In addition to whatever lip liner/lipstick combo I'm wearing that day, I'm never without a bottle of flower essences in my purse. It's a must-have, in my opinion, for reducing anxiety and encouraging overall emotional well-being. For the uninitiated, these botanical remedies are healing tinctures made of —you guessed it — flowers to support and address emotional, mental, and spiritual issues, flower remedy practitioner Alexis Smart tells me. They're made by floating flower blossoms in a bowl of spring water. Harnessing the powers of vibrational medicine, Smart explains that the water is then imprinted with that particular flower's healing pattern.
Jena Sophia, a healer and flower essence expert, adds that the remedies themselves don't contain any physical part of the flower or plant but rather carry the vibrational wisdom of the flower, which addresses different emotional ailments. "They work with our energy body by clearing out any unwanted emotional blocks that are causing mental or physical imbalances," Sophia explains. "They support us in untangling energies that may have become blocked or lodged into our field so that we can come back into alignment."
The History Of Flower Essences & How They Work
While flower essences are becoming more popular as wellness hits the mainstream, Smart notes that they were discovered by a British medical doctor and researcher named Edward Bach in the 1930s. Dr. Bach, she explains, believed that patients couldn't experience true healing from physical ailments unless there were improvements in their mental and emotional state. So by treating the patient with flower remedies to improve their emotional state, the body began to heal naturally. "We have a self-healing mechanism that kicks in like if you cut yourself, you're not going to bleed to death because a bunch of systems kick in to knit your skin together and stop that from happening," Smart says. "That mechanism is present on every level of the body."
In other words, Dr. Bach felt that emotional blockages such as trauma, grief, anxiety, or depression impacted our physical health. "So rather than treating the body and hoping that the patient would become healthier once their body was fixed, he was doing the reverse by bringing joy to his patients and happiness and bringing them peace of mind, and then their body’s [self-healing] would just slowly kind of kick in," Smart says.
The way flower remedies work is that each flower has a certain vibrational frequency, Smart says, and taking a certain remedy that matches whatever negative emotion you're feeling (jealousy, anger, darkness, closed heart, etc.) encourages the opposite emotion. "So rather than suppressing negative emotions, you give the being what it needs by flooding it with a positive vibration," Smart says. "And the negative [emotion] just kind of melts away in a very natural way that feels harmonious to the person."
How To Choose The Right Flower Remedy
Flower remedies are made from many different flowers, but Smart prefers to work only with the original 38 flowers researched and discovered by Dr. Bach as she finds these to be the most effective and comprehensive. Dr. Bach's remedies are the most readily available and can be found at most health food stores, but many other flower essence purveyors sell them. They typically come in a small bottle with a dropper, so you can take a few drops per day under your tongue or add them to water and sip throughout the day.
Wherever you source flower remedies, Smart recommends only one remedy at a time. Technically, they can be mixed, but to do so, it's best to work with a practitioner who understands how the different flower essences work together.
If you're taking the DIY approach to choose the best remedy for you, Smart recommends experimenting with Dr. Bach's 38 remedies by reading the descriptions and finding one that corresponds to what you most need support with at the time and sticking to that one remedy for at least one month to experience its full effects.
Below, a sampling of flower remedies that can support common ailments, according to Smart:
- Rescue Remedy by Dr. Bach —featuring cherry plum, clematis, and rock rose, this is great for shock, trauma, and acute anxiety. It promotes an instant calming effect.
- Larch is great for increasing confidence, public speaking, taking risks, and dealing with the fear of failure.
- Mustard is for depression, gloom, and feelings of darkness.
- Mimulus is for anxiety, shyness, nervousness, and feeling self-conscious.
- Gentian is for lack of faith, a negative outlook, discouragement, and disappointment.
- Vervain is great for stress relief and feeling overwhelmed. It encourages relaxation and calm and makes doing things feel more effortless.
- Crab apple is for feeling unattractive, experiencing body shame, and being self-critical.
So what can you expect to feel once you start taking flower remedies? It will vary based on the person and the remedy they're taking. "Some people, if sensitive, feel the subtle energy changes right away, [for] others it can take some more time to notice the changes," Sophia says. Overall though, "[flower remedies] creates more balance and openness. [They] really can elevate your vibration since it clears out stagnant energy, which can make people feel light and at ease." Smart adds that things that bothered you before may not seem to bother you as much over time. "You'll notice that your ability to adapt to what used to stress you will increase," she says.
If you don't notice any changes after taking a flower remedy for a month, Smart says that particular remedy likely wasn't the right match for you at the time and recommends trying a different one. If you notice a small improvement, she recommends staying with the same remedy a little longer to experience its full effects. She notes that if you're working with deep, chronic issues (for instance, life-long shyness), it can take longer to clear the issue.
More good news? There are no side effects to working with flower remedies. Smart says they're safe, gentle, and don't interfere with other modalities, medication, or medical treatments. And, she adds, once you feel better, you don't need to keep taking the same remedy forever as the effects are lasting.