To continue with our rather jolly theme of happiness-inducing strategies, today we take a look at the Bach Flower Remedies.

Flowers make us happy with their beauty and their fragrance, but did you know they can improve our mood in other ways as well? Dr. Edward Bach (1886-1936) developed a system of 38 remedies made from flowers. He believed that most illness has its origin in mental and emotional causes, and developed these remedies to treat a variety of negative states of mind.

In a similar way to homeopathy, each flower remedy is associated with a corresponding state of being, one which has both a negative and a positive side. When the negative side is active in an individual, taking the flower remedy is said to restore the positive aspect.

The remedies are divided into seven categories: fear; uncertainty; insufficient interest in present circumstances; loneliness; oversensitivity to ideas and influences; despondency and despair; and overcare for the welfare of others.

Within each category, a selection of remedies treats very specific states. For example, gentian appears in the “uncertainty” category, and is used to treat a state of discouragement, doubt and melancholy, and its effects allow one to “take heart and have faith.”

Bach’s famous Rescue Remedy can be found in the handbags and medicine cabinets of many individuals all over the world. This is a mixture of five of the flower remedies designed to be used for mental and emotional “first aid” — to assist one in a trauma, emergency or accident, or to help one calm down in any kind of difficult situation and restore peace and emotional balance.

It is often used by people who are nervous, anxious or fearful, say about an upcoming exam, audition or surgery, and by those who have a fear of flying. According to aficionados of the Bach remedies, Rescue Remedy shows results even with stressed-out plants and animals.

The flowers used in the Rescue Remedy are rock rose, for giving courage to face an emergency; cherry plum, for mental calm and sanity; star of Bethlehem, for consolation and comfort; clematis, to bring one down to earth; and impatiens, for gentleness and the ability to forgive.

There is also a Flower Remedy Cream. It is made from the same five flowers as Rescue Remedy, with crab apple added for cleansing. It is said to aid in external healing by balancing the body’s subtle energies.

When taken internally, the Bach Flower Remedies are usually diluted in a mixture of water and brandy (as a preservative), and then the dilute mixture is taken in very tiny amounts of several drops at a time, several times a day. There is no danger of any harmful effects.

According to Dr. Bach: “Any disease, however serious, however long-standing, will be cured by restoring the patient to happiness, and the desire to carry on with his life work.”

Judging by the success with which these remedies continue to be sold, perhaps they are worth a try. That said, always consult a medical specialist if you feel your condition may warrant it. The Bach Flower Remedies may be taken in conjunction with any medicinal substance without interfering with its efficacy.

For more detailed information on the Bach Flower Remedies, refer to one of the several books on the subject.