How Bach Flower Remedies Are Made
There are three stages of preparation that the Bach remedies go through:
- Mother tincture, which is produced by the manufacturer and remains with them
- Stock, which is what you will find in the bottles you buy at the store
- Treatment or dosage bottle, which you make up yourself at home
Fortunately, we do not have to know how to make the remedies ourselves. This is a beautiful, poetic and even alchemical, but time-consuming process. It is important, however, for practitioners to know how the remedies are produced.
Before discussing the remedy-making process, it is important to talk about sourcing the plants. It is essential that the plants be harvested in the wild, in their natural habitat, and in an area that is as pollution-free as possible. It is also important to identify the exact species, not only to be sure that the plant is not toxic, but also because botanical relatives can result in a different remedy profile.
Making the Mother Tincture
All but one of the Bach remedies are made from—no surprise—flowers. The process for making them requires thoughtful preparation. The plants are carefully observed in their natural habitat, waiting for the time when the flowers can be gathered at the peak of their blossoming (or in the bud stage, in the case of Chestnut Bud). Once the flowers are fully in bloom, the right time to make a remedy is on a clear, sunny day, starting in the morning around 8 or 9am. One begins by choosing the healthiest, most vibrant specimens available, taken from multiple plants.
There are two methods for making the mother tincture: the sun method and the boiling method. Each remedy has its designated method of production, following Bach’s instructions.
The Sun Method
To make the mother tincture with the sun method, proceed as follows:
- In a sunny spot near your chosen plants, place a clear glass bowl on the ground. Make sure this is a spot that will not become shaded while the remedy is being made. Fill the bowl with pure spring water, ideally from a nearby spring, or from a bottle that you have brought for this purpose.
- Harvest the healthiest-looking flower stems by cutting them just below the flowers or flower spikes. Then, with a pair of scissors, holding the stem above the bowl, cut the flower heads at the base and allow them to drop into the water. Add as many flowers as is necessary to generously cover the bowl’s surface.
- Leaving the bowl in the same place, wait nearby, but at a distance, about 3-4 hours. The water will begin to form small bubbles and change color. At this point, you know that your remedy is ready.
- With a branch or twig from the same plant, carefully remove the flowers from the water. Pour the remaining liquid into a bottle that you have prepared for this purpose.
- Add equal parts of brandy or cognac (1:1).
The Boiling Method
To make the mother tincture with the boiling method, follow these steps:
- Take an empty saucepan with you to the harvesting location. Identify the nicest blooms and cut each stem below the blooms to include the flowering sprays, leaves and twigs. Place the cut stems into the plan, filling it ¾ full. Then cover the pan and, without delay, return home.
- Pour enough pure spring water into the pan to cover the flowers.
- Boil, uncovered, for half an hour.
- Remove the pan from the stove and allow the contents to cool outdoors. Once the liquid has cooled, remove the plant material with a small branch from the same plant. Filter the liquid through filter paper. Finally, fill your designated bottle half full and top off with brandy or cognac (1:1).
- The liquid resulting from both methods, sun and boiling, is called the “mother tincture,” from which are prepared the stock bottles that you find at the store.
Making the Stock
Whereas the mother tincture remains with the manufacturer, the stock is the manufacturing end product that reaches distributors and consumers. It is what you find in the bottles at your health food store.
Preparing the stock is the next step after preparing the mother tincture. The process is simple. A one-ounce (30 ml) dropper bottle is filled with brandy or cognac, then 2 drops of the mother tincture are added.
Preparing a Treatment Bottle
Although the remedies can be taken straight from the stock bottle or diluted in a glass of water, it is often convenient to make up a treatment bottle (also called a “dosage” or "dosing" bottle). This is especially helpful when a person needs multiple remedies at one time and when treatment is ongoing, for example in chronic or long-term care. It is also more economical.
To make up a treatment bottle, fill a one-ounce dropper bottle ¾ full with pure spring or filtered water, top off with brandy (or apple cider vinegar for a non-alcoholic alternative), and add 2 drops of each single remedy and/or 4 drops of Rescue Remedy. Typically it is advised that no more than 6 remedies be added to a bottle.
Bach, Edward. The Twelve Healers and Other Remedies (1936). This content has been redacted from some of the modern editions but can be found in its intact original form in Collected Writings of Edward Bach, edited by Julian Barnard (1987, 2007).
Weeks, Nora and Victor Bullen. The Bach Flower Remedies: Illustrations and Preparations. Saffron Walden: The C.W. Daniel Company Limited, 1964.
Barnard, Julian and Martine Barnard. The Healing Herbs of Edward Bach: An Illustrated Guide to the Flower Remedies. Bath: Ashgrove Press, 1988, 1995.
Barnard, Julian. Bach Flower Remedies: The Essence Within. West Wickham: Winter Press, 2010.