As of late I have been very drawn to flower essences. They are mystical and an amazing form of medicine. Plants have a means of communication and they have a purpose, many of them are here to assit us. You cannot deny it, whatever level you believe. Even at the very basic level plants are essential to human survival as a food source, to give us shelter, and to purify and replenish our environment. Some of us grow to recognize the deep imprint the plant and animal world share. A whole host of plants, herbs, and foods are here to heal us. We have generations of knowledge preceding us about how to work with plants. I have been formally engrossed in learning more about plant relationships through an 6 month herbalism course. Which, sadly, is coming to an end this month. I have learned so much and my way of thinking is forever altered, yet there is still so much more to learn.
Speaking very basically of flowers. Flowers, even visually, hold a lot of importance to us. The language of flowers was a way for people to communicate between people through floral arrangement. It was rooted in what each plant did for a soul or body and then meaning/words were applied to those plants. It is why flower shops exists and you receive that bouquet of red roses on valentines day - red roses say love. Roses contain lots of heart-healthy compounds and love is of the heart, see the connection? People recognized that each individual plants/herbs stood for something and that was harnessed into a language. Flower essences do the same but they put that meaning into a liquid language of medicine.
Flower essences are more of an emotional and spiritual medicine. Not to say that many of these plants aren't useful for physically illness, they are, just in a different form. Flower essences captures the vibrational energy or "electric pulse" if you will of the flowers. When delicately harvested and preserved, this vibrational energy (or flower spirit) can alter moods and states of mind. Flower essences were realized by Dr. Edward Bach in the 1930s. Originally Bach, who earned his degree at the University College Hospital, London, was experimenting with making nosodes (alternative to a vaccine) to treat illnesses. He practiced for over twenty years as a bacteriologist. He would test the gut flora (the good/bad bacteria in the intestines) to see the balance and what/how much was growing. He would then create a nosode to treat the illness of the patient. Many of his patients would get better. Eventually, he began to draw relationships between the type of person/personality of a person and particular bacterias growing out of balance. Bach grew to believe that many diseases were connected to personality and emotional imbalances that disturbed the harmony within a body. He first realized the effects of flower essences while studying plant medicine and began licking the dew off of flowers in the early morning sun. He then donated the rest of his life studying plant medicine, developing flower essences, and treating patients for free. Flower essences are to treat illnesses due to personality. They help you feel and become your true nature.
Personally, I have been in a confused state the past couple of months. If you were to speak with me in person I would have a different answer for you, each week, of what I was doing with my life. I think I am just too interested in everything yet still afraid I am going to miss something important. Finally, I locked myself into a "put-my-brain-on-hold" stage and just let myself be for awhile. It is coming the time where I need to make some pretty serious decisions and I am having trouble just thinking about it; less alone deciding. As I have felt drawn to flower essences I took that as a sign that I needed one to help me make decisions and take some of the anxiety away. I was reading through various flower essences and their uses and I decided on scleranthus. I purchased my Dr. Bach's scleranthus yesterday and just began to take it. I'll repost in a few weeks to update my experience, usually it takes a while for it to take affect. I've only tried a flower essence one other time. I was on a winter tree identification hike and our guide for the day had made a lovely agrimony flower essence. I took a squirt into my mouth just before leaving at the end of the day. Agrimony, well, to keep it simple it relieves tension, impatience, etc. This park I left is on the other side of town from where I live and to get home you have to drive through the most horridly designed roads. Where every, single, person who lives in Charlottesville is driving all at the same time. Barracks road. After that agrimony, I had the most ridiculously pleasant experience driving through this traffic. I didn't feel even the slightest bit of impatience. Well , that got my attention. I think a good squirt of agrimony before traffic would benefit a lot of people.
Below is a little guide to understanding what some of the flower essences do. I am getting my information here from a book called The Herbal Medicine-Maker's Handbook by James Green. He has a great summary of some of Dr. Bach's flower essences in the back of a chapter.
Ones true nature - You are open-minded and prompt to act on a decision. You are calm and determined. You are attentive and responsive to your inner guidance and comfortably set your own tone. You observe and from this you make clear decisions. Your clear vision comes forth from these decisions and gives you the great ability to manifest your desires.
Emotional imbalance - Indecision, lacking the ability to make up your mind. Swaying between things. Experience can swing from joy to sadness, energy to apathy, pessimism to optimism, clarity to confusion. You are unable to concentrate due to constant changing of mind. Your conversations jump from subject to subject.
Hornbeam (Carpinus Betulus)
Ones true nature - You are certain of your abilities and strengths even in overwhelming tasks. Your mind is alert. You are able to call up mental/physical reserves of strength for moments of self-doubt. Fatigue passes as you become interested in normal activities.
Emotional imbalance - Weariness of the mind and doubt of strength. Suffering from fatigue through dislike of work that one is doing. Monday morning or morning-after feeling. Disinclined to face future or daily routine. Mentail/physical exhaustion which often passes when mental focus is taken off self.
Olive (Olea Europaea)
Ones true nature - You maintain interest in life and peace of mind, even when inactive. You depend fully on your inner-self. You understand that mental visualization is a strong creative power and healing. You attract happiness and pleasure in spite of temporary weariness.
Emotional imbalance - Depleted. Complete exhaustion of mind and body due to long-endured stress/illness. Suffered a long time under adverse conditions. lack of effort due to lack of vitality. Feels no pleasure in life. Fear of loosing friends and support.
Red Chestnut (Aesculus Carnea)
Ones true nature - You broadcast thoughts of well-being to all, and a true uplifter/healer. You are keenly aware of the well being and you see others in their natural state of health. You are a true uplifter and healer. You are able to remain calm, mentally and physically in any emergency.
Emotional imbalance - Excessive fear and anxiety for others. Worries and anticipates troubles for others. Over-protective of another. Negative mental visions with regards to others. Foresees troubles and broadcasts fears.
These are just a handful to help explain the nature of flower essences. If you want more information on flower essences there is an index here and also for help selecting one for yourself, bach has a questionnaire. You can find flower essences in your local health food store, whole foods, or online. I'd love to hear your experiences/knowledge. I am looking forward to harvesting some flowers and making some essences in the spring/fall. I'll keep you posted on that process.