Rescue Remedy Review – It Didn’t Work For me

photo of a pack of rescue remedy

Bach’s Rescue Remedy is an unusual alternative medicine and in some ways a controversial one.

It’s widely used around the world, yet reviews of scientific studies have found that it’s no better than a placebo (more on that in the evidence section further in the article).

Despite the lack of research evidence, it’s produced on a commercial level and even sold in supermarkets alongside established medicines.

Since I’m always on the lookout for new sleep and anxiety products to test, I was particularly interested in the version created to help you sleep – Rescue Night Liquid Melts.

As with previous over the counter sleep aids I’ve tried over the years, I decided to test it for a week and see what effect it had.

Following that, I then tried out the traditional Rescue Remedy during the day to see if it would help my stress levels.

I also researched how it works to see if I could demystify it. So if you’re thinking of trying it yourself, you’ll find out what you need to know in this review.

What is Rescue Remedy?

Rescue Remedy is the most famous of many remedies sold under the brand of Bach Flower. They were developed by Edward Bach, an English homeopath, in the 1930s.

According to their website, Rescue Remedy isn’t technically a remedy, but a blend of 5 different remedies. The idea is that it’s a one-size-fits-all solution when you’re in need of some help with stress or anxiety.

And that’s where I think the name ‘Rescue Remedy’ itself is genius. It’s interesting to read customer reviews on places like Amazon or the mumsnet.com forums. You’ll find people admitting they were attracted to the name or the tagline of ‘comfort and reassurance’.

Whether you’re doing something stressful like your driving test or exams, or just in need of a little help with the stresses of daily life, Rescue Remedy is on hand to help you get through it.

Ingredients

The traditional Rescue Remedy contains the following ingredients:

  • Impatiens
  • Star of Bethlehem
  • Cherry Plum
  • Rock Rose
  • Clematis
  • 27% grape-based brandy

If you look at one of the several websites which use the brand name ‘Bach remedies’, you’ll find information about how the individual ingredients are supposed to help.

I haven’t included a link, but if you search online, you’ll find more than one that looks like an official Bach website. To be honest, it’s so confusing, I’m not even sure if there is one official website, or several!

Looking around, I’ve found some of the explanations to be very esoteric. And they left me wondering exactly how they did what they are meant to do, such as this excerpt for Cherry Plum on bachflower.com:

For those who fear losing control of their thoughts and actions and doing things they know are bad for them or which they consider wrong. Teaches trust in one’s spontaneous wisdom and the courage to follow one’s path.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a little cynical at times, but I try my best to keep an open mind to counteract it. Still, this explanation left me wondering exactly how it would ‘teach me to trust in my own wisdom’.

How does it work?

After reading about the individual ingredients, I needed to know more. And that same website offers an interesting account:

The Bach Flower Remedies…gently restore the balance between mind and body by casting out negative emotions such as fear, worry, hatred and indecision which interfere with the equilibrium of the being as a whole. The Bach Flower Remedies allow peace and happiness to return to the sufferer so that the body is free to heal itself.

And that’s it. In the FAQ section, this is the full explanation for how Rescue Remedy works its wonders.

How Bach himself worked

To find out more, I turned to the Wikipedia entry and several other websites with articles about the origins of Bach’s flower remedies and how they work.

Here’s a curious quote explaining how Bach himself actually worked:

Rather than using research based on scientific methods, Bach derived his flower remedies intuitively and based on his perceived psychic connections to the plants. If Bach felt a negative emotion, he would hold his hand over different plants, and if one alleviated the emotion, he would ascribe the power to heal that emotional problem to that plant.

So the bottom line, apparently, is that Rescue Remedy works by transmitting the flower’s energy or vibrational nature to you. This positive energy can then help heal conditions which involve negative energy, such as anxiety or stress.

It was around the time of reading this that I got a bit lost, so I’m not going to go into more detail about the energy concept. If you’d like to find out more about the process and background, the Wikipedia entry is a good place to start.

My experience trying Rescue Remedy

rescue remedy

I’d love to be able to report that the Rescue Remedy had a miraculous effect, but it just wasn’t the case for me.

I took a Rescue Night Liquid Melt every night for a week to see if it would help with both my sleep and general stress levels.

I don’t have any specific measure of how effective a sleep aid is other than my personal feeling and judgment. When strong pharmaceutical sleep aids work, it’s clear because they simply knock me out.

But the more subtle sleep aids based on natural remedies can be harder to evaluate. I certainly didn’t experience any knockout, nor any fuzziness the next day after taking the remedy.

I believe I slept reasonably well on a few nights that week, which is standard for me. But I can’t say I slept noticeably better than in the week previous to taking it.

So the reality is that I can’t say either way whether it helped or not. I slept in pretty much the same way as I had done the week before, which had been with no sleep aid.

Following that, I then decided to try normal Rescue Remedy during the day for a week. I had a fairly hectic and stressful week, so it seemed a good opportunity to test it. But once again, I can’t say that I noticed anything different.

No scientific evidence that Rescue Remedy is better than a placebo

In 2010, British researchers published a research paper reviewing clinical trials of Bach Flower Remedies. They analyzed 6 placebo-controlled studies, and found no support that it works, concluding:

It is concluded that the most reliable clinical trials do not show any differences between flower remedies and placebos.


Edzard Ernst

And in 2009, researchers in Austria came to a similar conclusion, saying:

Most of the available evidence regarding the efficacy and safety of BFRs (Bach Flower Remedies) has a high risk of bias… Our analysis of the four controlled trials of BFRs for examination anxiety and ADHD indicates that there is no evidence of benefit compared with a placebo intervention.

Thaler et. al.

On a final note about evidence, if you’re considering taking Rescue Remedy while undergoing cancer treatment, I highly recommend reading the article about essence therapy at cancerresearch.org.

They point out that although essence therapy is safe to use, “There is no scientific evidence that it can treat cancer or its symptoms”.

Having been through cancer myself, I’m very aware of the many alternative treatments out there. And while I think it’s a good idea to find additional ways to help you through the journey, I also think it’s important to pay attention to what the experts say.

Why do so many people say it helps them?

With a lack of peer-reviewed conclusive evidence that Rescue Remedy works, why is that so many people say it helps them?

If you take a look on Amazon, for example, you’ll find hundreds of reviews from customers saying they found it helped. But you’ll also find a large number saying it didn’t do anything.

And since I first published this article, many readers have shared both positive and negative experiences in the comments below.

Some interesting positive comments are from people who found it helps their dogs. If a dog doesn’t know it’s getting a medicine, how can it be the placebo effect?

I spoke to a dog trainer to get his opinion about this. His view is that it’s likely the owner is transmitting their own placebo effect – the dog is likely to feel calmer when the owner is too.

Just a placebo?

Personally, I’m a believer in the power of the placebo effect. I know from personal experience that chamomile tea relaxes me, despite only limited evidence that it has strong sedative properties.

I think in that case it’s partly the relaxing ritual which goes with it. Simply taking time out helps me relax before going to bed. Could it be that a similar thing happens with Rescue Remedy?

Perhaps by planting the idea in your mind that you’re going to be ‘rescued’ and receive a feeling of ‘comfort and reassurance’, your mind and body do the work to get you there.

Ultimately, I think it boils down to personal belief and choice. The universe is a mysterious place, so I don’t think there’s any harm in trying Rescue Remedy yourself. Even if the placebo effect works for you, that can be helpful in itself.

Your opinion

I’d love to hear your opinion about Rescue Remedy. Have you tried it before? Did it have any effect? Please leave a comment below with your thoughts about it.

153 thoughts on “Rescue Remedy Review – It Didn’t Work For me”

  1. Hi there!
    I just purchased a bottle the other day because I suffer from anxiety, depression, and insomnia (nice cocktail ahah)
    Anyway, I heard about this before and decided to give it a try.
    I’m a very open-minded, have a real connection to plants and flowers, and always keep in mind there are so many things we just don’t know yet; but also I keep a critical grounded mind.
    The thing is, the more I do researches on Bach flowers, the less I find.
    Some comments here are very similar, they don’t seem to come from a real customer. I honestly suspect that there’s a big commercial team behind it. That’s very common.
    You don’t see how long it can take anywhere. Depends on the person is a wild answer. Not even if when effective it’s for immediate relief or something you build through the weeks like some medication or even natural treatment.
    I’m surprised to see not many reviews through solid/verified YouTubers too.
    I’ve been really anxious the last few days and been taking this to help. So far it’s just been worse and increasing every day. Not saying it causes it, but so far it makes me feel like I got some really expensive and gross booze.

    1. Hi Samsa

      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your experience. I think what you say highlights a problem with many over the counter medications, supplements and remedies. I know from personal experience of reviewing and looking into products that there is very often a limit to how much information is available about it, especially where it hasn’t undergone rigorous research. And that’s an inherent problems with supplements that are not regulated in the same way as standard medication – they just kind of slip through the net and as long as they adhere to certain rules about wording and disclaimers, they can often be marketed and sold with less info. than many people would probably like. A good example is over the counter sleeping pills that don’t even include a leaflet warning of all the possible side effects.
      In this case, I see what you mean about the effect timeline. My understanding is that it’s meant to work the day you take it, and doesn’t get more or less effective over the days or weeks. I know some remedies, like valerian, have an argument for taking them for longer to get the maximum benefit. But I think Rescue Remedy is meant to literally ‘rescue’ you in time of need. It wouldn’t be much of a rescue if it took two weeks to work!
      Regards
      Ethan

  2. Hi, I use rescue all the time and I find yes it works. I’ve tried most but not the pastels. I also use Kalms – think they work great together.

  3. Cheryl Lightbody

    My friend recommended Bachs Rescue Remedy [comfort and reassurance] to me as my anxiety was awful which manifested as physical symptoms such as abdominal discomfort, pressure in my chest and palpitations. I did my research prior to using it so I was very skeptical based on the 2010 results of the controlled studies. Much to my surprise, I realised about 20 minutes later that the symptoms had subsided and I did feel more relaxed so I’m delighted with it. It may not work for everyone but it sure worked for me.

    1. Hi Cheryl
      Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s great that you feel it worked for you – that’s all that matters at the end of the day.
      Regards
      Ethan

    2. My daughter always has a terrible time when it is bedtime for her 4 , 8, 12 year old children!
      So I purchased the ‘sleep rescue remedy for them. Mixed it in water before their bedtime without saying anything… Would you believe that they all settled nicely after their bed time stories! Without the usual drama!
      My daughter was amazed! Whether be a placebo effect or not, to them it was just a sip of water! It worked! So it has become a regular ritual with no more drama at bedtime!!

  4. Hi, started using rescue remedy past week after suffering anxiety. It was recommended by a friend and although originally sceptical I was amazed at how quickly the drops kicked in. Within 15 minutes I lost the shakey, stomach nerves and also slept well. When I forgot to take it woke up in the night as previous feeling anxious, took the drops and able to quit stressing and got back to sleep easily, this was in stark comparison to how I had been coping prior to taking rescue remedy. Initially sceptical? Yes! Afterwards? A convert now! I don’t believe this was a placebo effect because I genuinely did not expect it to work. Maybe they don’t work for everyone, but it certainly worked for me.

    1. Hi Anita
      Thank you for sharing your experience of Rescue Remedy. Whatever the reason might be, I think they carry much less risk than many common medications, so if they work for you that’s great!
      Regards
      Ethan

  5. Hi. I use remedy drops for flying, have done for several years. In my eyes they are a life saver, give me that calm feeling, have to use them a few times but I can honestly say I would be a wreak without them.

    1. Hi Annemarie
      Thanks for your comment. It’s great that they work for you. Whatever the method of action, if they help you cope better with the anxiety of flying, that can only be positive.
      Regards
      Ethan

    2. Christopher Conaty

      I have taken Bach remedys throughout the years, also the Bush Flower essences. I am the type of person it’s not belief or anything else, I have to feel the remedy working. and they both work on shifting negative emotions without a doubt. people must remember it has taken years even most of there life been in a negative mood and it does take some time for the negative to shift. but if one stays with them for even some months you will see and feel that the negative emotions will shift and one shall feel much healthier in mind and body. this is my true statement, thank you, Christopher

  6. I use it in the middle of the night if I am starting to get repetitive thoughts/anxiety. I can’t say it always works but it often does. I have a little china box of them by the bed. Maybe it’s the ritual of putting the pearl under the tongue and feeling it melt. The concentration not to drop it because it bounces away across the floor. But it often is the thing that calms me and sends me back to sleep. It also makes me feel good when because it’s such a little intervention.

    1. Hi Kate
      Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts. I personally think that what you say makes a lot of sense where the ritual part and little intervention are concerned. That sounds kind of like the placebo effect in action to me, which is fine if it works!
      Regards
      Ethan

  7. I tried it last year for diagnosed anxiety. It didn’t have any effect, unfortunately.

    I’ve started reducing my use of phones/computers/TVs about 2hrs before sleeping, and it’s been a lot more effective.

    1. Hi Bob
      Thanks for sharing your experience. I also think taking practical steps like you’ve done will have a more beneficial effect for many people!
      Regards
      Ethan

    2. I’ve just started trying it, so will let you know how it goes. My anxiety has manifested into physical sickness so everything crossed it does. Cheers

  8. Pamela C Williams

    My high-anxiety female Lab suffers terribly when fireworks or thunder are going on. A half a dropper of Rescue Remedy puts her at ease – sometimes she even falls asleep during a thunder storm. Not a placebo effect at all. I haven’t tried it myself for sleep, but will take a shot tonight to see if it works. I never get to sleep without something to help :(.

    1. Hi Pamela
      Thanks for your comment. Lucky dog that it helps them! It would be nice if all dog owners had a way to keep their dog calm during fireworks, as I know how stressful it can be for them.
      Regards
      Ethan

  9. I’m a psychiatric nurse. Being familiar with many sleeping medications, and having tried many, I am not very suggestible. However, I gave the melts a try, and they do seem to work for me, which was a surprise.

    1. Hi Lyndsay
      Thanks for your comment! To be honest, I spend a lot of time reviewing sleep aids and trying new ones, and I think I’m still slightly susceptible to the placebo effect…
      Regards
      Ethan

  10. For me it works very well. I took rescue when I was having a problem and I didn’t want to take strong medications.
    And I took rescue sleep and I could sleep better than with melatonin. No side effects. It works amazing!

    1. Hi Patricia
      Thanks for your comment, and it’s good to hear they are working well for someone!
      Regards
      Ethan

  11. The Rescue Remedy night gels did seem to help me but I never felt well the next day felt fatigued and a bit anxious… do any of these ingredients tend to make you tired?

    1. I tried the pastilles, they made me so tired. I have got the spray now – works well, no tiredness just feel relaxed.

  12. I haven’t tried it on my dog but it contains grapes. Aren’t grapes poisonous to dogs? Makes no sense. I’m glad you listed the ingredients. Your review is great.

    1. Hi Ranee
      Thanks for your comment and compliment. And also thanks for sharing that interesting point! I don’t know if the type and quantity of grape in rescue remedy would cause problems for dogs – that’s something to ask an animal expert I guess.
      Regards
      Ethan

    2. It was recommended by a veteranarian for my daughters friend, when her dog got ran over and it helped her dog very much. That’s when I started using it and it seems to have enough of an effect to take the sharp edge off my stress.

    3. Taker
      Check with a homeopathic veterinarian. That is how I discovered it for myself. I had a cat years ago that didn’t like being confined to the carrier when making the trip to the veterinarian. So my veterinarian recommended the rescue remedy but he also told me that you give such a very minut dose because it’s based on the weight of the weight and size. obviously humans could tolerate more because of their size and animals it’s very very very very very small minute quantity usually put in their water bowl. I did find out at the time find excellent results. I also took it myself when I was going through a stressful period in my life. i was actually driving once and I had a panic attack my hands started to tremble and I felt almost confused like. I pulled over to the side of the road took a few drops under my tongue and within about 5 minutes or so I was able to drive again.
      This is the way I was told that it works like taking a Valium but you don’t get the side effects or addiction. It’s best to see a holistic practitioner because certain natural treatments cannot be taken if you are on certain kinds of medications.

      Good luck to you
      Kate

  13. This helped my anxiety loads, after suffering years and years it’s calmed me down.
    But I’ve had to stop using it as it gives me a terrible bowel movement :(

    1. Hi JJ
      That’s a shame – just when you thought you found something that worked!
      Regards
      Ethan

      1. I have used Bach flower remedies for years including the horses, dogs and myself. I find them very helpful and believe you notice the change more when you stop using them but by that point hopefully your body and mind have a different set to them

  14. I recently have been going through the worst time of my life and I recently found the pastilles that dissolve in your mouth that taste like candy. I can say that they do help me a lot. This is coming from someone who is also prescribed anxiety and PTSD meds. these pastilles work… I usually eat 1-2 but I just ate 4 & I feel much better.

      1. Hi, I just received a Bach essence via UPS. It arrived in a box, but the small bottle was very warm; we have had hot weather here in California for the last few days. Is the essence still safe and good to use?
        Thank you,
        Margie

        1. Hi Margie
          I don’t see why it would be a major problem. But if you want to check, perhaps write to the Bach website?
          Regards
          Ethan

  15. I tried the blackcurrant pastilles. They did nothing – just like a sweet, and the rescue melts had no effect whatsoever either. What a waste of money. In the bin they went.

    1. I lately bought Rescue Remedy 30 for anxiety and Stress.
      But on going through the Website found it contains Star of Bethlehem.
      As am a patient with unstable heartbeats and also will imbalance of Sodium & Potassium level, have discontinued taking Rescue Remedy.

  16. Hi I have a fear of dentist I have to have a tooth out will taking rescue help me instead of taking what my doctor has given me, also do you think it would help someone with Alzheimers?
    Thanks, Kathy.

    1. Hi Kathy
      Thanks for your comment. I don’t imagine Rescue Remedy will compare to the dentist’s medication, but really that’s something to discuss with them, as they will know best. I also don’t know of any use specific to Alzheimer’s.
      Regards
      Ethan

    2. Hi Kathy
      My Dad has Alzheimer’s and has a prescribed liquid supplement called Souvenaid which is supposed to have supportive elements to it. I’ve also heard recently that MCT oil (derived from coconut oils) is meant to be good for mind clarity. I’ll be trying that. Cheers, Mel

  17. I have just gone through a very bad period of anxiety which affected me daily meaning I struggled to function and work.
    After a day of starting Rescue remedy, I felt so much better and it is definitely helping me to overcome my issues.

    1. Hi Jacqui
      Thanks for sharing, and it’s great you found the Remedy helped so much. I hope you manage to get on top of the anxiety and return to normal life.
      Regards
      Ethan

  18. I searched the ingredients and I found the following: clematis can produce dizziness confusion convulsions. Star of Bethlehem affects the rhythm of the heart. Are Rescue pills safe to take?

    1. Hi Margarita
      I’ve never seen any safety warnings about Rescue Remedy causing these conditions. Perhaps because the ingredients are in such low quantities. But if you’re concerned, don’t take it.
      Regards
      Ethan

    1. Hi Karina
      Despite my skepticism about Rescue Remedy, I would still abide by the rule of thumb of not mixing sleep aids or other medicines without consulting a doctor first.
      Regards
      Ethan

  19. Hi. Took it 2 nights ago and was deeply depressed the next day. And it’s not the first time it’s happening. I also woke up like five times during the night.

    1. Hi Wunmi
      Thanks for sharing your experience. Sorry to hear you had that effect – it sounds like Rescue Remedy isn’t right for you at all!
      Regards
      Ethan

    2. First do you have any deficiency of iron, vitiams, and minerals.
      Look into L- tyrosine
      L- tyrosine is an essential amino acid. It can calm nerves, release depression. It is not meant for long term use.
      It also help E.D. for males

  20. 27% alcohol is very high. Recently I have had a very stressful time. I took some Rescue remedy. It definitely helped I think.
    However I gave up alcohol 4 years ago. I’m not going to use Rescue anymore as I felt very tempted to have a drink.
    So for me I’m not sure……i do find Dormeason is great for a good nights sleep.

    1. Hi Peter
      Thanks for your comment. I think considering the actual quantity in a capsule, the amount is negligible. But psychologically, I can see why you might want to avoid it.
      Regards
      Ethan

    2. Hi Peter and others, My wife who is in AA recovery is drinking this right out of the bottle. She has lots of $ and is going through several bottles a day.

  21. Hi! I have used Rescue Remedy in the past for my dogs and I could see it helped them. I’ve used it for one that would get car sick and ones that went to 4H shows. I could see a noticeable difference in their behavior. The dogs wouldn’t know about the placebo effect, so I truly believe it works.
    I have used it as well, and currently have a different blend that was created for me for anxiety and transition. Like you said in the review, it’s not powerful like drugs are, but it seems to work and must be gentler on my system. Thank you for reviewing the product.
    Kathy

    1. Hi Kathy
      Thanks for your comment. I know the dog argument is one of the commonly used ones to defend this product, and other forms of homeopathy. It’s certainly interesting! My counter-theory is that it actually works as a placebo on the dog owner, making them feel calmer and more confident in working with their dog. And the dogs then find that settles them. What do you think?
      Regards
      Ethan

    1. Hi Lorraine
      Thanks for your comment. I don’t know if it’s common or not, it’s not something I experienced. I can’t remember offhand if other people described the same in the comments either – you could have a read through them.
      Regards
      Ethan

  22. I have a tin that I haven’t used in a while. I opened it and the blackcurrant pastilles have turned grey. Can I safely use the pastilles now?
    Susan

    1. Hi Susan
      I’m not sure to be honest. Is it past the use by date? Perhaps try contacting the company to see what they advise.
      Regards
      Ethan

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