Flower power

Updated: Sep 10, 2019, 07:43 IST | Dalreen Ramos

Ahead of its launch today, beauty entrepreneur Jhelum Biswas Bose presents a detailed guidebook on the role of Indian flowers in alternative therapy

Flower power
According to Bose, the desi gulab is far more robust than any other variant and rose essential oil affects the heart chakra

The story of flowers uniting two lovers is not uncommon — especially one that features the gulab. For Jhelum Biswas Bose, her love for the gulab was inspired by Nur Jahan or Mehrunnisa. The Mughal queen is said to have discovered the rose essential oil accidentally while bathing.

But if you look at the Indian flower today, there is not much to be said about its role beyond decoration. And the utility of flowers, for most people, is only limited to bouquets. That's what prompted Bose to start writing Phool Proof (Penguin Random House India) in January this year — a book that Lisa Ray in the foreword calls, a "paean to flowers and healing".

While mogra and milk can be blended for a face pack, marigold and haldi can be used for a brightening mask
While mogra and milk can be blended for a face pack, marigold and haldi can be used for a brightening mask

Set for a release in a Lower Parel restaurant today, the title serves as a detailed five-part guidebook that not only educates readers about flower-related lore and legends, but also about their use in essential oils, adornments and food. "Everyone talks about lilies and orchids but Indian flowers aren't seen in our homes unless there is a puja," says Bose, who started her own range of products based on the Bach Flower Remedies — a system of alternative healing that includes 38 flower essences.

While the genda phool can instantly add brightness to the room, Bose states that the hibiscus is a symbol of strength. Advising the reader on how they can incorporate flowers in their daily lives, the beauty entrepreneur suggests simple ways for gifting, healing and cooking. "Instead of a plastic wrap, fill a ceramic bowl or a cane basket with desi gulab or a brass pot with mogra and make it your signature gifting style. For food, only source flowers from either your own garden or a local mandi (market). Wash them thoroughly with water and alcohol and remember not all types of orchids can be eaten," she says.

Jhelum Biswas Bose
Jhelum Biswas Bose

Another bit of advice is to always carry a lavender essential oil in your bag since it's useful for cuts, burns and on occasions when you're feeling low. "It also helps me when I've to take a flight as I'm affected by turbulence. But be mindful when identifying pure oils," she cautions.

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