Making mother tinctures

Making White ChestnutThe Bach Centre's heritage

Dr Bach taught his assistants Nora Weeks and Victor Bullen how to make remedies and all about the plants that should be used. Nora and Victor in turn trained John Ramsell and Nickie Murray, and when Nickie retired from the Centre John taught remedy-making to his daughter Judy Ramsell Howard.

Judy is the current Managing Director of the Centre, and she and her husband Keith between them have fifty years' experience of making remedies.

The Centre has always been involved in making mother tinctures. That continues today in our work as teachers, even though we are no longer directly involved in the commercialisation of remedies.

How remedies are made

Two methods are used to make remedies. Most of the more delicate flowers are prepared using the sun method. This involves floating the flower heads in pure water for three hours, in direct sunlight.

Woodier plants, and those that bloom when the sun is weak, are generally prepared by the boiling method - i.e. boiling the flowering parts of the plant for half an hour in pure water.

In both cases once heat has transferred the energy in the flowers to the water, the energised water is mixed with an equal quantity of brandy. This mix is the mother tincture.

Mother tincture is further diluted into brandy (at a ratio of two drops of mother tincture to 30 ml of brandy) to make the stock bottles that you see in the shops.

Remedy-making today

Up until 1991 the Bach Centre prepared, diluted and bottled its own remedies at Mount Vernon and sent them out to shops all over the world.

As world demand grew the Centre was unable to keep up, and we took the decision between 1991 and 1993 to sell our remedy-making business to an independent family-owned company called Nelsons. This left the Bach Centre free to concentrate on education and its work with practitioners.

Nowadays there are many companies making the 38 remedies. Any well-made remedy will work as well as any other. Our advice is to pick a brand you trust.

Here at the Centre we stock the Nelsons brand because it is made from local plants, many of which grow wild in the Bach Centre garden. The Nelsons remedy-maker has been trained by Judy and Keith, and uses many locations that were first identified by Dr Bach in the 1930s.

Mother tinctures are made by hand and in small quantities. Visit the Centre on a sunny spring or summer morning and you are likely to see the bowls laid out to catch the sun.