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Flower essence therapy: what, how and why?

Written by Jenna Carroll | Tuesday, 17 March 2020


The use of flower essences have gained world-wide recognition due to their contribution to holistic health and emotional healing. However, these subtle medicines can become somewhat “watered-down” as they are difficult to study on a biochemical level due to the limitations of science and research. Although this shouldn’t mean we ignore the thousands of years they have been used traditionally to heal physical and mental imbalances.

Many healers throughout history understood physical manifestations of disease to be a result of emotional imbalance, and these theories are now being corroborated as science and research advances. As a Naturopath, I love to incorporate flower essences in my treatment plan for clients who require a gentle approach to healing, or specific emotional support.

So, let’s dive a little deeper to answer common questions that arise when being introduced to these profound energetic medicines!

When were Flower Essences discovered?

The history of using flowers to heal emotional imbalances extends back thousands of years, with documentations of their use discovered on papyrus scripts in Ancient Egypt. Indigenous Australians also recognised their healing qualities and would use them as part of healing ceremonies to resolve emotional imbalances and physical injuries. The earliest European recorded use of flower essences was by abbess Hildegard von Bingen in the twelfth century, who would place muslin sheets over flowers at night to absorb their dew, which would then be collected in the morning, rung out, and used to treat people with emotional imbalances. However, it was in the 1930’s that the British physician, Dr. Edward Bach pioneered a deeper understanding and precise application of flower essences through his clinical and personal observations. This is when the famous 38 Bach Flower Remedies were discovered and brought to the world.

How are they made?

Unlike essential oils or herbal extracts that contain the physical substances extracted from plants, there is no physical part of the flower left in a flower essence. Instead they work on similar principles to Homeopathy, in which the life-force and vibrational signature of the plant is imprinted within a water-based matrix. This is achieved through sun-steeping the flowers in water for a period of time. The water is then collected, strained and potentised through dilution methods.

So, how do they work?

The impact of flower essences is not derived from bio-chemical intervention within the physiology, which is why they are challenging to study from a scientific perspective. Unlike pharmaceuticals or even some herbal medicines, which can suppress symptoms, flower essences work by the principle of resonance within the subtle human energy field, which impacts one’s physical and emotional health. In other words, flower essences are based on vibrational energetics, rather than biochemical, and stimulate the body’s natural capacity to bring itself back to homeostasis. All plants carry vibrational energy patterns, and it is said that flowers are the pinnacle of this energy. Doctrine of Signatures (DOS) play a major role in identifying the specific application of each flower. DOS originated within Alchemical and Hermetic traditions, where the most important thing was to understand how the macrocosm (universe) corresponds to the microcosm (individual). When viewed through the lens of DOS, the energetic qualities of flower essences present themselves through their colour, shape, habitat and growing patterns.

How can they help you, your family and your clients?

The great part about flower essences are they are very safe and may be used by everyone, including children and animals, and can be used internally and externally! Positive outcomes from using flower essences may include greater peace and calmness during stressful episodes in your life, experiencing more joy and optimism, finding forgiveness towards yourself and others, a deeper connection and understanding in relationships, having greater clarity and focus, and even gaining insight into your life’s purpose and direction!

Depending on the degree of imbalance, some flower essences may have an immediate effect, and other times you may feel a slower unfolding of the effects over the course of days, or weeks. Anything that does not match the vibration of the chosen flowers simply dissipates, and if the wrong flower is chosen you will not feel any change. I also highly recommended using complementary activities to my clients such as journaling, meditating, using affirmations or free writing whilst taking flower essences to reveal and document insights that may occur.

Interested in learning more about flower essence therapy? This subject is available through single-subject study. Discover more here.

Jenna Carroll

Jenna is a qualified Naturopath who is passionate about preventative medicine and believes in the power of an individualised, holistic approach to optimising health. Prior to the path she is currently on, Jenna was a professional ballerina traveling and performing around the world. However, it was during recovery from a major injury that ended her career at 21 years old, where she became fascinated with how the right foods and nutrients were the ultimate source of healing for mind, body and spirit. Jenna has co-authored articles for the Journal of the Australian Traditional-Medicine Society, and upon graduating in 2019, received ATMS Natural Medicine Student of the Year Award.

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