Teasing Remedies Apart: Wild Oat and Walnut

Whether you are new to the Bach remedy system or have been using it for years, there are times when we find ourselves wondering what the subtle differences are between one remedy and another, or which applies to a particular situation. 

A question was raised recently by one of our students who was puzzled by what she considered to be a contradiction between Walnut and Wild Oat.  

Dr. Bach describes Walnut as being ‘For those who possess well-defined ideals and ambitions in life and are fulfilling them…’, and Wild Oat for ‘Those who have ambitions…’ but that ‘Their difficulty is to determine what occupation to follow…’  So both remedies are for people who have ambitions, but one has determined their path; the other has yet to find it.  

Our student questioned why a person who is of a Wild Oat disposition, having no definite direction, would also need Walnut, who’s direction is well-defined, and asked whether the two remedies were incompatible, given that they appear to have opposite characteristics.  

Similar questions are raised about other remedies too: Mimulus (fear of the known) and Aspen (fear of the unknown); or about Chicory and Red Chestnut, since they are both for those who care about their loved ones.  

We will cover the subtleties between these and other remedies in future blog articles, but first let’s concentrate on the answer to the student’s question regarding Wild Oat and Walnut

To begin, it is important to remember that all the remedies are compatible with each other, so even if two remedies appear to suggest opposite traits, they will not cancel each other out.  

So, let’s consider a couple of scenarios:

 Walnut may be fulfilling their life ambitions, but the key phrase in Dr. Bach’s description is that they are ‘tempted to be led away’.  Once they leave their chosen path they may lose sight of it and find themselves feeling lost; uncertain where to go or how to make their life complete again. Whilst Walnut would help them to stay true to their own convictions, Wild Oat would help them to find their way back and re-focus – or perhaps re-determine what it is they truly want to do.

Now let’s imagine Wild Oat, unable to find that sense of achievement in the first place and dissatisfied with life; they want to do something worthwhile but have no idea what to do or where to find it. The Wild Oat remedy will help them find direction, but until they are firmly on that journey they may be open to suggestion and persuasion by others who may lead them astray.  This is when Walnut will help them to remain constant and not be side-tracked by other people’s influences.

These are just two examples of how these two remedies can work together, but there are many other situations. If in doubt, you may want to think about into which group Dr. Bach placed the remedies.  This is often a helpful reminder of how remedies differ, or why and when apparent ‘opposites’ may be required together.  In this case, Walnut is for those who are ‘Over-sensitive to influences and ideas’.  WIld Oat is ‘For those who suffer uncertainty’. Thinking around where a remedy sits in the system can be key to that clearer understanding of its potential.

Judy Ramsell Howard