Thank you to NetGalley for a free copy of this wonderful encyclopaedia in exchange for my honest review, celebrating Flower remedies which have been used “for hundreds possibly thousands of years.”
The Encyclopaedia attracted me as in the past I qualified in Aromatherapy and Reflexology, and worked for a while as a therapist. I have always been interested in the use of natural remedies in the treatment of illnesses, both of the physical and indeed the psychological kind. Flowers are so beautiful, and exist in an abundance of different shapes, colours, and aromas to entice us. As individuals we often have a preference for a favourite flower. It may attract us because it reminds us of our childhood, or a special place. I particularly like the flowers associated with the orient, Frangipani, Orchids, and Hibiscus.
I adore the orchids of Singapore. possibly because I was born there and love hot climates. “The Flowers of the Orient have a special energy appropriate for women.” The Orchid essences tap into the higher chakras, (knowledge) and I love to study and learn new things! Also I keep cactuses, again a plant that survives with little water, and minimal attention. So, our choice of flowers tell us a lot about the kind of person we are. As do our choice of pets. Dogs require more attention, Cats less. There is a psychology of flowers, so much to discover! Flowers of all kinds enchant me especially those with warm colours, and intoxicating scents.
This is one of my favourite bouquets. I now take a photo of all my flower gifts. I feel sad when they die and like to keep a visual image of them to remind me of the beauty of the flowers whilst in bloom, and the sentiments at the time. This is a stunning bouquet from my mother in law!
The Practitioner’s Encyclopaedia of Flower Remedies by Clare Harvey is an updated edition of the The New Enclopedia of Flower Remedies originally published in 2007. With an engaging Foreward by Richard Gerber, MD, exploring the role of vibrational medicine in modern world, Dr Bach’s contribution as one of “the first modern pioneers of healing with flower essences,” and the development of flowers essences “all over the world, from England and North America to the outback of Australia.’ A preface by Dr George Lewith which states that “it provides an up-to-date, thorough, exceptionally well-researched resource for those practitioners who are interested in flower essences.” I would totally agree. Clare Harvey has collaborated with numerous practitioners and introduced the reader to a whole host of flower remedies which I have not heard of or come across before. There are informative sections on how to use, store and produce the remedies. Her section on the natural power of flowers from diverse, unspoilt regions of the world is fascinating, documenting the aborigines of Australia, ancient Egyptians, Minoans of Crete, Native Americans, as well as the “Science of life”, Ayurveda, the Russian medicine men, apparently even Genghis Khan “reputedly prescribed them to his men to give them strength for battle.”
I loved this quote from the language of flowers chapter about the mighty power of the much loved rose: “Cleopatra places such faith in its romantic charm that she reputedly carpeted her bedroom with millions of fresh rose petals to help her seduction of Marc Anthony!’
Being a bit of a fan of gods, and goddesses, this appealed to me too: “Many of the classical gods, goddesses and nympths such as Hyacinthus, Narcissus and Iris are remembered today because they gave their name to flowers.”
A section on Flowers and the signs of the zodiac also charmed me: I’m a Scorpio, so the flowers suggested to me are Gentian, and Hyacinth.
Clare Harvey suggests that Flowers are a “kind of liquid energy.” She explains the various methods used to capture their energy. This truly definitive guide goes into great depth and explains the role of The Meridian Systems, The Chakras, The Auras, and the Subtle Bodies. The effects of shock, stress and pollution are also well documented, as are social poisons, such as alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine and social drugs, their misuse and effect on the body.
Traditional medicine obviously has its place in the treatment of serious illnesses as many lives are saved but she discusses the “undesirable side effects” and drug-resistant infections which are all too common nowadays. Could flower remedies give an alternative in some cases? Especially, when the root of the illness may be brought about, and intensified by life’s modern stressers.
I was very interested to read her suggested flower remedies for those of us about to be admitted into hospital for operations, she recommends rescue remedies such as Bach’s Rescue Remedy. Obviously as a recent patient to Addenbrookes for my Gallbladder operation this is undoubtedly invaluable advice.
There is a great section on choosing and prescribing essences, using case histories, intuition, and other more unusual tools such as a pendulum, muscle testing, and pulse testing.
Many common ailments are covered in the Case history section such as ME, Digestion Problems, Arthritis, Insomnia, Anorexia Nervosa, Eczema, Swollen Glands, Hay Fever, Sinusitis, Circulatory Problems, Diabetes, Hip Replacement, Stress, Shock, Migraines, Women’s Problems such as: Premenstrual Tension, The Problems of Pregnancy, Menopause, etc.
Animal lovers will love her advice on choosing remedies for their pets. Mothers can give the remedies to their children and babies safely as the flower remedies are gentle, and free from harmful side effects.
But, “Flower essences are not magical bullets – they are subtle remedies which act as catalysts for change.” Like all alternative remedies use them with respect, and understanding and they will serve you well.
The remedies combine well with other therapies such as Aromatherapy, Floral acupressure using acupressure points, Nutritional support, Psychotherapy, and Orthodox medicine.
A cancer study by Dr Judy Griffin using the Petit Fleur range has documented “some of the most powerful transformations with cancer, in particular Lilac flower essences, which she has found released self-healing.”
There are remedies for all sorts of personality traits, health problems and learning difficulties such as dyslexia. Remedies can be taken as creams if the remedy is to be applied topically, e.g. arthritis, first aid, moisturisers, cleansers, pain relieving lotions, or if swallowing is a problem, e.g. if the patient is unconscious. Sprays and mists are also available too, as are Combination remedies for common ailments.
Wildflower essences closer to home are also available here in England: “Paul Strode started making wildflower essences in 1999 in response to the urgent need to preserve our English wildflower heritage and with the aim of bringing plant energy medicine to a wider audience.”
Clare Harvey takes us on a trip of discovery through the flowers of Europe, the Channel islands, the Netherlands, Africa, Australia and the Far East, New Zealand, India, Russia, Alaska, USA, South America, Canada, the Desert, to the tropical rainforest, of the Amazon. So be prepared for a colourful and interesting ride!
More unusual essences are also harvested such as Mushroom, Gem essences, Nettle, Fern, Moss, Cactus, Fruits, Tree, Mountain Grasses, Shamanic and Dolphin essences! So there is definitely something for everyone.
There is a useful list of addresses, suppliers and suggested further reading in the Appendix. There is a local supplier here in Cambridge: Revital Health, 5 Bridge Street, Cambridge, no doubt I will be paying them a visit.
Information about the author:
Clare G. Harvey is an internationally recognised authority on flower essences. She was originally trained by her grandmother, who was taught by Dr Edward Bach and Nora Weeks. Clare has been a Flower Essence Consultant since the 1990’s, first at The Hale Clinic, London, and now in her own clinic at 103-105 Harley Street. A teacher and lecturer, Clare started the first International Flower Essence School for Practitioners, The International Federation for Vibrational Medicine, in 1988 which runs introductory and professional training courses. She is the founder of Floweressence CGH, which has been instrumental in establishing flower essences in the practitioner and retail market and is one of the major UK distributors of flower essences. Clare is also on the London Nutricentre’s advisory board as their flower essence expert.
Clare Harvey’s website: http://www.flowersense.co.uk