Rescue Remedy, a popular over-the-counter anxiety treatment made from highly distilled "flower essences," generally causes no side effects beyond placebo. According to a systematic review by Edzar Ernst, Rescue Remedy contains no pharmacologically active herbal ingredients. An additional review published in "BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine" noted that Rescue Remedy, like other homeopathic-strength preparations, is generally considered safe for pregnant women, infants, children and people with medical conditions. However, peach brandy, used in small amounts as a preservative in Bach's Rescue Remedy, may cause adverse effects.
Risk to Alcoholics
"BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine" notes that alcohol preservatives in Rescue Remedy may pose a threat to recovering alcoholics. Trace amounts of peach brandy, used as a preservative, may trigger strong cravings for other forms of alcohol.
According to "BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine," two people involved in Rescue Remedy clinical trials developed headaches; one withdrew from the study because of this perceived side effect. Among 468 patients reviewed in the trial, only four Rescue Remedy users reported adverse effects; three people taking a placebo also experienced side effects.
One person taking Bach Rescue Remedy developed a skin rash, according to BMC's systematic review. This may have been a reaction to contaminants, an allergy to compounds in peach brandy or an unrelated situational reaction.
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Flower essences can not cause addiction, according to the Bach Centre. However, people may experience psychological dependence to Rescue Remedy after using it extensively as a calming ritual or treatment for anxiety.
Juniper Russo, an eclectic autodidact, has been writing professionally since 2008. Her work has appeared in several online and print-based publications, including Animal Wellness. Russo regularly publishes health-related content and advocates an evidence-based, naturopathic approach to health care.