Flower Essences can be used to address emotional and spiritual health. Simple to use, they are a valuable modality to consider for any carer.
History of Flower Essences
Flower Essences have been around for centuries and evidence of their use has been found across many cultures.
The earliest recorded use of flower essences occurred in the 16th Century, when Paracelsus, physician, chemist and botanist, used the early morning dew collected from flowers to treat the emotional imbalances in his patients. He was radical in his views and often at odds with the prevailing medical establishment. It is also believed that he was the first person to scientifically mention the concept of the unconscious.
Fast forward a few hundred years and Dr Edward Bach (1886 – 1936) is credited for bringing flower essence therapy back to more modern times.
Since then there have been many other flower essence systems developed by different people around the world (Californian Flower Essences and Living Essences to name just two), but I have extensively used the flower essence system developed by Ian White, creator of Australian Bush Flower Essences (ABFE). I will be looking exclusively at the Australian Bush Flower Essences, except for Bach’s “Rescue Remedy”, and the rest of this article is based on Ian’s writings and workshops.
Australian Bush Flower Essences have been in use now since the early 1980s and are used around the world. The Australian landscape contains a powerful life force – it is ancient and strong, and this vital force is distilled into this range of essences, making them very powerful.
The evolution of this range of essences can be found in Ian’s book “Australian Bush Flower Essences” which is a fantastic read. This is the first book that Ian wrote, and it details the beginnings of this system of flower essences. Additional essences added to this range are detailed in the second and equally fascinating book “Australian Bush Flower Healing”.
Why I love Flower Essences
- They work quickly
- They work deeply
- They are natural
- They are gentle
- They are totally safe – there are no side effects and they are not addictive
- They can be used with allopathic and alternative medicines
- They can be used in conjunction with other healing modalities
- They are cost effective and affordable
- They address issues that are emotional, physical and spiritual
- They are self-adjusting – they are effective only to the point that the person is ready to go
- The combination Essences range can be readily found in Australian health stores. Individual and specific combinations can be easily made up by the company or flower essence practitioners.
- They can be used by adults, children and animals (both domestic and wild)
- They can be used during pregnancy
- They can be added to creams and lotions for bodywork (use 7 drops of stock to every 15ml oil)
- They cannot be negated by aromatics, garlic and caffeine
How do Flower Essences work?
The exact mechanism for how flower essences work is still shrouded in mystery and some debate. However, if you want to go into more detail and read the research that has been done in this area, please go to the work of Richard Gerber (Vibrational Medicine) or Gurudas (Flower Essences and Vibrational Healing). The fact that the exact mechanism hasn’t (yet) been determined doesn’t detract from the simple fact that flower essences work and should be considered a valuable modality for Carers to consider.
There is a basic premise or concept of healing that underpins vibrational medicine modalities such as homeopathy, flower essences and other energetic modalities like EFT and it is that:
Most physical illness is the result of emotional imbalance(s), and that by helping to heal a person on the emotional, mental and spiritual levels, true healing will occur.
“There is no illness of the body apart from the mind” – Socrates
The human body, despite what we see with our eyes and feel with our hands, is not just skin, bones, muscles and ligaments. It is a complex vibrational being that pulses with energy, both within the body and around it. In fact, Albert Einstein famously said “Energy is all there is.” Every part of our being vibrates to a specific frequency, from the smallest of cells to our largest bones.
Surrounding the outside of the body, nestled like Russian nesting dolls, are bands or auric fields known as our subtle energy bodies. These auric fields are vital to our wellbeing and provide many functions (refer to Barbara Ann Brennan – Hands of Light for more information).
Based on the premise above, most of what is seen as physical illness on the level of the physical body must first manifest in these subtle energy bodies. And that is where Flower Essences are so powerful. They work on these subtle energy bodies allowing change to be affected there and then flowing through to the physical body. This was in fact found by Gerber, in his research – he showed that you can affect both physical and emotional healing by balancing a person’s subtle energy bodies.
So, we have one model that looks at Flower Essences and how it works from the outside in (i.e. from the subtle energy bodies) in towards the physical body.
Another way to look at how Flower Essences work is to consider their effect on the mind.
Imagine you are caught up in a thought pattern that goes around and around in your mind (this is your conscious mind, that talk talk talk part of your mind that you are completely aware of). Let’s say that thought is “I can’t do this”. Now that thought might be based on a belief that you have of yourself that could have been learned many years ago, probably as a child that went something like “Of course you can’t do it because you are not good enough”. Such a belief may not be something you are consciously aware of; thus, it is known as a subconscious belief. These subconscious beliefs are extremely powerful. They drive our behaviour because we will at all costs move to match what we believe (even if it is something we aren’t consciously aware of), even if it means we will self-sabotage.
Sitting above the subconscious mind is the higher self. This higher self has been considered many things by different belief systems, but the general belief is that it is our connection to a divine source (be that God, Buddha, source etc). It holds our intuition, our understanding of the bigger picture and the state of joy and love. Flower Essences allow us to access the knowledge and wisdom residing here, bringing it through into our subconscious, breaking down those long-held beliefs that are not serving us, to our conscious mind, to allow a new thought pattern to establish.
For best results, Flower Essences are chosen that synergistically work together. It’s not recommended that you try to fix multiple issues with one bottle. So, don’t consider mixing essences that could help with your infected toe, your depression, and your infertility. Ian recommends having a maximum of 4 essences within one bottle, although you will notice below that the combination remedies made by ABFE have more than this number of individual essences in one combination. This is a guideline only.
You can however take an essence for a physical condition and an essence for an emotional condition; just don’t combine both essences into the same bottle.
What are Flower Essences made of?
The essence of the flower is imprinted onto water (spring water or water from a pure source) from the solar power of the sun. This mixture of water and essence is known as the mother tincture and is the most concentrated, physical form of the essence. Ian White is the maker of the mother tinctures.
7 drops of this mother tincture are added to a bottle containing water and brandy (a preserving liquid). This is known as the stock bottle. Stock bottles can be purchased from ABFE in Sydney. Generally, you do not take the essence from the stock bottle (although I have in rare situations). It is more cost effective, and importantly works just as well to use what is known as the dose bottle. One stock bottle can make 35 dose bottles.
The dose bottle is made from taking 7 drops from the stock bottle and adding to a combination of water and brandy. The flower essence bottles you see in your local heath shop are dose bottles. This retail range is made with brandy and water. A flower essence practitioner can make up a combination without brandy if preferred.
How do I take Flower Essences?
Australian Bush Flower Essences
Easy – you take 7 drops under the tongue, morning and night. It is not relevant if you take these essences with or without food. Your aim is to take the essence at approximately the same time in the morning and evening for a period (normally 2 weeks) to help instil a new energetic pattern (i.e. break a state of mind/habit/belief). If you take an essence for 5 days and then forget, you need to start again in order to fully change an energetic pattern.
Flower essences will work without ingestion. If you have an essence made with brandy that you are uncomfortable taking, you can just place the drops on the top of your head, your temples or on your wrists. The energetic imprint of the essence is now in your own auric field and change will be affected. You could also stand the essence in hot water to evaporate off the alcohol.
Flower Essences cannot be negated, unlike homeopathics, with aromatics, garlic and caffeine. Thus, it doesn’t matter if you brush your teeth with peppermint toothpaste, and then remember to take your flower essences – the essences will still work.
There is a naturopathic principle that states that if you have a problem for 1 year, you need to take the remedy for one month. Generally you take essences for 2 weeks for emotional issues and 4 weeks for physical issues.
Emergency Essence can alleviate any fear about symptoms/feelings that may come up. Emergency Essence is an excellent remedy to have available. I always have a bottle in my handbag.
Medical intuitive healer Catherine Carrigan interviews Ian White, the founder of Australian Bush Flower Essences, about the healing power of flower essences.
Bach Rescue Remedy
With this flower essence combination, you take 4 drops directly on the tongue, or add 4 drops to water and sip at intervals, repeating as necessary.
Essences for Carers
When I researched which essences could be useful for Carers, I first needed to identify the issues facing Carers and came up with the following issues (see below). Please be aware that there are many more essences available in the ABFE range and if you want to get a tailored remedy then seek out a consultation with a flower essence practitioner or contact ABFE directly.
- Abandoned, alone, alienated
- Aggressiveness (wanting to lash out), anger, annoyance, bitterness
- Agitation, feeling tense
- Apathy, resignation, disheartened
- Avoidance / resistance
- Black night of the soul
- Blaming of self (or others)
- Boundaries – establishment of healthy boundaries
- Burdened by decision making, procrastination
- Change, and a fear of
- Deep hurt
- Easily influenced by others (strength to listen to one’s own voice and convictions)
- Emotionally closed
- Failure (feeling like)
- Fear, fear of losing control, hysteria
- Frenetic personality (go, go, go) – trying to keep on top of everything, being over committed
- Inability to respond to crisis
- Low self-worth, self-esteem
- Mental and emotional exhaustion – feeling very drained and burnt out
- No time for self
- Obsessive thoughts
- Physically weary, tired, sluggish, worn and burnt out, flat, lack lustre
- Unhappy, unappreciative and feeling unappreciated
- Victim mentality – “why me”
- Weight of responsibility
- …….. (What’s your main pressing concern?)
Selecting an Essence
At any one time there may be multiple issues presenting themselves. It is important to identify what is most pressing and select the essences that will help support that issue.
For example, at any given moment, you might be physically exhausted and angry. However, if the inability to make a difficult decision is what is causing the most stress, then taking essences that can help you come to a decision and make that change will be of most benefit.
Or, if you are feeling panic, then while there may be issues of physical exhaustion, the most pressing issue to consider is to help reduce the feeling of panic.
Read through the possible essences below. If you are like me, it may feel that they are ALL applicable and you need a bottle with ALL the essences at once. This is common. However, as I mentioned above, concentrate on what your most pressing concern is and select essences that best address that issue.
If you are unsure, consult ABFE (details below) or a flower essence practitioner who can conduct a consultation and make up a tailored combination.
I suggest going to your local health store and purchasing a bottle of Emergency Essence – this is my “go to” crisis blend and worth a place in your handbag or home.
(In many cases you can purchase these at your local health store and some chemists).
Contains: Angelsword, Crowea, Dog Rose of the Wild Forces, Fringed Violet, Grey Spider Flower, Sundew and Waratah
- The Australian Bush Flower Essences general stress/crisis remedy
- Excellent for any emotional upset, feelings of distress and fear. It can also be used for physical pain
- Very useful to have in your handbag. I have been called to use this or give it to people many times over the years.
- Available as drops, moisturiser cream, an oral spray and a mist
Rescue Remedy (Bach Flower Essences)
Contains: Impatiens, Star of Bethlehem, Cherry Plum, Rock Rose and Clematis
- The Bach flower stress remedy. Good to calm the system.
- Available as a spray, drops, pastilles, gum, pearls, cream and other associated products
- Available in chemists and local health stores. If you can’t find Emergency Essence, go for Rescue Remedy.
- With this range you take 4 drops directly on the tongue, or add 4 drops to water and sip at intervals, repeating as necessary
Contains: Black-eyed Susan, Boronia, Bottlebrush, Bush Fuchsia, Crowea, Jacaranda, Little Flannel Flower and Paw Paw
- Useful for all situations where you feel rushed, stressed, uptight and/or have problems sleeping
- Use the cream on the forehead for stress headaches
- Available as drops, moisturiser cream, an oral spray and a mist
Contains: Bauhinia, Bush Iris, Bottlebrush, Dagger Hakea, Dog Rose and Wild Potato Bush
- This is a really good essence to help release and clear emotional waste and good to use for a 2-week period once a year as a spring clean for your system
- Available as drops
Contains: Angelsword, Boab, Fringed Violet, Lichen and Red Lily
- Great for clearing tense situations and environments and restoring balance. Think to use this after there have been tantrums and/or arguments. It lightens the energy.
- Available as a mist
Contains: Autumn Leaves, Bauhinia, Bottlebrush, Bush Iris, Lichen, Mint Bush, Red Grevillea and Silver Princess
- Useful for any major life changes, especially if someone is dying. It helps all parties accept change and move forward.
- Available as drops
Individual Essences (Available as Drops)
(Purchase by contacting the Australian Bush Flower Essence store directly.)
- This is the main Carers flower essence because it helps revitalize people who are caring for others – whether that is a health care worker or a caregiver to a special needs child.
- It’s good for those who have to listen all day to the problems of others. Carers have a lot of responsibility to make decisions that affect the welfare of others, and this burden can be daunting. Alpine Mint Bush gives the Carer back their sense of joy and renews their sense of enthusiasm.
- It is also useful for mental and emotional exhaustion from having to be “the go to person” that has all the answers and must always be available.
- Black-eyed Susan is the Stress remedy for the “go-go-go” person who is always running around, busy with lots of appointments, impatient, and over-committed. Consider this if that seems like your life right now – never enough time, and too things to do. It helps you see the need to slow down and delegate.
- It provides a sense of stillness and an understanding that the world will not fall over if you slow down a bit
- When you feel blocked off from your feelings, consider using Bluebell. It opens the heart and promotes joy as well as unconditional love.
- Boab is the flower essence to consider taking if you feel that there are dysfunctional family patterns operating in your life. These dysfunctional patterns may have been handed down from generation to generation.
- It is useful for co-dependency, persecution and prejudice
- Boab can help to release deeply-held emotion
- Boronia is the “quietening the mind” flower essence
- If the mind talk is obsessive, Boronia will help bring a sense of mental calmness. It allows the higher self qualities of intuition to come through, allowing a person to gain a different perspective on what they were thinking and see a new situation.
- The letting go and cleaning out flower essence
- Bottlebrush is useful in any major transitions like adolescence through to death and anything else in between
- It is also a flower essence to consider if there is any addictive behaviour present
- Think of it as a bottle brush, clearing out the crud inside a bottle (you), allowing a clean start. It gives a sense that you can cope with any change and move on with strength to tackle what lays ahead
- Crowea is considered the flower essence for worry, anxiety and when you are fearful, but don’t quite know why
- Because worry is felt in the stomach, Crowea is also good for any stomach issues that are stress related
- Crowea brings about a sense of calm
- Caring is a difficult role. If it has made you feel bitter, especially towards those family and friends close to you, where you find yourself using sharp words to keep people away, then consider this flower. If you look at the flower, it is quite prickly.
- Dagger Hakea can help you to express more openly your feelings and emotions and to forgive
- Dog Rose is useful for Carers who feel anxious and fearful
- If you are shy and don’t feel confident dealing with other people, you might consider Dog Rose
- It’s also good for nightmares and phobias
- Also consider Dog Rose for grief
- While Dog Rose is for general fears (e.g. of heights, being burgled), Dog Rose of the Wild Forces is for the fear of losing control. It is for that horrible sense that you are going to completely lose the plot and do something you will regret later, maybe say something so terrible or to physically hurt another person or yourself.
- It is considered the safety valve remedy, to bring back your sanity when you feel yourself going over the edge
- Five Corners is considered the self-esteem flower essence
- If you have feelings of insecurity, low self-esteem, and feel you are holding yourself inwards, as if scared to look outwards towards the world, then Five Corners will give you the confidence in yourself and help improve your self-esteem. It helps break down those self-sabotage beliefs such as “I’m not enough”.
- It’s useful to instil courage
- It is a pivotal remedy in the ABFE system because self-esteem (or lack thereof) is such a universally held belief
- Fringed Violet is considered the auric protection flower essence
- Shock and trauma can cause your aura to have gaps or holes in it and through these gaps the negative energies and thought patters of others can enter, affecting you. When you feel you are being adversely affected by the emotional state of another person, think to use Fringed Violet.
- If you feel completely resigned and discouraged by life and what it is throwing you, then Kapok Bush will help you to re-commit and persist, working to find a solution and to never give up
- It is useful to help ground a person, so they can find practical solutions to their problems
- If you are feeling very drained and exhausted from all the caring you are doing, then Macrocarpa can bring back your vitality and energy
- Macrocarpa strengthens the adrenals and the immune system which can become depleted from all the stress involved in caring for someone
- I always think of this as the anger and hatred flower essence
- If you feel yourself blaming others, are angry or jealous, or perhaps you are manipulating people and not taking responsibility for your own emotions, then Mountain Devil can release these negative emotions and bring through love
- If you are feeling frustrated, sluggish and weary, then consider Old Man Banksia
- If you have felt tired for a long time, always having to carry the burden, then Old Man Banksia can bring back your enthusiasm in life and improve your energy levels
- This essence is also good for those who don’t value their boundaries – saying “yes” when they felt “no”
- Paw Paw is the overwhelm flower essence. If you can’t decide or feel unable to resolve a problem, consider Paw Paw.
- It helps to bring in new ideas by accessing the higher self
- It brings about a sense of calmness
- Pink Flannel Flower is all about bringing in the love and lightness to your life. It helps you to see the beauty in the smallest of things and feel grateful for what you have. Consider Pink Flannel Flower if you are feeling ungrateful and unhappy in your life.
- Red Lily is a great grounding flower remedy. It helps keep you practical and grounded yet allows you to bring in the spiritual dimension.
- If you are feeling vague and “not quite with it”, daydreaming and unfocused, then Red Lily can ground you and keep you focused in the here and now
- It can harmonise and bring together other flower essences in a remedy
- When your situation has you feeling like a victim and “it’s just not fair”, then Southern Cross can bring back your sense of personal power and your ability to take responsibility for your own situation, without the need to blame others.
- Stuart Desert Pea is the flower to consider for deep grief, hurt and pain
- Often just give this flower by itself
- Watch a Facebook video on Sturt Desert Pea here
- Sundew is another grounding flower essence. It brings you back to living in the here and now and not being so vague and indecisive. It brings back focus and attention to detail.
- When you feel like nothing is ever going to change and you feel completely helpless, lost in your struggle, then Sunshine Wattle can bring back a sense of optimism and hope
- Consider Tall Yellow Top if you feel alone and abandoned in your Caring role. If you feel disconnected, like you don’t belong anywhere, then think of Tall Yellow Top. It can help you to reach out to other people and create a sense of belonging.
- Waratah is a very powerful flower essence and useful for when you feel complete and utter despair, hopeless and unable to move forward, possibly depressed and suicidal
- It can bring you back from the edge giving you the faith and hope to carry on.
- Always talk to your health care professional if you feeling like this. Flower Essences are very powerful but should never be considered a substitute for professional medical care.
- If you are caring for someone, yet also experiencing physical problems yourself, then Wild Potato Bush can help with that feeling of frustration that your body is not working as you want it to
My Carer’s Blend
A good Carers combination is as follows:
- Alpine Mint Bush
- Black-eyed Susan
- Fringed Violet
- Paw Paw
I decided to test this essence blend. I started taking it on 13th February 2014 and it served me well.
While living with my son is difficult at best, he seemed to up the ante just as I started taking this remedy and created a difficult space for the family to operate. His aggression landed him in hospital when he broke a school window and cut open his hand. I then caught my finger between a door handle and the brick wall, when he tried to smash a door (which I tried to stop).
Through all this drama, I felt controlled and reasonably calm. Well, perhaps not so calm when my finger was oozing blood, but all things considered, I don’t think I would have handled this last week as well had I not been on this Carers blend!
A tried and tested recipe!
Australian Bush Flower Essences
Phone: (02) 9450 1388
This selection of flowers has been made from:
Notes by Jill Ilott
Workshop notes (levels 1, 2 and 3, Children’s and Women’s) by either Joanne Fuller or Ian White
Beyond Form – Sue Mackenzie and Marie Matthews
I’d like to say a special thank you to Joanne Fuller for helping read these notes, Jill Ilott for her incredible attention to detail, and to my fellow “Bushies Group” friends who have helped me on my flower essence journey.
Back to top