Skylark Books


Prescribing the Bach Flower Remedies

The following prescribing characteristics of the 38 Bach flower remedies are based on Edward Bach's own perceptions of their individual healing qualities and are reproduced here from the book: A Guide to the Bach Flower Remedies by Julian Barnard.

Dr Bach placed the emotional characteristics in seven general categories. To view the flower remedies by category click on any of the following categories:
Insufficient Interest in Present Circumstances
Oversensitive to Ideas and Influences
Despondency and Despair
Overcare for Welfare of Others

To view by individual remedy click on any of the following remedy names:

Agrimony Chicory Holly Oak Star of Bethlehem Wild Oat
Aspen Clematis Honeysuckle Olive Sweet Chestnut Wild Rose
Beech Crab Apple Hornbeam Pine Vervain Willow
Centaury Elm Impatiens Red Chestnut Vine Five Flower
(Rescue Remedy)
Cerato Gentian Larch Rock Rose Walnut  
Cherry-Plum Gorse Mimulus Rock Water Water Violet  
Chestnut Bud Heather Mustard Scleranthus White Chestnut  


The Twelve Healers and Other Remedies

Bach named the first twelve remedies that he discovered The Twelve Healers. Later he found another 26 so that in all there are 38 remedies that are applicable as either type remedies or helping remedies. More comprehensive information is given in other books (see booklist) but it should be possible to recognise the broad qualities from the following list.

(Note: The flower images on this page are not included in the book. The images are copyrighted and have been used with the express permission of Healing Herbs Ltd. These  Bach flower remedy images can be purchased as a full set of greeting cards.  Just click here to view card set in the shop.)

  For Fear:

Rock RoseRock Rose for emergencies, sudden illness or accident, for very great fear, terror, panic, hysteria, when life is despaired of, for the horror and dread of nightmares, when there has been a close encounter with evil. Symptoms may include paralysis, unconsciousness, suddenly dumb/deaf, icy coldness, trembling, loss of control. (View in Shop)



MimulusMimulus for fear of worldly, physical things like animals, heights, pain, accidents, of water, the dark, of illness, death, being alone, of other people, stage fright, any specific fear of known origin but often undisclosed. Symptoms may include stuttering, blushing, sinus trouble (running nose/eyes), shallow breathing, marked sensitivity to noise, controversy and crowds, nervous disposition, shyness.
(View in Shop)


Cherry PlumCherry Plum for desperation, fear of insanity, loss of control, an uncontrollable impulse, nervous breakdown, suicidal, obsessive fear, delusions. Symptoms usually build up over a period of time: pallor, staring eyes, agitation, sometimes nervous talk or obsessive questioning, imminent mild insanity. It is like mental gangrene, very offensive to the self.  (View in Shop)


AspenAspen for psychological fears of unknown origin, vague unreasoning and inexplicable, sudden apprehension, fear of unseen power or force, fear of sleep for fear of what will come, fear from dreams, association with death and religion, usually kept secret. Symptoms may include headaches, eyestrain, haunted look, sweating, trembling, gooseflesh, sudden faintness, sleep walking/talking, tired and nervy. (View in Shop)


Red ChestnutRed Chestnut for those who find it difficult not to be anxious for other people, anticipate trouble, imagine the worst, worry over others' troubles, over-concern for problems of the world, fear that a small complaint from another will become a serious problem, project anxiety. (View in Shop)




  For Uncertainty:

CeratoCerato people doubt their own abilities, they are weak-willed and lack courage of their conviction, distrust self and always ask other's advice, distrust own intuition and judgment, often foolish, changeable, imitative, easily led astray. They are often talkative, asking many questions, often rejected by peer group as a child, a follower. (View in Shop)



ScleranthusScleranthus people cannot make up their minds, cannot choose between two things, changeable and indecisive, lack concentration, hesitant, unstable, and tend to be unreliable. They are quiet and do not seek advice, suffer extremes of energy, joy/sadness and cannot handle the alternating moods. Recognisable by lack of balance and poise, erratic conversation, hesitancy, restlessness, always different clothes, changeable outlook, symptoms move about, come and go, liable to travel sickness. (View in Shop)


GentianGentian for those who are easily discouraged, get depressed and disheartened, for doubt and lack of faith, for melancholy, scepticism and disappointment. Depression from a known cause, from delay or hindrance and the distress caused by a temporary setback in progress, for the negativity that breeds a sense of failure. Indicated by a pervasive gloom and sadness. (View in Shop)



GorseGorse for despair, great hopelessness, chronic depression and resignation, loss of will to improve conditions. Believe that nothing can be done to help though may be persuaded to try again whilst thinking it futile, needs to be pushed. Gorse heals the inner will. Symptoms may be a condition that apparently cannot be cured, a generic illness, repeated failure or disappointment. Often seen with dark rings under eyes, hopeless expression, just sits, inert, hopeless beyond tears or expression of grief complexion may be sallow in developed state. (View in Shop)

HornbeamHornbeam for a temporary state of mental/physical tiredness when a lack of energy causes loss of interest, weariness and inability to cope with mundane affairs. Good for convalescents who feel unable to return to work though perfectly fit. Symptoms are predominant fatigue, lassitude, inclination to lie in bed in mornings, feel they cannot face the burden of the day. (View in Shop)



Wild OatWild Oat for uncertainty with regard to career (a cause of more problems than is realised) indefinite/unfulfilled ambition, drifters who allow ambition to fade, often talented but unable to follow one occupation that is their real calling. Symptoms may include despondency, general dissatisfaction and uncertainty, feeling of frustration, boredom, often find themselves in uncongenial environments and occupations. (View in Shop)



Insufficient Interest in Present Time Circumstances:

ClematisClematis people are dreamers, absent-minded, lack concentration and vitality, quiet people without proper interest in the present, absorbed in thoughts and fantasy, sleepy and unobservant, romantic, imaginative, unrealistic. Symptoms may include drowsiness, constant inclination to sleep, distant drifting feeling, marked pallor, slowness, sensitivity to noise, numbness, faintness, indifference, make little effort to get well and may even welcome prospect of death, often stumbling, drop things through inattention, 'float off' in conversation, lackadaisical air.
(View in Shop)

for nostalgia, homesickness, those who live much in the past, past loves, happiness, unhappiness, regrets, success or failures, those who live on their memories, desiring to escape present in romanticised view of past. (View in Shop)




Wild RoseWild Rose for resignation, apathy, surrender, failure to make effort, fatalism, just drift down hill, dullness, lack of interest, no spark or vitality, sense of monotony, expressionless drone to voice, weariness, dull companion. (View in Shop)




OliveOlive for those who suffer from complete mental/physical exhaustion, who have drained their reserves of energy so that they have no more strength. Applicable after prolonged illness, lengthy sickbed nursing, a personal ordeal (war, divorce, crisis etc.) after long overwork or over-worry, when a superhuman effort has been made. When we are mentally and physically run-down.
(View in Shop)


White ChestnutWhite Chestnut for a pattern of thoughts that constantly repeats and gives no rest to the mind, continual internal argument, worry and chatter, mental congestion. Thoughts circulate without resolution, going over and over the same conflict, preoccupation that obstructs clarity, a drama is forever re-enacted in the mind and gives no rest. Symptoms may include tiredness, insomnia, confusion, depression, guilt feelings, repetition of a topic in conversation, lack of calmness, nervous worry, often causes headaches. (View in Shop)

MustardMustard for depression that comes for no apparent reason from an unknown cause, gloom, deep sadness, melancholy, usually serious people who feel that they suffer periodic affliction from a malefic star. Depression is intense and cannot be alleviated until it lifts as unexpectedly as it came. All joy and peace is driven out of life for the duration. (View in Shop)



Chesnut BudChestnut Bud for those who fail to learn by experience and go on repeating the same mistakes again and again. They may be impatient and always thinking ahead and so fail to see what is happening, failing to base their actions upon past experience. They may be careless, clumsy, slow in learning, inattentive and as children even apparently retarded. (View in Shop)



For Loneliness:

Water VioletWater Violet for those who like to be alone, they are aloof sometimes proud, quiet and retiring, avoid argument, self-reliant, inward-looking, very capable, peaceful and calming. They are self-contained people who know their own minds, may appear disdainful and condescending, they are tolerant and never interfere in the affairs of others, just as they will not tolerate interference. They bear their grief and sorrows in silence. They may suffer from physical rigidity, stiffness and tension since their energy is often blocked. (View in Shop)


ImpatiensImpatiens for those impatient people who dislike restraint, preferring to work alone at their own speed, they like haste in all things, are critical of others' shortcomings, irritable, impulsive, impetuous, active and intelligent though prone to nervous tension, overexertion and accidents. Symptoms may include sudden pains, cramps, tension in back, neck, jaws, hands, shoulders, indigestion. Children may be irritable and demanding. Body often slopes forward, they lead, going ahead and act quickly, will finish sentence for other people who think more slowly. Given to outbursts of temper though it quickly subsides. (View in Shop)

HeatherHeather people are greedy for the attention of others, very talkative, compulsively discuss their affairs with anyone, cannot bear to be alone, fearful people who seek sympathy and live on the energy of others. They are self-centred and over-concerned with their own lives and problems. Recognisable by the constant chatter, stand close to you, it is difficult to get away, lack of interest in other people, bad listeners, hypochondriacs (to get attention).
(View in Shop)



Oversensitive to Ideas and Influences:

AgrimonyAgrimony appears cheerful, jovial and uncomplaining but hides mental torture and worry behind a carefree mask Restless, seeks excitement and activity to overcome worry, often takes drugs or alcohol to forget self and dull pain and suffering. Peace loving, avoid quarrels and argument, hide sensitivity but restless and nervy. Will often not admit to problems when asked and when ill will joke and make light of the matter. (View in Shop)


CentauryCentaury people are timid, quiet, kind, gentle, conventional and anxious to please, weak-willed, docile and easily dominated so that in helping others they become a servile drudge. They are often bound to a more forceful personality who exploits their good nature though they choose such situations since they are submissive and seek strength of personality in others rather than in themselves. Symptoms may affect shoulders and back (burdens), white faced with rings under eyes, languid, sits bowed. (View in Shop)


WalnutWalnut for those who need protection from outside influences when foundation of life is unsettled during a major change in life - teething, puberty, starting a new school/career/job, any fundamental alteration in mental, emotional or physical state. Helps to break with the old and establish pattern of new. Guards against anything that interferes with workings of normal life, protects those who are attacked by subtle forces, known as the 'link breaker'.
(View in Shop)


HollyHolly for any kind of strongly negative state: anger, jealousy, bitterness, envy, rage, suspicion, revenge, hatred, violence, bad temper, contempt, vexation, selfishness, frustration - all states which are antipathetic to love. (View in Shop)




For Despondency and Despair:

LarchLarch for those who lack confidence in themselves, they expect failure and feel they will never succeed and so do not try hard enough, they are hesitant and procrastinate, succumb easily and feel inferior. Their sense of failure makes them despondent though in fact they are perfectly capable if they could persevere. Symptoms may include general depression and is often associated with impotence. (View in Shop)


PinePine is for self-reproach, guilt, those who blame themselves, self-condemnation, often assuming responsibility for a situation that is not their fault. They are discontented and critical of themselves, overconscientious, apologetic and over-humble. The constant effort they make to improve themselves may lead to tiredness and depression. Helps to alleviate any feelings of guilt.
(View in Shop)


ElmElm for those who are very capable and often carry great responsibility but occasionally feel unable to face the magnitude of their tasks. Thus they are sometimes overwhelmed, falter and momentarily lose confidence. It is as if they have temporarily lost their connection and this causes great discomfort and distress.
(View in Shop)



Sweet ChestnutSweet Chestnut for a time of terrible anguish and despair when we are at the uttermost limits of endurance, there appears to be no light or love left in our world, nothing but destruction and annihilation, utter desolation, unable even to pray, the 'dark night of the soul'. (View in Shop)



Star of BethlehemStar of Bethlehem for shock, grief, distress, for those who need consolation and comfort, for bad news, an accident, fright, a narrow escape, for delayed shock, to neutralise effects of any shock past or present, even the shock of birth. (View in Shop)



WillowWillow for those who suffer any small adversity with bitterness and resentment, they blame others and feel hard done by, they are self-centred, self-pitying, self-justifying, feel wronged, sulk and bear grudges, will feel slighted and constantly dissatisfied, lack humour. Symptoms may include constant frowning, grumbling, spread a gloom and feeling of negativity, a difficult patient since nothing pleases and reluctance to admit improvement. (View in Shop)


OakOak for strong, reliable, patient, responsible people who shoulder great burdens without complaint. They are plodders who persevere in spite of set-backs, never giving up hope. Their unceasing efforts and obstinacy may led to exhaustion and owing to their willingness to take on more than they can manage and then keep going through all difficulties they can eventually come to a point of breakdown. Ill health causes dissatisfaction and despondency since it brings limitation. For those who never stop trying however hopeless their situation. (View in Shop)

Crab AppleCrab Apple
the cleansing remedy, for those who feel in some way unclean, contaminated, often minor ailment that assumes great importance in the mind of the sufferer causing despondency and self-disgust. Applicable to physical or psychological conditions, wherever there is something repellent to the self, the remedy restores a sense of proportion. Symptoms may include skin ailments, poison in body or a wound, unwholesome habits, smelly feet, dislike of physical contact e.g. breast-feeding. (View in Shop)


Overcare for Welfare of Others:

ChicoryChicory for people who can be most truly loving but when in a negative state become possessive, their egotism, self-pity/self-love makes them over-concerned about their relationship to others. They can become critical, fussy, bossy, correcting, toxic with mental/emotional poisons, seek attention, tearful and thwarted, dislike being alone and need to have their loved ones near in order to control and direct their activity. Recognisable as 'mothering type' though prevalent in children who demand attention.
(View in Shop)


VervainVervain people are forceful, enthusiastic, overbearing, highly strung, argumentative, directing, fervent, fanatical, they rarely change their fixed opinions and insist that others should be converted to them. They have strong will and can exhaust themselves through over-effort. Symptoms may include physical tension, muscle strain, headaches, eyestrain, forceful expression, over-activity, inability to relax. (View in Shop)


VineVine for capable people who are certain of themselves and tend to use their authority to gain power and dominate others. May be arrogant, ambitious, bossy, exacting, rigid, strict, lacking in sympathy, violent, cruel, demand obedience. They are leaders who while they may be of great value in emergency tend to be ruthless in obtaining their own ends, can be tyrants and dictators. Tends to heavy chest development, big stature, often suffer from extreme tension, physical stiffness, back problems, high blood pressure.
(View in Shop)


BeechBeech for those who are critical, dissatisfied, intolerant, irritable, always finding fault, seeing only the negative side of things. Annoyed by small matters - the oddities, mannerisms and idiosyncrasies of others; demand exactness, order and discipline. Arrogant people who complain of others, petty anger, sound in judgement but sour, cynical, unsympathetic, strict with others, tense. Tends to affect upper chest areas, tension in jaws, arms and hands from clenching. (View in Shop)

Rock WaterRock Water for very strict people who deny themselves, self-repressed, ruled by theories and rigid through strong conviction of what is `right'. Greedy for perfection but trapped by trying too hard, idealists who cannot see the obsession which dominates them. Prone to fanaticism and spiritual pride, wish to be a shining example to others. Often relates to a food fetish, those over­concerned with diet, purity of living, strict morality, wherever a too rigid self discipline may cause suffering. (View in Shop)


Five Flower Remedy is Dr Bach's Rescue Remedy. It is a combination of five of the above flower remedies: Cherry Plum for loss of control, Clematis for unconsciousness, Impatiens for stress, Rock Rose for terror and Star of Bethlehem for shock. Five Flower Remedy is so useful for any situation, major or minor, that it is wise to have it on hand for emergencies. If it is taken immediately after an accident has occurred, when we have had shocking bad news, when we are in any distress, even if we just have a headache it is very beneficial.  It is also prepared as a skin cream and may be applied to bruises or any damaged or inflamed skin condition. (View Five Flower Remedy in Shop) (View Five Flower Remedy Cream in Shop)



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Healing Herbs Flower Remedies Intro

Book Text and Remedy Images: Copyright © Julian Barnard
Copyright © 2003 Skylark Books