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Dr Arthur Bailey Flower Essences

by Sue Ainley(more info)

listed in flower essences, originally published in issue 132 - February 2007

Dr Arthur Bailey is a flower essence producer and expert dowser based in the picturesque rural town of Ilkley, in the Yorkshire Dales. Next spring it will be 40 years since he first started cataloguing his new-found range of essences, and yet very few of his discoveries, in terms of flowers and their unique properties, have been widely published. So far as is known, he was the first person after Dr Bach to start developing new flower remedies.

Like Dr Edward Bach, Dr Bailey has an orthodox scientific background, and despite his lifelong love of flowers and nature, he embarked upon an academic career as an engineering scientist, eventually gaining a PhD and becoming a senior lecturer at Bradford University.

There his new-found interests in the fields of healing and dowsing were looked upon with much scorn. The problem was that Dr Bailey had originally set out to explain dowsing, and its supposedly far-fetched claims, using conventional science. But his experiments surprised him time and time again, and soon his interest in dowsing overtook his academic studies (and would eventually lead him to become President of the British Society of Dowsers). In the 1960s he came across the writings of Dr Bach and was particularly fascinated by the work of Dr Aubrey Westlake, who was perhaps the first ever practitioner to use dowsing to prescribe flower essences.

At this time the Bach Remedies were still largely unknown, indeed apart from two London chemists, they could only be obtained from Nora Weeks – Bach’s long-time assistant who still lived in the same house that Dr Bach had lived in.

Dr Bailey bought a set of the Bach remedies from Nora Weeks and began prescribing them by using his dowsing skills, obtaining very positive results. His experiments led him to wonder if there were, in fact, other flowers out there with curative or healing properties. Equipped with his trusty dowsing pendulum, he began looking in his own garden, and within a short time had found five different flowers. (Rhododendron, Bluebell, Welsh Poppy, Soapwort and Buttercup). From there he made up his new remedies, like Dr Bach did, by floating the flowers in spring water in full sunshine. Brandy was then added as a preservative.
Problems, however, existed in determining the properties of these new flower remedies. It is relatively easy to use dowsing to find out if a certain flower has curative properties, but the difficulties lie in finding out exactly what those properties are.

Dr Bach relied on his own intuition to catalogue his remedies, by taking on a range of differing ‘emotional states’ and then searching for the exact flowers that alleviated them. Thousands of case studies and testimonials, over the years, have proved that this was an accurate method, and Bach essences are still widely used and respected amongst flower essence practitioners and producers.

Over the year, Dr Bailey has also developed his intuition, and says that sometimes flowers draw attention to themselves, rather than his discovering them by dowsing. Nevertheless, it is a slow, and at times, painstaking process to accurately document the healing properties of any particular flower. Over the last 40 years, he has found, and accurately catalogued almost 100 single essences, and created 20 composites or essence blends. The products of his work have generated some incredible results in people who have used the essences.

Many of the dedicated followers of Dr Bach view the 38 Bach essences as a complete system of medicine, needing no additions. However, Bach himself believed at one stage that his first set of 12 essences was complete (before he went on to find a further 26), and since he died little more than six months after finding his last essence, it is perfectly reasonable to assume that some flowers may have escaped his notice. He was, after all, only looking for flowers to heal emotional states, which he believed were at the root of all illnesses.

Interestingly, (and probably as a direct result of his Victorian upbringing), Dr Bach also missed one set of very important emotions from his collection. Emotions that relate to sex can often be very deeply rooted and difficult to overcome – particularly when they are the result of childhood conditioning. To-date, Dr Bailey has discovered Tufted Vetch and Dwarf Purple Vetch (the latter found growing in Cyprus). Both of these flowers can help to resolve sexual difficulties caused by conditioned beliefs or incorrect sexual self-image.

Some of the Bailey essences arose from someone having a particular need, with no obvious flower essences being available to help. One such is Fuji Cherry. This was produced for a lady who had had repeated miscarriages and could find nothing to help. At the time, in the early Spring, a cherry tree was in full bloom and gave a very positive dowsing response. An essence was made from the flowers and given to the lady. Four years later a letter arrived saying that the essence had worked like a charm and they now had two beautiful sons!

Fuji Cherry has also proved to aid relaxation and promote feelings of tranquility. For this reason it is now the key essence in a composite essence that is called Tranquility.

In just the same way an essence called ‘Grief’ was created for a close friend who suffered a sudden and unexpected bereavement. The morning following the news, Dr Bailey went for an early morning walk up on Ilkley Moor. It was misty with no-one else about. He was not expecting to make flower essences, but during that walk four different flowers stood out, so they were collected and an essence made from them. This was made originally for the friend, but it proved to be of universal help for those suffering sudden and irrevocable life changes.

The Bailey Range is now often referred to as ‘a new generation of flower essences’, because they seem to go beyond the treatment of emotional states to address the mental attitudes (mind and spirit) that are often the underlying cause of these problems. Whereas the Bach remedies deal with easily recognizable emotional states – such as anger, fear, worry, etc., the Bailey Essences work on a different level, addressing issues with self-esteem and personal development. Welsh Poppy, for instance, is for those who have become side-tracked in their life, often failing to realize their own gifts. Rhododendron is for those who try too hard to achieve, often by trying to live up to the expectations of others. There are also essences such as the Yin/Yang balancer that help to balance male and female personality traits, and Cyprus Rock Rose, which helps to resolve deeply ingrained terrors or phobias. A whole range of different remedies are available for helping to free people who are locked in negative childhood patterns, or experiencing difficulties that have their roots in the past.

During one fortnight Dr Bailey received two quite differing reports from clients. The first was from one lady who reported that the essences had really woken her up and “that she had kicked her husband into touch – something she should have had the courage to do 20 years ago”! The second was a piece of wedding cake from a grateful client. She said that the essences had made her realize that she just could not live without her boyfriend who had repeatedly asked her to marry him over many years. So she had agreed – hence the wedding cake!

A completely new facet to the essence range opened up one year when Dr Bailey was on a spring holiday in Cyprus. He saw a tiny brilliant blue flower at the roadside whilst driving a car. This he knew needed to be made into an essence. The flower was Blue Pimpernel, a close relative to the Scarlet Pimpernel, which was already used in the essence series. It took some time to determine what this new essence was for. It was not at all obvious. Dr Bailey says that at times it is like trying to solve a detective puzzle, not knowing what the answer may be.

Blue Pimpernel proved to be for re-awakening our links with the source of our being, links that existed when we were born but so often forgotten later on in our life. This was followed by other essences concerned with our spiritual growth and development. The White Lotus essence, made in Bali, is for unifying Mind Body and Spirit. The Sacred Lotus essence, also from Bali, helps to open the Heart Centre, an area where many people have difficulties.

The Bailey Flower Essences have been described and defined, not as fix-all tinctures but as powerful catalysts for change that encourage their users to adopt more positive ways of moving forward into the future and embracing change. These definitions are the result of years of research, feedback and testimonials, and even today, at the age of 73, Dr Bailey is still running courses and working alongside experienced acupuncturists to develop and test a new set of composites that tie in with the five Chinese elements (Water, Fire, Earth, Metal and Wood).

Although Bach’s remedies still remain as effective today as they were when he discovered them, perhaps it is now time to acknowledge the existence of living founders like Dr Bailey, who in their own way have contributed so much to the history of flower essences in Britain.   

Further Information

Anyone interested in the history of flower essences will find two articles on the internet by Peter Morrell fascinating. The first one traces flower essences from the times of the Egyptians to Dr Bach and later;
The second article relates to the London Group of Homoeopaths which came to include Dr Bach;
Bailey Flower Essences may be contacted via Tel: 01943 432012;


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About Sue Ainley

Sue Ainley became interested in Complementary Medicine some 15 years ago. She is married to Robert Ainley, a physiotherapist and masseur. Between them they have set up an organization called Seeing Hands Nepal ( which teaches massage to blind people in Nepal. Without gainful employment the blind in Nepal only have a short life-span as there is no state support there.


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