Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Rock Water: the Bach Flower Remedy for perfectionism that doesn’t contain any flowers
Logically, shouldn’t something called a flower remedy or essence contain some flowers? Well, logic or science doesn’t really have much to do with Bach Flowers - they’re a mystical system. (Harriet Hall discussed them on May 22nd in a post at the Science-Based Medicine blog).
Nelsons Bach has a slick three-part video at YouTube called Bach Flower Remedies: The Journey to Simple Healing that describes where they came from. See Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
In Part 2 they say that:
“Most of the remedies were made from flowers, with the exception of Rock Water, which was potentised in 1933 using water from a forgotten spring.”
On page 162 his book Bach Flower Remedies form and function Julian Barnard describes more about preparation of Rock Water:
“Rock Water is not a flower remedy in the strict sense of the phrase: it is not made from flowers. Rock Water, said Bach, should be taken from any well or spring ‘which has been known to be a healing centre and which is still left free in its natural state, unhampered by the shrines of man’. Later he modifies ‘healing centre’ to having had ‘healing power’. Water from the spring is taken in a thin glass bowl and set down nearby so that it may receive clear uninterrupted sunshine. That’s it, that’s all. The water is cold and condensation immediately forms on the outside glass. After some time the condensation clears as the water in the bowl warms. Later the familiar bubbles appear and the winking, spectral colours grow stronger until the essence is made. Bach said this remedy only needed about half an hour although Nora Weeks speaks of three hours: she erred on the side of caution.”
The Nelsons Natural World web page about How the Remedies are Made calls this first step the Sun Method (except there it also calls for flowers). In the second step that ‘potentised’ water is mixed with brandy to make a Mother Tincture. In the third step 27% grape alcohol is added.
So, Rock Water simply could be described as spring water and brandy, and might as well be acronymed as SWAB. In modern medicine clinical trials compare a drug with an inert substance (a placebo), and neither the doctors nor the patients know who got which remedy. Rock Water would be described as a placebo.
If we look at Amazon.com for a product description of Rock Water, we find:
“Active Ingredients: 5x dilution of Aqua petra HPUS
Inactive Ingredient: 27% alcohol
Directions: 2 drops in water and sip at intervals or add to a 30 ml mixing bottle containing water. Take 4 drops a minimum of 4 times a a day. Do not use if seal is broken. Keep out of reach of children. If pregnant or breast-feeding, ask a health professional before use. For relief of naturally occurring nervous tension. Helps you to enjoy life’s pleasures rather than stick to rigidly to your ideals or personal habits.”
The abbreviation HPUS means Homeopathic Pharacopoeia of the United States, and Aqua Petra is a fancy Latin phrase for spring water.
What they’re selling us is water and alcohol - to take dissolved in more water. At $17.54 for 20 ml, that’s an extremely expensive $877 a liter. (Compare that price with any vintage wine or liquor).
Reading Julian Barnard’s description reminded me of an infamous comedy sketch from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, in which John Cleese encountered a Cheese Shop completely devoid of cheese (and eventually resorted to senseless violence). There is another sketch called Crunchy Frog in which the owner of the Whizzo Chocolate Company is taken to task for inadequate descriptions of his products.