We’ve been the exclusive US partners of Elixirs & Co and their Les Fleurs de Bach brand since our founder met their team in Paris five years ago — after having stumbled upon their absolutely perfect body scrub in a shop in the Marais. Every year, we fall more deeply in love with their beautiful body care products and incredibly effective ingestible elixirs and pastilles, all made with their own Bach Flower essences.
Bach Flower essences are natural remedies, made from flowers and plants, that were originally developed in the 1930s by revered British doctor, homeopath, and bacteriologist Edward Bach. Working in a way that is somewhat similar to homeopathy, they have been used ever since to help balance emotions — and, in doing so, allowing the body and mind to focus on healing themselves. Bach Flower remedies are singular in their combination of efficacy and safety in the treatment of emotions: they can be used by children and animals as well.
Now, we're delighted to introduce you to the delightful founder of Les Fleurs de Bach and its parent company (Elixirs & Co), Gérard Wolf. During our video call last week, he shared his story behind the creation of his company and a few more details about the lengths to which they go to produce their incredibly effective, potent, and truly healing Bach Flower essences. Read on to learn more.
Ayla: Tell us how you first became interested in Bach Flowers and how Elixirs & Co was established.
GERARD WOLF: At the end of the 1980s, when I was in my forties, I found myself with a strong desire to reorient my life; I was a film and television producer and had reached a point where it no longer satisfied me. I didn’t have much else to learn, and I felt that I should do something more useful — something perhaps less concerned with the superficial. I searched for something that might give me a greater sense of purpose. And after many years, I found that with Bach flowers.
My own experiences with them at that time had convinced me of the value of these natural products. I eventually decided to read Bach’s texts and what was available in bookstores about his flowers, and then I set off to travel to England, their homeland, to meet the people who produced them and also learn how to use them. Then, I returned to France and worked as an advisor on Bach flowers with organic product exhibitions in Paris.
In February 1993, I established myself at Avenue de Wagram — a place that still exists — to continue to work as an advisor to those interested in Bach Flowers. Very quickly, I noticed that these flower essences had exceptional flexibility and could be used in a variety of forms that could fully express their virtues and qualities. I created Elixirs & Co that year because I wanted to give more people access to these flowers, and I also wanted to produce Bach Flower essences at the level of quality they deserved. And so it was finally clear what path I should take.
Ayla: We admire and appreciate the level of devotion involved in the production of your essences and products. Can you tell us a bit more about how they’re made and how you think about this process differently from other producers?
GERARD WOLF: It is very important, to me, to produce Bach Flower essences, or remedies, with total respect to Dr. Bach’s original method. But this is not just about the way you put the flowers in a bowl; it begins even before that point.
First, scouting for flowers.
As a flower essence maker for close to thirty years, I must say that the effort of finding the flowers themselves — growing in the wild — is a critical part of the whole process. As you know, wildflowers can grow anywhere. But sometimes you’ll find them close to a highway, or in a city, and this is not ideal. It’s important to find clean, healthy locations where the flowers themselves are growing. And these locations are never constant; wilderness is in evolution. Scouting for the flowers takes a great deal of time and care.
Next, identifying the correct flowers.
When you have made your choice of location, equally or even more important is to have a precise botanical determination of the flower so that you are using the right one. For example, there are ten different Wild Rose varieties — and hybridizations between them. You have to be absolutely sure that you’re using the right one.
Heather in the Forêt de Fontainebleau
When I’m not sure — as in the case of Wild Oat, for example, which is difficult to determine with precision – I ask the Museum of Natural History in Paris to tell me which one of the samples is the right one to use.
Harvesting at the appropriate time.
Our harvesting season lasts for at least 7 months, from the end of February to the end of September. We source our wildflowers only in France, using a very specific timetable to pick each one at the right point of maturity — and this varies from flower to flower.
It’s impossible to designate the quality of the flowers themselves on a label. So you have to either know the people who are making them, or make them yourself. This also allows you to determine whether they’re being made with the right level of consciousness.
Ayla: That is becoming increasingly clear to us! Tell us more about the rest of the process.
GERARD WOLF: After harvesting, we adhere strictly to the methods (sun or boiling method) that Dr. Bach established for each mother essence. Here, it is also important to note that not all flower essence producers do this.
The process itself takes time and care. When you’re making the flowers with the sun method, for example, you must ensure that during those three or four hours, there are no clouds or shade interrupting the process for more than three minutes, and no more than one time. It’s a slow process, very specific with the temperature of the water — for example, in April, it takes four hours; in July, three or three and a half hours. And you can only know this with experience.
Gérard preparing Gorse mother essence using the sun method
There is variety in the ways that Bach Flower producers make their essences, and there is no organization or laboratory to analyze or determine whose flowers are better than the others. In my opinion, it comes down to the consciousness of the people who are making them, and how much respect they are paying to the method.
Having made the mother essences ourselves for nearly 30 years, we have the confidence in their quality and efficacy to now put these essences into new products that are not typically made by other companies — combining them with body care and fragrance, for example.
Ayla: Once the mother essence is made, it is diluted with organic brandy according to Dr. Bach’s original specifications. It’s our understanding that your essences are more potent than others, and particularly those you’ll typically find at a health food store, because you follow his instructions to the letter.
GERARD WOLF: Yes, those you mention that you commonly find, made by a company that purchased the Bach trademark, are homeopathically diluted. The dilution they use is about 1 part mother essence to 100,000 (or 5x dilution). It says this directly on the bottle.
This is very different from the specifications in Dr. Bach’s original method. Our remedies are all made with the dilution of 1 to 250 — which means they contain 400 times more active principles. I simply believe it is important to remain faithful to the classic dilution levels established by Dr. Bach himself. We use this level of dilution in all of our products, from the combination elixirs to the single elixirs to the pastilles, and even the body care.
As you may imagine, we adore this company’s devotion to making the best quality Bach flower essences. Want to see Gérard Wolf preparing the Gorse mother essence with the sun method? Check out this video, where he talks you through the process in French.
And shop their elixirs, pastilles, and body care products here. They're everything we love: healthy, efficacious, beautiful, and made with real care and devotion to their customers' well-being, to Dr. Bach's teachings, and to the planet.