How Flower Essences Heal Emotions

Many naturopaths and other professionals use and prescribe flowers to treat emotional conditions. Donatella Tandelli/Shutterstock

We all know a beautiful bouquet of flowers can transform our space and lift our mood, and you may know that a flower’s essential oils are used in aromatherapy, but you may not know that flower essences have the power to heal emotions.

Here's an easy way to understand flower essences as compared to other plant medicines:

Herbal tinctures = body of the plant

Essential oils/aromatherapy = circulatory system or blood of the plant

Flower essences = mind of the plant

Flower essences work through the acupuncture meridians to enhance state of mind,” says Katie Hess, an organic flower alchemist and founder of Lotus Wei, a flower essence company headquartered in Phoenix.

Flower essences — or spring water infused with wildflowers by sun steeping or boiling — was developed in the 1930s by Edward Bach, an English physician. Bach came up with 38 “remedies,” each the essence of a different wildflower that targeted a specific emotional state: wild rose for apathy, aspen for fear, honeysuckle for regret, willow for resentment and so on.

While the Bach brand is still popular today. (Rescue Remedy, a blend of five essences used for stress, is one of the top sellers for reducing stress.) Flower essences have become a popular alternative treatment for emotional healing.

Today herbalists grow and study flower essences, and many naturopaths and other professionals use and prescribe flowers to treat emotional conditions for which traditional medicine may lack a cure, including grief, doldrums, mental fogginess and uncertainty.

“The flowers are very subtle and gentle,” says Denise Eaton, a Bach Foundation registered practitioner, and the North American education and regulatory manager of Nelson’s Bach. “They don’t change your personality or mood. What they do is help your body deal with states of emotion like fear or anger. “

Flower essences basically work to balance negative states of mind. When you have an emotion such as anger, resentment, insecurity or fear you may experience an uncomfortable sensation within your body. For instance, anger may cause your heart to race, depression may bring on fatigue, a lack of confidence can cause shyness, fear may hold you back. Bach felt that these negative emotional states broke down the immune system and left the body vulnerable to illness.

He correlated 38 of the most common — the ones that people self-diagnose — with a flower essence that can combat the emotion, blending up to seven at one time. (Any more is overload.)

Users take two drops of each flower essence tincture directly under the tongue four times daily. You can also put essences in a glass of spring water, a hot beverage or make your own personal blend of up to seven essences.

Flower essences don’t have a scent and are in a water and alcohol base. Essences may be equally effective and transformative used directly on the body.

Some of the most popular emotions essences used at Lotus Wei include ones that enhance inner peace, attract love, promote sleep, inspire creativity, re-energize and increase opportunities. They also soften states of emotion such as jealousy, irritation, feeling small, fatigue, restlessness and lack of focus.

Are they safe?
Flower essences are safe enough for babies, during pregnancy and for people with serious illness. “They do not interact with any medications or supplements (they act on an energetic level rather than on a molecular level),” says Mahalia Freed, a naturopath and herbalist in Toronto who prescribes them. But they are in a base of alcohol, so those who cannot ingest any alcohol may apply them to the skin. They are not a substitute for any medical treatment, however.

How to purchase quality flower essences

There are several high quality U.S. brands. “Ultimately the best method is to see who you resonate with,” says Hess. “Find the company online, read their story, see who is behind the company, why they do what they do, and what their greater vision is.”

When you find the right fit, try them and pay close attention to how you feel, how quickly they work, and what the effects are. You should feel a difference within two or three days if you are using them four to five times a day. Keep a journal to see what insights arise.

Where to buy

Most local practitioners sell the essences they prescribe. Additionally, you can find Bach Remedies at most natural health stores. Lotus Wei can be purchased online and is carried in many spas and hotels. There are many other lines of flower essences, including Alaskan Flower Essences, Perelandra Essences, and Flower Essence Society essences to name some of the big ones.