Mandi bunga (Floral Baths) are practiced by the Malays, Chinese and Indians in Malaysia. As with the different cultures, the methods of the mandi bunga also varies.
The mandi bunga is performed to dispel bad luck (bad vibes) - "buang sui" or "buang sial". The rationale is that once a person is void of bad luck, he's able to attract good fortune.
Kaffir Lime (limau purut) and pomelo (the Chinese grapefruit) leaves are commonly used ingredients in the mandi bunga ritual.
The Chinese believe that pomelo leafs dispel bad luck. The Chinese has been practicing mandi bunga for centuries - when one is feeling unwell, or facing hardship and misfortunes or even when one is in need for better luck, he/she should wash his/her hands, face or take a bath with boiled pomelo leaves with water.
Common name: Pomelo.
Scientific name: Citrus grandis.
Malay name: Limau bali, limau besar, limau tambun, limau abong (Malaysia), jeruk bali, jeruk adas, jeruk machan, limau kibau, limau balak,
limau besar, limau betawi, jambua (Indonesia). Other common names: Shaddock, Batavia lemon.
The Malays and Indians believe that bathing with kaffir lime can dispel evil and bad luck. The fruit is cut and blended with plain water and then bathe with as part of spiritual cleansing to "buang sial".
"Limau purut", the Malay name for kaffir lime, or its scientific name citrus hystrix is of the rutaceae family.
Over the years different variants of mandi bunga have emerged transcending cultures. There is a practice of having a bath fusing both kaffir lime and pomelo leaves together.
Another variation is to select one flower for every color of the rainbow. It doesn't matter what type of flower it is, and it need not have a fragrance. Different colour flowers are used because in Tibetan Buddhism it is believed that each color carries a specific energy or vibration. Healing using colors is 'supplementary' to other types of healing.
First, run your bath water. Then, add whatever other ingredients you desire into the bath - it could be pomelo leaves and kaffir lime. Lastly, place the flowers in your bath water with their stems on; or, you can pull off the petals and place only the petals in the water. Don't place the flowers them directly under the water. Instead just sprinkle them around the entire tub.
Leave the flowers in the water for at least 15 minutes prior to your getting into the bath. After soaking the flowers for 15 minutes, completely soak yourself and stay in the water for at least 15 minutes - you can even completely submerge yourself in the water. After the 15 minutes, you can either choose to remain in your flower bath or you can get out.
Once you're out of the flower bath, take a cool shower. It doesn't matter if you use soap or any other products to shower. :)
In some feng shui practices, kafir lime leaves are also used is space clearing - read more here.
Read articles in Malay on Mandi Bunga here and here
There is, however, no scientific evidence as to how effective these baths are in achieving the desired result or if they do really work. What we know is, that these baths have been practiced for generations and could be nothing more than a case of mind over matter - a placebo. Whatever it is, there is no harm trying - at least it is refreshing.
Despite what is said about Asian rituals, such as, it not being congruent with western science - there is no way to explain the Asian concept "heaty" and "cooling" with reference to western science, but the practice has been proven to effectively cure minor ailments like flu, coughs, colds, fevers etc, nevertheless. Similarly, whilst the effectiveness of mandi bunga cannot be proved with reference to western science, it may nevertheless work.
Please share what you think about mandi bunga. Leave you comments. Thanks.