated sometime in 1935, after Bach had made Star of Bethlehem, which flowers between late April and early June.
Sam is co-owner at Crystal Herbs and has been working professionally with Flower & Vibrational Essences since 1996. He is passionate about the Bach Flower Remedies and the work and understandings of Dr Edward Bach and the potential that they have to help people with their personal and spiritual growth. Sam is a trained essence practitioner, energy healer and teacher and loves sharing knowledge and information about essences and any other tools that help us to re-connect with our hearts and the true essence of who we are.