healing herbs bach flower research programme

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healing herbs bach flower remedies

My favourite book

Dr Edward Bach (1886-1936) trained in conventional medicine and through his experience in immunology, homeopathy and treatment of chronic disease came to a revolutionary view of health and disease. ‘Ye suffer from yourselves’, he wrote and ‘the real cause of disease lies in our own personality and is within our control’. As a book review of the time said: he ‘therefore comes directly into the practical politics of medicine’. His discovery of the Bach flower remedies is, of course, well known. These remedies place the emotional and mental state of the individual at the centre of the process of health and disease.

The book which means the most to me in terms of Flower Therapy? It has to be The Twelve Healers & Other Remedies by Dr Bach: a slim volume of 30 pages. I found a copy in 1976 and was immediately struck by the unusual ideas it presented. The introduction is so brief that it hardly tells a reader what to expect or what the subject is really about. Then a few lines under each of heading: Rock Rose, Mimulus, Cherry Plum….

Although there have been many changes made to the text, the description of the 38 Bach flower essences are still as Bach wrote them. Translated into all major languages this book is still a stepping-off point on the journey of self-discovery. Here we have his simple words:

For those who blame themselves. Even when successful they think that they could have done better….

A description of his own state of mind, as fresh today as in 1935 when he found Pine trees flowering and prepared the remedy. He described the remedy states in a language which all could comprehend.

Bach listed the plants and trees to be used with a clear description of how to make the mother tinctures. But it was removed from English editions after 1979 and is not found in the many translations which have been made. So the text describing The Sunshine Method and The Boiling Method was deliberately suppressed. Whatever reasons are given to justify this it was against the spirit of his work. He was a man who thought little of possessing knowledge, other than that it gave him the capacity to help other people. His discoveries were not there for personal gain but, like a true scientist, he published all and gave freely to those who would read or listen.

So important was this information that I republished it when Bach’s work was out of copyright: 50 years after his death. A stranglehold on Bach and his visionary work had been loosened but it remains contentious and the subject of a struggle for power and dominance in a most surprising way. Commercial considerations direct the actions of many. But there is still the question of orthodoxy and the question of whether we can be trusted to think for ourselves and explore the multitude of possibilities which Bach’s work allows. Elsewhere he wrote ‘to gain freedom, give freedom’. But you cannot give freedom and retain control.

It is worthwhile reading Bach’s other seminal texts to see whether he always held the same opinion. What we learn is that Bach was a scientist by training but now a scientist in a new realm of study. He was calling for a wonderful democratization of science and medicine - what he discovered we could all discover, for ourselves. It is nothing less than the meaning of the common life; what we all experience and we all share. It was a new beginning; a change in the way we may choose to view life. A revolution.

Julian Barnard