How do you feel when you notice spring and summer flowers in bloom or the trees budding and bursting with life? Do you feel energized, hopeful, or at peace? Flower essences capture this subtle seasonal energy, and they are used to support the emotional side of wellness.
Flower essences are created by infusing newly opened flowers into water. This process extracts the flower’s scent, color, and texture — its vitality — out of the blossoms and into the water. The vitality of the flowers in bloom becomes a subtle, yet powerful, preparation to help support your nervous system, which impacts every other system of your body.
In the 1930s, Dr. Edward Bach, created the original 38 flower essences. His essences were broken up into seven different categories, which give you a sense of the type of emotional support flower essences can offer:
- For Those Who Have Fear
- For Those Who Suffer Uncertainty
- Not Sufficient Interest in Present Circumstances
- Over-Sensitive to Influences and Ideas
- For Despondency or Despair
- Over-Care for Welfare of Others
Let’s look a bit further at how flower essences can be used to support emotional health and wellness.
How Flower Essences Support Emotional Wellbeing
Using flower essences allow us to come into connection with who we are and give us the opportunity to act from our vital force. They support us by removing the obstacles to wellness, or negative ritual patterns. In essence, they are balancing to a person’s emotions.
One flower essence producer likens flower essences to music or art in that the messages are carried out in their specific mediums (Flower Essence Services, n.d.). For example, when I listen to music, visit a museum, or the botanic gardens, I feel moved by what I hear, see, and smell. Flower essences serve us in similar ways, allowing access to emotion, movement, process, and transformation.
Flower essences bring their highest vibrational energy into our system, balancing emotional patterns and responses when they are needed. The essences help us to see how different it can feel to address our emotional body from a place of balance and light. By taking the essences regularly, they teach us new ways of being that best serve our minds and bodies.
One way to imagine the flower essences at work is to think of a river. We carve streams and rivers of reaction and pattern throughout our lives. If one of those rivers of response doesn’t serve our highest good, the essences can help carve out a new route that does. They can show us our best selves through this process of release, integration, and learning.
For example, sometimes before bed, my mind can race through the list of to-dos I need to complete the next day. This can keep my mind agitated, activated, and awake. When I use White Chestnut flower essence, it allows the racing, circling thoughts to calm. That repetition of thought, that habit, does not serve me. With the assistance of White Chestnut, I am supported in quieting down the mental chatter. Then, I feel tranquil enough to sink into sleep.
Flower essences support us by helping to address emotional imbalances, stress, deeply ingrained habits and patterns, and general wellbeing. As emotional beings, we feel the world around us and can always use a little support. Flower essences help us reroute outdated patterns and create space for more vital, true connections to ourselves and to our self-expression.
Part of my love for flower essences comes from sitting in the unknown, trusting the plants, and deeply listening to their wisdom. Flower essences allow me the time and space to get quiet. This may be a moment with each drop of flower essence, or it may be a meditation. It can serve as an opportunity for a breath, to pause, and to slow down. Essences can support us in many ways, and I’ve found in my own wellness journey that their presence is transformative beyond words.
According to Dr. Bach, flower essences can support daily stress, acute pain or trauma, overwhelm, racing thought patterns, known and unknown fears, guilt, and confidence building. You can find these indications within his seven categories. Though these are just a few indications for flower essences, the range is immense and abundant.
Flower essence maker Mimi Kamp says that flower essences can be “used for emotional, mental, spiritual, and even at times physical imbalances, crises, support, and opening” (Kamp, n.d., para. 2).
Flower essences can be a true partner in wellness. They can coincide and partner with herbal therapeutics, counseling, western medicine, and deep spiritual practice.
How to Take a Flower Essence
The proper dosage for a flower essence or flower essence formula is 4 single drops at a minimum of 4 times a day. However, you are welcome to take your essence more than 4 times a day. In fact, you may notice that when you first start working with a formula or single essence, you may feel drawn to taking it more often. There may be a craving sensation that occurs that reminds you to take your essence. Keep your flower essence close and use it freely. I carry my flower essence dosage bottle with me everywhere I go. I tuck it away in my pocket, place it on my desk if I am working, or on my side table when in session with a client.
Flower essences are incredibly safe. They can be used by children as well as pets. There is no way to overuse a flower essence, which allows a freedom in tuning into what your body is asking. Sometimes taking a flower essence can feel challenging. If you are having a reaction upon taking a flower essence that is one of deep grief, bouts of sobbing, or feeling of heartbreak, you may want to stick to only 4 drops, 4 times a day. Be kind to yourself in these moments as you are doing deep work. If you feel discomfort, this might be a nice opportunity to meditate, go for a walk, or pull out your journal to reflect. If you experience relief right away and feel drawn to taking it more often, you can take your flower essence as often as you would like. I suggest taking one of your doses as you are settling into bed — you may use it topically or orally — and notice how your body, as it quiets, experiences your essence.
To see a lasting change, the recommended approach is to work with a flower essence, or a combination of flower essences in a formula, for 2-4 weeks. To touch the deep patterns, the deep work, 6 weeks or more is recommended with your flower essence or flower essence formula.
*A note about stock bottles versus dosage bottles: A stock bottle is what you will find at apothecaries or grocery markets. To make a dosage bottle, the bottle you will use daily, you will add 1 drop of the stock bottle to 15 mL (or ½ ounce) of spring water. To make a larger batch, add 2 drops from the stock bottle into 30 mL (1 ounce) spring water. If creating a formula for yourself, add one drop of each essence from their individual stock bottles into a bottle with 15 mL (or ½ ounce) spring water.
Finding the Flower Essence For You
There are many resources for finding the right essences for you. One way is to research individual flower essences and what they have to offer you. I recommend that you pick up any of the three recommended resources below, get comfy with a cup of tea, and explore the possibilities of bringing flower essence support into your wellness practice.
- The Encyclopedia of Bach Flower Therapy by Mechthild Scheffer
- Flower Essence Repertory by Patricia Kaminski and Richard Katz
- The Bach Flower Remedies by Edward Bach, MD
Another way to learn and play with flower essences is through intuitive work such as using a pendulum. Once you are comfortable with the pendulum’s yes and no, you can touch each essence and ask if that is an essence that you need to bring in balance and grounding. Once you’ve cleared and grounded yourself, you can ask those essences if they would be supportive in a formula for lasting change. Through this method, you can feel the essence in your body and then research the essence to get more insight into why it is well indicated or appropriate for you. For more information on pendulum practice, please read this description from Australian Bush Flower Essences.
You can also use a flower essence kit when getting started with flower essences. There are many flower essence kits available by flower essence makers around the world. Aside from Bach’s foundational essences, I find power and depth among Perelandra Center for Nature and Research’s offerings as well as Mimi Kamp’s series.
A commonly used essence called Five Flower Remedy, or Rescue Remedy, is a great essence to have on hand at all times. It is a combination of five different flower essences and was created by Dr. Bach. This essence is helpful in the case of stressful or emergency situations bringing forth calmness and stability. It can support you in your daily commute to work, worry over an upcoming presentation or meeting, and even with headaches or anxiety flares. Five Flower Remedy is a great place to start your understanding of how flower essences work.
Lastly, flower essence practitioners hold space for their clients to share their story and notice what is alive in them. Within this space, practitioners are able to listen deeply and select well indicated essences that are client-specific. By sitting with our clients, we can use an unbiased ear to guide our clients to a formula that can bring about subtle, gentle, yet profound shifts. If you feel this would be helpful, you may want to seek out a qualified flower essence practitioner. Ultimately, the goal is to hold space for yourself to explore your emotions and needs, and how flower essences can help.
Working with flower essences is a step towards full body wellness. When we address the emotional body, our physical body thanks us. When engaging with flower essences, I come to understand myself more clearly. I invite you to bring your curiosity and an open heart to your exploration of flower essences. I wish for you all of the awareness, understanding, and compassion you can give yourself. You deserve this sweet support. Enjoy stealing moments for quiet, for listening, or for transformation. I’m ever grateful for the flowers, their generosity, wisdom, and presence, and I hope that they can support you in your wellness journey, too.
Bach, E. & Wheeler, F.J. (1997). The Bach flower remedies. New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing, Inc.
Flower Essence Services. (n.d.). What are flower essences? [Online Article]. Retrieved from www.fesflowers.com/product-info/flower-essences/what-are-flower-essences/
Kaminski, P. & Katz, R. (1986). Flower essence repertory. Nevada City, CA: Earth-Spirit, Inc.
Kamp, M. (n.d.). Introduction to flower essences. [Online Article]. Retrieved from http://essenceofthedesert.wordpress.com/introduction/.
Scheffer, M. (1999). The encyclopedia of Bach flower therapy. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.