Holly is one of the original Bach flower remedies made by Dr. Bach in 1935.  He wrote of this remedy:

"For those who are sometimes attacked by thoughts of such kind as jealously, envy, revenge, suspicion.  For the different forms of vexation.  Within themselves they may suffer much, often when there is no real cause for their unhappiness"

The uses of Holly are easy to remember because you only have to think of its hard prickly leaves brushing the skin and you enter the area of emotions connected to Holly. It is almost as if the Holy folk have the leaves on the inside of their bodies, causing them pain which they express as jealousy, envy, hatred, revenge and suspicion.   Bach's expression “the different forms of vexation.” is a phrase from a different age yet remains very clear and insightful for vexation covers a multitude of inner pain such as grief, unhappiness, displeasure, discomfort, botheration, agony, torture. Almost as if you were lying on a bed of holly leaves.Of course we think of Holly at Christmas for it  has a special significance within our festive season because of the evergreen springs we bring inside or fasten to the front door.  In churches the lyrics of the carol The Holly and the Ivy will be sung with its strong associations to the pagan past.  Of all trees that are in the wood, the holly bears the crown.

The holly bears a blossom,

As white as lily flow'r,

And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ,

To be our dear Saviour

The holly bears a berry,

As red as any blood

The holly bears a prickle

,As sharp as any thorn,

And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ,

On Christmas day in the morn.



Here's an older version of this song written by Henry VIII. 


Green groweth the holly, so doth the ivy.

Though winter blasts blow never so high,

Green groweth the holly. 

As the holly groweth green   

And never changeth hue,

So I am, and ever hath been,   

Unto my lady true. 


The carol aligns Christ to the Holly.  Christ is eternal, symbolised by the evergreen and Christ is love, while old Henry aligns holly to the holy state of  eternal love.  
Love is also truth.  How we express love is how we express truth.  In the second part of Henry's love poem the truth of everlasting love was not expressed in his own life.  And of course, truth leads directly to trust.   

The Positive Qualities of Holly

  • Expressing unconditional love, freely and willingly
  • Radiating joy and happiness
  • Enjoying seeing others succeed
  • Spontaneous generosity and warm heartedness
  • A sense of being at one with the world
  • Being gentle and compassionate towards ourselves and others
  • Having a deep and unreserved love of ourselves and others

So yes, we can take Holly flower remedy if we have some form of vexation but equally we can take it to help us develop our heart of love. 

Holly opens the High Heart chakra.
Every flower remedy can be used for self-development.  To look at the positive qualities of the other Bach Flower Remedies and follow the link to the Bach repertory on our website.

More info on the High Heart 


The reason I wanted to write about Holly is through an experience I had this spring.  As I have mentioned in a previous newsletter I was was unable to go for walks in nature after Heidi's death because it was too painful: she was in Nature; part of it; every tree, plant, leaf reminded me of her.  This spring I was able to be there again without that pain.  I was scrambling down a steep bank to a river and realised I had never been here before, which meant I had never been here with Heidi.  And as soon as I thought about her she was there, in Nature, part of everything I was looking at.  My legs wobbled and I reached up to a tree to steady myself.  I stood like this for a minute or two whilst I composed myself.  I looked up to see which tree had supported me and found it was a Holly.  She came flooding through with her love and there I was hanging onto a Holly - how appropriate, I thought.  Another love connection with Heidi.


Male and Female Hollies
Male and female holly flowers grow on separate bushes.  The botanical name for these types of plants is dioecious.  Ine male bush can fertilise several female bushes in the same locality.  Bushes with the red berries are female and those without berries are male bushes.  There only way to tell the difference when there are no berries on the bushes is by the flowers.  The male flowers have four stamen while the female flowers have a central green button.  The flowers on the picture at the top of the newsletter are female.

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