Do Bach flower remedies have a role to play in pain control? A critical analysis investigating therapeutic value beyond the placebo effect, and the potential of Bach flower remedies as a psychological method of pain relief

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2007 Aug;13(3):174-83. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2007.03.001. Epub 2007 Apr 23.


This paper explores the potentiality of Bach flower remedies as a means of pain relief through a retrospective case-study analysis to establish how clients suffering with painful conditions responded to the therapy.

Results: Of 384 subjects, 41 suffered pain. Of these, 46% felt treatment had relieved their pain; in 49% the physical outcome was unknown. About 88% of all subjects reported an improvement in their emotional outlook.

Discussion: The role of placebo and its influence on the study's key features: focus shift from physical pain to emotional outlook, and the importance of the client-practitioner relationship and belief in the therapy.

Conclusion: The use of Bach flower remedies has brought about positive emotional changes in the majority of clients in this study. Whilst it is difficult to draw a definitive conclusion as to significance of the therapeutic value of these remedies in relation to pain above that of a placebo, the results are encouraging. In particular, relief of negative emotions and promotion of positive thought including how clients opened up about, and dealt with, emotional issues. The indication is that potential for Bach flower remedies as a therapeutic agent in the relief of pain does exist and is worthy of further qualitative and quantitative investigation through robust, purpose-designed studies to replicate and progress the results shown here.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • England
  • Female
  • Flowers / classification*
  • Herbal Medicine / education*
  • Herbal Medicine / standards
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / psychology
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Phytotherapy / psychology
  • Phytotherapy / standards*
  • Placebo Effect
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Students, Health Occupations
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Plant Extracts