The Bach Flower system is a combination of the essences of five flowers: Star of Bethlehem, rock rose, cherry plum, clematis and impatiens. In the 1930s, Dr Edward Bach identified these, along with 33 other flowers, as potent in redressing a particular characteristic or emotional state. The Star of Bethlehem treats shock, rock rose tackles terror and fright, cherry plum addresses the fear of the mind giving way, clematis helps one deal with the present, while impatiens curbs impatience.
For my son Tridib, Bach Flowers have been a part of growing up—I introduced him to the remedies when he was just five—just as they have been a part of the lives of most people around me. In a sense, that has always been the case. Even as a child, I would always be stricken more than others at someone else’s discomfort or pain. At school in Mumbai, where I was born, my classmates would call me Harishchandra, because I was always looking out for others. At home, where my maternal grandfather and an uncle were Ayurvedic doctors, it was no big deal for me to treat minor ailments such as coughs and colds with herbal decoctions and infusions rather than an Action 500.
From identifying myself as a people’s person early on, studying psychology and then following it up with courses in alternative healing methods seemed natural to me. I chose the UK for my studies simply because it has been the centre of a great deal of research into wellness. And, of course, it has the Dr Edward Bach Centre in Mount Vernon, Oxfordshire. I was interested in Bach Flower as it is an effective method of holistic healing, working on one’s mental patterns in order to realize one’s core personality.
As far as I know, I am the only registered Bach Flower practitioner in India. I’ve been practising for the past 20 years and I love the healing powers of Bach Flowers. It works by addressing the cause of the disease, by peeling away emotions and experiences accrued through life until the core is accessed.
To give an example: A woman brought her 22-year-old son, an engineering student, to me. At the age of 14, he had had a traumatic experience. His mother was away on a short visit when, suddenly, his father’s health deteriorated. Despite feeling unwell, he dragged himself to the bathroom. While in there, he suffered a cardiac arrest. This boy was alone at home, and had to face those terrible moments by himself—the sound of his father collapsing on the other side of a locked bathroom door, calling the neighbours, witnessing the door being broken down, the doctor arriving and proclaiming his father to be beyond all help. His mother returned within three hours. But the boy showed no outward manifestation of his emotions. He didn’t even cry, he was just quiet.
In subsequent years, he seemed to be bearing up well, but once he started college, his mother began noticing certain obsessive-compulsive habits. She took him to a psychiatrist, who prescribed medication. But it had the side effect of making him feel groggy all the time.
That was when his mother brought him to me. At the first consultation itself, I could feel that there was a lot of pain, a lot of sadness in him, not helped by the fact that other relatives—not his mother—were referring to him as the male head of the family, with all the duties and responsibilities. Though he was sceptical of what I could do for him, he agreed to try my remedies.
Bach Flower remedies require two kinds of diagnosis—of personality type, first, and mood. I studied the youth and recommended remedies. Within six months, his whole attitude towards life had changed—he was a happier, healthier person. That is why I do what I do at Abydoss —because I don’t want my patients to ever come back to me.
However, because Bach Flowers are seemingly simple to understand, I get a lot of cases of self-medication and complaints that the remedies don’t do any good. I believe a great part of the healing process lies in getting a sympathetic hearing and, of course, an experienced healer. To me, Bach Flower isn’t about an alternative life, it’s the only life.
As told to Sumana Mukherjee. Email your feedback or story to firstname.lastname@example.org