Despondency or Despair
Larch is the remedy for people who feel that they are not as good as others and that they are bound to fail. They lack confidence in their ability to succeed and so often do not even bother trying. (cf Elm people, where it is the desire to take on too much that causes the temporary doubt.)
The remedy helps people in this state to go ahead regardless of thoughts of success and failure. More able to take risks and be involved in life, they get more out of living.
Pine is for people who blame themselves for something they feel they have done in the past, some neglect of a parent, some fault in themselves, something they have left undone, and for those who reproach themselves that, even though they may have been successful in their work, they should have done better. They are never, as Dr. Bach writes in "The Twelve Healers", content with their own efforts or the results. They also at times tend to claim responsibility for the mistakes made by others.
They are perfectionists and set themselves high standards, and this may cause them to over-work and strain to do better, and when the strain becomes too much for the physical body, they blame themselves for the ensuing illness as they feel they are failing in their duty to others, to their work and the family responsibilities. This guilt-complex takes so much of the joy out of their lives and they become despondent and begin to despair. They can often feel so guilty about some minor matter that these thoughts fill their minds and they are always asking for forgiveness.
Dr. Bach said that this feeling of guilt and self-reproach was a waste of time, for the faults of the past are but experiences to teach us not to make the same mistakes again. A lesson once learnt will guide us happily through any same experience in the future. The positive aspect of Pine is seen in those who acknowledge their faults but do not waste time dwelling on them, having learnt from them to avoid repetition. They are those who are willing to take responsibility and bear the burdens of others if it will truly help them, but having the wisdom to know this is not always the best way of helping. They have great powers of perseverance and are humble about these gifts.
Elm is the remedy for people suffering a temporary loss of self-confidence due to the overwhelming amount of responsibility they have taken on. Genuine Elm types are people who are successful and carrying out work that they believe in, but at times feel the weight of the charge on them and become depressed and concerned that they will not be able to go on.
The remedy helps to dispel these feelings so that the Elm person can resume his or her life without thought of failure.
The Elm state can be usefully contrasted with the Larch state: whereas people in the former take up challenges willingly and then only later, and only occasionally, doubt their abilities, Larch people are convinced they are going to fail right from the start, and so they tend not to try things in the first place.
Sweet Chestnut is the remedy for people who have reached the limits of their endurance, who have explored all avenues but see no way out of their difficulties, and who feel that there is nothing left for them but annihilation and emptiness. Whereas people in a Gorse state have fallen into a state of hopelessness when there are actually possible solutions all around, the person in a Sweet Chestnut state is genuinely at the end of the line: theirs is appalling, final despair.
The remedy helps people in this extreme state to remain masters of their lives and renew their hope and strength. And sometimes a way out may open even at this stage of life.
Star of Bethlehem is one of the remedies in the Rescue Remedy. It is the remedy for the after-effects of any shock, such as unexpected bad news or an unexpected and unwelcome event. And it can be used just as well for the effects of a shock received many years ago, even very early in childhood.
This is also the remedy for the sense of emptiness and loss that sometimes occurs when a loved one dies or moves away, since this too can be a great shock to the system. Star of Bethlehem is the comforting remedy to give in such circumstances.
Willow is for people who feel resentful and bitter about the way their lives have gone. They begrudge others their successes and happiness, and are reluctant to admit when their own lives go well, preferring to concentrate on what is going wrong. Willow people are grumblers, and when ill make bad patients because they are never satisfied with what is done for them.
Willow can be compared to Holly in that it too is a negative state directed towards others. But where Holly burns with hatred and suspicion, Willow smoulders with resentment and self-pity.
The remedy is given to encourage the rebirth of optimism and faith, and to help the person in the negative Willow state to be more generous in praise of others and also more aware of how his own negative thinking can attract the very ill-fortune that he blames on others.
Oak is the remedy for strong, steady people who never give up under adversity. Instead they plod on with determination, and never consider resting until they are past the point of exhaustion. Because they are so steady they often have many people relying on them, and their sense of duty is strong, so that they can feel frustrated and unhappy if illness or exhaustion get in the way of discharging duties.
So much is positive about the Oak person, but the negative side is the stubborn refusal to rest or sit back when the need for rest is obvious to all around. The remedy is used to help the Oak remain strong in adversity and not crack under the strain, while at the same time a different wisdom is learned, so that the person in this state can learn when not to strive.
Crab Apple is known as the cleansing remedy, and as such is the added 'sixth ingredient' in Rescue Cream. Its main use is to help people who feel that they have something unclean or poisonous about them, or who dislike some aspect of their appearance or personality.
Sometimes there might be very real things wrong with someone in this state, but they will disregard the big problems and concentrate obsessively on the one thing that they have fixed on. This is why Crab Apple is sometimes given to people to cleanse obsessive, repetitive behaviour such as hand-washing, re-checking that appliances are unplugged, and so on.