Homeopathic remedy yields more positive outlook

Company claims its flower essences help to balance

Bach Flower Essences are a homeopathic remedy that people use to manage and balance their emotions.

For example, when people are up all night worrying about paying bills, they would take an essence that addresses this type of fear. Or if someone is in low spirits because of a medical diagnosis there are essences that can be taken to bring him or her back to a more positive state of mind so that he or she will heal more quickly, says Nancy Buono, BFRP, national manager of education for Nelson Bach USA in Wilmington, MA.

On a generic level, Bach Flower Essences are useful for any type of stress management and help improve the quality of everyday life, she says.

"We see Bach Flower Essences as an adjunct to traditional medical therapy not necessarily as a standalone. They can be used as a standalone to improve emotional well-being, but they can also be used in conjunction with any other kind of treatment someone may be using," says Buono.

Edward Bach, MD, discovered the essences, which are created from flowers. Each addresses a particular characteristic or emotional state. For example, aspen addresses "fear of unknown things" and mustard "deep gloom for no reason."

The mother tincture for each of the 38 types still is made at Bach’s estate in England. A company called Nelson Bach was created to bottle and distribute the essences. In the United States, the FDA lists Bach Flower Essences as homeopathic over-the-counter drugs.

"We have 38 essences, but because you can use them in combinations, we have over 200 million possible combinations that we can blend up for people to match their specific emotional situation," says Buono, who has been a Bach Flower Essence practitioner for almost 20 years.

People can create their own combinations or use a practitioner. While practitioners are not licensed or credentialed, those who complete a series of courses can become Bach Foundation Registered Practitioners and are governed by a code of ethics, says Buono.

To help people select combinations of their own essences, Nelson Bach USA distributes a questionnaire that goes through the indications for each essence.

There are depths and subtleties to the essences that are learned over time, Buono says. While people can use a checklist to determine which essence or combination might be appropriate to calm nerves before a presentation or exam or to cope with bereavement, a practitioner can work with people to determine what is bothering them so that the combinations will better suit their needs.

Dosage is important

There are several ways to take the essences, but the most common is orally. People use a 1-ounce amber bottle and fill it to the shoulder with spring water before adding two drops of each individual essence, says Buono. A personal formula can consist of combinations of up to six or seven essences. From that bottle, a four-drop dose is taken at least four times a day. A 1-ounce bottle will last two to three weeks and is easier to use than carrying around four or five bottles of essences, she says. If individual bottles are used, two drops are taken orally.

A misting bottle also can be used with the same mixture formula. Instead of swallowing the mixture, people spray a mist on themselves or the energy field around them. The essences also can be put in bath water or on a compress.

The length of time the essences should be taken varies from person to person. When first taking the essences, there usually is some sort of shift in emotional patterns within two to three weeks. When people are taking the essences for a particular longstanding emotional issue such as abuse, they may need to take them for up to a month for every year they have been suffering.

"The more out of balance you are, the more dramatically you are going to feel the effect because the essences serve to bring you back into balance," says Buono. It is thought that they work on a vibration level, similar to therapeutic touch, she says.

Bach flower essences can be taken along with most traditional medications; however, they do contain alcohol. If taking a drug that cannot be mixed with alcohol, people should avoid taking the essences.

These essences are not to be confused with aromatherapy, which is something that is breathed, says Buono. "Aromatherapy actually creates physical reactions whereas the Bach essences are working specifically with the emotional state."

People also confuse the essences with homeopathy, yet while they are homeopathic in that they are a dilution they don’t have the restrictions that homeopathic remedies do, says Buono. They can be combined with any other form of treatment.

For example, if taken with high blood pressure medication, the essences simply would address the emotional state that is contributing to the health problem and not interfere with the medication.

"You can do no harm by introducing someone to the essences but the amount of good you can do is vast. There are so many ways to address the emotional component of the person you are dealing with and to help make their quality of life better," says Buono.

Sources

For more information about Bach Flower Essences, contact:

• Nancy Buono, BFRP, National Manager of Education, Nelson Bach USA Ltd., 100 Research Dr., Wilmington, MA 01887. Telephone: (888) 373-2224. E-mail: empower-education@msn.com. Web site: www.nelsonbach.com.