By Judy Steele
Suppose you’ve just received bad news—or it’s good news, but it has turned your life upside down! Or you’re seriously stressed about a difficult life situation. If you have your Rescue Remedy with you, you have instant help. The Bach Rescue Remedy, actually a combination of five essences, is probably the best-known flower essence product in the world. (The same combination is also available as Healing Herbs’ Five-Flower Formula.) Used for “emotional first aid,” it brings calmness and stability in emergencies or stressful situations. It’s an excellent place to start experiencing how flower essences can help you.
Introduced by Dr. Edward Bach in England in the 1930’s, flower essences are less well known than other alternative healing modalities, but their popularity is growing rapidly. In addition to the original 38 “Bach Flowers,” there are now thousands of other essences available from all over the world. In fact, I have close to a thousand in my own practitioner stock, but I will mention here only ones that I think you’ll find fairly easily at natural-foods and homeopathy sources.
When people first hear of flower essences, they often think of aromatherapy, which uses fragrant essential oils from flowers. But flower remedies are different from aromatherapy: They do not have a fragrance (other than that of the preservative, usually brandy), and they are usually taken by mouth (in the form of a few drops from a dropper bottle), not inhaled or applied to the skin. Flower remedies are also different from herbal medicines. Like homeopathy, flower essences operate not on a biochemical basis but upon the vibrational or energetic level. Dr. Richard Gerber refers to flower essences in his classic book Vibrational Medicine as an important form of healing comparable to homeopathy and acupuncture.
Flower essences can be used in acute situations -when we need help now!--and also for long-term healing and growth. Since 1991, I have been using the essences with most of my counseling clients, and have found that they often deliver quite remarkable results. One man’s sleep had long been plagued with “nighttime flashbacks” of horrible scenes from his years of fire and rescue work. A combination of the essences Arnica, Star of Bethlehem, and Chaparral removed the problem within a few days. The FES (Flower Essence Services) Arnica essence and the Bach/Healing Herbs Star of Bethlehem essence are for healing the mental/emotional effects of shock and trauma. (Yes, homeopaths, there is an Arnica flower essence!) The FES Chaparral essence is for jettisoning toxic psychic debris and assisting with disturbed dreams. (Keep in mind that these may or may not be exactly the right essences for you in a similar situation—but they should definitely help.)
Many people, both children and adults, have felt abandoned due to a lack of bonding with their mothers. FES Mariposa Lily can be very helpful in restoring such people’s ability to nurture and to feel nurtured. Other useful essences are FES Dandelion, which helps to relieve physical tension and is a favorite of many massage therapists; the Bach/Healing Herbs Elm, which helps those who are feeling overwhelmed; and FES Bleeding Heart, which helps to heal the hurt from an ended relationship. Most stores that carry essences also have a list or a book explaining what emotional or mental condition each essence addresses.
Essences are gentle and safe for use with adults, children, animals, and even plants. The usual dosage is two to four drops (one drop for a baby or small animal). As with homeopathy, it is not the quantity of essence that makes the difference. If you want a stronger, faster effect, don’t take more drops; instead, take a two-to-four drop dose more frequently. In an acute situation, you simply take the essence as long as you need it—maybe just for a few minutes or hours. You will be able to tell by how you feel. If the situation is long-standing, the usual guideline is four drops four times a day for a month or more. If you’ve chosen the wrong essence, you’ll know pretty soon because it will have little or no effect.
If you would like help with a difficult situation, or are interested in assistance with long-standing issues, it’s best to work with a flower essence practitioner who is also a counselor. But remember, you can start immediately to try out essences for yourself! (It’s best to use only one, two, or three at a time when you’re just beginning. This allows you to notice the results more clearly.) Being able to support our own health is important for our personal empowerment, and if chosen and used with care, the essences are an easy aid to our mental and emotional wellness.
Judy (Springer) Steele is a living-skills teacher, counselor and management trainer with a Master’s in Transpersonal Psychology and over thirty years of experience in assisting others with mental, emotional, spiritual and work-related issues. In her work with clients, she uses flower essences, homeopathy, Huna (a Hawaiian shamanic healing tradition), and various energy and intuitive approaches, as well as mainstream counseling techniques. She can be reached at 612-590-3193 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.schoolforliving.org (Minneapolis MN)
This article was published in the November 2001 issue of Twin Cities Wellness. For more on TC Wellness, see www.tcwellness.com.