IMG_3064

Fringed Violet – Protection

IMG_3064

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.” — Alice Walker, The Color Purple

Well then, here is your chance to make up with God for the times you’ve passed the colour purple in a field and outright ignored it.

You may find this purple beauty in all states of Australia but don’t look for it in Tasmania. It’s botanical name Thysanotus comes  from the Greek thysanotos, meaning ‘fringed’.  Thysanotus from the Asparagaceae family is a genus of 47 species that are endemic to Australia.  It is a perennial herb with flowers characterised by fringed margined petals. Flowering occurs in Spring and early Summer with each flower opening for a single day only. The delicate flowers close in the dark, when it rains or overcast.

IMG_3061

One of the family members is Thysanotus tuberosus, the Common Fringed Lily also known as Fringed Violet. The Australian Bush Flower Essence has Fringed Violet in its range of flower essences.

Fringed Violet  heals the aura that has been damaged by shock or trauma caused by accidents, major illness or loss of a loved one. If you ever have had the unfortunate experience of your house being burgled you can likely recall having a sense of your space being invaded, feeling vulnerable and unprotected. As our living spaces are an extension of our physical body this feeling of vulnerability may be an indication that the aura, the protective shield around your body, has been impacted from the emotional shock of the event, especially when you’re feeling vulnerable for an extended period of time.

The essence supports us to release shock from the body. ‘Fringed Violet helps to keep intact a person’s protection, thus blocking off unwanted external energies. It is excellent for people who are drained by others, or those who unconsciously absorb the physical and emotional imbalances of other people.’ (Ian White, Australian Bush Flower Essences)

The harmonising qualities of this essence are the removal of effects of recent or old distressing events, healing damage to the aura and psychic protection. For psychic protection you can combine Fringed Violet with Grey Spider Flower.

For these qualities Fringed Violet is part of a number of the ABFE combination essences – Emergency, Electro, Meditation, Sexuality, Space Clearing and Travel.

In addition to using flower essences there are other ways to cleanse and strenghten the aura, such as spending time in nature (… and don’t forget to rejoice in the magnificence when walking past the colour purple).

© 2013. Annette Zerrenthin

References:
Ian White. Australian Bush Flower Essences. Bantam Books, 1991.
Ian White. Bush Flower Healing. Bantam Books, 1999.
Ian White. Australian Flower Remedies. Bush Biotherapies Pty Ltd, 2006.
IMG_3432

After life

In Autumn, when life has drained out of flowers, their seeds dispursed into the ground, I watch their bleached, frozen froms in nature.

IMG_3958

Each flower head a transient sculptural masterpiece, a three dimensional shadow play in monochrome.

IMG_4080

A reminder of the impermanence of  life.

There are times when our old ways of being in the world are dying and we enter a transient stage, not knowing where to go and the next step required. Life seemingly comes to a standstill. Used to a busy daily schedule, being in limbo feels threatening, survival fears and axieties surface. Our beings sitting in the unknown of all things possible with nothing physically manifested but minds racing, grasping for security.

RIMG0046Allow yourself the space to surrender to time for seeds to germinate and blossom into a new cycle of life.

Who can wait quietly until the mud settles?
Who can remain still until the moment of action?

Lao Tzu

IMG_3435Flower essences can support us in phases of transition into a new way of life that takes place internally and/or externally. They can help to ease the letting go and transition at the end of life.

The Australian Bush Flower Transition Essence, a combination of eight flower essences, helps to cope with and move through major life change. When on a crossroad, it brings an awareness of one’s life direction or alternatively, it benefits if you know what you want but don’t know how to archieve it. “It eases the fear of death as well as helping one come to terms with it. This remedy, consequently, allows one to easily and gently pass over with calmness, dignity and serenity.”

Desert Alchemy ‘Transitions Formula’ brings a sense of peace and ease in times of great changes and transitions. ‘It creates a sense of protection, concentration and luminescence that helps us to focus on making a transformation or a transition without distraction.’ It addresses three stages of transition: Dissolving or Death of the Old, The Limbo and Accepting the New.

The combination formula includes Spineless Prickly Pear Cactus to allow us to be vulnerable and for us to recognize that we have all we need within ourselves. Pink Pond Lily brings a freshness of preception, to see ourselves with new eyes and rest in the knowing of trust and safety within us.

© 2013. Annette Zerrenthin

References:
Kemp Scherer, Cynthia Athina. The Alchemy of the Desert. Desert Alchemy Editions, 2003.
White, Ian. Australian Bush Flower Remedies. Bush Biotherapies Pty Ltd, 2006.
IMG_3424

Bluebell – ‘An open, aware heart is your camera.’

Life is your art. An open, aware heart is your camera. A oneness with your world is your film. Your bright eyes, your easy smile is your museum. ~ Ansel Adams

This quote by photographer Ansel Adams highlights one of the healing aspects of the Australian Bush Flower’s Bluebell essence … helping to open the heart.

The essence can be used when you feel cut-off from your feelings with emotions present but are unable to find words to express them. The essence supports you to gently ease your heart open. Ian White adds … ‘for subconsciously these people are afraid that their feelings of love, joy, etc., are finite or unrenewable.’  The essence promotes trust in universal abundance, sharing joyfully with your world.

The harmonising aspects for this essence are … opens the heart, belief in abundance, universal trust and joyful sharing.

Botanically, Bluebells are part of the large Bluebell family of about 2000 species, Campanulaceae, that are mostly found in temperate areas of the Northern Hemisphere.

Wahlenbergia is part of the extended Bluebell family that occurs predominantly in South Africa, but also in New Zealand and Australia.  In Australia, the widespread genus consists of about 20 species of which, Wahlenbergia gloriosa, Royal Bluebell, was declared the Australian Capital Territories floral emblem in 1982.

Being curious about the name of the genus I found information on the  Floral Emblems of Australia website  ‘The genus Wahlenbergia was proposed by Heinrich Schrader, a German botanist, in honour of Georg Goran Wahlenberg (1780-1851), Professor of Botany at Uppsala, Sweden, and described by Albrecht Roth in 1821.’ 

© 2013. Annette Zerrenthin

References:
Denise Greig. Field Guide to Australian Wildflowers. New Holland, 2012.
Margaret G. Corrick, Bruce A. Fuhrer. Wildflowers of Victoria. Bloomings Books, 2001.
Ian White. Australian Bush Flower Essences. Bantam Books, 1991.

 

IMG_3065

On Kangaroo Paw

In Australia, you can find Kangaroo Paws (Anigozanthos) growing in many native gardens, parks and are offered as cut flowers in florists. Their natural habitat is the south-western region of Western Australia where you can see most of the 7 genera and 85 species in their natural habitat.

The first European to describe the flower was the French botanist Jacques-Julian Houton de Labillardiere, who as part of a scientific expedition, landed near Esperance WA in 1792. It was de Labillardiere who coined the species name  Anigozanthos meaning ‘irregular flower’. The common name Kangaroo Paw stems from the appearance of the unopened flower clusters resembling the forepaw of a kangaroo.

IMG_3049

The most known of this family is the striking Red and Green Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos manglesii) proclaimed as the floral emblem of Western Australia in 1960.

IMG_3133

Kangaroo Paw flower essences made from Red and Green Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos manglesii) are available through the Australian Bush Flower Essence as well as the Living Essences of Australia ranges.

This essence supports relationships either for people who are socially awkward or family members who have grown distant.  The essence is indicated for the socially inept person who has difficulty relating to others, either because of being a bit naive, narrow minded or feeling out of place in social circumstances. It’s for the person who always knows the right thing to say after the situation has passed.

Living Essences of Australia describes the ‘Healing Pathway to the Soul’ for this essence as follows:

‘The mind races towards its personal goals and desires, expecting support and devaluing those people who don’t support them directly. This devalued person can be one who simply wants to share Love with us. Just to BE is an art in life where the mind learns to sublimate its endless external plans and curiosities to the real experiences of the internal world. One of these internal delicacies that can easily be missed is the timeless communion with another Soul and all the sweetness of the combining of two hearts.’

The harmonising qualities of this essence are: kindness, sensitivity, enjoyment of people, closeness, being relaxed, in touch and patient.

 

A relationship is like a garden. If it is to thrive it must be watered regularly. Special care must be given, taking into account the seasons as well as any unpredictable weather. New seeds must be sown and weeds must be pulled …
~ John Gray

 

Living Essences of Australia also makes an essence from Purple and Red Kangaroo Paw. This essence is also indicated for relationship problems with focus on situations when we feel hung up communicating with a particular person … having to blame, argue, criticise and or react to the person. Taking is essence assists in shifting the problem into the spotlight and away from the other person. ‘Being in touch with the other person and not focusing on winning a fight, or having their own way, many new possibilities arise to renew the relationship.’

The harmonising qualities of Purple and Red Kangaroo Paw are: openness, sensitivity, understanding and vulnerability.

© 2013. Annette Zerrenthin

References:
Ian White: Australian Bush Flower Essences. Bantam Books, 1991.
Vasudeva & Kadambii Barnao. Australian Flower Essences for the 21st Century. Australasian Flower Essence Academy, 1997.
Geoff Bryant. Australian Native Plants. Random House Australia, 1995.
Andy Zubko. Treasury of Spiritual Wisdom. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers,2004.
IMG_3888

Much Ado About Geranium … or was it Pelargonium?

IMG_3888

I found a treasure at the St Kilda Night Market on Valentine’s Day, a lovely Peppermint Geranium (Pelargonium tomentosum) from the HERBS2HEALME stall.

IMG_3881

The scent when touching the leaves is just like fresh peppermint. What got me hooked into buying was the tip from the grower to use it in baking to infuse chocolate cake with a peppermint flavour.  Both, leaves and flowers are edible and add flavour to sugars, jellies, lemonade and teas. Medicinally it can be used for its astringent properties as a poultice for bruises and sprains.

Having known of rose geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) a world opened for me to explore the many scented varieties that mimic the scent and flavour of the botanical world, e.g., cedar wood, cinnamon, nutmeg, apricots, orange or ginger. Scented geraniums were introduced to England from South Africa in 1632 and it took until the 1840’s to be discovered by French perfume makers.

The Geraniaceae family is a family of perennial herbs and shrubs of 7 genera and about 750 species globally distributed in mostly temperate zones. The genera of Geraniums and Pelargoniums are the Rosencrantz & Guildenstern of the plant world and commonly used interchangeably however they are different genera. To ease confusion GardenWeb has a good description of the differences for you:

“True geraniums, also known as cranesbills, referring to the shape of the fruit, for the most part have symmetrical flowers with ten fertile stamens. Most Pelargonium have bilaterally symmetrical flowers with up to seven of the ten stamens fertile. True Geraniums have a different seed dispersal technique than Pelargoniums. Geraniums fling their seeds away while Pelargonium seeds float away on the breeze and usually have a ‘feathered ‘ end that Geraniums don’t have. Of course, you can only see this when they are producing seeds.

Pelargoniums are tender perennials and occur naturally almost entirely within South Africa. Leaves of true geraniums are usually deeply divided and cut while those of most groups of pelargoniums are not. Pelargoniums also have rather thick, succulent stems, originating as they do from areas where they have to withstand summer drought, whereas geraniums have the appearance of ‘normal’ herbaceous perennial plants, a mounding form of many many slender stems arising from a central core, and fibrous roots.”

Native to Australia are three genera and about 36 species and this native pelargonium was photographed in Porongurup National Park in Western Australia.

Pelargonium

Geranium essential oil is distilled from the flowers and leaves of pelargonium odorantissimum (apple-like fragrance) or graveolens (rose aroma), see below.

Rose Geranium

The oil is widely used by the perfume industry as it can be made to imitate most fragrances. As with all essential oils the list of properties is long and includes for example analgesic, antidepressant, antiseptic, diuretic, insecticide, tonic, vasoconstrictor which support our mind and body in the following ways:

Mind: Tonifies the nervous system and reduces stress through its action on the adrenal cortex.

Body: Regulates the endocrine system and is effective for premenstrual tension and menopausal problems. A tonic for the liver and kidneys to clear the body of toxins. It’s diuretic properties help to guard against fluid retention and swollen ankles. Indicated for throat and mouth infections.

Skin: Balances and tones the skin. Used for acne, bruises, broken capillaries, burns congested skin, oily complexion, mature skin, insect repellent, wounds.

In her book ‘Bach-Blueten und 52 neue Bluetenessenzen’ Dr. Cornelia Alber-Klein indicates Geranium flower essence (geranium perforatum) to be used when wanting to break through confined social or moral life circumstances. It frees a person from the burden of external pressure  having to conform to social and moral constrains to nurture oneself and satisfy one’s own needs.  It allows for space and playfulness in relationships that have grown stale.

References:
Dr. C. Alber-Klein, R. Hornberger. Bach-Blueten und 52 neue Bluetenessenzen. Edition Tirta, 2005.
J. Lawless. The Encyclopedia of Essentail Oils. Thorsons, 2002.
W. Sellar. The Directory of Essential Oils. Vermilion, 2oo1. 
D. Greig. Field Guide to Australian Wildflowers. New Holland, 2012.

© 2013. Annette Zerrenthin

IMG_3024-2

Sturt Desert Pea – The beautiful Alien

IMG_3033

Sturt’s Desert Pea (Swainsona formosa) of the Fabaceae family is one of the most striking looking Australian native flowering plants. The shape of the bight crimson coloured flowers with its black centre have an alienness to them that to me can only be described as otherworldly.

Endemic to Australia’s arid regions Sturt’s Desert Pea can be found in all mainland states except Victoria. It’s a sprawling creeper that grows to a hight of 15 centimetres.

IMG_3029

The earliest Western sightings of the plant recorded were  by the explorer William Dampier on his exploration of New Holland in 1699. However, the common name goes to another seafarer, Captain Charles Sturt, who recorded seeing large numbers on his exploration of central Australia between 1844 and 1845. Sturt’s Desert Pea is the floral emblem of South Australia.

There are several indigenous Australian legends that link the plant to emotions of grief and sorrow and one of those is the  sad tale of Wimbakobolo and Purleemil.

 

“In times of grief and sorrow I will hold you and rock you and take your grief and make it my own. When you cry I cry and when you hurt I hurt. And together we will try to hold back the floods to tears and despair and make it through the potholed street of life”
― Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

 

The founder of the Australian Bush Flower Essences, Ian White, describes Sturt Desert Pea and Waratah to be the most powerful of all the bush essences. He writes: ‘The main property of the Sturt Desert Pea remedy is that it resolves very deep pain and sorrow. This remedy works extremely quickly in almost all cases, even when the pain has been harboured for many years, even as far back as a previous life.’ 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine theory grief and sadness are linked to the lungs and this essence has been found to be effective to clear lung and breathing difficulties.

The harmonising aspects of the essence when a person feels pain, deep hurt or sadness are letting go, the diffusion of sad memories and it’s motivating & re-energising.

© 2013. Annette Zerrenthin

References:
White, Ian. Australian Bush Flower Essences. Bantam Books, 1991.
White, Ian. Australian Bush Flower Healing. Bantam Books, 1999.
Morcombe, M.K. Australia's Western Wildflowers. Landfall Press, 1968.
IMG_1062

Lifting the veil on Wild Carrot

Wild carrot Daucus carota is a flowering plant in the Apiaceae  (or Umbelliferae) family of mostly aromatic plants that include angelica, anise, caraway and parsley. These plants are known for their umbrella shaped flower head . Light and feathery, Wild carrot also named Queen Anne’s lace, bishops lace or bird’s nest graces meadows and gardens all over the world. Native to temperate climate zones of Europe and south-west Asia the plant has migrated across the oceans to North America and Australia.

The domesticated carrot is a subspecies known as Daucus carota subsp. sativus.

 Early Geek texts from the 1st century AD describe the use of the plant as a vegetable as well as a medicinal plant thought to contain contraceptive properties.

Carrot seed essential oil is used in aromatherapy as a tonic for the digestive system, especially the liver and gallbladder, and to relieve stress and mental exhaustion. With its carotol properties the oil is a premier skin healing oil, and is used externally mixed in a carrier oil for dryness, dermatitis, ageing skin and eczema. Personally, I love use essential oils in my daily skincare by blending a few drops of  helicrysum, frankincense and carrot seed oils in sweet almond oil and  I am yet to try this face mask of honey, olive oil and carrot seed oil. When using essential oils it is common sense to test if it causes irritation to your skin.

IMG_1044

The healing properties of Wild carrot flower essence centre around vision and seeing in all forms from eyesight, insight to clairvoyance. The doctrine of signature of the plant with its lace like, umbrella shaped flower head suggests a veil that may conceal repressed emotions or hurt, a not wanting to see what is, an obstruction of sight.

 

“But when the self speaks to the self, who is speaking? The entombed soul, the spirit driven in, in, in to the central catacomb; the self that took the veil and left the world — a coward perhaps, yet somehow beautiful, as it flits with its lantern restlessly up and down the dark corridors.” ~ Virginia Woolf

 

The harmonising qualities of the Flower Essence Society’s Queen Anne’s Lace essence are indicated as follows: “This essence is helpful for many who are seeking balanced psychic opening, or who may experience vision problems connected with emergent clairvoyance. The Queen Anne’s Lace flower helps to ground and stabilize, as well as to refine and sensitize the soul’s “clear-seeing.”  

Wild carrot flower essence by the German brand Rosengarten-Essenzen supports us in seeing and recognising what is. It can be used to accompany therapy supporting clear reflection on experiences that had been repressed. The essence relieves eye strain caused by bright sunlight or computer monitors.

© 2013. Annette Zerrenthin

References:
Bodyworks. Murdorch Books, 2007
Davies, P. Aromatherapie von A-Z. Knaur, 1990.
Chiazzari, S. Colour Scents. Saffron Walden, 1998.
Alber-Klein, C. & Hornberger, R. Bach-Blueten und 52 neue Bluetenessenzen. Edition Tirta, 2005.
Kaminski, P. & Katz, R. Flower Essence Repertory. Earth-Spirit Inc., 1992.
Hyacinth Orchid | Dipodium roseum

… for the Lover of Orchids

Have you ever considered the sheer abundance and diversity of flowers? Internet sources tell me that flowering plants make up about 90% of the plant kingdom with more than 250,000 species being documented and many still being unidentified.

 

“Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words.  They are the hieroglyphics of angels, loved by all men for the beauty of their character, though few can decipher even fragments of their meaning.”  ~Lydia M. Child

 

The Orchidaceae family is one of the largest groups of flowering plants in the world with around 800 genera and 30,000 species found on all continents except Antarctica. In Australia, there are about 100 genera and more than 1,200 species of orchids. Orchids get their name from the Ancient Greek orchis , meaning ‘testicle’, derived from the appearance of the paired root tubers of the plant.

Commonly, when we think of orchids it is those with large blooms we can buy at florists or see in the hothouses of botanic gardens.

Phalaenopsis aphrodite from my local market in Melbourne

IMG_3772

Yet, we may pass them when bush walking and not notice them, perhaps because we expect to see large beautiful flowers calling for our attention.

Australian native orchids are diverse and stunning but have much smaller flowers, they often blend well into their environment making them hard to see when we don’t know what to look out for.

Blue Lady Orchid (Thelymitra crinita) – Porongurup National Park, WA

IMG_2868

Expecting them to be much larger and prominent I saw native orchids for the first time when visiting the Porongurup National Park in Western Australia in October last year and with my eyes being attuned to their fragility I found them growing beside a path on a walk surrounding Hanging Rock in Victoria last December.

Hyacinth Orchid (Dipodium punctuatum) – Hanging Rock, Victoria

IMG_3459

Some of the Australian native orchids have been made into flower essences by Living Essences of Australia and the Australian Bush Flower Essences.

Purple Enamel Orchid_webThe Living Essences of Australia range has 13 essences that are made from native orchids. Purple Enamel Orchid (Elynthranthera brunonis) flower essence for example supports us in balancing our energies. It is indicated for those, who feel they are not doing enough, having a tendency to overwork. Their lifestyle fluctuates between a high energy output and then collapsing having expended too much energy.  The harmonising qualities for this essence are consistence, confidence, regulating Qi, stamina and achievement.

Cowslip Orchid (Calandenia flavia) is supporting a person that craves acknowledgement and when not recognised by others, has a tendency to respond negatively. The essence is indicated when the mind of the person is drawn too quickly away from their body onto their surroundings, they are too externally concentrated and overly alert. The harmonising qualities of the essence are humility, confidence, being self-assured and having inner satisfaction.

IMG_2813Yellow Cowslip Orchid essence is part of the Australian Bush Flower Essence range and is  indicated for a person with an overactive mind and as a result this person may be blocked off from their feelings. Out of balance there is a tendency to be excessively critical and judgemental, aloof and withdrawn. ABFE indicates these positive qualities for the essence: humanitarian concern, impartial – can step back from emotions, constructive and ability to arbitrate. This essence is included in the Dynamis combination essence supporting a renewal of enthusiasm and joy for life.

Living Tree Orchid Essences is a range entirely dedicated to orchids grown in greenhouses and  made in the UK by Don Dennis and Heather Decam.

© 2013. Annette Zerrenthin

Jacaranda

Jacaranda – Focus, the key to concentrate your power

In late Spring Melbourne’s streets and gardens are bathed in the intense lilac colour of flowering Jacaranda’s.

The tree’s origin is South America, especially Brazil and Argentina but Jacarandas can now be found in subtropical and IMG_3382tropical countries across the world. The genus Jacaranda comprising of around 50 species is part of the Bignoniaceae plant family of mostly tropical plants and shrubs.

In South America extracts from the fern-like  leaves have been known to treat bacterial infections of the skin, kidneys and bladder.  More on Jacaranda’s medicinal properties can be found in this research paper published in the Journal of Medicinal Plants Vol 6.

When photographing this flower close-up it proved to be challenging as the branches  moved in the slightest breeze. I often lost my focus on a particular flower to portrait, jumping my attention from one to the next that promised to keep still just long enough.

IMG_3354Changeability and rushing are some of the imbalances that are transmuted by Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosaefolia)  flower essence from the Australian Bush Flower Essence range. The essence is for the personality type that has a tendency to dither being easily distracted by the outside world. It is for those that have difficulty making decisions torn by their ever changing minds.  Projects are excitedly started and left incomplete. Driven by insecurity there might be a tendency to go back and forth over the choices with no clear focus on which direction to take.

 

One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular. ~ Tony Robbins

 

The Jacaranda flower essence supports centredness, decisiveness, being clear-headed and quick-thinking. For these qualities it has been included in the Calm and Clear and Cognis combination essences of the ABFE range.

If you’ve made a New Year’s resolution for 2013 think of taking Jacaranda flower essence to help you manifest your intention being centred, decisive and focused.

© 2013. Annette Zerrenthin

Petrophile linearis

Pixie Mops – Feel the warm embrace to your heart

When I look at Pixie Mops (Petrophile linearis) I feel a warm embrace  of my heart. Its downy flower curling around into a soft violet pink cocoon. When first seeing the flower this October at Perth’s Kings Park I was stuck in awe by its unusual form and colour highlighted by the bright midday sun.

IMG_3117

And indeed, Pixie Mops flower essence from the Living Essences of Australia range works with the heart, gives it strength and freedom. It supports you when you feel let down or treated unfairly by people; triggering a hardening of your heart, being resentful and hurt in response. It restores within you sensitivity and compassion towards others, allowing you to cut  emotional ties that keep you stuck in resentment.

 

“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.” ~ Catherine Ponder

 

The species name Petrophile stems from the Greek petra (rock) and phileo (love), as they were thought to be ‘rock loving’ plants when first described. They are commonly known as Conesticks. Currently 53 species of the shrub that are endemic to Australia have been identified with 47 of them originating in the south-west of Western Australia. The often very  downy to woolly flowers form into woody seedheads, referred to as cones. Petrophile linearisPixie Mops, is endemic to coastal regions of Western Australia.

© 2013. Annette Zerrenthin