by Sinead Fine (MAHA)

Edward BachFlower essences, as they are used today were first discovered by Edward Bach over a period of years from 1928 – 1936 in England. He discovered 38 remedies in all, including the world famous Rescue Remedy. The idea of the spirit, magic, aura of flowers however has been around long before Bach had “discovered” his method. Egyptians used flower water of Lotus and Iris for magical purposes. The Greeks venerated flowers as gods such as Hyacinthus or Narcissus, while Romans placed great emphasis on the healing virtues of fresh blooms. Paracelcus in the 15th century, wrote about how he collected dew from flowering plants, diluted it and used the liquid to treat imbalances in his patients. In the Middle Ages, chivalry dictated the beginnings of the language of flowers, which cumulated in the complex Victorian “flower dictionaries”.

In the early 1800’s a German doctor Samuel Hahnemann revolutionised the path of healing which today is known as Homeopathy, which is a form of energetic medicine. It greatly inspired Bach. Bach claimed, “The inspiration given to Hahnemann brought a light to humanity in the darkness of materialism, when man had come to consider disease as a purely materialistic problem to be relieved and cured by materialistic means alone”. It greatly influenced Bach, who went on to discover the “spirit” of flowers. Today groups such as FES have pioneered scientific research into flower remedies and claim that it works because, “Flower essence therapy supports the spirit because the bloom is the expression of the plants soul”. Flower essence therapy is flourishing around the world with remedies from Australia, Alaska, Canada, France, Himalayas, Scotland and Wales. Research groups, organisations and teaching schools have sprung up where various new methods of preparation abound and flower remedies have become the healing miracle of the 21st century.

A flower holds an energetic template (as all matter does). For example Erik Pelham, who pioneered Kirlian photography, discovered some interesting facts. His pictures demonstrated that flowers have an aura, which slowly diminishes after they are picked. The other interesting fact is that each flower had a unique aura. This aura of energy can be transferred to water by various methods, the two main ones being – the Sun method and the Boiling method. There are others means of transference such as Andreas Kortes crystal method, but the former are generally the best known. The most important factor in making an essence is ones relationship to the flower and the land surrounding. There must be an element of spirit to it. To stomp down to the nearest land, yank some flowers (while trampling on others), throw them into a dirty bowl of water in cloudy weather and after half an hour pour them into a bottle of brandy or whatever is handy such as cleaning spirits, does not constitute the right way to go about it. How many healing abilities do you think it would hold? The importance, is your interaction to the plant and getting to know it in its natural environment, the respect you have for the plant and the patience to sit with a plant for three/four hours and learn from it.

HollyEach flower has a unique virtue e.g. Holly that is used for anger and hatred. Look at the plant, deepest green with envy, red berries representing the heart and thorns, which represent prickly anger. It is often used for those who sometimes are attacked by thoughts of such kind as jealousy, envy, revenge and suspicion. They often suffer much, even when there is no real cause for their unhappiness. Taking the essence creates the positive potential of generosity, compassion and love. Look at the Crab Apple tree, with it’s gnarled limbs and blotchy apples, which when made into an essence is used for cleansing, for e.g., teenagers who feel blotchy! The positive aspect when the remedy is taken is acceptance of oneself, broadmindedness and an ability to control their negative thoughts. Look at the Oak tree, which stands tall and proud, but over time grows weak and loses limbs, though it can take hundreds of years for it to die. The essence of Oak is for those, who are brave people, fighting against great difficulties to the end, even if limbs ‘fall’ off and their energy is depleted. The positive aspects of Oak when taken in an essence is to restore their energy, and help them to recognise the need to take time off to relax and look after themselves as well as their duties.

Energetic medicine can be used to heal mental, emotional, spiritual and sometimes physical ailments. So it is easy to see how vibrational medicine and quantum physics share the same philosophy. We are energy. Our actions, thoughts and dreams are all energy. Therefore what we think we are! What we feel we are! Research on a biochemical level has shown prolonged states such as anger or grief can eventually lead to physical ailments such as heart disease or cancer. The essence works by moving subtly into the template of our being and making changes, smoothing out bumps and preventing mindsets which could distort it once again. Over time it can change constructs we, society or that which our genetic inheritance, puts on us.

Crab AppleFlower remedies are excellent for shock, trauma and sudden grief. Shock, one must note can be long-term as well as short term. Long-term shock usually develops in childhood from growing up in a dysfunctional family whether it is addictions, abuse or neglect. It creates a distorted image in the child, which is near to impossible to erase without outside help. Essences can help the adult child to come from their state of ill –mind to one of balance, in accordance with their true nature. Remedies can also help in past lives, physic protection, removal of negative emotions and so on. Flower remedies also help plants, animals and the land itself. A repotted plant may need Rescue Remedy for shock, a poodle dog may need Chicory for bossiness, or a fish may need Star of Bethlehem for shock if the cat nearly eats it! An environmentally damaged area may need Crab Apple or Holly (hatred) for the damage it has received.

So how many types of flower remedies are there? Throughout the article we have mentioned Bach essences, but there are many more, so much so, that an International Flower Repertoire has been set up in England to gather information on worldwide remedies. One of the early pioneers of essences are FES (Flower Essence Society) in California, set up in 1979 by Richard Katz and Patricia Kaminske. Today they use extensive case studies, clinical reports by therapists and structures of the essence plants including morphological and botanical characteristics. They claim that their essences are “catalysts, which stimulate and energise the inner transformative process, while leaving us free to develop our own innate capacities”. They have many remedies ranging from familiar Arnica, Buttercup and Iris to more unusual Mugwort, Snapdragon, Banana and Coffee.

Another pioneer in flower remedies is the Australian Bush Essences, set up by Ian White in the early 80’s. Ian comes from generations of herbalists, growing up near the Bush, so that from an early age he had a distinctive relationship with plants. Many flowers are unique to the Australian continent. The Bush Remedy Red Lily is for spiritual ungrounded people who are indecisive, daydreamers and vague. Similar to Bach Remedy Clematis which is basically for the some thing. The chosen emblem for his essences is the Waratah. It is a deep large red bloom, which is taken for the ‘dark night of the soul’, when suicide and blackness is the only path ahead. Taking it leads to seeing and experiencing hope and wanting to make changes to your life.

Flower essences are an exciting addition to the world of healing – and one that definitely works as its popularity proves.