The power of flower essences
Flower essences occupy a unique place in the philosophy of natural medicine. Where many herbs and medicinal plans aim to ease physical symptoms in the body, flower essences are meant to nurture your emotional and spiritual side, easing stress and promoting a balanced mind and body.
I was introduced to flower essences over 20 years ago; I had a dog (Ike) that would have stress-based seizures every time I boarded him. I did not want to give Ike phenobarbital, so the vet suggested I try a flower remedy called Rescue Remedy. Low and behold it worked, and every time I boarded him, a dose of Rescue Remedy would calm his anxiety. I was both hooked and fascinated by this type of natural remedy designed to help support the emotional part of a body out of balance.
What are flower essences?
Flower essences are what they sound like: basically infusions of flowers, much like medicinal teas. It’s about preserving — and transmitting — the essential nature of the plant. Unlike essential oils, flower essences are more dilute, and they don’t have a scent or taste. Most come as a tincture that you can add to water or tea, while others are available as lotions or room sprays.
Think of flower essences as carrying a plant’s vibration or energy imprint. Use them as a balancer, helping you become aware of where your emotions, mind, and spirit are out of whack, 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 eliminate the effects of all that tension — but they can help you let go of it. And as I learned with Ike, flower essences can be used to treat anxiety, in both people and animals. They are also sometimes recommended for depression, grief, and other emotional extremes.
You can use flower essences to 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.
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.
This flower remedy is a tonic for those “cowardly lions” in all of us. It can help us master 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.
More on flower remedies
The bulk of research and the philosophy behind flower essences was developed in the 1930’s by Dr. Edward Bach. Today, Bach is the best-known manufacturer of flower remedies, and the Bach website has lots of info on the different essences and their intended uses. Other companies tend to base their formulas and blends on Bach’s research, including Flower Essence Services (FES).
The Flower Essence Society is another good source of information, with links to research and studies.