Flower essences are herbal infusions or decoctions (a method of extraction by boiling herbal or plant material) made from the flowering part of the plant.
British physician Dr. Edward Bach formulated the first 38 flower remedies in the 1930s. Bach was influenced by homeopathy and the teachings of its founder, Samuel Hahnemann.
Flower essences and homeopathy have some similarities and yet are different. Like homeopathy, flower essences address emotional and mental aspects of well being. Flower essences are said to stimulate physical healing and are used mainly to promote awareness of emotional, mental and spiritual imbalances. The infusions of flowers in water are taken internally or applied topically. They can also be added to the bath or sprayed on clothing or on a pillow before sleeping.
Flower essences are said to stimulate physical healing and are used mainly to promote awareness of emotional, mental and spiritual imbalances.
Truckee massage therapist and lifestyle and wellness coach Jodi Hubbell uses flower essences to support people with stress, anxiety and depression.
“In explaining what flower essences are, I often start by explaining what they are not. While essential oils act on us on a physiological level because we are using the chemical components of a plant, flower essences work on an energetic level. Since they do not contain plant material, they do not cause toxic or allergic reactions and are scent free,” Hubbell says.
Bach’s original 38 remedies support a multitude of issues. There are some that are staples I keep in my medicine cabinet. Olive is a remedy for tiredness and exhaustion after an effort of some kind, such as hard physical or mental labor, or the long struggle against illness. Elm can be used when feeling overwhelmed by responsibility. Sweet chestnut helps bring optimism and peace of mind and ease unwanted thoughts and mental arguments. Walnut helps to make or adapt to major life changes while pine helps you to accept yourself. Rescue Remedy, a blend of five different flower essences, helps alleviate stress and anxiety. It also is helpful to use if your dog or cat is stressed out. Place a few drops in its mouth or water.
“I have a client that is a small business owner. She always has a lot on her mind, so it’s very difficult for her to focus on one task at a time and hard for her to turn off her brain so she can sleep. For her, I prepared two mixtures: one for daytime, one for night. It had an immediate effect; the very first night she slept great and she was able to focus on the tasks at hand with less distractions,” says Hubbell. “My favorite essence is sunflower. It helps someone with low self-esteem to shine brighter and it brings warmth and compassion to those who tend to overshadow others.”
“With many flower products, a large number of flowering plants must be harvested for a small amount of product. With flower essences, flowers are harvested without endangering the plant’s life. Additionally, a small amount of flowers make a flower essence that can be made into hundreds, even thousands of bottles. Flower essence offers vibrational plant wisdom in a complete and easily utilized form without the harvest of large volumes of plants,” she says.
A flower essence practitioner generally consults with his or her client to assess needs and particular issues. For instance, if someone has insomnia the key is to evaluate the root cause. Hubbell says there is not one essence for insomnia that treats all cases.
There are many new flower essences being prepared since Bach’s day. Herbalists and healers study and derive essences for their clients. There are a number of do-it-yourself Web sites that show you how to create your own flower essences. Using a practitioner to hone in on specific issues is always a good practice and excellent way to familiarize oneself with flower essences.