The power of flower essences

You’ve heard of medicinal teas, homeopathy, and aromatherapy, right? Well, flower essences are somewhere in between those ancient healing methods. They’re basically infusions of flowers — a lot like medicinal teas. But unlike medicinal teas, flower essences are very, very dilute, to the point that there might only be a single molecule from the flower left in the essence.

Homeopathic formulations are extremely diluted, too. But they’re also guided by a strict set of medicinal principles, while flower essences are more about preserving — and transmitting — the essential nature of the plant. But flower essences aren’t essential oils either, because they’re so diluted they have no scent or taste.

Okay, that’s a lot about what flower essences aren’t. So what are they?

Building good vibrations

Most people think of flower essences as carrying a plant’s vibration or energy imprint — sort of like what you get when you stamp an image of a flower on paper, but in this case you’re using the flowers to put that “stamp” in water, then preserve it with a little bit of alcohol.

As you might imagine, the resulting essences are subtle things. Flower essences aren’t so much a fix-all as they are a balancer, helping you become aware of where your emotions, mind, and spirit are out of whack and making it easier for you to ease them back into balance.

If you’ve been feeling a lot of stress, flower essences won’t remove the cause or magically eliminate the effects of all that tension — but they can help you let go of it. They’re often used to treat anxiety, too, in both people and animals; sometimes they’re recommended for depression, grief, and other emotional extremes.

Don’t think of flower essences as a magic bullet — think of them as a trusted helper instead, something that can calm and balance the jagged edges while you take other proactive action to move stress out of your life.

How do I take flower essences?

You’ll find flower essences in most health food stores — Bach Rescue Remedy is one of the most famous and easy to find products. (There’s no real standardization in the flower essence industry.)

Because flower essences are such a subtle, gentle thing, taking them is as easy as putting a few drops on your tongue or in your drinking water. (You can do the same for a pet who’s going through anxiety or stress.) You can also put the flower essence in a spray bottle and mist it in a room, onto your clothes, or even straight onto your body. If people ask, tell them it’s the latest stress-busting perfume!

Here are a few specific flower remedies you might try:

Bach Rescue Remedy

A blend of 5 flower essences, Rescue Remedy, is meant to help you deal with immediate problems and stressful situations: separation anxiety, stress about an exam or test, or handling bad news or grief. It’s made by Bach, one of the largest companies that make flower essences. Rescue Remedy comes in several forms, including a lotion, tincture or spray.


Gorse is a pretty, yellow flowering shrub native to parts of Europe. As a flower essence, it’s meant to soothe distress caused by hopelessness and despair. If you feel like you’re down on your luck, and can’t see a way forward, try gorse.


This herb is used in natural medicine to ease symptoms of IBS or intestinal distress, and it’s also used to soothe a sore throat. As a flower essence, agrimony can be helpful for those who tend to hide stress, pain, and grief behind a happy face, or by joking. If you’re the type that looks to distract yourself from your problems by jumping into social events or pretending to be the life of the party, try agrimony.

Purple monkeyflower

This flower remedy is a tonic for those “cowardly lions” in all of us. It can help us master the fear of the unknown, or fear of intimacy. If you’re recovering from a bad breakup or divorce, purple monkeyflower can help you regain balance and rediscover your inner self.