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Rescue Remedy review: first time use under trying circumstances

Taking one of these little natural remedy pastilles can help you endure unpleasant situations like a bus ride in Los Angeles.
Taking one of these little natural remedy pastilles can help you endure unpleasant situations like a bus ride in Los Angeles.
VL Jackson

Bach's Rescue Remedy


Perhaps the first time you try a product it should be under so-called “normal” conditions—when there are no wild card type factors involved. When, on the other hand, you elect to use something in very difficult surroundings, counting on the advertised effects to kick in while undergoing severe trial, it can be akin to seeing if a life jacket works when you’re drowning, bleeding and the sharks are closing in.

This was much like the initial experimentation by a person hereinafter referred to as “Subject” with a variety of the Bach Flower remedies called “Rescue.” These homeopathic treatments, developed from floral essences by Dr. Edward Bach in the 1930s, are meant to ease the stresses caused by a number of different emotional and mental conditions. A blend of five of the essences is called the Rescue remedy and is sold commercially in several forms. You can buy it as a spray, a pastille (really more like a gumdrop), drops, chewing gum, or pearls. There are also forms of the remedy suited to children or animals.

The flowers used in “Rescue” are: helianthemum nummularium (rock rose), clematis vitalba, impatiens glandulifera, prunus cerasifera (cherry plum), and ornithogalum unbellatum (Star of Bethlehem). Each of these plants has a specific purpose, according to Dr. Bach’s theories. Rock rose, as the packaging claims, is for “courage and presence of mind.” The clematis’ contribution is for “focus when ungrounded.” Some people interpret that as being beneficial for attention deficit problems. The impatiens plant—in tune with its name—assists with “patience with problems and people.” Cherry plum helps the user to have a “balanced mind when losing control.” Finally, Star of Bethlehem’s claim to fame is that it “softens impact of shock.” This could be useful in aiding those suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

So when did “Subject” decide, rather than waiting until arriving back home, to sample one of the pastilles purchased at her neighborhood CVS Pharmacy? Right when she deemed it most applicable: shortly before boarding a Metro bus in the San Fernando Valley (Los Angeles). Given the extreme overcrowding at any given time on one of these vehicles, and the often belligerent behavior of the passengers, it seemed like an optimal time to put “Rescue” to the test.

Certainly the impatiens’ contribution toward patience with people was a deciding influence. The cherry plum’s promised effect of a balanced mind when losing control was another vote in favor of taking a chance on this product. The combination of the bus ride’s unpleasant circumstances and the tendency of “Subject” to panic in crowded conditions made it seem more like a lifeline than a little gummy candy. The added inactive ingredients, which include black currant as a natural flavor, made it pleasant to take, with no difficulty in chewing or swallowing. However, the fact that it needs time to melt down and enter the user’s digestive system is a disadvantage. Perhaps if she had consumed it a bit sooner it would have worked faster.

For diabetics and anyone wishing to eschew sugar, be warned: this product is sweetened with a combination of sorbitol, malitol, isomalt, and xylitol. Sorbitol and xylitol, especially, are not to be taken in large quantities as they have a rather nasty laxative effect. What good is it to take several doses of this remedy in the expectation of calming down, only to have to frantically race off to the nearest bathroom? Other (more benign) inactive ingredients include gum arabic, citric acid, vegetable oil, beeswax, and natural coloring agents such as red cabbage, elder and black carrot.

Now, as for the perceived results experienced by “Subject”: before the short bus ride ended, she did sense a relaxation of muscles as opposed to tension. This specifically was expressed in a lessening of the usual tightness in the muscles of the respiratory system, which often plagues those with asthma and other breathing problems. That specific aspect was most likely due to the presence of the substances amygdalin and prunasin, which, when used in minute amounts, can be helpful to respiration and relaxation. These chemicals—found in the cherry plum contained in “Rescue”—break down in water, becoming hydrocyanic acid. Also known more commonly as cyanide, this is not something you would care to ingest in large quantities. However, in the extremely small quantity used in the Bach remedies, a little goes a long way.

Overall, “Subject” did not experience a great sense of passivity as some might expect from even one dose, which contains approximately four drops of the remedy. What she did gain from this last-minute (and somewhat desperate) action was enough loosening up, physically, to endure an extremely unpleasant situation without becoming drowsy. While many muscle-relaxants and other products that promise to alleviate stress overwhelm the user with a sense of turning into a pile of mush, “Rescue” enables you to proceed with enough calmness to at least remain in control of yourself and literally breathe easily. That’s quite an achievement for anyone forced to undergo a bus ride in Los Angeles.