Barbary Nut
(Iris sisyrinchium)

This Flower Essence was first made by Pema and our friend Maha, in Batloun, Chouf, in the autumn of 2005. The tiny, blue and purple, iris-like flowers were growing in a car parking area - not the best place for harvesting flowers for an essence - but they really attracted us!

This remedy is useful for people who have sudden mood swings, and are very exacting and fastidious. Things have to be absolutely right for them, or they can't stand it. It's very helpful for anyone whose nervous system is completely on edge. They feel exasperated when even small things are not right.
They suffer from deep dissatisfaction, under which there is a huge well of emotional pain. They are intolerant and controlling, and they have very narrow limits on how things should be. If things don't go their way they shout, scream and may become violent.
This remedy can be very helpful for anyone who is under a lot of stress, for teething babies, women before their menstrual cycle, and stressed teenagers.

Positive effect: The remedy can bring about a maturity of understanding and behaviour. It enables one to hear the voice of the other person, and to listen to reason. It restores order, and calms the nervous system.

Blue Eryngo

This Essence was made in Batloun, Chouf, in June 2007, from a deliciously blue Eryngo growing on some rough ground on the edge of the village. The roots of various Eryngo species have a long history of use in Arabic and European herbal medicine. The most striking thing about this plant is its colour – the entire, spiky head and the stem are an incredible amethyst blue. When everything is already a bit burnt dry and yellow brown by the summer sun, the Eryngos really stand out. The blue spikes are not the flowers, they are bracts that protect the tiny mound of flowers in the centre – and they’re really mean-looking, brittle, and very sharp.

This Essence is for those who are very defensive on the outside, but very vulnerable inside. They can have a tendency to say something hurtful before anyone has the chance to hurt them. They feel unloveable, unattractive, and are convinced no-one could want them. Nail-biting, self-harm, and the general tendency to pick and pick at small skin eruptions may all be helped by this essence. They have very fixed ideas about themselves and their lives, and insist they are right.

(Cyclamen persicum or Cyclamen libanoticum)

This remedy was first made in March 2007, in woods on the hills above Batroun, on a very wild and windy day, looking out over the Mediterranean. Clumps of Cyclamen were pouring out of every bank and stone wall, while Chamomile flowers and a few Poppies filled all the spaces in-between. I'm not sure what species I used to make the remedy - whether it was 'Cyclamen persicum' or 'Cyclamen libanoticum'.
Cyclamen flowers look so fragile - but they're not, it's quite a hardy plant really, often flowering when the snow is still on the ground, bringing the message of a new beginning, the end of winter. I was very struck by the contrast between the heavy, patterned, dark green leaves and the delicate white and purple flowers, poised as if they might take flight at any minute.

The remedy is useful for those who are on the brink of a decision or a change. It can help people to release someone or something, or some unfulfilled dream from their past that is holding them back. The Cyclamen Essence can help you to believe in yourself, that you can do something that seems very different from your normal, or previous, nature. People who have been very 'rooted', and followed the patterns laid down for them by society, and who are now ready to break out and change. This Essence can give us confidence during those times when we need to release our obligations, and throw open the doors and windows of our life, to allow in light and fresh air.
It can help us regain a heartfelt connection to our life's purpose.
It's also a helpful 'smoother' of all the small changes we have to make, for example, when children start school, or adults start a new job, marriage and so on.

Globe Thistle
(Echinops viscosus)

Globe Thistles grow in abundance on the waysides of Lebanon. They look and feel like alien plants when you get up close to them. They’re a tight, light ball of wood, with radiating woody spikes, and trumpet-shaped pure blue flowers in between. They look something like land-bound sea urchins. They have a delicate quality when you examine them closely, and are highly structured, but very stiff; there’s not an ounce of ‘give’ in them. The essence was made in the Chouf Mountains.

This Essence may help people who struggle to ‘be of one mind’. Their thinking is muddled and they can’t focus their ideas. They confuse themselves and others as well! It brings commitment to one project, one ideal, and stops people running in several different directions at once. Try spraying it around offices where everyone is pulling in different directions, and there’s no single sense of purpose. The remedy may help you in structuring your approach to a task, and prevent dithering.

Judas Tree
(Cercis siliquastrum)

This Flower Essence was also made for the first time in the woods on the hills above Batroun, on the same day as the Cyclamen, in 2007.

The Judas Tree is a member of the Pea family, and is native to the Eastern Mediterranean. There are many stories as to why it has this name - some say it's from Judea's Tree, because it's very common in Palestine, while others that it's so named because Judas Iscariot hung himself on this tree after betraying Jesus, and the abundant and beautiful pink flowers are it's annual blush of shame. But then, in Spain, it's known as the Tree of Love. (Arbol de Amor)
The Judas Tree Essence is helpful for anyone who wants to let go of old grudges, sorrows and pains. It brings forgiveness, especially of your family and the situation in which you were raised. It may help you to take responsibility for yourself, and to stop blaming others. It helps you release any sense of betrayal, or guilt. It helps you to forgive yourself for things you've said or done.

Orchid Tree
(Bauhinia variegata)

This essence was made in west Beirut, near Bliss Street, in early 2008. The beautiful spring flowers of the Orchid Tree, with their exquisite, mood-lifting evening perfume and heart-shaped leaves, had been calling me for more than a year.
The Bauhinia variegata grows to about 10-12 metres high, and is native to the Far East. It has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine, especially for digestive problems, including dysentery and haemorrhoids, and in maintaining the health of the glandular system, particularly the thyroid and prostate.

The Orchid Tree can help emotional pain held in the tissues of the body to be released, causing a blossoming of creativity. It helps you to focus on what you really want, and need, to do. For those who are living out family, tribal or regional cycles of inherited pain and want to be free to move on. It has a very uplifting effect on the psyche, making you feel serene; your heart soars, full of devotion and love. It can help bonding, for example between mother and baby, or between partners, when old emotional pain is getting in the way of understanding and union.

Phoenician Anemone
(Anemone coronaria Phoenicea)

The Adonis anemone is named after the rising and dying vegetation god of the Ancient Near East, Adonis, whose flowing blood is said to have coloured this beautiful flower. Afqa, the valley of the River Adonis (now the Nahr Ibrahim) and Byblos were the centre of his cult for hundreds of years. Women and girls, in the annual season of intense cathartic mourning for the god, would throw armfuls of the flowers dedicated to him into the river, making it flow red with the blooms.
This was the first flower essence we made - in the spring of 2001, up in the Chouf.

This essence may help those who have suffered terrible grief or separation. For those who have experienced a paralysing grief or loss, either of a loved one, or of a home or land. Where grief, loss or shock have affected the nervous system, causing trembling, twitching or shaking, or the heart, leading to palpitations, irregular rhythms etc. People who are wounded and split - the essence can bring repair, re-union, joy and a new beginning.
It may help give a new sense of purpose to those who have been split from their home or homeland, and become directionless.

(a mixture of two local species of Poppy)

This essence was made in the spring of 2006, high up in the Kadisha valley.

This is basically an essence for short-term use, after exhausting periods of time when you have been fighting for your rights, for your existence, for your place in the world - for example, after a difficult divorce, after a court procedure, after struggling to meet deadlines at work, after long and hard study for an exam.
It is also very useful for anyone who is trying to free themselves from an addiction.
After long journeys this remedy helps to ground and re-vitalise you, aiding with putting down new roots. On a simple level it's good for jetlag, but it can also help after moving house or country.
It may help those who have suffered from surgery or injury to the genitals or anus, or who have loss of urine control or other pelvic floor problems.
It may also help people who have lost all sense of their soul purpose, and are just struggling to exist, or who are taking a 'battling' attitude to everything.
The remedy brings a change of perspective, new life and vitality to the 'walking wounded'.

Rock Rose
(Cistus creticus)

This essence was also made in the Kadisha valley, in the spring of 2006.

This Essence is indicated when you've experienced a sudden shock, loss or treachery and as a result your personal, emotional world feels shaken to its foundations, or collapses. It's for great fear - but emotional fear, not fears of specific things. Fear of death; of separation; of abandonment; of being unloved or unwanted. Fear when standing on the edge of a big personal change. Depression which is based on fear - usually groundless. This fear can inhibit everything you do, but it's usually groundless - it's an emotional response, an exaggeration or misunderstanding of something, perhaps something that happened long ago, in childhood, for example.
This essence restores your sense of being, and makes the ground feel firm under your feet again. Your fears can be dissolved away, and a sense of reality and security take their place.