Petal Power: Healing with Flower Essences
I was still shaking as I told my friend about the car crash I’d narrowly avoided. It would have been a bad one. Very bad. “Here, take this,” she said, as she had me open my mouth and gently squeezed two drops from a small bottle under my tongue. A sense of sudden calm washed over me. I gaped at the bottle. “What is that?”
So began my love affair with flower essences. From the popular Bach Rescue Remedy my friend had given me, I went on to discover hundreds more of these liquid elixirs, helpful with everything from persistent stress to personal transformation. Although many feel they can be helpful in addressing physical symptoms, these gentle remedies are more commonly used for prompting mental, emotional, and even spiritual healing.
That flowers have healing power should come as no surprise. Our rites of passage are marked by blooms. How do newlyweds celebrate their union? With a bouquet tossed high. What do we bring to a friend in the hospital? Floral cheer. At memorials, what graces the urn or casket? Blossoms symbolizing rebirth. And no one ever said “I love you” with a dozen sticks, did they?
“Flowers are the essence of the plant,” says Patricia Kaminski, co-founder with husband Richard Katz of the Flower Essence Society and the brand Flower Essence Services, or FES. Essences capture this energetic imprint in potent extracts made from wildflowers or pristine garden blossoms. Part of the emerging field of vibrational medicine, essences work by a principle of resonance with the etheric body, where imbalance starts. Like homeopathic remedies, their action is energetic rather than biochemical.
“Unlike pharmaceuticals, which suppress symptoms, flower essences are catalysts for emotional change and work by stimulating awareness,” Kaminski says. Sometimes the shift is immediate, like mine after the car accident; other times it unfolds over days or weeks, layer by layer. Mirroring a plant’s growth, from seed to sprout to blossoming flower, essences are about process and, ultimately, transformation
Flower essences can be used with adults, children, and animals, and have no fragrance or flavor, aside from that of any preservative used. A common way to take a flower remedy is by placing a few drops under the tongue in the morning and at night. Drops can also be added to water and sipped throughout the day, applied to acupuncture points or chakras, or swirled in a bath. Treat children to a “fairy mist” from a colorful bottle or atomizer. Use your imagination—and prepare for a bouquet of benefits.
5 Favorite Essences
Ready for your own spiritual blossoming? Start with these favorite essences for spiritual practice from the remedy maker Flower Essence Services:
Angelica: Enhances awareness of benevolent spiritual forces, protection and guidance from higher realms
Lady’s Slipper: Helps integrate spiritual purpose with daily work, strengthens ability to walk one’s talk and realize the self’s destiny
Lotus: Deepens meditative experience, dissolves spiritual inflation and pride, integrates higher insight with the lower chakras
Sagebrush: Purifies and cleanses the self, loosens identification with illusory parts of oneself, promotes essential or “empty” consciousness
Star Tulip: Aids receptivity to and communion with spiritual forces, sensitizes inner listening
The Essential Dr. Bach
Seventy years before “mind-body medicine” became a common term, Edward Bach developed flower essence therapy. The English physician ran a 400-bed hospital during World War I and developed vaccines before setting out on a quest for a healing system that treated the whole person, not just symptoms. In 1930 he closed his lucrative London practice and moved to the Welsh countryside. There he discovered and developed the 38 Bach flower remedies now used in 70 countries around the world. “Disease of the body itself is nothing but the result of the disharmony between soul and mind,” Bach wrote. “Remove the disharmony and we regain harmony between soul and mind, and the body is once again more perfect in all its parts.”