Phool­ing around with flower ther­apy

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Sunday Special -

Dr Malati Negi is a prac­tis­ing der­ma­tol­o­gist in Mum­bai. But de­spite be­ing a doc­tor, she doesn’t take al­lo­pathic medicines for mi­graine and anx­i­ety. In­stead, she prefers flo­ral reme­dies — in­fu­sions, mixes and essences.

“In 2018, I had my first child and suf­fered from post-par­tum de­pres­sion. I took cer­tain flo­ral essences and they eased my symp­toms,” says the 31-year-old*.

As al­ter­na­tive ther­a­pies be­come a buzz­word, some are wak­ing up and smelling the flow­ers lit­er­ally.

The sys­tem of flower-based heal­ing isn’t re­ally new. It was de­vel­oped by Bri­tish physi­cian and ho­moeopath Dr Ed­ward Bach more than 80 years ago, and it’s named Bach flower reme­dies (BFR) af­ter him. Thanks to the avail­abil­ity of BFR kits online and reg­is­tered prac­ti­tion­ers , more peo­ple are open to giv­ing it a try.

Ac­cord­ing to this sys­tem, bad emo­tions are re­spon­si­ble for phys­i­cal ail­ments and it works by tar­get­ing neg­a­tive emo­tions. Most users and prac­ti­tion­ers say BFR works best for ail­ments like stress and anx­i­ety in adults, and at­ten­tion deficit and hy­per­ac­tiv­ity dis­or­ders in chil­dren.

Au­thor and en­tre­pre­neur Jhelum Biswas Bose has been tak­ing BFR since 2009 to deal with uter­ine fi­broids, al­ler­gies and even anx­i­ety. “Fi­broids make me tem­per­a­men­tal. Tak­ing cherry plum and crab ap­ple has helped me with mood swings. While my fi­broids are still there, the phys­i­cal symp­toms have re­duced or gone,” says Biswas Bose, whose book Phool Proof elab­o­rates on tra­di­tional uses of flow­ers.

Alka Raghubeer, a reg­is­tered BFR prac­ti­tioner in Delhi, con­sults 10-12 pa­tients ev­ery day in­clud­ing cancer pa­tients. “It can’t cure cancer, but it helps cope with the dis­ease and its side-ef­fects,” she says.

Like most al­ter­na­tive heal­ing prac­tices, there’s no sci­en­tific ba­sis for flo­ral reme­dies. A sys­temic re­view of BFR pub­lished in 2009 found that while it was safe, it was as good as a placebo. But users and prac­ti­tion­ers be­lieve the ‘life en­ergy’ of flow­ers has heal­ing power. In­dia’s tra­di­tional sys­tem of medicine has also banked on flow­ers. “For ex­am­ple, hibis­cus has proven hair en­hance­ment prop­er­ties,” says Dr An­jali Kulka­rni, a botany professor at Sav­it­ribai Phule Pune Univer­sity.

*Name changed on re­quest

For clear think­ing

Cos­mos: To fo­cus and com­mu­ni­cate bet­ter

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