With fists, with words, with kindness
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Larry Miller calls the Bach Flower remedies “the most remarkable healing system I know.” Which counts for something, since this 34-year-old herbalist, who lives alone in Cedar Grove, North Carolina, knows a good deal about healing. A quiet man, with warm, lively eyes, Larry has studied herbs, on his own, for seven years. He manages Harmony, a Chapel Hill natural foods store. And, with some friends, he’s about to start marketing a new natural food candy bar called Power Pak.
Larry can be reached at P.O. Box 72, Cedar Grove, NC 27231. His home phone is (919)563-6103, and at work his number is (919)942-7474.
For more information on the Bach remedies write: Dr. Edward Bach Centre, Mt. Vernon, Sotwell, Wallingford, OXON, OX10 OP2, England. Single bottles of stock solution are $1.75. Complete sets are from $35 to $60.
SUN: When did your interest in herbs begin?
LARRY: Well, some friends turned me onto herbs kind of in an occult way. Not that I was into any occult dealings at that time. But they were into occult practices and herbs at the same time. I wasn’t too interested in the occult stuff but I became very interested in the herbs and bought several books. Back to Eden [by Jethro Kloss], some Paul Twitchell books and some of the other things that dealt with herbs. I almost immediately got more interested in the etheric use of herbs rather than the actual compositional effects that they might have. By etheric, I mean, simply, the vibrational structure emanating from, around and through all life forms.
SUN: Explain that.
LARRY: There seems to be in all herbal substances an unknown factor that does one thing or another, such as lifting the spirit inside. The Bach remedies have some kind of quality that changes the mood or the emotions and seems to act on the psychological part of the being, as well as the physical, and I became more interested in that sort of thing rather than the actual physical use of them. I found myself going through a lot of unusual things. Some were real Carlos Castenada type stuff — real profound, most unusual experiences. [Castenada is the author of five books about Don Juan, a Yaqui Indian sorcerer.]
SUN: Would you like to relate any of your stories?
LARRY: I started messing around with one herb which I don’t want to name since I don’t really want anyone to pick it up and do it. I became, you might say, familiar with its devic spirit, its guardian spirit, which was kind of a foreboding type, not very friendly.
SUN: Like Castenada talks about mescalito?
LARRY: Yes. It wasn’t necessarily a visual manifestation, but the presence was unmistakable. I found that it would increase psychic powers by using it and that even just talking about it or thinking about it after using it for a good extended while that I could produce the devic spirit and felt it in my presence and very often could recognize the changes that were happening because of that presence. After awhile it just got really repulsive. Somewhere around then I quit using it. I got away from it entirely and even for a long time I could feel the presence of it trying to come back and make some kind of association with me again. After awhile it just sort of went away. Now I can handle the herb and deal with the stuff like that without being affected. But I was very much open to that sort of thing at the time so the path was made for it to happen.
SUN: I’m interested in the relationship between reality and belief. If somebody had a belief in conventional Western medicine and went to you for a flower remedy and thought it wasn’t going to work, do you think it would have an effect?
LARRY: Of course, it’s important that if someone wants to achieve some sort of effect with themselves, physically, mentally, or whatever, they have to be open to it to some extent. If they’re closed off to it or if they have enough doubt, then it just isn’t going to work. The same holds true for modern medicine to a large extent. I find that faith is a very important factor and I use it extensively. I don’t end a session and turn them on to anything until I’m absolutely convinced that the faith level is raised quite high, that they feel confident within themselves that things are going to get better from that moment on. And once they’re open to that, it paves the way, for etheric or physical plane action. The flower remedies, for example, the actual substance in them is so minute, it’s in homeopathic doses. It’s almost infinitesimal to the actual substance that might be in one dose.
SUN: Why don’t you explain what you mean by homeopathic doses.
LARRY: In the flower remedies, for example, the stock bottles are something like a ratio of 240 to 1 and then those are cut to a fraction. For example, one drop of that — 1/240th — is put to a ¼ ounce or four drops to an ounce. And from that solution, four to six drops are put in half a cup of water. So, actually it breaks down to one to a couple thousandths of the actual substance. The theory, which nobody really understands, is that it takes energy to break things down and the homeopathic remedies, already being broken down, assimilate more readily into the body.
SUN: How do you mean that it’s already broken down? Do you mean it’s able to be distributed more easily because it’s broken down?
LARRY: That’s what I understand. The finer points of why homeopathic principles work are not really well understood.
SUN: To get back to the matter of belief, one question that comes to my mind is that you treat the person’s psychological state and not the disease. Then why use any kind of mediation instead of going right to the source of their discomfort — their beliefs?
LARRY: Well, there are many systems and theories of healing, some dealing with treating the symptoms and others dealing with the relationship, and others, Bach remedies, for example, treating the body with the missing virtue or favorable quality. In other words, we deal with the moods, the irritabilities, the worries, the fears, the anxieties, etcetera. For if those things continue to exist for awhile in the body they deplete the vitality, the mental, emotional and physical vitality of the body, which then lays the body open for an influx of disease or disheartening. The flower remedies, if they are administered, then flood the physical body with the needed virtue washing out the fault causing the harm and that in turn raises the vibration of our beings, of our natures and puts us in touch with our soul or our divinity or our higher self, in which the presence of disease has to fall away.
SUN: Some people say that your whole reality is a matter of your belief, and, from my understanding of that, would have you believe that it’s always your consciousness affecting your body and not some kind of substance that you would take into your body affecting your consciousness, which is what would seem to be happening here. If you’re not believing that it’s going to have an effect, will it really have an effect?
LARRY: Well, oddly enough, it still has the potential and greatly so to have an effect depending how it’s used. There is a flower remedy that’s called gentian that deals with that. In other words, if the individual is trying to achieve something or overcome something, but has doubts or is holding back, that particular remedy in itself alleviates that fault and floods the individual with the proper virtue allowing that clear flow, that perfection to manifest.
SUN: It seems that people’s moods, maybe because they’re out of harmony, are so much in flux. We go from feeling one thing to another, from one extreme to another. I wonder if people could become so hooked into this system that if they didn’t like something they would be taking one remedy after another to change themselves, to achieve a balance.
LARRY: Well, I think that’s very much what happens in our society anyway. You have folks going from coffee and speed in the morning to beer and tranquilizers in the evening and their whole day is filled with trying to find some sort of balance. I think it works on all levels. I think it’s part of the life process that things are that way. I think that we would find more peace within ourselves if we could find a more even steady level with less influxes, and I believe the tendency is to find that level. We explore both ends as fully as we can.
SUN: Do you think the flower remedies have helped you do this? And, if so, more than other things you’ve tried?
LARRY: I’ve been experimenting with them on myself, regularly, daily, several times daily.
SUN: Do you still do that?
LARRY: Yes, there are thirty-eight remedies and it takes awhile to really get the feel of what’s happening. Some of the channels that I’ve had some sort of difficulties with — blockages or constrictions — with the energy flow, or whatever — have been opened up with the use of them. And some of them, I’ll find I’ll take less of some particular kind as I become clearer. I find that perfection is normal within myself and I don’t have to have that constriction.
SUN: Can you tell us anything about Bach himself and how he happened upon these remedies?
LARRY: He was a very noted doctor. He was known, and still is, for developing a classification system for bacteria which is used throughout the world. Around the time he made these discoveries, he began to lean more heavily towards homeopathy. Homeopathy deals a lot with treating the individual rather than the symptoms. It’s not so terribly different from the Bach flower remedies.
SUN: What kind of remedies does homeopathy use?
LARRY: Well, they use what are known as tissue salts. Some are from mineral sources and others from botanical sources. There are a limited number of them. And they’ll supposedly cover a whole range of disorders known to man. Anyway, it was Bach’s feeling that healing should be a very simple process and should be totally natural, not causing any ill effect towards the person being healed or injury to the source of the substance for the healing and that the whole cycle should be in total harmony with the universe and should not have any ill effects in any direction. He himself, being a very attuned individual, slowly hit upon that the flowers held a lot of the healing force of life.
SUN: How did he come to turn to flowers?
LARRY: He started experimenting with them and found that they did have various properties. Some had more direct properties and others had a wide range of nondescript or conflicting properties. After awhile, he found twelve that met with what he seemed to think were the twelve common states of men.
SUN: Psychological states?
LARRY: Well, what comprises their thought processes and their actions. In other words, the type classification. How they approach their daily doings, moment to moment. A system that he developed so that it could be classified or arranged as far as therapeutic use. From these, he developed a total of thirty-eight remedies. The way he went about it, from what I’ve read, was that he was attuned well enough that he could sensitize his body. He would have a direct reaction to the remedy, and, in his later years, as he was finding some of the final remedies, he became so sensitive to them that he could hold a flower in his hand and tell its virtues. His biographer even goes on to say that in his last few years, he instinctively knew what flowers they would be and went to them.
SUN: Say something about the preparation of the remedies.
LARRY: The flowers are gathered from the highest quality of that particular species. In other words, the healthiest, usually those that are away from roads and where they would not be affected by other unnatural vibrations.
SUN: Have you ever tried making any preparations yourself?
LARRY: I’ve messed around with it some. I haven’t actually gotten into it very heavily, as I haven’t found any information on how species in the United States act. I’ve written the center in England about them and they say that American varieties are different and don’t have the same qualities as the English varieties. And so I’m still kind of hunting down folks who have some kind of experience with various varieties in the U.S.
SUN: I was wondering about that because it would seem natural to keep within your own environment for healing purposes and not be having to send to England for plants that grow there.
LARRY: It would seem that way. But again, it’s not like the flower remedies are dealing with a substance but with a vibration that is inherent through all life forms and that isn’t any different in one part of the world or the universe for that matter than it is in any other.
SUN: I can accept that. Yet, it still seems that what you need should be in your own niche.
LARRY: Should be at hand. Well, it may properly well be so, but it just isn’t, as far as I’m able to ascertain. No concrete knowledge and research has been done along those lines here.
SUN: What about American Indian herbal lore? This whole return to herbalism and use of flowers is just that. It’s not really something new. Two thousand years ago and who knows how long before that people were using these things in India. They had done away with surgery. A lot of what we get into here seems really primitive compared to that.
LARRY: It certainly does. I think we’re becoming more aware of it as we begin to see the flow of historical healing in that sense. We’re beginning to realize that perhaps through technology we’ve reduced the true effectiveness of the healing process. Possibly by becoming so technical we’re finding more variations. It seems that the more technical we become, the more faults we’re going to find. After awhile we become so pinpointed at hitting specifics, rather than covering generals. Back when people were healing or using the herbs of the field and the woods, they were used more as nutritional substances, rather than actually using them to treat symptoms. They were used more preventively or they were used more specifically for the entire body than to alleviate a particular discomfort.
It would be really nice if people were more aware of nutrition. I think it’s growing in that direction, or seems that way to me because I’m so involved with it. After a good long while, you become aware of nutritional needs and you can tell when you might need iron or you might need a higher vitamin E intake, or something like that. And eventually you just gravitate towards those particular foods.
We must keep in mind the quality or the balance of what goes in as well as what goes out and the awareness of consciousness and how that affects our bodies and beings as well as the food substances. I think that after awhile, after experimenting, which is a life process, with both of them, we become closer to that point where perhaps we don’t need to deal with it as readily as we do.
SUN: By sticking to a particular kind of diet?
LARRY: Yes, perhaps. I think that basically any kind of diet, as long as it involves discipline, is advantageous. In other words, I think macrobiotics is an excellent system; vegetarianism is an excellent system; sproutarian is great; raw foods, fine. Well, they all can be used in a good system, but I think discipline of nutrition is more important than a lot of the theories and ideas behind the eating situation. Macrobiotics is interesting in that it applies to a whole life system. And I think it’s valuable in knowing and understanding it, it puts one in touch with their own energies. But I don’t think that macrobiotics as far as an eating habit is any more or less advantageous than any other disciplined system of eating.
SUN: Many of these people who do advocate a certain kind of diet like Adelle Davis or George Ohsawa end up dying at a fairly young age. Perhaps what you put into your mouth is less important than what comes out of it.
LARRY: As far as that goes, I think that what we put into our mouths is not any more important than what we put into our minds or accept within our frame of consciousness. We’re all so intimately related that there really isn’t any difference. It’s really advantageous and even important for folks to find that balance between mind, body and spirit.
SUN: And I suppose that at different times in anybody’s life they’ll be attracted to different kinds of foods depending upon what they need to be eating.
LARRY: As we become more aware, we do become more naturally attracted to the foods that we need. At first, during the major part of our life, it seems, we’re attracted through an intellectual process, perhaps only to realize afterwards that it’s really automatic. If we’re leading a natural enough style within the way of the universe and just being in touch with and as conscious of all things as we can, we’re just naturally led to what we need. You know, I’ve met many people who have an atrocious diet, just the pits, and who are just some of the most high, beautiful, realized people that you’d ever want to meet.
SUN: That’s very important to remember when we tend to get wrapped up in the last time we had any sugar, or whatever food we make forbidden.
LARRY: I came across many folks, when I was in Jamaica, who were fruitarians most of their lives. Some of the most powerful, dynamic people I’ve ever met were fruitarians.
So it throws out some of the theories that just eating fruit, being very yin, makes you very etheric and spacey and undynamic. It just isn’t necessarily so.
SUN: I find myself really attracted to that too, except that I think that you also have to keep a balance between where you are living and what you eat. That’s what I find most important in macrobiotics, rather than thinking you have to eat 80% grain or whatever. Bananas don’t grow around here and neither do oranges. Whereas in Jamaica, I’m sure the supply of fruit is just much more plentiful. You can go out and pick it up.
LARRY: I also wonder about that. Are we confined to our physical environment? I think a lot of us now recognize that our consciousness expands far beyond our physical realm. To the point where we can identify with things far past the physical realms of our being. And so I wonder if eating oranges and bananas is not, you might say, macrobiotic. Is that not within our environment? In other words, how do we determine our environment? Do we determine it by its physical location in space or by our consciousness? Personally, I find very little ill effect from eating tropical foods out of season in this part of the world. I don’t see how it throws me off, if it does. It must be mighty fine tuning, if it does and I suppose that maybe it does. But I’m not tuned into it if it does throw me off.
SUN: Do you prescribe for children who can’t talk and tell you what it is they’re feeling?
LARRY: First, I want to make it clear that I don’t prescribe. I’d like to see people get into the flower remedies on a large scale, but I don’t find it advantageous for people to treat themselves. It’s very difficult, I find, and I’ve tried it on some, too, to have people determine their own faults and failings. It’s so subtle that people will say, well, it’s not this one when it is because they don’t like to accept that part of it. I come across it for myself regularly while trying to be as open to it as I possibly can.
SUN: And yet there are supposedly no ill effects from using these remedies, so you couldn’t harm yourself.
LARRY: I’ve often given folks a list and said, here, tell me what you think is wrong with you and then when talking to them later it turns out that it was something other than what they said. Still, in all, I think it’s a good thing to learn to become aware of it even through the use and practice of the remedies. But it’s nice to have someone who can help the individual work with that. I’m finding that I’m putting a tremendous amount of study and effort into it and a good bit of my time over a year or so and I feel I still have a long way to go. I’m getting a whole lot better now. When I was first starting out and working with folks, it would often take many, many hours to arrive at any kind of understanding. Whereas now, I can come to that understanding in a much shorter period of time.
SUN: How about plants and animals?
LARRY: Yes, I had very interesting results in my garden last spring. One of the neighbor’s piglets came through the garden and gnawed almost everything down to the ground and trampled it as it had just started going. I said, “Well, it’s a good time to try out the remedies.” And so, trying to be in tune as much as possible with the plants and thinking and understanding that basically they’re experiencing the same life force situations as I or any other living creature would, I treated them thusly. I had excellent response. They came back strong and matured fully, as fully as possible according to the weather conditions. Even in the drought and in places where the soil was really substandard, I found that I could administer some of the flower remedies and they would respond favorably. Almost within minutes, I could see a response.
SUN: Give me an example.
LARRY: Alright. Well, I’ve got a fair amount of moles that come through my garden. They burrow right down the rows disrupting the roots and the plants would become limp and lifeless, would lose some lower leaves and turn brown. I would administer a remedy and find that by the time I had come back to them a few minutes later, after dealing with some other part of the garden, they would have responded and were already upright and erect and looking strong and would continue like that. Also, with the eggplants, we had an early frost out where I was. After I had put them out and they’d gotten fairly well-established, we had a frost that came through and they looked like mush, after the frost melted away. I figured with eggplants that there wasn’t much hope, but I tuned into them as best as I could and gave them remedies dealing with discouragement and some to restore their energy and their hope of finding inner strength. Particularly, hornbeam and gentian, I believe. And I put five or six drops in a sprinkling can full of water and applied it to them, drenched them right well with it. The next day they were looking fine.
SUN: That’s amazing.
LARRY: It was. I thought it was most amazing.
SUN: Have you ever used any of them as pesticides?
LARRY: No, I never even thought of using them as pesticides. I haven’t had a whole lot of experience in dealing with animals, although I’ve just turned people on to remedies who have had pets that have been injured or something like that. All the feedback that I’ve had was real favorable.
As we were saying before, faith and belief are really important parts. Bringing your faith to the subject is a very important factor. In fact, I often say to some friends that the whole thing with the remedies that I do is really a front, a front to develop a faith system within people. Once the faith system is developed, things can then fall into order. If they’re clear within themselves that everything is in order, then things fall into order. And usually when dealing with folks, I end up showing them how everything really is in order, regardless of how things appear externally. Or even within their consciousness. And I don’t quit until they can see that.
I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. Why do I do it? There’s no good reason as far as the working society might be concerned. The alternative society might understand better. I don’t ask anybody for anything. And I deal with a lot of folks every week. The only thing I ask of them is that to make it work that energy exchange is needed. Even if it’s a thanks. Some folks give me money because that’s how they deal with the energy circles within the realm of their consciousness. It’s beautiful and I’ll accept it. While other persons, the best thing that they can do and the closest place their heart can be, will hug me, for example. While others might be plying me with “Come over for dinners.” But I do make it clear to them, in order to affect the situation, it’s good to show that faith. If I were to charge $100.00 or something outrageously ridiculous, if I were to do that then they would want return for their investment. I just make people aware of that phenomenon — that it increases the possibility. If they’ll do the remedies and other things that would be best for them, everybody will come to a higher place and that’s really what I’m interested in. People’s vibration reaching to a higher, the clearest possible level. I think that we can all find within ourselves that we’re all one and the same being, particularly within a closer circle. The higher and clearer everybody gets together, the higher and clearer we get as individuals. And it doesn’t separate as it extends outwardly. Even though we don’t deal with it physically with someone across town that we don’t see but every couple of years. The effect isn’t any different; it’s just that it isn’t within our physical realm of dealing with the physical vibration that might be happening from that.
1. AGRIMONY (Agrimonia eupatoria): mental torture; worry, concealed from others.
2. ASPEN (Populus tremula): vague fears of unknown origin; anxiety; apprehension.
3. BEECH (Fagus sylvatica): intolerance; criticism; passing judgements.
4. CENTAURY (Centaurium umbellatum): weak willed; too easily influenced; willing servitors.
5. CERATO (Ceratostigma willmottiana): distrust of self; doubt of one’s ability; foolishness.
6. CHERRY PLUM (Prunus cerasifera): desperation; fear of losing control of the mind, dread of doing some frightful thing.
7. CHESTNUT BUD (Aesculus hippocastanum): failure to learn by experience; lack of observation in the lessons of life; hence the need of repetition.
8. CHICORY (Cichorium intybus): possessiveness; self-love; self-pity.
9. CLEMATIS (Clematis vitalba): indifference; dreaminess; inattention; unconsciousness.
10. CRAB APPLE (Malus pumila): the cleansing remedy: despondency; despair.
11. ELM (Ulmus procera): occasional feelings of inadequacy; despondency; exhaustion from overstriving for perfection.
12. GENTIAN (Gentiana amarella): doubt; depression; discouragement.
13. GORSE (Ulex europoeus): hopelessness; despair.
14. HEATHER (Calluna vulgaris): self-centeredness; self-concern.
15. HOLLY (Ilex aquifolium): hatred, envy, jealousy; suspicion.
16. HONEYSUCKLE (Lonicera caprifolium): dwelling upon thoughts of the past; nostalgia, homesickness.
17. HORNBEAM (Carpinus betulus): tiredness; weariness; mental and physical exhaustion.
18. IMPATIENS (Impatiens glandulifera): impatience; irritability; extreme mental tension.
19. LARCH (Larix decidua): lack of confidence; anticipation of failure; despondency.
20. MIMULUS (Mimulus guttatus): fear or anxiety of a known origin.
21. MUSTARD (Sinapis arvensis): black depression; melancholia; gloom.
22. OAK (Quercus robur): despondency; despair; but never-ceasing effort.
23. OLIVE (Olea europoea): complete exhaustion; mental fatigue.
24. PINE (Pinus sylvestris): self-reproach; guilt feelings; despondency.
25. RED CHESTNUT (Aesculus carnea): excessive fear; anxiety for others.
26. ROCK ROSE (Helianthemum nummularium): terror; panic; extreme fright.
27. ROCK WATER (from certain wells and spring waters): self-repression; self-denial; self-martyrdom.
28. SCLERANTHUS (Scleranthus annuus): uncertainty; indecision; hesitancy; unbalance.
29. STAR OF BETHLEHEM (Ornithogalum umbetlatum): after effect of shock; mental or physical.
30. SWEET CHESTNUT (Castanea sativa): extreme mental anguish; hopelessness; despair.
31. VERVAIN (Verbena officinalis): strain, stress, tension, over-enthusiasm.
32. VINE (Vitis vinifera): dominating, inflexible; ambitious.
33. WALNUT (Juglans regia): oversensitive to ideas and influences; the link-breaker.
34. WATER VIOLET (Hottonia palustris): pride, aloofness.
35. WHITE CHESTNUT (Aesculus hippocastanum): persistent unwanted thoughts; mental arguments and conversations.
36. WILD OAT (Bromus ramosus): uncertainty; despondency; dissatisfaction.
37. WILD ROSE (Rosa canina): resignation; apathy.
38. WILLOW (Salix vitellina): resentment, bitterness.
In addition, there is a composite remedy called the Rescue Remedy for use in emergencies. It supposedly has life-saving possibilities and contains star of Bethlehem for shock; rock rose for terror and panic; impatiens for mental stress and tension; cherry plum for desperation, clematis for the bemused, far away, out-of-the-body feeling which often precedes fainting or loss of consciousness.
Handbook of the Bach Flower Remedies, compiled and edited by Philip M. Chancellor. C.W. Daniel Co., Ltd., London, 1971.
A Guide to Alternative Medicine, by Donald Law, Doubleday & Co., Garden City, N.Y. 1976.
Heal Thyself, An Explanation of the Real Cause and Cure of Disease by Edward Bach. The C.W. Daniel Co., Ltd., London, 1931.
The Medical Discoveries of Edward Bach, Physician, What the flowers do for the Human Body by Nora Weeks. The C.W. Daniel Co., Ltd., London, 1973.
New Age Magazine, “Bach Flower Remedies” by Karen Shultz. January, 1978. pp. 62-64.
The Twelve Healers and Other Remedies by Edward Bach. The C.W. Daniel Co., Ltd., London, 1936.
Dr. Edward Bach (1886-1936) was a British pathologist, bacteriologist, and practicing physician turned herbalist. He is most known in conventional medical history for his discovery of a new system of vaccination, less so for the herbal remedies he found to replace it. Early in his career, while working at the University College Hospital, and in private practice, he observed that the same treatment did not always cure the same disease in all his patients and that those with a similar personality would often respond to the same remedy. Conversely, those of a different temperament, though diagnosed as having the same disease, seemed to need a different remedy. He saw that many people were not cured; their pain was merely alleviated and their symptoms suppressed. He wished to find a simple method of healing the whole person, even those with diseases thought chronic and incurable. Bach realized that the majority of the medical profession was so concerned with the particular disease that they ignored anything other than the patient’s bodily symptoms. The notion of psychosomatic medicine, that many bodily illnesses are mental in origin, had not yet become accepted. Dissatisfied, Bach began to look for other methods of healing and thus became interested in a branch of medicine called the Immunity School.
In 1913 Bach discovered that certain supposedly unimportant intestinal germs were intimately connected with chronic disease and its cure. Though these germs are present in all people, their numbers greatly increase with long-standing conditions. He began to immunize his patients with vaccines prepared from these intestinal bacteria. Though he reported remarkable success, there were some diseases that did not respond to this treatment, and the results were not permanent. Bach also disliked the method of injecting by syringe through the skin, with its accompanying discomfort and local reaction. He got better results when he waited for the effects of the first injection to wear off before giving another.
In 1918 Bach left University College Hospital to set up his own lab and continue researching intestinal toxemia. Shortly afterwards, he went to work at the London Homeopathic Hospital. Here he read, and was much influenced by, the Organon der Heilkunst (1810) of Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy. He later referred to homeopathy as “the first streak of the morning light after a long night of darkness.” Hahnemann knew one hundred years earlier what Bach had only recently discovered: that there is a close relationship between chronic disease and intestinal poisoning and that remedies were more beneficial if repeated only when improvement had ceased.
Illness is treated homeopathically by administering small doses of remedies, made from plants, herbs, mosses, poisons and metals, which would produce in a healthy person symptoms like those of the condition treated. (“Like cures like.”) Hahnemann had also realized what later became the basis of Bach’s herbal system: Treat the patient and not the disease. Combining his theories with Hahnemann’s, Bach classified the organisms present in the intestines into seven groups, now known as the Bach Nosodes, according to how they fermented sugar: proteus, dysentery, morgan, faecalis alkaligenes, coli mutabile, gaertner, No. 7. Bach began to orally administer his vaccines — homeopathically prepared from these intestinal bacteria. His vaccines produced such excellent results that the practice was generally adopted by the medical profession.
He also matched the nosodes with seven inharmonious states of mind: fear, uncertainty, insufficient interest in present circumstances, loneliness, over-sensitivity to influences and ideas, despondency or despair, and overcare for the welfare of others. At the same time he studied the effects of diet in relation to disease and advocated uncooked foods (fruits, nuts, cereals, vegetables) to reduce the amount of toxins produced in the intestines. In 1924 he wrote a paper entitled “Intestinal Toxemia in its Relation to Cancer.” In spite of his success, Bach was still displeased. He realized that his remedies could only cure intestinal diseases, and that he was treating disease with disease.
Gradually he became convinced that the healing agents to replace his nosodes were to be found among the plants and trees. In 1928 he found the first three of the thirty-eight herbal remedies. He prescribed these to his patients according to their temperament, taking no account of the disease and its duration. In 1930, he decided to give up his London practice and devote all his time to finding new remedies in the plant world that would enable the sufferer to overcome what he saw as inharmonious states of mind. He wrote that “Science is tending to show that life is harmony — a state of being in tune — and that disease is discord or a condition when a part of the whole is not vibrating in unison.”
Bach had no idea which plants held the medicinal properties he sought, but gradually he determined that plants blooming at midyear, when the sun is strongest, were the ones he wanted.
He tested them on himself and used his intuition as a guide in determining the curative properties within a particular plant by placing a petal or bloom in his palm or on his tongue. Some would strengthen him, while others produced pains or fever.
Bach realized that dewdrops on the plants contained some of their properties, drawn out by the heat of the sun. Collecting dew from individual flowers was too laborious, so he placed choice blooms in a glass bowl filled with stream water and left it in the field for four hours. The first nineteen remedies were all prepared this way.
Though generally known as the Bach Flower Remedies, some of the remedies come from trees and bushes, and one — rock water — from healing springs or wells. There are a total of thirty-eight remedies classified under Bach’s original seven inharmonious states of mind. Thus, there are different remedies for, say, different types of fear.
In order to find the first nineteen, Bach worked out negative states of mind, and then found a plant to relieve each one. But, for some days before discovering each of the plants in the second series of nineteen, he would suffer from the state of mind for which the new remedy was required. He found the first remedy of the second series in March of 1935; the next eighteen were found during the following six months. Most of these, being tougher plants, were prepared by boiling.
In September 1936, he published the last revised edition of his findings in one small book of thirty pages entitled The Twelve Healers and Other Remedies. He wrote, “Let not the simplicity of this method deter you from its use, for you will find the further your researches advance, the greater you will realize the simplicity of all Creation.”
He died in his sleep during November of that year at the age of fifty.