About Dr. Edward Bach, our founder
The 38 remedies were the life’s work of Edward Bach, a highly respected Harley Street doctor, pathologist, and bacteriologist. Dr. Bach grew dissatisfied with orthodox medicine and its concentration on isolated symptoms. He came to believe that unhappiness and fear led to ill-health, and that true healing meant arresting disease at its emotional source before the physical symptoms appeared. With this in mind, he sought a direct way of treating the whole person by way of the emotions.
Dr. Bach Studied Homeopathy where he worked at the London Homeopathic Hospital. From that system, he borrowed the idea of type or constitutional remedies- in other words, remedies that treat the personality- and the idea of preparing minute doses of a substance. Another influence was his own brush with death, which took place when he hemorrhaged and collapsed in July 1917. He was rushed into an operating theatre, where surgeons removed a cancerous growth. When he came around they told him he had a matter of months to live- but his commitment to his research led him back to this laboratory as soon as he could walk. As time passed he became stronger, much to everyone’s surprise, and this experience strengthened his belief in the power of mind and emotion over illness. He had got better because he had a purpose in life and was determined to see it through. If other sick people could rediscover their sense of purpose they might be able to do the same.
Much of Dr. Bach’s early research concerned the problem of chronic disease. He isolated seven types of bacteria that were found in vastly increased numbers of people suffering from chronic disease and used them to prepare vaccines. These proved to be powerful medicines in the treatment of chronic bowel conditions. In his period at the London Homeopathic Hospital, he prepared the bacteria using homeopathic methods, which means that he was able to give them by mouth and so avoid the use of painful injections. The next step was to replace the bacteria with plants. He believed that medicine should be as pure and natural as possible and using plants would be a welcome move towards greater simplicity.
The discovery of the flower remedies took seven years. Dr. Bach found the first three plants in 1928. At first he prepared them in a laboratory using homeopathic methods, just as he had prepared bacteria in the past, and he used them to treat the same group of chronic diseases, but it soon became apparent that the remedies were different, the bacterial remedies treated bowel disease, but the new flower remedies worked directly on the emotions. They could help far more people, including those with very different physical symptoms and diseases.
By 1930, Dr. Bach was so excited at the direction his research was taking him that he left London and a yearly income of 5,000 pounds to devote himself full-time to the search for new flower remedies. He walked all over southern Britain, from Wales to Norfolk coast, before settling down in a cottage near Wallingford, Oxfordshire, in 1934. Along the way, he discovered a further 35 remedies- the last 19 in the countryside around his new home- and the special methods of preparation that are so characteristic of his work.
Bach died a year after announcing that he had completed his work, he was 50 years old, and had outlived the diagnosis of his medical friends by 19 years. Since then the remedies have spread all over the world. Millions of people use them to help themselves or take them under the guidance of therapists and practitioners. Orthodox medical practitioners value them, and the former New York City Commissioner of Mental Health, H Herbert Fill, used Bach Flower Remedies in his psychiatric practice, preferring them to tranquilizers because of the absence of side-effects. Nurses in Britain and the US can study Bach Flower Remedies on officially accredited courses. In the UK and Italy, students can attend university courses on the remedies. This growing professional and academic respectability contrasts with the fact of many of the experimental techniques of the 1930s, which died along with their founders. (Extracted from ‘Teach Yourself Bach Flower Remedies’ by Stefan Ball)