What are Flower Essences?
Wait. What? Flower Essences? Do they smell good?
It’s not about the fragrance…..Flower Essences are like homeopathy for your spirit and emotions. Yes, energy – let’s get a little bit woo-woo for a minute. Flower Essences bypass the analytical mind and integrate other things you’re doing for your overall wellness, personal growth or mindfulness practice.
Rescue Remedy is not the only Flower Essence
If you’ve taken Bach Rescue Remedy for stress or anxiety, you have taken Flower Essences. Maybe you’ve seen products like those pictured below near the homeopathic remedies at a natural foods store.
The cool thing is that there are hundreds of additional Flower Essences from a variety of wonderful producers that address other mind/body/spirit issues with remarkable specificity.
What are the benefits of Flower Essences?
Flower Essence Remedies can help you blossom into your best life — especially during those times when despite all your best self-help efforts, it feels like you are spinning your wheels.
Perhaps you’ve been working on a “block” for a long time to no avail, and wondering if you’ll ever be able to change your mindset with thought work alone.
Or, you are working on healing from burnout.
Flower Essences are also great when you feel a yearning to answer those bigger life questions, but feel like you don’t have time for one more program or routine. Your current mind/body/spirit efforts are well-intentioned, but something is “missing.”
The cool thing is that flower essences don’t ask you to show up at 5am for spin class. They don’t demand that you write in your journal every single day. (Although, they may inspire you to finally do it.)
That makes flower essences super useful for busy professional women.
So, get ready for deep and powerful, yet gentle energetic work that delivers.
Enter Flower Essences.
How do Flower Essences work?
Flower Essences work differently from most other personal growth methods, because they help you really pinpoint and address “blocks” that seem to remain when you are just working on your mindset, writing down goals, or meditating.
You can use Flower Essences to enhance and deepen other work or practices you are doing. You can also use them as a practice unto themselves.
Humans have looked to Mother Nature for healing for eons: from the earliest medicines derived from plants, to today’s herbalism and aromatherapy, to more trendy stuff like “forest bathing,” to simply working in your garden, the antidote to too much technology, stuffy office buildings and artificial lighting is: nature.
But with Flower Essences, you are getting the spiritual and emotional energy vibration of a particular plant rather than ingesting or smelling it for a physiological effect.
Flower Essences are made by infusing water with the particular flower, leaving the energetic imprint of the flower in that water.
The water is then preserved with brandy. Like homeopathic remedies you might take for sore muscles or a stuffy nose, none of the original physical substance remains in the remedy. But if you’re here reading this, you’re probably already hip to the fact that everything is energy.
Who invented Flower Essences?
Flower Essences were first re-discovered and developed as a healing method in modern times by Dr. Edward Bach, an English physician who lived and worked in the early 20th century. Dr. Bach understood that the root of all disease is some emotional or spiritual imbalance. Dr. Bach was aware of ancient Celtic healing practices that included placing flowers on the surface of well water.
Since then, other pioneers, particularly Richard Katz and Patricia Kaminski of the Flower Essence Services company in California, have vastly expanded the range of Flower Essences available to help you on your human soul journey.
How do I choose Flower Essences?
You’re probably thinking, “All I have to do is take drops of Flower Essences and I don’t have to add another routine to my day to get over my blocks? Sounds awesome. But which ones do I need?”
Figuring that out is an exciting and fun process. You can learn quite a bit from books on the topic, talking to a knowledgeable person at a high-quality retail store that carries a good selection of quality Flower Essence ranges, and by reading the short descriptions on the websites.
These are the Flower Essence ranges I use:
Desert Alchemy Essences (Arizona)
Just reading the descriptions can be very interesting. Trying out different essences can produce profound growth. But it can also be a little overwhelming; often times people look at the list of essences and exclaim, “OMG, I need all of them!”
So before we get into individual essences that are useful for professional women, first some guidance.
How to select Flower Essences for Yourself
- First, journal a bit. Broadly, what are all the issues you want energetic support to shift?
- What is bothering you most right now?
- What habits do you struggle to change with willpower alone?
- What attitudes, beliefs, or knee-jerk reactions to life get in the way of you “showing up how you want to show up” in work or your personal life?
- What dreams have eluded you?
- Why do you think you haven’t been able to do this on your own yet?
- What do you think might be the underlying connection or theme that ties all of these disparate issues together?
- Are there any particular trees or flowers that really speak to you of late?
At first, the issues you identified can seem totally unrelated to each other, and can seem like 10 or 12 different flowers might fit.
But with my years of experience with these flowers, and the fact that I’ve taken so many of them myself, I recommend you exercise some constraint. Pick one issue to work with over a 2 to 6-week frame of time, and use no more than 5 essences in your blend.
Occasionally, I will prepare multiple blends for a client — one that addresses a short-term issue, and one that addresses a longer-term issue, but I don’t recommend people try that on themselves right out of the gate.
What are the stages of Flower Essence healing?
The Flower Essence experience has phases. Many people experience an immediate shift in attitude or brightening of spirits with the first dose or two.
Often this is followed by a more challenging phase where we resist change, feel like we’ve opened Pandora’s box, or just want to slap a palm to our forehead and exclaim, “doh! what was I thinking all that time?”
This middle phase is like the “ugh” part of a hike, with more challenging terrain, but no reward at the top of the mountain (yet).
I sometimes at this point add or subtract essences from the blend, to help ease the negative self-talk or lighten the mood so that the learning experience is gentler.
The thing to remember is that the Flower Essences aren’t doing the “work” for you. They are kind of like energetic training wheels to help you tap into resources and qualities within yourself that you’ve been stopping yourself from accessing.
Remember, we are infinite beings, and each of us contains multitudes. It is just a matter of truly feeling into what is possible for each of us.
Finally, the last phase can bring another wave of relief, and a new level of emotional maturity and self-awareness. We reorganize our thinking, renew our emotions, see our lives in a new, more empowered way. The journey is very well worth it.
A Non-Exhaustive Starter List of Flower Essences for Professional Women
Based on working with Flower Essences for 20-plus years, these are the ones that come up often for professional women working in historically male-dominated fields, or are useful for women generally.
Agrimony (Healing Herbs): this is one of the original Bach remedies from England, for the type of person who covers up difficult emotions with a happy face, or buffers with addictive behaviors (sweets, intoxicating substances, too much social media….) to stuff down the emotions.
Aloe (FES): this is the ultimate burnout and renewal remedy. Do you feel burned out? Do you push too hard until you have no creative juice within yourself? Like the aloe plant that can soothe a burn with its juice, yet withstand the desert heat, the essence can help you find your “juice” and honor your limits.
California Valerian (FES): This is not herbal valerian, remember – it’s energetic. This is to address anxiety about the future and insomnia; aids peaceful acceptance of life experiences due to better understanding of past experiences. Instead of counting sheep, sometimes we count all the mistakes we made earlier in the day, or a year ago, or when we young and dumb. This essence can help.
Cerato (Healing Herbs): Cerato is not specifically women’s issue remedy. It is one of the original Bach remedies. It is helpful for the person who doubts their own inner wisdom, and who has to poll their friends on every decision. It can also help the person who is easily led into the wrong decision because she listens too much to others and not enough to herself. The Cerato person never feels quite sure, and second-guesses themselves ad nauseam. Sometimes when we are busy with a responsible career, we don’t have time to wait for someone else to tell us what to do, and we have to make the best decision we can ourselves. If this is difficult for you, tap into your own wisdom and authority with Cerato.
Cherry Plum (Healing Herbs): This is one of my favorite essences for stress. I resisted trying it for years because I was scared off by the description — it sounded way too extreme for me. But let me help you by describing what I think it is good for. Now, when we feel like we are one email, traffic jam, or spilled-coffee-on the-keyboard incident from completely losing our shit, yet some part of us knows that we are basically sane and this too shall pass, Cherry Plum can help. Understand that “white knuckling” thing too well? Cherry Plum helps us release the death grip on trying to control our circumstances. Throw it in your work briefcase. You’re welcome.
Elm (Healing Herbs): Put the “elm” in overwhelm! People who need Elm are hard workers who occasionally reach a point where they think they can’t shoulder any more, and doubt their ability to succeed. Elm helps rebuild that sense of “I can do it.”
Gentian (Healing Herbs): This is the remedy to bounce back from a setback or disappointment. This one helps you pick yourself up and get back in the arena.
Larch (Healing Herbs): Larch is for those who just don’t think they can do it, who fear that there is inherently something wrong with them that makes them not up to the task or challenge at hand. This is great on its own or to include in blends for those with “impostor syndrome.”
Madia (FES): Madia is the ultimate studying and focus remedy. This essence is extremely helpful when you need to get a brief or project done by 4pm, but your mind wants to wander and look at cat pictures on the interwebs.
Mala Mujer (Desert Alchemy): yes, that’s Spanish for “bad woman.” Please look past any reaction you may have to the name of this plant and own it for its power; it’s wonderful for softening the bitchy edge we sometimes get during PMS or when everyone else is an asshole and we are losing our temper with them all…uh, you know what I mean.
Mountain Pride (FES): This ignites the positive warrior spirit within us so we can tap into our strengths, even when it’s difficult. It is great for women who need to summon their empowered masculine energy without losing touch with their feminine energy.
Oak (Healing Herbs): Oak flower essence is for people who work without rest, and occasionally just crash. Oak people want to be the heroine all the time, and may take on too much, or be unable to delegate or let things go. This helps you pace yourself so you can stay strong.
Pink Yarrow (FES): Yarrows are shaped like a canopy, and even cast a tiny bit of shade under their hundreds of tiny blossoms. Yarrows are protective for people who are too energetically porous. The pink variety helps those who are like emotional sponges, taking on all the stress and sorrow of their clients and feeling completely drained by the end of the work day. This one helps you not take that all on yourself, and gain insight into how to have better boundaries.
Pomegranate (FES): this essence aids us when we feel ambivalence and inner conflict about all of the roles we play in our lives as women. It also aids joyful expression of feminine creativity, even at work. It doesn’t have to be craft day with your girlfriends to bring feminine energy to what you’re doing. Many women feel torn between “traditional” womens roles and “modern” pressures and opportunities. Sometimes this conflict manifests physically as infertility, PMS, and other issues with the reproductive organs.
This essence works on some very deep, archetypal levels.
So, let’s get all Carl Jung/Joseph Campbell with this for a moment. Think of the goddess Persephone and the pomegranate seeds. Ask yourself, where and when have let ourselves get talked into doing stuff we don’t want to do? How does that still ultimately help us become more authentically creative? How is this universal to the experience of being a woman in this millennium or any other?
Rabbitbrush (FES): This is another great overwhelm remedy for those who are easily distracted by multitasking, and lose track of details. It sharpens fuzzy awareness so that you can grasp the “forest” and the “trees” simultaneously.
Red Chestnut (Healing Herbs): Red Chestnut is for those who worry too much about other people. Like the mother who yells at you when you leave the house without a raincoat, sometimes professional women, especially in service professions, can obsess over the fate of our client, patient or customer we can’t control. This essence teaches us to let other people run their own lives.
Shasta Lily (FES): for being strong and honoring your feminine energy despite working in a masculine environment. Feeling like the old boys’ network has got you down? Feel like you have to “tough it out?” This one is so useful for women learning how to better manage their energy in so-called male “dominated” professions.
Trumpet Vine (FES): This is the basic remedy for fear of public speaking. Even if you don’t have a serious fear, if you want to be able to have your voice heard on multiple levels, this one brings good energy to your ability to use the power of your word.
Vervain (Healing Herbs): Are you feeling completely exhausted — and driving people around you nuts — because you are prepared to fight to the end for your cause a little too much? Do strive at your own expense? This remedy helps you chill out and back off from that a bit for your own good, and calibrate a more balanced communication style.
What is Rescue Remedy?
Rescue Remedy, or Five Flower Formula by Healing Herbs, is a great all-around immediate response emotional first aid formula consisting of five flowers that work synergistically together. It is readily available in health food grocery stores.
It’s not a long-term remedy; that involves a more thorough interview. Sometimes I use Five Flower Formula when I don’t have the time or inclination to pick out more specific essences.
How to take Flower Essences
You can take them directly from the stock bottle by putting drops under your tongue, four drops at a time, two or three times a day.
Or, you can add four drops of each flower in your blend to a dosage bottle that contains a mixture of pure water and a bit of vodka or brandy as a preservative, and then take four drops of the blend, two to three times a day.
You can use your intuition to know how often. More frequent is more intense, and less frequent is gentler and more gradual.
Take the blend for 2-4 weeks, and journal all your observations to track your experience. If it gets too intense, take the blend less frequently. Once you get to the point where you notice yourself thinking new thoughts, having new reactions, or a new vibe, that means it’s really integrating!
Then when you start to forget to take the essences, it means that you are nearly complete with that blend. Use your intuition to know when to stop. Pour the rest out in a nice long bath, and thank the flowers for their help. Or, you can feed it to a houseplant or pour it back onto the Earth.
Achieve more efficient and powerful transformation through Flower Essence Mentoring
In June 2019, after nearly two decades of working with Flower Essences, I completed the FES Professional Course taught by Richard Katz and Patricia Kaminski at the Terra Flora gardens in Nevada City, California. It was a profound experience to walk the gardens and learn firsthand from Mr. Katz and Ms. Kaminski.
Flower Essences have been one of the key energetic approaches that I’ve found really works, especially when I can’t just meditate or journal my way out of a limiting belief. Now I share this awesome world with you to help you bloom into your best self.
If you have enjoyed this primer on Flower Essences and wish to work with them on a deeper, more specific level so you can really accelerate your transformation into a life you love, please contact me.
And remember, Flower Essences are not intended to prevent, treat or cure any disease, nor are they a substitute for medical or psychiatric care.