Posts Tagged ‘Handbook of the Bach Flower Remedies’

I found a book some years back that almost appears to have been homemade. It’s called Handbook of the Bach Flower Remedies, by Philip M. Chancellor.  “Illustrated!” the yellow cover promises—without the exclamation point, but the word is printed very emphatically in black lowercase letters.

The idea that flowers might cure an illness is appealing to me.  What a soft, nontoxic sort of cure that must be—gentle, fragrant, like a blessing.

Chancellor’s book describes the work of Dr. Edward Bach, who created tiny brown bottles of flower and plant extracts that are dispensed with an eyedropper, which makes it all seem more medicinal to me. Bach developed a spectrum of cures in the 1930s: Honeysuckle for someone who feels stuck in a happy past and unable to enjoy the present; Crab Apple for general cleansing; Heather for persons who are unhappy if they have to be alone for any length of time. The Flower Remedies are quite specific. The most important remedy of all is the Rescue Remedy:

The Rescue Remedy is a composite Remedy which Dr. Bach formulated for use in emergencies.  It is not … a Remedy in itself, properly speaking; it is composed of five Remedies.  Nevertheless, because of the lifesaving possibilities inherent in the Rescue Remedy, it is almost an obligation for every practitioner to have some made up and ready for instant use.  Dr. Bach himself, and many of his adherents, both lay and professional, made it a practice to carry a small bottle of the Rescue Remedy with them at all times.  The Rescue Remedy could well save a life during an emergency when seconds count, and before qualified medical help arrives.


The five Remedies which compose the Rescue Remedy are:

Star of Bethlehem, for shock.

Rock Rose, for terror and panic.

Impatiens, for mental stress and tension.

Cherry Plum, for desperation.

Clematis, for the bemused, faraway, out-of-the-body feeling which often precedes fainting or loss of consciousness.

Use it for a great sorrow, for some sudden bad news.  Use it after any accident, whether severe or inconsequential…

We have been trying our own Flower Remedies this summer, all aimed at the inconsequential, day-to-day accidents like an inability to sleep. We planted lemon verbena, chamomile, and sage; we already had mint and lavender, basil, oregano, and a really nice rosemary bush. The fragrances alone are probably curative. Here are some of the remedies we’ve been trying:

Chamomile-mint tea. This has been a very nice tea, and it truly does seem to help us sleep. I use about a dozen chamomile flowers and six or eight mint leaves and steep them for about five minutes. Plain old mint tea is good, too, and is supposed to be good for the digestion.

Lemon verbena-mint tea. Not as delicious as chamomile, but a pleasant tea that is also relaxing but apparently should not be taken for more than 10 days in a row. That makes me nervous. There’s a recipe on The Splendid Table Web site for lemon verbena sorbet, and I intend to try that as soon as we run out of yesterday’s generous batch of (see next item).

Basil-buttermilk sorbet. I know. Basil belongs in pesto and buttermilk belongs in biscuits. But I got the recipe through the grapevine at work, and it is – exactly as promised – outstanding. The recipe is simple—the only ingredients not in the name are limes, sugar, and water—and the result is amazing. Choirs of angels sing every time I take the lid off the tub I packed it in. It is kind of like a margarita, and it’s the perfect cure for 108-degree days. I’m going to try a batch using some of our mint, and see if it tastes like a mojito.

Tonight we’ll be eating flank steak with homegrown sage. I’m not sure if sage has curative properties, but our plant is doing well with too much sun and not enough rain, and we expect good things from it.

It’s nice to eat (and drink) flowers and leaves from the garden, with or without medicinal value. This year, even the hydrangeas have looked edible, especially the classic snowball bushes, which have been particularly fine. They seem to thrive here even in extreme heat. There’s one house that I pass on my way to work that is surrounded by the most gorgeous snowball bushes I’ve ever seen—they are pure white, fresh, and beautiful. I told my mom that they looked so good, I was tempted to stop the car, pick a single blossom, and eat it like a snow cone. I imagine that it would be as delicious and cool as coconut cream. And I’m sure it would cure whatever ails me.

Annabelle hydrangea. Photograph by Don Sessions, http://www.donsessions.blogspot.com/


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