Flower essences are liquid remedies prepared from the blossoms of fresh wildflowers and used to treat emotional states and personality patterns. After a discussion, the practitioner will recommend a specific flower that should be used to treat a particular emotional distress. Unlike aromatherapy, the scent of the flower is not used as the cure. The healing effect comes from the flower’s essence taken into the body.
This type of therapy was popularized by Edward Bach, an English medical doctor and homeopath in the 1930’s. At the time, he had identified 38 wildflower remedies. Now, there are over 200 known flower remedies.
There are no licensing or accrediting boards to practice flower essence therapy. Training is conducted by the Flower Essence Society in Nevada City, California, or by Nelson Bach USA in Wilmington, Maryland. Many holistic practitioners incorporate Flower Essence Therapy into their practices.
Herbal medicines are remedies derived from plants and can include the roots, stems, leaves, and flowers. These preparations are then used to alleviate certain conditions or disorders.
By using herbal medicines, patients have averted the many side effects that generally come with traditional medicines, but this does not mean that side effects do not occur. Only knowledgeable practitioners can prescribe the right herb and its proper dosage.
Herbal preparations can come in various forms, including pills, teas, tinctures, creams, and ointments. Herbal medicines had been considered conventional in every culture since the beginning of time until the last eighty years or so, when pharmaceutical companies overturned this type of thinking. Now, pharmaceuticals are called traditional; and herbs are labelled as the “alternative.”
Several popular conventional drugs on the market are derived from herbs. These include aspirin (from white willow bark), digitalis (from foxglove), and Sudafed (modelled after a component in the plant ephedra). Pharmaceutical companies are presently scouring rain forests for other useful plants before they become extinct.
Herbal products can vary considerably in their potency. One group, derived from the same basic plant, was found to differ as much as 10,000 times. Therefore, care must be taken in selecting herbs, as well as choosing someone knowledgeable in them to direct your care. Even so, herbal medicines have dramatically fewer side effects and are safer to use than conventional medications.
Currently, there are no credential programs available. Many holistic practitioners incorporate herbal medicines into their own practices, particularly Ayurvedic therapists, naturopaths, and practitioners of Chinese Medicine.
Homeopathy understands that symptoms are the body’s attempts to heal itself and is in the process of restoring balance. Homeopathy includes the use of special preparations that encourage symptoms to run their course rather than being suppressed. Homeopathic remedies can be prepared from plant, animal, or mineral substances in an alcohol or water base, as well as sublingual forms. All are designed to stimulate the immune system and accelerate healing.
Dr. Samuel Hahnemann perfected the philosophy of “similars” in healing after he was ousted from the medical profession in Germany, when he became outraged against the traditional practice of bloodletting. Believing that “like cures like,” Dr. Hahnemann developed the philosophy that when a substance is taken in large amounts by a healthy person, discomfort follows; but, if miniscule amounts are taken by a person who is sick, the same substance will accelerate healing. Effective homeopathic treatments should trigger symptoms similar to the illness itself, causing the body’s natural healing abilities to take over.
Homeopathic remedies are subject to the Law of Potentization, whereby an original substance is diluted in alcohol or water and subsequently shaken to agitate the molecules. The more the remedy is shaken and diluted, the greater the potency. Stronger potencies can only be obtained from a trained practitioner, while weaker ones are sold in stores.
Credentialing comes in two forms. CCH (Certified in Classical Homeopathy) is given after 500 hours of training, plus one or two years of experience before being permitted to take the qualifying exam. The other is the DHt (Diplomat in Homeopathy), which is given only to medical doctors (MD), doctors of osteopathy (DO), and doctors of dental surgery (DDS) after passing a written and practical competency exam.
Holistic dentistry is a branch of dental medicine whereby licensed dentists incorporate the use natural oils and herbal remedies to fight infection and strengthen the immune system. These dentists also recognize the dangers of mercury amalgam fillings, as well as other metals commonly used in dental procedures, and believe that oral x-rays do not always indicate areas of infection that can poison the entire system. Many holistic dentists will also use acupuncture, alternative gum treatments, cold laser therapy, homeopathic remedies, hypnosis, and nutritional supplements in order to treat their patients.
Holistic dentists have the same credentialing as conventional dentists, ie., DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Medical Dentistry). The only difference is that holistic dentists have taken additional training in certain areas and have incorporated that knowledge into their regular practices.