Can Rescue Remedy Relieve Stress?

Herbal Supplements
Jill Ferry / Getty Images

Rescue Remedy is a type of Bach Flower Remedy, a line of flower essences developed by Dr. Edward Bach in the 1920s and 1930s. The English physician believed that illnesses caused by negative emotions, like stress and depression, could be alleviated with flower essences, which are herbal infusions that are said to carry the vibrational energy and healing power of the infused flower.

Flower essence is made by placing flowers in water and creating an infusion by exposing the mixture to sunlight or another heat source. The flowers are then discarded and the liquid is preserved (usually with alcohol), diluted, and stored in vials. While each flower essence product is traditionally made with a single type of flower, Rescue Remedy a special blend of five different wildflowers: rock rose, impatiens, clematis, star-of-Bethlehem, and cherry plum.

Possible Health Benefits

According to proponents, flower essences can help relieve stress, which can have a negative impact on the immune system, leading to diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Some types of flower essences are also said to promote healthy sleep, lessen anxiety, and soothe pain. Rescue Remedy, in particular, is said to provide calm and protect against anxiety during times of extreme stress.

What the Research Says

Despite claims for Rescue Remedy's stress-easing effects, scientific studies have shown mixed results, with many trials concluding that Rescue Remedy may be no more beneficial than a placebo when it comes to relieving stress.

A 2010 review of past randomized clinical trials found mostly no difference in stress or anxiety between those who took Rescue Remedy and those who took a placebo. Similarly, when inspecting the line of Bach Flower Remedies as a whole, a 2010 study found mixed results, stating that a placebo effect may have led to many of the positive outcomes.

On the other hand, a 2015 study documented the heart rate variability (as a measure of the sympathetic response) among 30 women who took Rescue Remedy or a placebo after they completed a five-minute math exercise. They found that those who took Rescue Remedy experienced a significantly lower sympathetic stress response.

Contrasting results like these make it difficult to pinpoint whether Rescue Remedy can make good on its promise to alleviate stress and anxiety.

Possible Side Effects

Although Rescue Remedy is generally considered safe (including for those on a gluten-free diet), people taking certain medications such as antibiotics like metronidazole or the alcohol use disorder drug Antabuse (disulfiram) may experience nausea and/or vomiting because of the alcohol-based form of any flower essence. If you're looking for a zero-proof option for yourself or your children, Rescue Remedy also comes in alcohol-free versions preserved with vegetable glycerin instead of brandy.

Dosage and Preparation

Available in most health food stores, flower essences like Rescue Remedy are typically sold in liquid form and can be taken either directly on your tongue or mixed with water and sipped throughout the day. The Rescue Remedy blend is also available in spray, cream, gel, and balm forms.

A Word From Verywell

Due to a lack of supporting research, it's too soon to recommend Rescue Remedy as a treatment for any condition. If you're considering using it, talk to your doctor before starting your supplement regimen. Keep in mind that Rescue Remedy should not be used as a substitute for standard care in the treatment of a chronic health condition.

Was this page helpful?

Article Sources