In a lecture by Bach, he said that flower essences were to be prepared in the 3rd, 4th and 7th potencies. What does Bach mean by this?

In Patricia Kaminski's book Flowers that Heal, she says that essences are rhythmically potentized at least twice following dilution. I am confused by this. I thought that the words "dilution" and "potentization" only applied to homeopathics.

Does this mean each time we shake a dosage bottle it becomes further potentized? Is there a point when potentizing an essence would make it a true homeopathic, i.e. operating by the law of similars, or does further potentizing simply strengthen it's impact according to the law of resonance?

March 27, 2002

The word "potentized" can be a general term used in various contexts with energetic or vibrational medicine. It refers to any of a number of methods that release the potential of a substance from its physical matrix so it can operate in an energetic field.

Homeopathic potentization is a very specific form of potentization which was developed by Samuel Hahnemann. It involves serial dilutions by factors of 10 or 100 with succussion. Anthroposophical remedies (for example, by Weleda or Wala) are also potentized, using a variety of methods which include vortices and rhythmic movements of liquids, exposure to warmth and light rhythms, and so on. Biodynamic field and compost preparations are potentized through a dynamic stirring method.

So, in that sense, we can refer to flower essence preparation as another kind of potentization. We consider that the preparation of the mother essence itself as potentization since we are working with the four alchemical elements in an etherically enhanced environment, with an attitude of sacredness and mindfulness. Patricia in her book refers to additional methods we personally use in preparing the mother and stock essences, which involve various rhythms and vortices in the liquid to bring vitalizing forces into the essence. These are not methods developed specifically by Dr. Bach, but ones that we have added out of our own understanding of the elemental forces which work in flower essences, and the ways in which the human being can enhance their healing power.

Regarding your question about potentizing the dosage bottle, the rhythmic shaking of the dosage bottle is not the same as a homeopathic potentization (dilution and succussion) which "raises" the substance to a further homeopathic potency. We consider that we are simply "waking up" the remedy, with the understanding that the water element is in its most vital and natural state when it is in movement.

We have come across various attempts to create "homeopathic" versions of flower essences. For example, some have taken the Bach remedies and then made 30X homeopathic potencies of these. The idea behind this is that they are somehow "stronger" than normal flower remedies. My understanding is that these remedies do take on characteristics of homeopathic remedies, or at least a kind of "hybrid." They can produce aggravations if the wrong remedy is taken. (Flower essences tend to be "duds" if not indicated. They only "stir the pot" if they are in some way "on target.") Homeopathic remedies can also change indications at different potency levels, so I am not sure that this has been adequately explored by those who prepare these hybrids. It may be that they have some therapeutic value, but they appear to be much different than standard flower essences. The attraction is that like middle or high potency homeopathics, they have a "compelling" effect, which can break through blockages, but involves less of the self-awareness of the patient than is possible with flower essences.

Your question about Bach's reference to higher potencies is quite intriguing. (* See page 163 in the Collected Writings of Edward Bach, edited by Barnard, in an article called "Some Fundamental Considerations of Disease and Cure," published in Homeopathic World.) Further in that same article (page 171) he describes his sun preparation method, by which blossoms are collected in the morning and floated on the surface of a bowl of water, exposed to the unobscured sun. What he is calling 3rd, 4th and 7th potencies are the mother essences taken from the bowl at the 3rd, 4th and 7th hours, rather than homeopathically potentized remedies. This fits with the idea expressed earlier that the flower essence preparation itself is a kind of (non-homeopathic) potentization process.

One thing to keep in mind is that Bach was ever-evolving in his work. When Bach started making flower remedies in 1928, he made his first three remedies in a conventional homeopathic way by preparing a tincture from the macerated plant. He then adapted the alchemical process of collecting the solarized dew drops from the flowers. This was adapted to become the sun method described above, and later he added the boiling method. The article cited was written in 1930, very early in his work. Note that he describes two remedies, Cotyledon and Arvensis, which were later dropped.

We can thus understand Bach's reference to higher potencies by recognizing that he was still in transition from a homeopathic way of thinking to a flower essence way of thinking. The idea of higher potencies for flowers left longer in the sun seems to have disappeared after 1930, as it does not show up in his book The Twelve Healers which describes the preparation method (nor in Free Thyself, which dates from 1932.) The flowers are left in bowl until they begin to wilt, not an arbitrary number of hours. In other words, there is one potency which is finished when the flowers have given their energy to the water. Then this is taken and diluted into the stock. It's interesting that in Bach's writing the stock bottle was used for giving dosages, not a second dilution. You can see the evolutionary steps: first he is making homeopathic tinctures of flowers. Then he collects dew. Next he makes a sun infusion in a bowl of water, calculating the potency by the number of hours in the sun. Then he considers the sun method as a single potency, the time determined by the process itself, with a single dilution. Later Bach (or his successors) use the second dilution for giving dosages.

Many consider that Bach's work is fixed and unalterable, but it's clear that while Bach lived, it was constantly evolving. We best honor his legacy by continuing to explore and understand the deeper meaning of flower essence therapy. The Flower Essence Society welcomes your insights and comments about this important topic of flower essences and homeopathy.

Richard Katz

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