This is a series of 6 articles by Barbara Murphy BFRP written to explain more about the Bach Flower Remedies

5: How are the Remedies made?

In other words—what exactly is in these mystery drops? It’s no great secret—the very best of nature: just flower essence, sunlight and pure water.

Flowers floating in a bowl of water

The flower heads are freshly picked and floated in a glass bowl of mineral water, then left to infuse in sunlight for 3 hours. The trick of course is to find 3 hours of sunlight at all the times of the year when the various flowers are at their peak—some years when the weather is poor some of the remedies can’t be made. The water is strained off and mixed 50/50 with brandy to preserve it. And that’s it. OK, some of the twiggy ones are boiled up instead of being left out in the sun, and then there’s Rock Water, which is just that—water, still collected from a favourite spot of Dr Bach’s in a mountain stream in Wales, and likewise left out in sunlight before being bottled.

This creates the mother tincture, which is diluted again in brandy to provide the stock bottles sold in shops. The method of manufacture has some similarities with homoeopathy, but the remedies are not homoeopathic. I should also mention that alcohol-free remedies are now available, though with limited distribution—contact me if you want to know how to get them.

Rock Water, incidentally—think of that crisp, cold, steadily-flowing stream—is a remedy for people who are too hard on themselves, who set themselves high standards and then force themselves to live up to them. In some people it’s their character, in others a passing mood or a reaction to stress. Either way, Rock Water can help them relax and take life less seriously.

Honeysuckle flowers

Being so simply made, the remedies are quite safe to use alongside other drugs or medication. Julia was a middle-aged mother being treated by her GP for depression. Eventually she came for a consultation because she wanted to try something else besides anti-depressants. She had always lacked self-confidence, so Larch was indicated; she also took Pine for irrational feelings of guilt and Honeysuckle to help her escape from thoughts of the past, together with Sweet Chestnut for the feelings of utter hopelessness that frequently overwhelmed her. Almost immediately she started to feel more positive and to plan ahead; soon she remembered how to smile and on one occasion I even caught her laughing. After several weeks she decided to ask her doctor if she could start cutting down on her pills. (Never do this without getting your doctor’s consent, however good the remedies make you feel!)

Honeysuckle photo courtesy of Nicola Hanefeld