Flower remedies are becoming increasingly popular with people who recognize that their health is significantly affected by their state of mind. The ones that you’re most likely to come across in the chemist or in health food shops are Bach Flower Remedies but there are an increasing number of different flower essences becoming available. Specialist outlets now also stock essences from around the world. These include the Australian Bush Flower Essences and Flower Essence Society remedies from California.
Other ranges to look out for are Alaskan Flower Essences, the Aloha Essences from Hawaii and Himalayan Flower Essences.
What Are Bach Flower Remedies?
Flower remedies (also known as flower essences) are subtle elixirs that help to relieve feelings of stress. These gentle yet potent healers exert a positive influence on your state of mind. Each flower remedy has a particular influence on certain moods and emotions. For instance, Bluebell is taken to help lift depression, Holly can cool a fiery temper, and Star of Bethlehem helps you to recover from shock. Although the notion that flowers possess healing powers may seem New Age, it is in fact an ancient one. Thousands of years ago Australian Aborigines and American Indians used flowers to ease emotional upsets and achieve peace of mind.
The art of healing with flowers was rediscovered in the 1930s by Dr Edward Bach, a respected Harley Street physician, who became increasingly dissatisfied with the orthodox approach to treating illness. Bach observed that stress underlies most illness and that your personality influences how you respond to stressful events. In difficult times some people become irritable while others have a tendency towards being withdrawn or gloomy. Bach began his quest for a new healing system that could help with the psychological aspect of illness and found it in flowers blossoming in the British countryside.
Over a period of some years Bach roamed fields and hedgerows looking for flowers that related to what he regarded as the 12 key personality types. He then searched for other flowers that would relieve a further 26 states of mind and therefore could improve health.
How Are Bach Flower Remedies Made?
For thousands of years people have believed that the early morning dew which settles on petals becomes infused with a flower’s energy or life force. Bach discovered that he could capture a flower’s healing essence by floating freshly picked blooms in bowls of spring water, and leaving them in the sunlight for at least two hours on a cloudless day. The ‘energized’ water is then mixed with brandy which acts as a preservative. This forms the flower stock.
Flower remedies are best described as a form of liquid energy that encapsulates the healing vibrations of flowers, and presents them in a way we can use. Unlike aromatherapy oils and herbal preparations, these flower remedies do not contain any active chemical substances. They are similar to homeopathic remedies which are diluted so many times that no trace of the original substance is found in the preparation itself, merely its ‘energetic’ imprint. Science has yet to devise a way of measuring the effects of ‘energy medicines’.
Some argue that flower essences act as placebos, only making us feel better because we believe they are doing us good. This does not explain why babies, young children and animals respond so positively to being given flower remedies. In 1979 Michael Weisglas PhD set out to test the placebo argument by carrying out a double-blind test on the Bach Flower Remedies. Neither he nor his subjects (suffering from depression) knew beforehand who had received and taken the remedies, and who took the plain spring water. Results showed that those who were given the remedy mix reported feeling better about themselves, while those taking placebo felt no significant change.
The beauty of flower remedies is that you can prescribe them for yourself and for your family and friends, as they are safe, gentle and free from any harmful side effects. Precisely which remedies you need depends on how you respond to stress and what is going on in your life at the time. You need to read the essence descriptions and determine which ones feel right for you. If you are not sure, follow intuition or opt for a combination formulated for particular purposes, such as lifting energy, boosting self-confidence or enhancing sexuality. Naturopaths have created a wide range of combination essences, including a Female Essence to ease premenstrual emotional ups and downs.
If you are very stressed, it may be advisable to see a professional practitioner who will pinpoint the most appropriate essences for you. Such therapists can also help to treat chronic or deep-seated emotional problems that may stem from early childhood.
The Other Flower Remedies
In addition to the well established Bach Flower Remedies, there are hundreds of newer flower essences that come from different regions of the world such as Hawaii, the Himalayas, the Australian Bush and Alaska. Made from a variety of indigenous flowers, ranging from the modest hedgerow and alpine flowers to romantic roses, exotic orchids and the blossoms of fruits such as cherry and banana, many of these essences address emotional dilemmas that go with today’s high pressured lifestyles.
To restore vitality, enthusiasm, motivation and joy for life when you feel apathetic and emotionally drained:
Alpine Mint Bush by Australian Bush
Olive by Bach
Life Force by Findhorn Flower Essences
To focus concentration and help decision making when you’re confused and unable to think clearly, to help solve problems when your mind is overwhelmed:
Paw Paw by Australian Bush
Brown Boronia by Australian Living
Madia by Flower Essence Society
To help you unwind and relax when you feel extremely tense, anxious and unable to cope with the pressures of life:
Black-eyed Susan by Australian Bush
Yellow Flag Flower by Australian Living
Impatiens by Bach
Indian Pink by the Flower Essence Society
To soothe and help you get on with life when you feel shattered by a breakup, separation or divorce:
Violet Butterfly by Australian Living
Bleeding Heart by Flower Essence Society
To restore feelings of happiness and optimism when you feel blue:
Bluebell by Bailey
St John’s wort or Mariposa lily (especially good for children), both by Flower Essence Society
To help renew a couple’s compatibility, vitality and sexual excitement: