Flower Power: The Magic of Nature's Healers by Olaf Hajek & Christine Praxmann, translated by Jane Michael, 40 pp, RL 4
Flower Power: The Magic of Nature's Healers
by Olaf Hajek
Review Copy from Prestel
Flower Power is prefect for browsing, but I guarantee that once you start reading, you won't stop until you have learned everything about the seventeen flowers featured here. A marvelous introduction sets the stage for the historical, scientific and botanical explorations ahead, while a note at the end titled, "Olaf and His Plant Tales," shares the artist/author's inspirations, mentioning Maria Sibylla Merian and noting that, for many centuries, "scientific research and painting were closely linked." Another interesting note lets readers know that Hajek's paintings, which are packed with detail, are actually miniature in size, and created to appear as if painted on wood panels.
It is a challenge not to share all the fascinating facts included in the pages of Flower Power, so I will limit myself to a few tidbits about ginger, echinacea and common mallow. Ginger, long used medicinally by humans, is also effective on horses, "from hoof to tail," and research indicates it can be used on other animals with digestive problems. And, if you have eaten too much garlic, ginger's spicy juice will help counteract the "pungent sulfur compounds" in garlic. The echinacea plant is originally comes from North America! This plant "activates the body's scavenger cells, which protect against germs," and, if taken at the start of a cold, stimulates the immune system, helping to prevent the virus from spreading further. Also, the plant has a beautiful, upright flower with "hedgehog like" centers. Finally, the common mallow, a truly diverse, fascinating plant! It grows best on "undeveloped land and rubbish heaps" (!) and, while once thought a cure-all, is now known to work specifically on ailments of the mouth, nose, throat and teeth, the extract "creating a protective coating for sensitive or inflamed areas of the body." Almost every part of the mallow - from the flower to the seeds to the fruit - can be eaten, used for dyes, and has been grown to use as a biogas!
Hajek's fantastic, vibrant illustrations will catch your eye and draw you in to Flower Power: The Magic of Nature's Healers and the amazing aspects of these spectacular flowers will keep you reading!
Also included: Artichoke, Bellflower, Chicory, Dandelion, Iris, Madonna Lily, Marigold, Passion Flower, Peony, Pineapple, Red Poppy, Rowan and Wild Rose.