The five-flower remedy, often called “rescue remedy,” is a combination of five flower essences created by the homeopathic practitioner Dr. Edward Bach. Dissatisfied with traditional remedies, Dr. Bach pioneered a system of medicine based upon flower “essences.” These are solutions of brandy and water that contain a minimal amount of flower parts, but are meant to retain the energetic properties of the plant. The five-flower remedy, taken orally, is used to treat patients experiencing stress and trauma. Alternative health-care practitioners have found it particularly useful in emergencies and crisis situations.
This sunny yellow plant derives its botanical name, helianthemum nummularium, from the Greek god of the sun, Helios. As the name implies, these are sun flowers that bloom en masse during the summer, particularly liking places such as meadows or rock gardens. The flower is thought to carry a high amount of solar light with strong anchorage from the stones of the earth. As such, it is used in the five-flower remedy to stabilize the patient and bring a solid sense of calm during times of panic.
These climbing vines are found mostly in temperate regions, but also in mountainous areas in the tropics. Also known as ‘Traveler’s Joy’ or ‘Old Man’s Beard,” the flowers have a very delicate, feathery appearance. The creamy white color and fluffiness give them an ethereal quality that is thought to block escapism or the feeling that you are disconnected or floating out of your body. Clematis is said to draw the consciousness back after shock or trauma, helping to anchor the mind to the body. Native Americans used the plant to treat nervous disorders and migraine headaches.
Impatiens glandulifera is also known as “Policeman’s Helmet,” named such because the flowers resemble the shape of an English policeman’s helmet. Flower color ranges from shades of pink and purple to an unblemished white. When the seed pods explode, they do so with force, sometimes ejecting seeds up to 20 feet. As the name impatiens implies, it is used in the treatment of impatience, restlessness and nervousness. It is included in the five-flower formula to slow hasty reactions and to soothe nervous tension.
Cherry plum, or prunus cerasifera, is a species of plum that grows as an ornamental shrub or small tree. Cherry plum flowers early in spring, showing white or slightly pink flowers with five petals. The leaves and buds are of a dark purple color, contrasting vividly with the color of the flowers. The essence of cherry plum is used to reduce the psychic pressures of a stressful situation, when the patient is fearful of losing control. It is thought to hold back emotional eruptions or impending breakdowns, while instilling a sense of peace, especially in times of panic.
Star of Bethlehem
The star of Bethlehem is a perennial plant with linear leaves that often have a white stripe along the middle and white, lily-like flowers. The blooms usually open in the morning and close by noon, earning the plant another name: “Nap at Noon.” In the five-flower Remedy, the star of Bethlehem is included to reestablish the patient’s connection to the divine source. It has been known to bring understanding from a deeply spiritual perspective, fostering a sense of acceptance beyond the immediate scope of shock and trauma.
Although many alternative health-care practitioners have found the five-flower remedy to be extremely useful in treating patients in an emergency or crisis situation, the remedy was never meant to be a substitute for emergency medical care. Following a disaster or traumatic experience, it is prudent to employ many therapeutic techniques and remedies, including counseling or other types of emotional therapy. The remedy is categorized as an herbal supplement and as such is not intended to cure, treat or diagnose any illness or disease.