Title: Orchids in Homeopathy
First edition, 2014, hardcover, 544 pages
Author: Louis Klein
Publisher: Narayana -Verlag
Reviewer: Vatsala Sperling
Orchids have a mystique that sets them apart from all other flowers. They are highly coveted for their rarity, delicate and sculptured appearance as well as dazzling colors and shapes. Different cultures throughout history have known orchids to have healing, disease fighting and protective properties. It is only natural that homeopaths would try to tap into the medicinal potential inherent in the orchids. With this notion, Louis Klein has written “Orchids in Homeopathy”.
This book is a special treat. Even though the internet is awash with information on orchids, it is heartening to see a book on orchids and homeopathy that is written in such a thoughtful and systematic manner. In the first section, ‘Orchids in nature and human experience’, Louis Klein gives a very well researched and detailed account of orchids and their place in human culture.
Section 2 ‘The Orchid group: New Homeopathy Perspective’ is humbling in the sense that we learn how little we know and how much more there is to know. The classical homeopathy texts have so far covered only five members of the orchid family, and about 25-30,000 orchid species are found worldwide. This scarcity of homeopathic literature on orchids prompted Louis Klein to look closely at the orchid family in general and devote much time and effort in “The Orchid Project”. Starting with Vanilla, Louis Klein conducted Hahnemannian provings of many more orchids. This extensive exercise led to development of orchid themes and these are presented in a concise and easy to read manner on page 65.
Materia medica of thirty six orchids consists of stunning color pictures, factual details, taxonomy and meaning, description and source. With most of these orchids, the author has included a homeopathy commentary and occasionally a case. Each of these mini-chapters also has a boxed summary that is gleaned from provings by Louis Klein.
Though there are several reports of brief and overnight provings of various remedies during seminars, and new ones are coming up all the time, it is refreshing to see this distinguished author sticking to the protocols of the Hahnemannian proving style. As presented in section 4, for five different orchids, the provers observed symptoms and reported these symptoms till day 68. This rigorous proving has formed the basis of the orchid themes.
In the appendix section, along with useful information, the author has given charts for placement of orchids in the periodic table (stages or columns) and in various miasmatic groups.
As a physical object, this book is deeply satisfying and beautiful. A section on how to differentiate orchids from other similarly indicated remedies would have enhanced the value of this book and in the absence of such practical information, the regular prescriber is likely to drift to selecting other better known remedies instead of experimenting with orchids. Another piece of information that homeopaths crave universally is cases treated successfully using homeopathic remedies and in this instance, orchid remedies. Even one treated case per orchid would have been fine…but the author agrees that this is a work in progress and he invites practitioners from all parts of the world to use orchid remedies and add to the collection of treated cases.
Considering what is currently available on the subject of orchids and homeopathy, it can be said that homeopaths are literally in an uncharted sea. My own literature search on this subject yielded Misha Norland’s proving of an orchid, Dactylorhiza, a C4 trituration of Calypso orchid, and then Jan Scholten book “Wonderful plants” with about five pages on orchids. In this scenario, I am delighted to say that Louis Klein’s work and this book, “Orchids in Homeopathy” stands out as a strong beacon motivating us to swim harder and get to the shore. Per chance, we might encounter cases requiring orchid remedies, and then thanks to Louis Klein’s work, we will have a strong resource to rely on.