Our founder, Dr Edward Bach
Early medical career
Edward Bach studied medicine first in Birmingham and later at the University College Hospital, London, where he was House Surgeon. He also worked in private practice, having a set of consulting rooms in Harley Street. As a bacteriologist and pathologist he undertook original research into vaccines in his own research laboratory.
In 1917 Dr Bach was working on the wards tending to soldiers returned injured from France. One day he collapsed and was rushed into an operating theatre suffering from a severe haemmorhage. His colleagues operated to remove a tumour, but the prognosis was poor. When he came round they told Bach that he had only three months left to live.
As soon as he could get out of bed, Bach returned to his laboratory. He intended to advance his work as far as he could in the short time that remained. But as the weeks went by he began to get stronger. The three months came and went and found him in better health than ever. He was convinced that his sense of purpose was what saved him: he still had work to do.
His research into vaccines was going well, but despite this Dr Bach felt dissatisfied with the way doctors were expected to concentrate on diseases and ignore the whole person. He aspired to a more holistic approach to medicine. Perhaps this explains why, not being a homoeopath, he took the offer of a post at the Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital.
Once there he soon noticed the parallels between his work on vaccines and the principles of homoeopathy. He adapted his vaccines to produce a series of seven homoeopathic nosodes. This work and its subsequent publication brought him some fame in homoeopathic circles. People began to refer to him as 'the second Hahnemann'.
The flower remedies
Up to now Bach had been working with bacteria, but he wanted to find remedies that would be purer and less reliant on the products of disease. He began collecting plants and in particular flowers - the most highly-developed part of a plant - in the hope of replacing the nosodes with a series of gentler remedies.
By 1930 he was so enthused by the direction his work was taking that he gave up his lucrative Harley Street practice and left London, determined to devote the rest of his life to the new system of medicine that he was sure could be found in nature. He took with him as his assistant a radiographer called Nora Weeks.
Just as he had abandoned his home, office and work, Dr Bach began to abandon the scientific method and its reliance on laboratories and reductionism. He fell back instead on his natural gifts as a healer, and more and more allowed his intuition to guide him to the right plants.
Over years of trial and error, which involved preparing and testing thousands of plants, he found one by one the remedies he wanted. Each was aimed at a particular mental state or emotion. He found that when he treated the personalities and feelings of his patients their unhappiness and physical distress would be alleviated naturally as the healing potential in their bodies was unblocked and allowed to work once more.
His life followed a seasonal pattern from 1930 to 1934: the spring and summer spent looking for and preparing the remedies; the winter giving help and advice to all who came looking for them. Most winters were spent in the coastal town of Cromer. Here he met and became friends with a local builder and healer, Victor Bullen.
In 1934 Dr Bach and Nora Weeks moved to a house called Mount Vernon in the Oxfordshire village of Brighwell-cum-Sotwell. In the lanes and fields he found the remaining remedies that he needed to complete the series. By now his body and mind were so in tune with his work that he would suffer the emotional state that he needed to cure and try plants and flowers until he found the one that would help him. In this way, through great personal suffering and sacrifice, he completed his life's work.
A year after announcing that his search for remedies was complete, Dr Bach passed away peacefully on the evening of November 27th, 1936. He was only 50 years old, but he had outlived his doctors' prognosis by nearly 20 years. He left behind him several lifetime's experience and effort, and a system of medicine that is used all over the world.
He left his work in the hands of his friends and colleagues Nora Weeks and Victor Bullen, with instructions that they should carry on his work and stay true to the essential simplicity of what he had done. In a letter to Victor dated 26th October 1936, a month before his death, he wrote:
People like ourselves who have tasted the glory of self-sacrifice, the glory of helping our brothers, once we have been given a jewel of such magnitude, nothing can deviate us from our path of love and duty to displaying its lustre, pure and unadorned to the people of the world.