Potential Bach Flower Remedies For Psychological Stress Due To Lockdown Measures: A Literature Review - homeopathy360

Potential Bach Flower Remedies For Psychological Stress Due To Lockdown Measures: A Literature Review

Authors: Dr Ruchi Singh1, Dr Astha Mathur2

  1. Associate Professor, Dept of Organon of Medicine & Homoeopathic Philosophy, Dr. MPK Homoeopathic medical College, Hospital & Research Centre, Homoeopathy University, Jaipur
  2. Assistant Professor, Dept of Pharmacy, Dr. MPK Homoeopathic medical College, Hospital & Research Centre, Homoeopathy University, Jaipur

Social distancing and lockdown measures, the most essential and effective preventive measures for COVID-19, have put millions of people in confinement for over a month. Fear of disease coupled with psychosocial issues related to family and occupation is creating psychosocial distress on the society. Various measures like diet, exercise, well- regulated lifestyle have been advised for maintaining and improving health, physical and psychological. Bach Flower medicines are flower essences that help to provide a positive emotional state. This literature review presents BFR’s and their potential indications for emotional distress.
Keywords- Bach Flower Remedies, Emotions, Stress, Anxiety
Introduction: Humanity today is facing a worldwide medical as well as psychological threat from COVID 19 pandemic. Social distancing and lockdown measures have emerged as the most important preventive measures against the spread of this pandemic. People all over the world are coping with medical as well as psychosocial impact of this pandemic, directly and/or indirectly. General public has faced psychosocial stress of over 2 months. Various studies have reported on psychological impact of the present scenario.1-4 Anxiety, fear and depression seem to pervade humanity. These emotional states negatively impact health and immunity in themselves.

Bach Flower Remedies deal with states of mind and emotions. Edward Bach, a medical doctor and one of the earliest homoeopaths at the beginning of 20th century, discovered flower remedies also known as Bach flower remedies (BFRs) which are a widely-available, popular form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) consisting of 38 remedies that correspond to negative emotional states5,6 and are commonly recommended by practitioners for psychological problems and pain. 7

Bach Flower Remedies (BFRs), according to Bach, provide “a positive emotional state that is conducive to the restoration of a healthy equilibrium and by acting to catalyze an individual’s own internal resources for maintaining balance.They are believed to assist the body in healing itself by restoration of balance. They are commonly used for psychological problems and stress.8

BFRs are considered safe, however few controlled prospective trials of BFRs for psychological problems and pain exist and some report that there is no evidence of benefit compared with a placebo intervention. 9 However the BFE Rescue Remedy has shown effectiveness in reducing high levels of situational anxiety.10

There are 38 Bach flower remedies. There are no known side effects. Upto three Bach flower remedies can be given in chronic diseases and can be repeated as often as upto three to five times daily. 8

Methodology: Literature on Bach flower remedies was searched for medicines with indications suitable for fear of diseases and effect of solitude and confinement and their corresponding emotional states, Further differentiating factors of BFR’s were listed and tabulated for easy comparison.
Psychological impact of lockdown measures for COVID 19 on general public showed prominent common mental symptoms as1-4:

  • Anxiety- anxious reactions
  • Depression
  • Post traumatic stress syndrome
  • Fear of disease- for self, family and friends
  • Insomnia
  • High perceived stress

A review of Bach flower remedies11-12, helped to understand their indications which were tabulated as follows:
Bach flower remedy is mentioned in the last column.

Anticipation Of vague fears, unknown reason Aspen
Of failure Larch, Mimulus
Of unfortunate things that may happen to others Red Chestnut  
Anxiety / worry For extremely capable people who feel suddenly unable to cope Elm  
For a feeling of inadequacy Elm  
For anxiety about the welfare of others Red Chestnut  
For no apparent reason Aspen
For anxiety attacks Rescue Remedy
For having to make a choice between two things Scleranthus  
Anxious to please Centaury-Over one’s life direction Wild Oat
Broken By news Star of Bethlehem
By exhaustion Olive
By overwork Vervain, Oak, Centaury
By stress Vervain, Elm, Agrimony
In crisis situations Rescue Remedy
Claim Responsibility for others Pine
Desires, with irrational desperation Cherry Plum
Desires, as means of escape Agrimony, Clematis
Morbid obsession with Clematis, Mustard, Sweet Chestnut
Depression stages   After a physical or emotional shock Star of Bethlehem  
For being overworked and feeling frustrated Oak
For dark feelings without any apparent reason Mustard
For emotional tensions kept hidden from others Agrimony
For feelings of hopelessness Gorse
For longing the past Honeysuckle
For mild depression caused by setback and disappointment Gentian
For the lack of faith in one’s ability Larch
For the lack of faith in oneself Cerato
For those who are resigned Wild Rose
For being unhappy in present circumstances Clematis
When feeling anguished beyond endurance Sweet Chestnut
When feeling that people take advantage of us, that the world is unfair Willow
Depression   For known reason; due to set-back Gentian
For unknown causes Mustard
Hopeless Gorse
Feeling like a dark cloud suddenly descending Mustard
Introspective Willow
Feels task too hard to undertake Elm
Pessimistic Gorse, Gentian
Utter dejection Sweet Chestnut
Despair   No hope of change in outer circumstances Gorse, Gentian
Due to terror Rock Rose
Pessimistic hopelessness Gorse
Helpless, heartbroken Sweet Chestnut
Cause unknown Mustard
Self blame/guilt Pine
Shock Star of Bethlehem
Of living Cherry Plum
Despondency Through lack of confidence Larch
From self-reproach/guilt Pine
Through feeling of inadequacy Elm
From shock, bad news Star of Bethlehem
Through limitation of illness Oak
From feeling of uncleanness Crab Apple
Due to embitterment Willow
Cause unknown Mustard
Due to frustration Vervain
Through over work Vervain, Oak, Elm
Through tiredness Hornbeam, Olive
Complete anguish Sweet Chestnut
Despondency after setback Gentian.  
Dissatisfaction   Due to not finding right way in life Wild Oat
Due to frustration and restriction Walnut, Vervain
Emergency For no hope Rock Rose
Home sickness   Honeysuckle
Illness   Frustrated by Oak
Simulates illness   Chicory, Heather, Willow
Fear of   Mimulus
When depleted energy Olive
Loneliness   Enjoys and often prefers to be alone Water Violet
Prefers to work alone Impatiens
Is reluctant to be alone Agrimony, Heather, Chicory, Mimulus, Vervain
As an escape Clematis
Because of intense sadness Star of Bethlehem
Seeks companionship constantly Heather
Phobias   For the everyday fears of known things- (snakes, spiders, being late…) Mimulus  
For unknown fears, vague and dark Aspen
For fear turning to terror and perhaps panic Rock Rose
For fear that the mind is going to fall apart Cherry Plum
Fear of someone’s safety Red Chestnut
For the pre- or post-treatment of any kind of shock, physical or mental, for emergencies,emotional upsets, panic attacks Rescue Remedy  
Tension By nature Beech, Impatiens, Rock Water, Vervain, Vine
Due to shock Star of Bethlehem
Due to fear Mimulus, Aspen ,Rock Rose,Cherry Plum
Fearful for others Red Chestnut
Constantly worried for others Chicory, Red Chestnut
Tiredness and Fatigue For those who feel physically and mentally exhausted Olive
When feeling unable to cope with the day Hornbeam
From being so anxious to do well and please others Centaury
From a lack of interest in life, dreamy type Clematis
From resignation to an unsatisfactory life Wild Rose
Generally strong, but momentarily stressed and despondent Oak
When feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities Elm
When constantly bothered by inner arguments White Chestnut
  Through a lack of flexibility for oneself (high expectations) Rock Water
Uncleanliness Feeling of uncleanliness Crab Apple
Unsatisfied With one self if ill Oak  
Unsatisfied with own actions Pine
Unstable-Generally Walnut
Overwhelming thoughts White Chestnut
Because of indecision Scleranthus
Because of guilt Pine

Discussion & Conclusion: As humanity faces this monstrous threat, there is a need for finding safer alternative measures to maintain psychosocial health. Importance of general measures like meditation, healthy diet and lifestyle needs to be understood and adequately applied. Each patient suffering from psychological distress needs a comprehensive evaluation for effective case management.

Remedy profiles of Bach flower remedies present various symptomatology which may be felt by people under lockdown. BFRs when indicated by symptoms of patient can offer a safe way of treating emotional conditions associated with psychosocial impact of lockdown measures. The effect of these medicines needs to be further explored in clinical research.


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