Bach flower essence for emotional eating focuses on the underlying emotional cause of overeating. Unlike traditional herbal medicines which use or infuse parts of the leaf, flower, root or stem into the herbal remedy, Bach flower essences are said to infuse the spirit or soul qualities of the flower into a tincture. They are generally considered safe to use and some animal studies hint that they can be quite effective.
About Bach Flower Remedies
Dr. Edward Bach was a British physician practicing medicine in London around the turn of the 19th century. He distinguished himself by managing hospital wards during World War I. He became interested in homeopathy and began practicing homeopathy along with his traditional medical practice. His keen desire to cure disease by healing the root cause of illness rather than just treat the symptoms of disease led him to discover the flower essences in 1930.
Bach believed that the causes of all illness lay not in viruses, bacteria or outside forces, but in the emotional makeup of the person. Remedies were matched, not to physical symptoms, but to emotional symptoms.
Bach Flower Essence for Emotional Eating
If you struggle with emotional eating, Bach flower essences can offer safe, supportive relief.
Psychologists define emotional eating as eating large quantities of food, especially so-called 'junk food', when feeling strong emotions. Some estimate that as many as 75 percent of all overweight people eat for emotional reasons. Emotional overeating is one reason why many diets fail. Dieters lose the weight on strict food regimens but fail to deal with the underlying emotional reasons why they overeat. Taking steps and using gentle remedies such as flower essence for emotional eating are supportive methods that may help dieters stick with their food programs and lose weight for good.
Choosing a Flower Remedy
The key to choosing the correct remedy or remedies is to identify the underlying emotions behind overeating. When you do this you can match the emotional symptom to the correct flower remedy. With over three dozen remedies, this may seem challenging, but it makes sense if you can obtain a good guide to flower essences.Some practitioners recommend a blend containing the following essences:
- Chestnut Bud (Aesculus hippocastanum): Chestnut bud is a direct flower essence therapy for eating disorders. It's also useful for people who suffer from denial and other symptoms of addiction. Like the other chestnut remedies (Red Chestnut and White Chestnut), it is used by flower essence practitioners to treat any obsessive-compulsive behavior. It is said to help free the individual from compulsions such as eating when facing an uncomfortable situation.
- Cherry Plum (Prunus cerasifera): Cherry Plum is used to treat extremes. It's recommended for extreme emotions such as fear of losing control and for people with self destructive behaviors. While you may not think that compulsive or emotional overeating qualifies as a self destructive behavior, eating yourself into an early grave is anything but a nurturing action. Use cherry plum flower essence on its own or combine with one of the others suggested.
- Crab Apple (Malus sylvestris): Crab apple is also used to treat self destructive behaviors, but with a twist. It also helps people with obsessions. If you find yourself obsessed with food to the point where you cannot control your eating, crab apple flower essence may be helpful. It will also help with intense feelings of guilt and shame. Many emotional eaters feel intense shame, either about their present eating behavior or about something that happened in the past that triggers their present destructive behavior.
How to Use Flower Essences
Flower essences are sold at health food stores nationwide. They come in small bottles of essence preserved with a bit of brandy. While you can make your own, it's more convenient to purchase it.
Always use a product marked as a flower essence. If there's an herbal remedy of the same name, it does not have the same effect as a flower essence. Flower essences are gathered by collecting either the dew that forms on the flower and preserving it with a little alcohol, or infusing the flowers or buds in spring water for a certain amount of time, then preserving the final mixture. It's a different process than that which is used to make tinctures, teas and herbal supplements.
Most essences are quite safe to use. Mix several drops according to package directions into water and sip the mixture. The taste may be a bit unpleasant due to the brandy preservative. You may see an effect immediately, or it may take several days.
There are no known side effects from flower essences, nor are there any interactions. If you have, or suspect you have, an eating disorder such as bulimia or anorexia, do seek professional treatment. These eating disorders are very difficult to overcome on your own.
Criticism of Flower Essences
Flower essences sound a lot like something out of a science fiction novel, and even in his own time, Dr. Bach was heavily criticized. Critics contend that flower essences are nothing more than water and brandy and that any positive effect is due to what is known as the placebo effect. The placebo effect means that positive results come from the patient's belief in the remedy, not the remedy itself.
No matter whether you firmly believe in the power of flower essences or think they're just another snake oil sold to unwitting victims, many people have reported relief from their symptoms after taking them. Some holistic veterinarians, animal trainers and animal behavior experts report excellent results from flower essences. And unlike humans, animals aren't subject to the placebo effect. Flower essences may become a useful alternative remedy for you.