Posted by Jules Benefico, Certified Clinical Herbalist on May 17th 2021
When it comes to natural remedies, you’ll often hear about herbal tea blends, botanical tinctures, and essential oils—and we love and embrace all these preparations here at Five Flavors Herbs. However, when it comes to providing truly holistic care, many herbalists turn to another, less well known form of plant-powered aid: flower essences. In an age when we have become more aware than ever of the deep connections between our physical, mental, and emotional health, there has never been a better time to explore this unique and powerful therapeutic preparation.
What Is a Flower Essence?
A flower essence is a subtle energetic medicine that tends to our essential emotional, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. By tuning-in to the flowers around us, we can gain more insight into ourselves and our natural environment. A flower essence is generally a solar and water extraction of the vital life force of a plant. The water captures the beneficial properties of the flower, which we can use to gain self insight and rework patterns that may not be serving us.
BENEFITS OF ENERGETIC MEDICINE
Not all medicine has constituents that act on a scientific level to produce a result. Some remedies, like flower essences, work on an energetic and ethereal level, offering another option or a supplement to other forms of healing. Energetic medicine moves forces and can help to cultivate joy and vitality. Other examples of this type of therapeutic modality include Qigong, mindfulness meditation, Reiki, and many more.
History of Flower Essences
Dr. Edward Bach, a medical doctor in the early 1930s, felt that there was something missing from medicine. He observed that there were emotional imbalances that led to real physical illnesses, and he felt called to plants in his search for solutions. Dr. Bach came to the conclusion that illness was a message from our inner being directing us to change in our way of living and our mental outlook.
He went out to the forest and deeply studied 38 flowers that each offered supportive energetic properties for mental or emotional balance. Essences derived from these plants are now known as Bach Flower Remedies and are very accessible today. Bach led the way, and many people since him have studied more flowers and the energetic benefits they offer.
How Do Flower Essences Work?
Flower essences work on the subtle emotional body and help to resolve mental, emotional, and spiritual patterns of imbalance that can hinder us from achieving our full potential or contributing to a physical ailment. By working with flower essences, we can release blockages that aren’t serving us and reframe destructive stories in a more empowering light.
Flower essences can be alchemical tools to help gently transform aspects of ourselves for greater joy, productivity, or peace. By working with them, we can gain self knowledge, facilitate self love and personal growth, and connect more deeply with the environment around us.
Sun Essences vs. Moon Essences
Essences are usually made in the light of the sun, but you can also make them overnight using the full moon to extract the qualities of the flower. A sun essence will be infused with more of the vital life force and outward energy, while a moon essence will have a more potent intuitive and receptive quality with an affinity for unlocking mystery.
How to Use Flower Essences
You can use essences in baths, steams, sprays, topically on chakra points, or sprinkled on a pillow at night. They are often taken orally, either straight from the dropper or mixed with tinctures or added to food. A standard dosage is three to four drops, three to four times a day, though you can work with them as little or as often as you like.
You can keep a journal to help notice any insights you feel upon taking the essence, immediately and over time. When you take a few drops, close your eyes, feel the magic they offer, and let the flowers connect you to the earth around you.
The Magic of Flowers
Flowers often blossom for only a short period of time, but their brief lives provide an abundance of beauty, nectar for pollinators—and a potent energetic architecture that can lead to new ways of seeing and understanding the world. Tess Whithurst, author of “The Magic of Flowers,” writes, “A flower is a manifestation of divine beauty and wisdom. And while each flower is unique, what it expresses is universal: it is available to all of us and is already part of us.”
Spending time with flowers offers powerful nourishment in of itself, and flower magic can take that to a whole new level of discovery and enchantment! Flower essences offer the closest thing to bottling the presence of actual flowers, and as such, they hold the potent fingerprint of a blossom’s knowledge and healing qualities.
9 MAGICAL FLOWERS
1. Yarrow essence helps to set healthy boundaries and access self compassion. It is a valuable tool for healers and anyone who needs to practice saying “no.”
2. Borage essence brings out courage and optimism in times of grief and challenge. It nourishes the system and bolsters self confidence.
3. Impatiens essence is an ally to people who are tense, argumentative, and impatient. It aids in overcoming frustration, finding inner peace, and understanding the self.
4. Bleeding heart essence tends to the heart—mending when broken, nourishing it at need, and opening it to offer love when it feels like there is none.
5. White chestnut essence calms a chattering and overactive mind that is constantly spinning. It’s a useful aid for someone who may have trouble with sleep because of mental chatter, helping to bring about tranquility and relaxation.
6. Mimulus essence helps to combat fear and embrace one’s inner light.
7. Pine essence fosters self acceptance, forgiveness, and freedom to move past mistakes and love ourselves.
8. Nasturtium essence cares for our vital life forces through emotional upheaval. It helps us become deeply present in our bodies.
9. Fuchsia essence nurtures emotional vitality during and after pain, stress, and trauma.
How to Make Flower Essences
PHASE 1: COURTING A FLOWER
“The moment you become aware of a plant’s emanation of stillness and peace, that plant becomes your teacher.” - Eckhart Tolle
The first step in making an essence is courting the flower. This involves approaching a flower, sitting with it, connecting to it, making offerings, sharing gratitude, and asking permission.
First, sit with the plant and meditate for a bit—five minutes or an hour, it’s your choice. Take note of feelings that arise, and tune in to what the plant is telling you. Yes, you can talk to plants, don’t worry if it feels odd! You can observe how the flower looks, the energies it is giving off, how you feel in your body, and what the process brings up for you. Journal about anything that arises, even if it doesn’t make sense. The plants are generous with their insight and wisdom, if only we can find the patience and openness to receive it.
When you are ready, offer gratitude to the plant for the wisdom it has shared. Make an offering of water, rose petals, or seeds. Then ask, “Can I take a few blooms to make medicine from you?” (you don’t have to do it out loud, but if it feels right, feel free!). Just like we wouldn’t borrow something from a friend without asking, we don’t want to harvest a portion of a plant without its consent. Usually, you can feel in your body the answer, and while it will often be a “yes,” sometimes you could feel a “no,” so respect that response if you receive it. Generally, if there is only one flower, don’t make an essence out of it, but choose a flower that is present in abundance instead.
Safety Note: Only harvest flowers from plants that you have positively identified and know to be safe for use! Also, be sure to harvest organically grown plants and in a sustainable way.
PHASE 2: MAKING THE ESSENCE
Ingredients & Supplies
- 1-2 glass or crystal bowls
- Spring or purified water
- 1-5 flowers of choice (see below)
- Fill bowl with spring water and add flowers. I often use three flowers, but the number is your choice...it could be based on intuition, or on numerology, perhaps to seal specific intention into your finished essence.
- Place the bowl in direct sunlight for at least three hours, preferably all day. The sun will infuse the water with the essence of the flower.
PHASE 3: BOTTLING THE MEDICINE
Ingredients & Supplies
- Mason jar or other glass container with lid
- Dropper bottles
- 80 proof alcohol (40%), usually brandy
- Labels (or masking tape)
- Optional: funnel, strainer, spoon
- First, take your bowl with your infused water and flowers outside and reconnect with your essence. Offer gratitude and a prayer, drink a sip from the essence, and pour a little bit onto the live plant.
- Using your fingers or a spoon, remove the flowers from the water. You can compost them, bury them, or just place them in your garden.
- To preserve your essence, pour infused water into a clean glass jar (straining, if you choose) and add an equal amount of alcohol to make a 50:50 dilution.
- Label the bottle appropriately with plant, preparation, dilution, and bottling date!
- Store essence in a cool, dark place like a cabinet (its shelf life is four to five years, if stored out of sunlight and heat).
- If you prefer not to use alcohol, create a 50:50 dilution of essence and white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or glycerine instead. These are best stored in the fridge and will last six months to one year.
Mother Essences & How to Make a Daughter Essence
You have now made what is called the mother essence, which can be used to make a stock, or daughter essence. The essence of mother is still captured in the daughter, and this way, one flower can make years’ worth of essences, for a very sustainable form of herbal medicine.
To make a daughter essence:
- Add five drops of mother essence to a 30 mL (1 oz) dropper bottle or 10 drops to a 60 mL (2 oz.) bottle.
- Fill remainder of bottle half with spring water and half with alcohol (or non-alcohol option, see Phase 3, step 6 above).
Making Essence Blends
Once you have made a few essences, you can make a blend containing the energies of multiple flowers. These blends can be powerful aids for shifting more complex patterns, transmute trauma support mental health, and more. If you don’t have access to certain flowers or would like to try medicine made by others, check out some of our favorite flower essence blends from Sister Spinster, Dori Midnight, Opal Elements, Flower Essence Services, and Alaskan Essences, all available through our shop!
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Written by Jules Benefico: Jules is a Clinical Western Herbalist and the Online Marketing Content Creator at Five Flavors Herbs. She studies medical astrology, western alchemy, and clinical nutrition and infuses this into her herbal practice.