Flower essences are made by infusing the energetic imprint of the plant or tree in pure water, with the aid of sunlight, and the plant deva/spirit, which is then preserved with alcohol. They are given as energetic medicines- most often to address the emotional and spiritual spheres or bodies. Though truly one cannot separate the physical from the emotional and spiritual aspects of oneself, or the healing process. I find it helpful to have these tools to help address these aspects in a gentle and effective way. They are also very helpful for folks who may not be able to hike long miles to visit a specific tree. And as things are deeply connected within our bodies and psyche- often addressing emotional aspects will aid the process of healing the physical body. They are completely safe, and will never interact with any other medication, herb or practice/religion anyone might be working with. Usually if given an essence that isn’t appropriate, there will be no ill effects. The effects of essences can be subtle, and only noticed over time (weeks to months) but I have also found that they work within hours or minutes for acute situations.
Most people are familiar with the famous Bach Flower Remedy- Rescue Remedy. I’ve seen it calm a young child with autism in the middle of a tantrum within seconds. And this was just the essence rubbed on the childs leg-nothing taken internally! That is how powerful these can be in the right situation. They can open doors to levels of healing that we didn’t even realize were there, so I suggest always having a friend or practitioner that you can talk with as things reveal themselves, and to realize that you may need new essences as your process happens.
There are many options for practitioners who work only with flower essences, and many training programs if you want to delve even deeper with these, but what I love about them is that they can be made and used by anyone, safely and effectively. I suggest if you are new to essences, that you begin by using only one or two essences at a time, to really begin to feel and notice the effects they have on you. When I use these with my clients I rarely ever give more than 5 at any one time, but prefer to give fewer if possible. It takes fine tuning what the true root of any situation is, and what will best address it. If you find that you do not know why or the root of a feeling, you can pick an essence that is appropriate, and usually it will lead you through the beginnings of uncovering what is the root. From there you can work with the essences progressively.
Flower essences were originally developed by a disillusioned doctor in England in the 1930’s, Dr Edward Bach. Fed up with the way medicine was being practiced, and his work, he packed his bags and headed into the countryside. There he began communing with the plants around him, and was inspired to make the essences. He began traveling around and used the essences to heal people all over, thus devising the indications for each essence. He developed 38 essences of flowers and trees of England. Today- there are people and organizations from all over the world making essences of the plants, places and stones around them.
I am going to cover the basics of how to make and use essences, so that you will be able to do this for yourself. But should you choose to, you can purchase most of these from any number of places.
For the most part you should use the FLOWER parts of any tree or plant you wish to make an essence from. My personal preference is to include the flowering parts along with any other parts of the plant in the essence. There is some discussion of the flower being the highest energetic vibration of the plant, but I believe that the whole being of a plant has energetic vibration. It is up to you in your making of essences.
- Find the plant or tree, in flower that you want to work with. Often the plant will really shout out at you, or make itself known in a way that is unmistakable. Choose a sunny day in which you have 3-4 hrs to devote.
- Once you arrive at a tree that you wish to work with, spend some time with it. Open your heart, ground, and listen. Ask for permission to use the tree medicine in this way. I have found that when working with a plant that hasn’t had an essence indication written for it, many impressions about its use will come to me during this time. Pay attention, write them down. Even if you already KNOW the indication for an essence, pay attention to any new info you may glean from the plant itself. Most people who make essences call it cocreating an essence- because it truly is about relationship with the plant in question. Make an offering if appropriate.
- In a clear glass or crystal bowl pour 2 oz of spring or rain water.
- With small clippers cut entire flowers from the tree into the bowl. Do not touch them with your hands, Cut enough flowers to cover the entire top of the water surface. Alternatively, when working with plants where you might not want to actually cut flowers off (Lady’s slippers or other endangered plants) you may dip the flower into the bowl of water. You will have to figure a way to keep it bent into the water (sticks, clothespins etc).
- Set the bowl of water with flowers in a sunny place near the plant undisturbed for 3-4 hours. Continue noting any impressions, feelings, emotions or memories that come up during this process.
- After the allotted time, return to your bowl. With tweezers or a stick, gently remove the flowers and return them to the earth near the plant.
- Strain the water with a coffee filter or cheesecloth to filter out any dirt or particles.
- Add exactly two ounces of brandy to the two oz of water. This is preserve the water essence and prevents bacteria from growing. You may use vodka if you wish, but brandy tastes better. Bottle this mixture in a dropper top bottle, labeled MOTHER ESSENECE of _____. This Mother should last you a lifetime, unless you choose to gift it away. I was taught never to sell a mother essence. You may take one or two drops of this to PROVE it, or note its effects on you. But in general Mother essences should be diluted before administering.
- STOCK ESSENCES- Generally what is sold in stores or by essence folks are stock essences. These are diluted down from the Mother essence. To prepare a stock essence – in a 1 oz bottle with a dropper, fill half way up with water, and the remaining half with brandy. Add 2 DROPS of Mother Essence to this bottle. Label STOCK ESSENCE of _______. You may want to shake the bottle several times. Stock essences are diluted further into a dose bottle before administering to yourself, a friend/client or plant or animal (yes, you can use them on your plants!!) A stock bottle will last you a very long time. You may sell or give these stock bottles away as desired.
- DOSE BOTTLE- In a one oz dropper bottle, fill halfway full with water, and the other half with brandy(or vinegar if you want to avoid alcohol). Add 2 drops of STOCK ESSENCE to the bottle. You may add more than one essence to this bottle if you wish. Shake briefly to mix.
Dosage and frequency- Standard recommendations are for 4 drops from a dose bottle 4 x per day. But I tell people, and use myself, the method of taking a few drops every time I think about it, or as often as I need it to address the specific issue at hand. I keep the bottle in my pocket or bag for easy use. If you loose, drop, spill or otherwise forget to take it for extended period of time- it is usually a sign that you are ready for a new essence. You may take the drops directly by mouth or add your drops to water, a mister to spray yourself or your room with (add essential oils if desired), to a bath. Rub it on your wrists, temples, neck, or belly (or anywhere else). You may add these to bottles of tincture already made if you wish.