Samuel Hahnemann discovered 1796 homeopathy by questioning the academic teaching regarding how remedies works. Edward Bach already knew homeopathy in the 1930s, but his approach was to create a small set of remedies in order to cover all emotional imbalances of a human being.
In short: the difference between homeopathic and Bach Flower remedies lies in the number of remedies, in the technique of anamnesis in order to chose the right remedy, in the dosage and mixture, on which level the remedies acts and finally also how the remedies are made.
Number of remedies
Homeopathy knows over 5000 remedies. Bach Flowers only 38. The reason in this huge difference lies in the approach of the therapy. In homeopathy the therapist tries to find the most similar remedy for the entirety of the symptoms. This requires to invest time and energy into research of new remedies, because people change and their illness becomes more complex. This is a fact that even Hahnemann find out during his life time, while he encountered the phenomena of miasm, illness which are based on a collective issue rather than only on an individual one.
While Hahnemann knew approximately 120 remedies, almost all self proved, 100 years later James Tyler Kent knew about 300. Soon this number grew to thousands, thanks also to a growing community of homeopathic researcher. Today most of these 5000 remedies are not really available to buy from a pharmacy. Still someone use a remedy-maker (radionics) for creating the more “exotic” ones, like pure Carbon which would immediately react with the carrier material and therefore it is not possible to produce a remedy in a classical way.
On the other hand Bach Flowers are only 38 and this number is a static one. It is based on a system of thought from Edward Bach, to help the laymen to identify for themselves which remedy could help. He wrote the book entitled “Heal Thyself“, in which he explained the cause of illness, which is the mind and the emotional level of our being. By identifying the primary disturbances which can occur during a life time, difficulties from adolescence towards growing old, problems from traumas and delusions, he searched in nature for flowers which resonates with these 38 different frequencies. Therefore he limited the number on 38. He wanted a really simple set of remedies based on a simply theory, which every laymen could use.
Naturally Dr. Edward Bach used also homeopathy. Indeed he studied and used homeopathy before his discovery of the flower remedies. Many Bach Flower therapists today don’t limit themselves on only 38 original flowers, but they use other flower essences, like California or the Australian Bush Flowers. Some added essences from gem stones too. But they don’t rely on the simple system of 38 character types set.
Technique of anamnesis and repertorisation
In homeopathy a therapist collects all symptoms and inserts them into a repertory software, which helps let’s say to identify the first 10 more similar remedies from the thousands of available remedies. Then the therapist looks into the materia medica (the word for pharmacology in homeopathy) for more details and see if the whole case is similar to the remedies he found. There are countless other variations of these technique, but more or less a complex repertory and a huge materia medica library is used for the process of remedy identification. Other recent techniques involves asking techniques to identify the core essence of the delusion (Sankaran*), or to identify the general plant family (Jan Scholten*) and by using these techniques one can pinpoint a possible remedy, even a not well known one, thanks to the systematic and knowledge about the groups and families of remedies.
*Note: when I mention Sankaran or Jan Scholten it doesn’t mean they discovered these techniques all by themselves, but they was the ones who promoted it first inside the community and researched it further. Naturally plant families or groups of minerals are used by countless other homeopaths, like for example Mangialavori. And Sankaran too is an expert in plant families. They all share their ideas with each others and contribute to a real progress in homeopathy.
While homeopathy did have a progress, Bach Flowers stood still in their technique. Mostly the therapists today use a questionnaire, really simple, and this gives ok results in most cases. But some therapists use the same techniques they know from other therapy methods. For example homeopaths who use also Bach Flowers will use their modern techniques of anamnesis for Bach Flowers and then they obtain more precise results.
Dosage and mixture
In classic homeopathy a single dose is used. Mixtures of remedies are avoided, because multiple remedies would obfuscate the identification of the one most similar remedy (simile or similimum) and the potential exist that the remedies cancels each others out. Because the remedies works deep and long in higher potencies, the therapist instructs his patients to wait at least a few weeks before repeating the dose. In case where the patient is too weak, a daily dose of a lower and more gentle potency (Q-potencies) is preferred.
Bach Flowers remedies instead are mixed together in a bottle with water and a bit of alcohol in order to make it more durable. The rule of thumb is to not exceed a maximum of seven remedies for each prescription. From this bottle with the further diluted remedies the patient takes 3 times a day a few drops. Dietmar Krämer, a German therapist, writes in his books that he instructs to take every day one drop of the undiluted Bach Flower if the case requires it. This works a lot stronger and faster. In few cases therapists with classic homeopathy background prefers to give a only a single remedy and not a mixture. This all depends on the experience and preferences of the therapist.
Level of action
There is no doubt that both, homeopathy and Bach Flowers, acts on energetic levels, beyond the physical realm. The energetic level could be considered the pre-physical level, from which their morphic field informs the physical realm and change potentials without any interference with the law of energy conservation.
It is said that Bach Flowers acts more on the emotional and “spiritual” level, whatever “they” mean with spiritual. I regard the spiritual level as the level of the free will and this is not addressable by any homeopathic or Bach Flower remedies. Maybe some confusion regarding the vocabulary exists. Most times when a therapist means “spiritual”, they mean indeed the mind level of the person, the ability of having clear thoughts and to communicate without emotional impediments.
Homeopathic remedies exists in different potencies. A lower potency acts better for the body and less for mind symptoms. The typical C200 is a middle way compromise, which address all 3 levels of mind, emotions and body. A good potency to start with. Here also exist a lot of different preferences. Some therapists works exclusively with the Q-potencies, which are highly diluted, but lack the long series of succussion. The dynamically shaking of the remedy in a bottle is called the succussion, an integral part of the dynamisation of the remedy. During this process kinetic energy is added to the carrier material and the remedy becomes stronger. A remedy in an D1000 potency for example will produce artificial symptoms and a strong initial aggravation. Therefore such potencies are generally not used. The intention of the therapist is to gently stimulate the energy field of their patients and not to shake it violently.
Somehow Bach Flowers and homeopathic remedies don’t act on the very same level or at least they don’t interfere with each other. This is used by some therapists to give a few Bach Flowers additionally during a homeopathic therapy in order to stabilize the emotional sphere. (Or they are used as a placebo, when the patient cannot believe that a homeopathic single dose of a few globule could ever exert any effect.)
How they are made
Homeopathic remedies require kinetic energy during a succussion or trituration. Bach Flowers are made by putting the flowers into a pot of water and exposed to sunlight. The light of the sun shines through the petals of the flower and transfers the information to the water. This gentle approach of making the Bach Flowers is reflected in their gentle impact they have on the organism. On the contrary the homeopathic remedies have a stronger impact and could produce artificial symptoms.