Rescue Remedy Article header

Who was Dr Bach and What Were His Flower Remedies?

By The Rescue® Team

Strong, angular features, deep brown eyes and dark hair brought character to Edward Bach’s rectangular face. He is well remembered for his determination and tenacious approach to completing his life’s work, leaving the world with gentle and effective remedies that support emotional well-being. His journey from surgeon to bacteriologist and pathologist to natural healer involved a near-death experience and years of self-sacrifice. 

Dr Bach’s medical career begins in Birmingham, London, at University College Hospital. He worked as House Surgeon here and ran consulting rooms out of Harley Street. Using his own research lab, he conducted original research into vaccines.

In 1917, five years into his career as a doctor, Bach was working on wards tending to injured soldiers returning from France. He collapsed himself one day – a severe haemorrhage, it turned out – which led his operating doctors to diagnose him as having three months left to live. 

During these three months, Bach lived with a ferocious focus on progressing his laboratory work as much as possible while he still could. He grew stronger throughout this time and ultimately recovered. Convinced he owed his health to the strong sense of purpose his work gave him, his attention turned toward the link between mental states and overall well-being.

Bach grew dissatisfied with the medical world’s focus on the disease rather than the whole picture of the patient. Looking for a more holistic understanding of healing, he took a post at the Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital (despite being a general practitioner, not a homoeopath).

After years of working with bacteria, Bach became interested in finding a ‘purer’ medicine that was less reliant on the products of disease. He turned his efforts toward studying plants and flowers, beginning years of trial and error experimenting on his own well-being. Testing thousands of plants with the support of his assistant, radiographer Nora Weeks, they noted the impacts of flower-based remedies on emotional states. 

Between 1930 to 1934, the pair’s work followed the seasons; spring and summer were devoted to collecting flowers and preparing remedies, while winters were for advising and healing those looking for remedies. With 19 flower remedies completed, Bach and Weeks moved to Mount Vernon, Oxford. In the surrounding fields, they would select the plants for the remaining 19 remedies. 

A year after completing his life’s work on flower essences, Dr Bach passed away on November 27, 1936. Committed to leaving behind only helpful and worthy notes and advice, he burnt his early notes in a bonfire toward the end of his life to prevent them from being discovered and misunderstood. 

Almost a century later, Dr Bach’s original flower essence remedies are created just as he intended. Flowers are still hand-picked from Mount Vernon and distilled using Bach’s method. Five of his flower remedies that alleviate some of the most common negative emotional states come together to create RESCUE Remedy®. These are:

  • Impatiens for patience

  • Clematis for focus

  • Star of Bethlehem for comfort

  • Cherry Plum for composure

  • Rock Rose for fearlessness 

To make RESCUE Sleep® we add White Chestnut, which helps quiet down those worrying thoughts that can circle around your mind as you try to drift off to sleep. Just as Dr Bach intended, these natural remedies help alleviate feelings of mild anxiety, stress, tension and distracting negative thoughts.

The RESCUE® range can help you to focus and find your centre – helpful for studying, working or presenting – and also to restore natural balance and feelings of calm and confidence, so you can navigate the world as your best self. Learn more about how RESCUE® products are made here, and check out the range to find sleep aids or stress relief here.