Frequently-asked questions (FAQs)

Here are answers to some of the commoner questions we get asked, organised under five headings:

If you can't find the answer you want try searching the site instead.

Help with using the remedies

What is the remedy for asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, muscular tension etc.?

The Bach remedies don't treat physical complaints directly. Instead they help by treating the negative emotional states that provoke or worsen illnesses.

This means the way to select the correct remedies is always to think about the sort of person you are and about your current emotional state, and forget the physical symptoms.

Where can I find an accredited Bach practitioner?

Easy!

How do you take remedies?

The remedies come as a liquid, preserved in brandy. To take them, dilute two drops of each remedy into a 30ml dropper bottle and top up with mineral water. From this mixed bottle take four drops at a time, at least four times a day.

Alternatively put the two drops into a glass of water, and sip from that at intervals.

You might need to mix two or more remedies together to match your precise mix of emotions.

Do the remedies work faster if you don't dilute them?

If you don't dilute them the brandy in the stock bottle will taste stronger and this may give the impression that the essences are stronger. This isn't the case. There is no difference in potency or speed of effect between taking four drops from a treatment bottle and taking neat stock remedy.

Is it safe to take the remedies if you are pregnant?

Yes, it is safe. The alcohol in the undiluted remedy can usually be ignored as the amount in a dose is so small. However, if you have any worries on this score we would always advise that you talk to your doctor or midwife.

Is it safe to take the remedies alongside other kinds of medicine?

Normally there is no problem with taking Bach remedies alongside other medicines. The active ingredient in a flower remedy is an energy from the plant, not a physical substance, so it will not interfere with the physical action of the other medicine. Nor will the other medicine stop the Bach remedy from working.

The only point of caution concerns the alcohol used to bottle and preserve the remedies. This can usually be ignored as the amount of alcohol in a single dose is minute. But you should check with your prescribing doctor, pharmacist or health advisor before taking an alcohol-based Bach remedy if you have been advised to avoid all traces of alcohol.

VideoHow soon does the crisis combination take effect? How soon do the other remedies make a difference?

The crisis formula works quite quickly, because people use it for emergency situations rather than deep-rooted problems.

The other remedies can also work quickly, but if you are dealing with something that has been around a long time then it can take weeks or even months to see a real difference.

How many remedies can I take at the same time?

It's quite usual to take up to six or seven remedies together at the same time, and this is the rule of thumb maximum we suggest people work with. Dr Bach is known to have given nine remedies together on two occasions, but he was seeing thousands of people over a period of many years.

It's quite common for people to feel they need more than six or seven remedies. Some might feel they need 12, 15, 20 remedies or more. The answer to this is to think about how you feel now and treat that. If you have a lot of remedies on your list but many of them are for things you felt yesterday or last week or ten years ago, then you can leave those out. Treat your main feelings, and when the remedies have dealt with these you can move on to the issues that were in the background.

Still, 'up to six or seven' is only a guideline. If you are sure you need eight, or even nine, then that won't do you any harm.

What is the likelihood of reactions and rashes, and how are they caused?

The remedies work by flooding out negative feelings and emotions. Sometimes the emotions that are dealt with have been repressed and in order to clear them they have to be cleansed from the system. On very rare occasions this can take the form of a rash, or unexpected feelings may be stirred up. Where such things do occur there is no reason to stop taking the remedies.

Are there other ready-mixed remedies apart from Dr Bach's crisis combination?

The only ready-mixed remedy we recommend is the crisis formula, which most makers produce. The best-known brand is sold under the trade name 'Rescue Remedy'.

This mix was prepared by Dr Bach to cover the usual reactions people would have to crises and emergencies. It was intended as an emotional first-aid kit, so after the immediate crisis is over the correct thing to do is to look at the individual response rather than go on taking the crisis combination indefinitely.

Many makers also produce other combinations. Our advice is not to trust them. It is quite wrong to make up the same mixture for everyone preparing for an examination, for example, or for everyone who feels depressed or suffers from insomnia. No two people react in exactly the same way and to reflect this we need to find a personal mix.

Someone said I should take Star of Bethlehem at the same time as the crisis formula. I thought Star of Bethlehem was one of the things in the crisis combination, so why should I take both?

Dr Bach's 'rescue' combination is a crisis remedy - something to keep ready to hand when things have gone wrong. So if you have just been flooded out you might reach for the crisis combination bottle while you look through your contents insurance.

Later, if it appeared that shock was the main emotion, you might switch to Star of Bethlehem alone. You could take both right away - it wouldn't do any harm - but the crisis formula alone would be sufficient for the initial crisis.

An occasion where you might take both, perhaps mixed in a treatment bottle, is if you were suffering from regular 'emergencies' in the form of panic attacks - but could trace them back to a trauma in the past. There would then be clear indications for both remedies.

Generally speaking you should think of the crisis formula as a single remedy with its own indications, rather than as a mix of five remedies.

I'm using the cream version of the crisis formula for ezcema and it seems to have got worse. Should I stop using it?

Some ezcemas do not respond well to any cream. Instead of the cream add Crab Apple, the crisis combination - or any other mix of remedies selected for how you personally feel - to water and use that to clean the area a couple of times a day.

How would you select remedies for somebody else?

The key to selecting remedies is to ask how the person feels right now (rather than yesterday or last year) and also consider the type of person he or she is. Then simply select the remedies that match.

For example, imagine someone who says that she is anxious about a job interview and is displaying her anxiety by becoming irritated with her family whenever they don't do things the way she would. The remedies would be Mimulus to deal with the anxiety and fear, and Beech to deal with the intolerance.

I occasionally have fears during the night, which includes being afraid of the dark. Is this Aspen or Mimulus?

The answer is 'it depends'...

Fear of the dark is a known fear and so indicates Mimulus. But part of the fear could be fear of 'something unnamed' in the dark, or of something that you cannot name happening to you while you cannot see - and that is an Aspen fear.

In the same way, if you hear a noise and think that it might be an intruder, then that would be a known fear and you would take Mimulus, or Rock Rose if you were truly terrified. But if the fear is purely imaginary - you check the house and find nobody, but still feel afraid that 'something' is there - then that begins to be Aspen.

In practice if you can't decide between the two it may be right to take both at once, since elements of both fear can be present at the same time.

How does the depression of Sweet Chestnut compare to that of Mustard? And how does it compare to the hopelessness of Gorse and Gentian's lack of faith?

Gentian is for a mild despondency after a setback. For example, you might have applied for a job and failed to get it. You say 'I might as well give up' - but eventually, with a sigh, you fill in another application form for a different job.

Gorse is when you feel very pessimistic. Something has gone wrong and you decide to give up because there is no point trying again. To use the same example, your respones to not getting a job is to say, 'that's it, I give up' and tear up the other application form.

Sweet Chestnut is different altogether. Dr Bach listed Gentian and Gorse in his 'Uncertainty' group, because in both instances the problem is not genuine despair but rather a lack of faith. If Gentian and Gorse were more certain of their success they would not be depressed at all. The Sweet Chestnut state comes when all avenues really are closed off.

Imagine someone who has failed to get a job. All the time he is out of work the rent remains unpaid. His wife and children are starving. He has no money to travel to an interview and his clothes are too ragged for him to get work in any case. Then the bailiffs arrive to kick them out of the house.

This is absolute despair, the dark night of the soul, when all possible ways forward are cut off. Even suicide would not be a solution because it would mean abandoning his wife and children.

When you imagine Sweet Chestnut like this you can feel at once the clear difference between it and Gentian and Gorse.

As for Mustard, this is the remedy for when everything in life is fine but we still feel gloomy, as if there were a cloud hanging over us. We might have actually got the job that we really want. We should be excited, but our spirits are low. When people ask why we are so down we can only shrug our shoulders.

Can you take the remedies in tea, coffee and so on?

You can put the remedies in tea, coffee, fizzy drinks etc., and in this respect they are not like homoeopathic remedies.

Putting the drops into a hot drink has the advantage of evaporating the alcohol. We sometimes recommend this method to people who for one reason or another dislike the alcohol content.

I have heard that if you take a remedy for too long you will experience the negative state of that remedy.

This is not true. The remedies are entirely positive and cannot under any circumstances cause the negative state to appear.

Do you need to add alcohol to a treatment bottle?

Alcohol helps stop the water from going off. Many people add some brandy or other strong spirit to a mixed bottle, especially if the bottle will not be kept cool - if, say, they intend to carry it about in their pocket all the time. A teaspoon of brandy - about 5mls - is enough.

Other 'non-alcoholic' ways of keeping the contents fresh include keeping the bottle in a fridge, or adding a teaspoon of cider vinegar or vegetable glycerine.

When does one stop taking the remedies?

When the problem that is being treated has gone. There is no need to continue taking them in case it comes back and of course no need to wean oneself off the remedies gradually, as you have to do with drugs like steroids and beta-blockers. Nor do you need to take a complete course of doses over a specific number of days, as you do with antibiotics.

If things get worse once you start taking remedies, should you stop taking them or continue?

The remedies do not cause side-effects or aggravations, but it may be that they are stirring up repressed feelings that need to be cleansed before complete healing can be achieved. If you feel this is the case then you can look to see if there is a need for any other remedies instead of or as well as the ones you are currently taking.

Because the remedies have positive effects there is no need to stop taking them. Even if you are taking the wrong ones this only means that they will not improve things - they will never make them worse.

Is it always better to select as few remedies as possible?

The normal guideline is to try to use no more than six or seven at a time, since experience has shown that more than this number is not usually necessary if a little thought goes into the selection process. Taking more remedies than are actually needed means that the focus is lost, and the ones that are necessary will not work as well or quickly as they might otherwise have done.

However, it is not true that three remedies are always better than four, or that the ideal treatment is a single remedy: if six (or eight, or even nine) remedies really are necessary, that is how many you should take.

Are there any combinations of remedies that should never be used?

No. Even remedies that might appear to be direct opposites (Vervain and Wild Rose, for example, or Vine and Centaury) may occasionally be needed at once by the same person. It all depends on the personality and current emotional states of the person being treated.

Is it safe to take the remedies if you are a recovering alcoholic, given the brandy content?

If remedies are mixed into treatment bottles and taken four drops at a time in the usual way the amount of alcohol taken is very small.

Nevertheless, taking even a minute quantity of alcohol may have a psychological impact on someone who has decided to give up completely. In addition there is a very powerful drug (known as Antabuse) which can cause a violent reaction in someone drinking even a tiny quantity of alcohol. For these reasons it is best in these circumstances to consult your qualified medical practitioner before taking the remedies.

When you do so you might explain the dilution process and mention that if the remedies are dropped into a hot drink most or all of the alcohol will evaporate, and it is of course possible to administer the remedies externally by rubbing them on the pulse points.

But if in doubt, ask your alcohol advisor.

Are the remedies affected if they are stored near aromatherapy oils?

No. The brandy used to preserve the remedies may be affected and may taste a little strange, but the action of the remedies is not affected in any way.

Are the remedies adversely affected by going through x-ray machines, barcode readers and so on?

No. This is a common misunderstanding and is caused by people assuming that Bach remedies are as delicate as homoeopathic remedies. In fact they are very robust.

The remedies aren't affected by x-ray machines at airports, barcode readers or radiation from screens. You can keep them by the television or take them through security scans without fear. And there's no problem keeping them in the fridge. The only things to avoid are heat and direct sunlight - both of which can make the brandy preservative go stale.

Why not mix all the remedies together and have a single mix for every problem?

Someone suggested this to Dr Bach, and he tried it but found that it didn't work. The simplest and most direct path was the one he recommended - in other words, selection of accurate remedies according to the personality and emotional state.

Why is it four drops of the crisis formula and two drops of everything else?

The crisis combintaion is a composite remedy and contains a smaller amount of each individual mother tincture than a single stock bottle does. So in order to get the right amount of remedy the dose is doubled.

Why is it two drops in treatment bottles and in a glass of water - surely the person taking the glass of water will get more remedy?

This is true, but the amount of remedy is not important as long as the minimum dose is taken. The minimum dose is the amount you get if you take four drops from a treatment bottle.

When putting the remedies in a glass of water, then, you are probably taking more than you need, but it gives you a margin for error. You can sip from the glass without worrying about how big the glass is or how much water is in it or how much of the water you have drunk, because even one sip from the largest glass will give you the minimum dose.

Is there an easy way to remember how many drops to use at a time?

You always use two drops at a time from a single remedy stock bottle, whether you are putting it in your mouth or in a glass or in a treatment bottle.

You always use four drops at a time from a mixed bottle, whether it is a pre-mixed crisis formula from the shop or a treatment bottle you have mixed yourself.

Simple!

Buying things

How can I get hold of remedies?

See our advice on buying remedies.

Can I order the remedies direct from the Bach Centre through the internet?

We don't run a mail order service for standard stock remedies.

We can though provide personal treatment bottles and a limited quantity of alcohol-free remedies.

How can I tell which remedies use mother tinctures made under Bach Centre supervision?

Look for Dr Bach's signature on the label.

How do I get hold of the Bach Centre's Newsletter?

Click here.

Theory, belief, research

How do the remedies actually work?

Dr Bach used a metaphor to describe how the remedies work. He said, ‘they are able, like beautiful music, or any gloriously uplifting thing which gives us inspiration, to raise our very natures, and bring us nearer to our Souls: and by that very act, to bring us peace, and relieve our sufferings.’ Just as a beautiful sunset or a photograph can move us so that we feel more at peace, so taking a remedy uplifts us in a gentle way and helps us be the best we are.

There are many theories about the mechanism the remedies use to achieve this. Most believe the active ingredient in the remedies is a kind of energy or vibration that is transferred from the living flower to the water during the process of making the mother tinctures. Some believe the energy forms a pattern in the water; others talk of quantum mechanics and spiritual vibrations. Attempts to capture this energy have produced beautiful Kirlian photographs showing distinct patterns and colours for different remedies - but little hard research has been done. Any firm conclusions are just speculation.

The real proof that these flower energies exist, however, is the effect they have on people. Taking Mimulus when we are afraid is just a more specific form of the emotional reaction we feel when we listen to Beethoven or gaze up at the stars.

VideoDr Bach's work was fine in the '30's - but don't modern times call for modern remedies?

It's true that times have changed and that we have new things to be afraid of and new freedoms and responsibilities. People in Dr Bach's day did not have to fear AIDS and nuclear warfare, or worry about global warming and genetic engineering.

Does this mean that we need new remedies? We don't think it does, because the remedies don't treat the triggers for our emotions but the emotions themselves. Fear is the same now as it has always been; and so are love, understanding and kindness. Our modern emotions are no more complex than those described by Shakespeare, Dante and the authors of the Bible.

Many of the best things about new age spirituality are rediscoveries of old beliefs and practices that bring us more in touch with our roots and remind us of our relationship to the world and to nature. The remedies can be seen in that context: not as something outmoded but as something eternally renewed and timeless.

The 38 remeides put us in touch with our higher, spiritual self - and in this way give us the freedom to develop at our own pace, whatever that pace may be, in perfect freedom from our ego's greed for immediate enlightenment.

Why doesn't the Bach Centre support dowsing and kinesiology as ways of selecting remedies?

Dr Bach made his system simple and easy to understand. He wanted people from all walks of life to use by as a way of healing themselves.

When a practitioner uses the basic consultation technique for selecting remedies - which amounts to listening to what the client has to say - this is something that everyone can understand. Once the client sees that the remedies are chosen on the basis of how he feels and the sort of person he is, then he can go on treating himself in the future.

When dowsing, kinesiology or any other mechanical or purely intuitive selection method is used this introduces a barrier. Most people do not know how to dowse or muscle-test, so they feel obliged to go back to the practitioner every time they want to select a remedy.

Also, if the dowsing etc. works it will go straight to the heart of the problem before the client is necessarily ready to go that far. This means that self-knowledge, which is one of the aims of treatment with the remedies, is never attained properly.

We believe treatment should go at the client's speed, not the practitioner's, and this is why all practitioners registered with the Bach Centre have signed a Code of Practice which commits them to select remedies using the classic interview technique that Dr Bach preferred.

Why doesn't the Bach Centre approve the use of other flower essence systems?

Dr Bach wanted his work to be kept simple so that everyone could use it. Before he died he warned that attempts would be made to change his work and make it more complicated, and his assistants promised always to uphold the simplicity and purity of his methods.

We believe the 38 remedies are enough when used in combination to treat every conceivable range of human emotions. This is why the current team at the Centre continue to work only with the 38 remedies in the original system.

This isn't a criticism of other flower remedy systems; everything useful will find its place. But we believe the simplicity of the original system is something worth preserving.

What promises do Bach Foundation Registered Practitioners make regarding how they work?

The full answer to this lies in reading the full Code of Practice, but a short summary of the main points is that BFRPs promise to:

  • Work with the remedies using Dr Bach's own methods
  • Present the 38 remedies as a separate system - i.e. not confuse it with other approaches to health, including other flower essence systems
  • Teach their clients how to use the remedies for themselves
  • Talk about and use the remedies in a simple, straightforward way

All of these promises reflect Dr Bach's ideals of self-help and simplicity.

I've read things Dr Bach wrote about helpers and healers and possible links between remedies and astrology - why doesn't the Bach Centre talk about these things or republish these writings of Dr Bach?

Dr Bach considered many theories and ideas during his career, and wrote notes, articles and letters on them. But at every stage of his work he was keen to leave behind anything that was no longer relevant.

For example, he discontinued the use of succussion in preparing remedies, investigated and discounted links between remedy types and astrology, gave up diagnosis by physical symptom, and abandoned as unnecessary the idea of different remedies working on 'higher' and 'lower' planes.

He could be quite emphatic about such excess baggage! When he decided in 1930 to leave London and devote himself to flower remedies, he made a bonfire of all his outdated pamphlets and papers. Later, at Mount Vernon, when the system was finished, he built a further bonfire in the garden here to destroy what he referred to as 'scaffolding'.

In the same vein, he issued strict instructions to his publishers to destroy old editions of The Twelve Healers each time that a new edition was ready for the press. He didn't want old editions republished because they contained remedy descriptions and concepts that he no longer used in his work. He felt that these discarded descriptions and ideas would be seized on by people who might look to complicate the system for their own reasons.

The Bach Centre's role in all this was set out in a letter Dr Bach sent to Victor Bullen shortly before his death. 'Our work is steadfastly to adhere to the simplicity and purity of this method of healing,' he wrote.

We try to remain true to our founder's wishes. Books like The Original Writings of Edward Bach, published with our blessing, are presented as historical documents with the context explained - and old remedy descriptions edited out, as Dr Bach wanted.

Despite our efforts older versions of the The Twelve Healers were in fact republished in the 1980s and are now widely available. As Dr Bach predicted these out-of-date concepts are occasionally referred to by writers and Bach therapists, and not always in a proper historical context. All we can do is point to the system as Dr Bach left it and remind people that the finished system is more perfect - and far simpler - than its earlier incarnations.

How can 38 remedies cover all known states of mind?

A useful analogy is with the world of colour. There are only three basic colours (red, blue yellow), yet every visible colour can be produced when they are combined.

In the same way there are 38 basic states of mind. Combining them gives hundreds of millions of variations.

VideoHas the efficacy of the remedies been proven scientifically?

When Dr Bach entrusted his work to Nora and Victor, and in so doing set up the Bach Centre, he instructed them to keep their lives simple and their work with the remedies simple as well. We don't see it as our role to 'prove' that the remedies work, then - instead we simply demonstrate how to use them and let people prove the effect on themselves.

Having said that, people have done studies on the remedies over the years, although all of them are of limited value due to their small scale and, sometimes, significant methodological inconsistencies.

Nelsons have produced a useful overview of research carried out up to May 2006, which contains information on a number of studies. Since then a US double-blind study into the emergency formula has also been published. More links are on another US site, bachflowereducation.com.

About Dr Bach

I have been taught that Edward Bach pronounced his name 'Batch'? What is the correct pronunciation of his last name, and how does the Centre pronounce his name and the name of the remedies?

There are three possible pronunciations. Most people probably pronounce the name 'Bark', the same as J S Bach the famous composer.

However, the Bach family originally pronounced their name 'Baytch' (to rhyme with the letter 'h'). When Dr Bach was a medical student his fellow-students mispronounced his name as 'Batch', and the mistake stuck. He was known as 'Batch' throughout his medical career, and we still say 'Batch' at the Centre to this day.

What did Dr Bach die of, and why did he die so young?

Dr Bach had cancer when he died, but in fact died of exhaustion rather than because of the disease itself.

Because he was only 50 when he died people have sometimes asked why he wasn't able to cure himself. What this question ignores is that in 1917 when the cancer was first diagnosed he was given just 3 months to live. From then until his death in 1936 he was curing himself, every day, for nineteen years - all the time it took for him to complete his work.

Why doesn't the Bach Centre talk more about Edward Bach's personal life, his marriages and family?

There are two reasons:

  1. We don't know a great deal, because Dr Bach didn't leave many personal papers and Nora Weeks never talked about Dr Bach's personal life precisely because it was personal
  2. His personal life had nothing to do with the remedy system, and that has always been our main concern

For the record, though, Dr Bach was married twice. His first wife died. He had a daughter by his second wife, but the marriage failed some time before he left London in 1930.

Did Dr Bach meet Rudolph Steiner, who predicted that flowers would become a great tool of healing?

There are parallels between Bach's beliefs and those of Steiner. But as far as we know they never met.

Doesn't the Bach Centre make Dr Bach out to be some kind of god, as if he were the object of a cult?

Absolutely not! Dr Bach was no more (and no less) divine than the rest of us. He was human, with human faults (a workaholic, a failed marriage, short tempered sometimes) and human qualities (courage, persistence, selflessness).

He was a great teacher and found a precious gift that he shared with others, but that doesn't make him more than human. We tend to think that 'just human' is more than enough!

Miscellaneous

I read somewhere that the remedies are approved by the World Health Organisation. Is this true?

This idea seems to come from a WHO report that mentioned the Bach remedies, along with other forms of complementary medicine, as examples of the kind of complementary techniques that were being used around the world.

It seems that somebody misread this passing reference as being an official statement of approval. This mistaken belief ended up being put in a book. From there, other authors have quoted the same statement to the point where the idea is quite wide spread, particularly in Spanish-speaking countries.

As far as we know there is no truth in this statement. The World Health Organisation doesn't approve or licence any treatments, so the question should not even arise.

Who owns the Bach Centre?

The house and garden at Mount Vernon are owned by the Dr Edward Bach Healing Trust, a registered charity formed in 1989 to help the elderly, the poor and the sick.

The Trust in turn is landlord to two companies, Bach Centre Mount Vernon Ltd. and Bach Visitor and Education Centre Ltd. These companies run the Centre's day-to-day activities, including the Bach Foundation International Register of Practitioners.

Both companies are owned by the Ramsell family. John Ramsell, who passed on in 2008, was brought into partnership by Nora Weeks and Victor Bullen in the 1970s. His daughter Judy is currently head of the Centre. Nobody else has any control over or ownership of the Bach Centre's activities.

I read that Nelsons had bought the Bach Centre. Is this true?

No.

A judgement issued at the end of the 1990s, after a legal action brought by Healing Herbs Ltd. against Nelsons Ltd., included the erroneous claim that Bach Centre Mount Vernon Ltd. had been sold to Nelsons in 1993. This is not true.

Certainly, a company of a similar name was sold to Nelsons in 1993, as part of the sale of the Centre's remedy production business. But Bach Centre Mount Vernon Ltd. was not sold, and like the rest of the Bach Centre continues to be run as part of an independent organisation. See also the question, Who owns the Bach Centre?

What is the Bach Foundation?

The Bach Centre set up the Bach Foundation (or The Dr Edward Bach Foundation Ltd, to give its full name) in the early 1990s. Its purpose was to run education and practitioner registration for the Bach Centre.

In 2007 we decided to run education and registration alongside other Bach Centre services such as the shop, the visitor centre and so on. So we transferred the functions of The Dr Edward Bach Foundation Ltd to a new company called Bach Visitor & Education Centre Ltd.

We still use the 'Bach Foundation' name and logo in connection with our practitioner registration programme, but the Bach Foundation International Register and course approval are run direct by the Centre. 'Bach Foundation' is a trade mark for the Register and not the name of a separate organisation.

Are there any Bach Centre authorised correspondence courses on the remedies?

Level 1 is available as a distance learning course. Levels 2 and 3 are not available in this format.

Are Bach Foundation Registered Practitioners told which brand of remedy to use?

No. The Code of Practice doesn't mention brands and BFRPs are entirely free to choose which they use, or can indeed make their own remedies if they want.

Why do the remedies have a use-by date now? Should they be discarded after this date?

By law the stock bottles have to carry a use-by date. The five year period relates to the shelf life of brandy stored in a rubber-topped bottle.

The remedies themselves will keep their properties indefinitely (although the brandy may begin to taste a little strange after the five year period).

What are the sun and boiling methods?

The sun method involves floating flowerheads in a clear glass bowl filled with natural spring water. This is left in bright sunlight for three hours, then the flowerheads are removed and the energised water is mixed half and half with brandy.

The boiling method involves putting flowering twigs into a pan of spring water and boiling them for half an hour. The pan is then left to cool, the plant matter removed, and again the water is mixed half and half with brandy.

In both cases the resulting mix is known as mother tincture. This is diluted at the rate of two drops per 30mls of brandy to make the stock bottles sold in the shops.

What is the difference between the 1936 edition of The Twelve Healers and more recent Bach Centre-authorised editions?

Ever since Dr Bach wrote it, The Twelve Healers and Other Remedies has always been the most important book on the remedies. At the Bach Centre we have always seen it as a working text - not a historical document, but a manual that everyone can use. Every practitioner has a copy - and even now, we go back to the remedy descriptions in The Twelve Healers all the time. Every time we do, we get new insight into the system.

As a working text, The Twelve Healers has been added to and edited over the years to try to meet new needs as they arise. This is exactly what Dr Bach did during his lifetime - indeed, the first changes after 1936 were dictated by Dr Bach shortly before his death. Comparing the 1936 facsimile edition and the 2009 Bach Centre ebook edition, for example, the main differences are:

  • The 2010 version contains the longer introduction dictated by Dr Bach at the end of October, 1936 - after the 1936 edition had been published.
  • A line of the Rock Rose description referring to it as 'the rescue remedy' has gone, to avoid confusing it with the well-known brand of the emergency mix.
  • The list of chemists supplying remedies has gone. The number of shops supplying remedies has increased beyond the possibility of listing them in a book this size. (Prices have also inevitably increased.)
  • The dosage instructions have been rewritten. They now mention how to choose remedies and their use with animals and plants, explain how to use the crisis mix and cream, and give a clearer account of the minimum daily dose.
  • The 1936 instructions on how to make remedies have been removed. Dr Bach aimed this part of the book at people who were making remedies for personal use. To simplify the description he left out one of the dilution stages he followed when preparing remedies for pharmacies - and in practice most people struggled to identify the plants they needed to use from the Latin names alone. To provide practical and consistent help to remedy-makers, Nora Weeks and Victor Bullen instead wrote the book Illustrations and Preparations, which includes full descriptions and photos of the correct plants.
  • Some of the Latin names of the plants have changed. They are the same plants! - but later editions reflect changes in the International Rules of Botanical Nomenclature.

The 1936 edition remains, though, the final edition personally prepared for the press by Dr Bach, so we are pleased to republish it in a facsimile ebook edition.

How do you get to the Bach Centre?

See our information for visitors, which includes a map and full instructions for how to find us.