I love using Bach flower remedies for children. Not only are they effective, but they’re also safe for people of all ages.
I’d like to share some ideas on how and when I use them, but first, I need to explain what they are.
What are Bach Flower remedies?
If you look in any health shop, you will find tiny little glass dropper bottles with names of plants on them. The most common brand is made by Bach, although you can find other ones too, such as Bush Flower Essences.
Essentially, the energy of flowers, captured in a bottle, can be used for healing your emotions and changing your mood.
They were discovered by Dr Edward Bach (pronounced Batch) in the 1920s and 1930s, who was a doctor, bacteriologist and pathologist (you can read more about his background here). Through many years of research, he found that certain plants and flowers had an effect on our feelings, and devised a system using 38 different flowers to treat a wide range of emotions.
They are made with flowers and spring water, but not in the same way as a herbal tincture, where plant material is physically diffused into alcohol. The energy or life force of the flowers is captured by the sun and infused into the water; the result is bottled with brandy as a preservative. A small bottle will last a long time as only a few drops are required, making each treatment extremely cost effective. The amount of alcohol in a single dose is minute and unlikely to cause adverse effects as it can be used diluted in even more water.
I have experimented with them for decades and I believe they genuinely do work! I use Bach flower remedies for children, adults, animals, plants and the environment and have observed positive effects; even from babies, which rules out the placebo effect.
You can mix more than one flower remedy for your child and this is especially helpful when you’re not quite sure which ones to use. You can choose up to six in combination, so you can really tailor your treatment.
Examples of when to use flower remedies for children
All children have to learn how to cope with their emotions, and it’s difficult, especially due to the fact that they don’t have the vocabulary or experience to analyse their feelings. As a parent, we can often see what is wrong, but it’s not always easy to help a child to understand or see things in a different way.
This is where flower remedies come into their own. So many intense feelings can be ameliorated and calmed with a few doses, bringing your child back to their usual selves.
Here are some situations where they might be useful. The recommended remedies are highlighted in blue.
- Temper tantrums: Bach flower remedies are great for toddlers (and older children) who have bouts of uncontrollable rage, where they kick and scream because they can’t have their own way. Often it is over something insignificant but they are incapable of expressing or controlling their feelings. If your child is prone to tantrums, it is helpful to carry a flower remedy mix in your bag, especially when out shopping!
Try Impatiens (for those who are irritated by constraints and feel impatient), Vervain (feeling wilful, insistent), Vine (being dominating, tyrannical), Holly (feeling angry, envious or vengeful), Willow (for resentment and thinking that life is unfair).
- Fear: We all go through times of feeling afraid, even as adults. I’ve found that children often go through stages of having nightmares or imagined fears about the dark. Whatever the reason, real or imagined, a few drops of a flower remedy can help before, during or after an event.
Try Rock Rose (feeling of terror, dread or alarm), Mimulus (if you know what the specific fear is), Aspen (if the fear is unknown, vague)
- Anxiety, worry and change: Perhaps a child is due to have an exam or is worried about a pet, friend or family member. When my daughter was five years old I moved her to a new school and she seemed fine, she wasn’t visibly upset and didn’t cry, but I noticed she had developed a twitch, where she kept on opening her mouth really wide. I gave her flower remedies to help and she quickly settled into her new life, leaving the twitch behind. Big changes are hard for the whole family to cope with, but these remedies can help to ease things along.
Try Agrimony (if the suffering is hidden behind a carefree mask), Aspen (unknown, haunting apprehension), Red Chestnut (worrying for others), Walnut (protection from outside changes and influences), Mimulus (a specific fear), White Chestnut (thoughts that keep circling in the mind).
- Insomnia: This affects all of us from time to time! The right remedy can be so helpful if you can pinpoint what is causing the lack of sleep. I never used this on my babies when they were young, because I couldn’t tell what was causing it and it is also (unfortunately) natural for babies to be awake a lot when unweaned. However, Bach flower remedies can definitely be used for insomnia in older children, since they can tell you how they feel. If someone can’t sleep, a few drops can help them to drift off.
My favourite is White Chestnut, as this addresses unresolved thoughts that keep going round and round. Impatiens is good for that restless, tense and impatient feeling. If lack of sleep is due to fear, anxiety or worry, it is best to treat that specific feeling instead (see above).
- Feeling discouraged or depressed: If your child is feeling like they can’t manage something, is feeling despondent and overwhelmed, there are several flower remedies which might help. Feeling low like this can have its roots in a lot of different situations, you will need to analyse exactly what is causing it and which feelings are coming up most. Here are some remedies which might be useful:
Try Gentian (discouragement,, doubt, despondency), Elm (overwhelmed with responsibility), Hornbeam (when someone feels weary and can’t cope), Mustard (for that feeling of impending doom and gloom), Wild Rose (lack of interest in life, can’t see the point in anything) and Sweet Chestnut (unendurable desolation).
- Daydreamer: This word was always written in my school reports as a child! It felt like too much effort to engage with what was really happening, and school work seemed so boring. It was much more fun to be in my own world! This feeling is especially true of people who are introverts, as their inner world is so rich and interesting. Unfortunately, this is generally not useful if some level of concentration is required for a task. These remedies can help to refocus and ground someone into the present moment.
Try Clematis (drowsy, absent minded dreamer), Honeysuckle (living in memories), Chestnut Bud (when lack of observation makes you repeat mistakes and not learn from them).
How to mix the flower remedies
The Bach flower remedies you buy in the store are the ‘stock’ remedies, which can be mixed and diluted in another bottle.
You can buy mixing bottles with droppers or spray tops, whichever you feel is easier to use. Spray bottles are really handy for kids who won’t stay still or for when you’re out and about. Dropper bottles are good for keeping in the fridge and adding to drinks at home.
Be sure to get labels to write what is in each bottle (with the date). From experience, I know that I always forget exactly what’s inside, which is no good if you have more than one or want to make the same thing again.
To mix, you need 30ml plain water. I normally use filtered, boiled then cooled, but any kind will do as long as it is clean.
To your 30ml of water, add 2 drops of each chosen stock remedy (up to a maximum of 6 different remedies). If you are comfortable using alcohol, you can add a little vodka or brandy to act as a preservative. As I am making it for children I tend to leave out the alcohol and just remake it every four or five days. You can also put it in the fridge and it will last about a week.
To administer, give your child 4 drops or 4 sprays, 4 times a day or more often if it is an acute situation. If using drops, they can be put directly into any drink, such as milk or juice.
Don’t worry if you haven’t got the right remedy or use too much, it won’t cause any harm.
For a one off or an emergency, neat stock remedies can also be used straight on the tongue as they don’t have to be diluted. Note that they are not ‘stronger’ taken this way, as dilution has little effect on the efficacy. They still work wonderfully when diluted.
Other methods of use
Apart from orally, Bach flower remedies can be administered to children on the skin and even in bath water! For skin use I would normally dilute it because of the alcohol. A few drops of stock concentrate can be mixed with a plain skin cream and massaged in, and can be added to bath water.
Sometimes I use flower remedies as a room spray! For example, if I wanted to treat insomnia, I would add calming lavender essential oil, White Chestnut and Impatiens to a water spray bottle. Just shake and spray for a lovely, relaxing feeling before bedtime.
Try out Bach flower remedies on your children and let me know how you got on. Have you got any other tips? I would love for you to share them with me in the comments below.