Thursday, September 20, 2012
Trials With Bach Flower Remedies
Bach flower remedies were created by Dr. Edward Bach. He thought that negative emotions were the cause of illness. He devised 38 negative feelings that people have. Dr. Bach matched a flower remedy to each of emotions. The Bach Flower remedies are each used for a different type of emotional state.
Contrary to popular belief, Bach flower remedies are not homeopathic. It is true that both forms of medicines are diluted and create no side effects. Homeopathy and Bach Flower essences are both diluted but in a totally different manner. Flower remedies are diluted via the sun method for some essences. For plants that bloom when there is limited sunlight, these remedies are diluted by boiling method. Bach remedies do not follow the homeopathy laws of similars or successive dilutions. Bach flowers try to create a positive energy to negate a negative energy.
In the sun method, the flowers are placed in a container with fresh water. The container is left in the sun for several hours. Bach believes the sun rays would transfer energy to the medicine. After the flowers are taken out of the water, they are put into a container. Alcohol is added to preserve the flower. An equal amount of water is also added to dilute the remedy. The final product is a liquid based flower essence. The dilutions can also be made into a cream or spray.
In the boiling method, flower essences are put into a pot of water. They are boiled in water. The remedies are boiled several times with the water being replenished after each boiling interval. After several boiling intervals, the remedy is mixed with an equal amount of alcohol and water. The boiling method is necessary due to the fact that many flowers bloom when the sun is not shining. This is really the only way to create the essence without the sun.
The most popular flower remedy is called rescue remedy. Rescue remedy is a combination of 5 flower essences which are Rock Rose, Impatiens, Clematis, Star of Bethlehem and Cherry Plum. There is also a rescue remedy cream that contains these 5 flowers plus Crab Apple. Rescue remedy is suppose to be used during anxiety and panic attacks.
Research on the Bach flower remedies is limited. These flower remedies were tested in a few double blind placebo trials. The results of these studies are given below.
In one trial, 100 university students in England were recruited. The trial examined whether rescue remedy could help relieve stress and anxiety as compared to a placebo. The students were given questionnaires to fill out so researchers knew of their mental state. After 8 days, the students were reevaluated. The Bach remedies show no better effect than a placebo.
In a second trial, children with ADHD were given Bach rescue remedy. In the three month study, Bach flower remedies showed no better effect than a placebo. Although, both the placebo and the flower remedies reduced the symptoms with ADHD.
The final trial is the most recent trial with Bach Rescue Remedy. This trial observed 111 people between ages 18-49 in a double blind clinical trial. The standard mean to evaluate anxiety was used before and after administering the rescue remedy and the placebo. The study suggest that rescue remedy may be able to reduce high level of situational anxiety as compared to the placebo.
Bach flowers have not been research extensively. Some studies suggest the remedies are no better than a placebo. Other study suggest that these remedies may help in stressful situations. More research using well conducted placebo based trials needs to be done to give a definite conclusion on how effective these remedies can be.
1) E. Ernst (December 30 2002). ""Flower remedies": a systematic review of the clinical evidence". Wiener Klinische Wochenschrift 114 (23-24): 963-966. PMID 12635462.
2) H. Walach, C. Rilling, U. Engelke (July 2001). "Efficacy of Bach-flower remedies in test anxiety: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial with partial crossover". Journal of Anxiety Disorders 15 (4): 359-366. doi:10.1016/S0887-6185(01)00069-
3) University of Miami School of Nursing in conjunction with The Sirkin Creative Living Center (SCLC) research study on Bach Flower Remedies