Flower essences are herbal infusions or decoctions, made from the flowering part of the plant, which uniquely address emotional and mental aspects of wellness. If you've spent time in the supplements section at Whole Foods, High Vibe, and C.O. Bigelow, you've definitely seen Bach Remedies: 38 delicate glass bottles, each promising relief from a specific emotional problem.
Bach Flower Remedies were created by English doctor Edward Bach. He believed that illness is the effect of disharmony between body and mind, and symptoms of an illness are the external expression of negative emotional states. In 1928 he left his practice in London to work on his formulations in Wales and the English countryside. By 1932 he had discovered the first of his 12 remedies. In 1933 he began making the second group of remedies, the 'Seven Helpers', and one year later, when Dr. Bach moved to Mount Vernon in Oxfordshire, he found the remaining 19 remedies that complete the series in the lanes and fields around where he was living.
Dr. Bach is often considered to be the father of flower essences—someone with a vision and an important message for us all. In a simple, direct way, he provides us with the understandings that we need to create balance and wholeness in our lives. These truths are just as appropriate now as they were during Dr. Bach's time, and they form the basis for using all vibrational essences today.
What Are Flower Essences?
Flower essences are described as energetic imprints of the life force of plants, which interact with the subtle bodies of the human being and evoke specific qualities within us. Like Dr. Bach was convinced the cause of most diseases began in the mind, naturopath Ian White, a fifth-generation Australian herbalist and founder of Australian Bush Remedies, has taken his own spin on the indigenous wild flowers and plants of his homeland to make an array of remedies that address the issues of the 21st century—sexuality, communication skills, and spirituality to name but a few.
Both involve the age-old principle of healing through plants. With flower essences, though, the idea is not to ingest the powder or extract of the actual plant, but to consume doses of water it's been steeped in to benefit from its frequency—the invisible waves of energy with which proponents believe all living things and objects pulsate. In other words, the flowers' vibes.
"The Australian Aboriginals have always used flowers to heal the emotions, as did the Ancient Egyptians. There has also been a very long tradition of use of Flower Essences in India, Asia and South America and they were also very popular in Europe in the Middle Ages," says White.
Australia has an abundance of native flowers believed to have healing properties including the Bottlebrush, Old Man Banksia, and Sunshine Wattle, and there are 69 essences in the Australian Bush Flower Essence Range. The goal of the Bush Remedies is not only to help give clarity to one's life, but also the courage, strength, and commitment to follow and pursue one's goals and dreams. "I created the effect of these Essences to be similar to that of meditation—in that they enable the person to access the wisdom of their Higher Self."
Just like fresh blooms have the power to light up a room and lift our spirits, using the benefits of flowers in a way that isn't merely aesthetic is the goal. Flower essences can be taken sublingually by putting a few drops under your tongue or delivered via an oral spray, or even in a room mist.
Flower alchemist and founder of Lotus Wei, Katie Hess, says many common herbal medicines are actually made from flowers we know like Echinacea. "I use them quite intuitively in my work," she says. "In herbal medicine we may drink Passionflower infusions to relax tension and help us sleep, whereas the flower essence of Passionflower helps us let go of our daily mental and emotional stresses, so we can sink into a really deep sleep. The most common flowers I notice that people need today are related to either stress, self-love or sleep. Flower essences can be taken for short-term benefits—like clarity, happiness, calm and confidence. They can also be taken long-term, over a regular consistent basis to accelerate personal growth and enhance awareness."
But why are we paying such careful attention to our behaviors and feelings? "In our modern way of life, we are constantly bombarded with overstimulation from our phones, wifi and other electronics," says Katie. "Technology is amazing, and yet we are working harder and faster than ever. Feeling distracted, stressed and fatigued is common. Our minds are busy, and many of us don't sleep well at night. It's clear there is a need for rebalancing. Therefore, bringing the energy of nature into our daily lives is the next best choice. Through flower essences, the feeling we get when walking in the woods, watching a sunset on the beach, or running in a field of flowers can be bottled up and brought into our everyday experiences."
And what's not to wholeheartedly love about that?
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