Flower Power: Exploring Flower Essences (part 1)

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I can vividly remember the way flowers made me feel when I was a child.  There was something magical about a plant that emerged from the ground, reaching for the light to finally bloom into pops of color.  I feel the same way today and want to share what I've learned about the power of flowers during Earth Month.

Floral Memories

One of my first memories of the floral kind involves my mom hanging wet clothes outside on a line.  Right beside it was a fence where purple morning glories consistently said hello to the morning sun and then closed at night to rest and recharge just to do it all over again.  When I was five, I found a magnificent flower creeping its way through the bushes at the back yard fence.  Not only was it gorgeous, but the sweet scent made me think of how a tropical island might smell.  It wasn’t until 20 years ago that I realized what they were – passion flowers.  Then there was the quiet corner in our yard where I would watch the lilac blossoms float down to the ground on a windy day to form a blanket of light purple. The smell was delicate yet magnificent.  While all of those flowers were in my yard, there was a field where I used to ride my bike. It sat right beside a very old magnolia tree. The minute I crested the hill in the spring, there they were…a bright field of buttercups/daffodils. Hundreds of bulbs were in bloom just to welcome me (or at least that’s how I felt). I found out that the bulbs had been placed there years ago where an old house sat on the hill.  If those buttercups could talk, I'm sure they've have a lot to say.

What are Flower Essences?

Plant medicine is an ancient system that takes many forms from herbal concoctions using the root, stems or leaves to flower essences which use the blossoms. Flowers are the reproductive part of the plant and are responsible (with partnering pollinators) for most of the food we eat. They are certainly powerful little dynamos in a delicate form.  Blossoms are placed in spring water and in the sun.  The essence of the flower is captured, dilutions are made and then humans or even pets can safely use. They are the concentrated life force of flowers sealed in a bottle.

History of Remedies

The ancient Egyptians documented flower essence use on papyrus scripts. In the twelfth-century Europe, Australia and China, there are records of flower essence use to assist those with emotions. It wasn’t until the 1930’s that flower essences gained popularity due to physician Dr. Edward Bach who created Bach flower remedies that are found in many natural food and health stores.

How Does It Work?

Water is a recording device and humans are over 70% water. As humans, we have been working with nature for centuries and there is evidence showing that frequencies from nature can be downloaded just as we magically download files over wireless internet. Does it sound woo woo? I’m sure that wireless internet did too along with X-rays and satellite radio.  Flowers act as an antenna with the Earth and acquire messages.  When people or pets use flower essences, they are using messages and harmonizing frequencies for the body.

The Birds and the Bees

Did you know that bees and insects are not attracted to flowers based on color? Flowers are emitting electrical impulses attracting these creators and providing an electronic Evite. If you’re not familiar with the body’s energy system, read about the magnificent meridian system that Traditional Chinese Medicine has used for over 5,000 years.  Even the art of collecting pollen is vibrational.  

What Essences Are Not

Flower essences are not essential oils which are the aromatic compounds of a plant.  They are not herbal tinctures. Flower essences work on energetic imbalances that lie underneath physical symptoms. As we learned in naturopathy school, these essences bring awareness to the body and help the emotional body slowly peel away the layers unearthing unprocessed, stuck or purposely pushed down emotions that the body hasn’t wanted or been ready to deal with. When we have emotions that are lying beneath the surface, physical symptoms may emerge overtime and we witnessed many case studies where this happened. Think of emotions as being the iceberg underneath the water and what you see above are the physical symptoms. As Dr. Richard Gerber mentions in his book, Vibrational Medicine, “Our illnesses and compromised health are often a symbolic reflection of our own internal states of emotional unrest and blockages.” As Candace Pert, neuroscientist, molecular biologist and pharmacologist states, “When emotions are expressed, all systems are united and made whole. When emotions are repressed, denied, not allowed to be whatever they may be, our network pathways get blocked, stopping the flow of the vital feel-good, unifying chemicals that run both our biology and our behavior.”  Allowing emotions to surface invites health, harmony and happiness.

Animals, Children and Placebo

Most people start wondering if perhaps the use of flower essences is simply a placebo effect. While an adult taking essences may make assumptions of the outcome, an animal cannot. There are zoos around the world where animals experiencing separation anxiety, grief or other emotions were provided combination blends of flower essences related to the emotion they were experiencing. After a few days, positive changes were noted when other methods were tried without success.  Similar experiences have been noted with children who are also not aware of the potential outcome.

How to Use Flower Essences

Many individuals take essences orally, under the tongue or in a beverage. In school we were asked to do this and journal about the experience. We also learned how to apply topically to acupuncture points to open meridians which is one of my favorite ways to slowly unblock the flow of energy. One of the easy methods of application that I recommend is to add these drops to lotions, shampoos, baths and essential oil sprays.  

Blooming Remedies

When part 2 of this flower essence set releases in two weeks, we will look specifically at the top flower remedies and the emotion it corresponds with.  For now, I invite you to read more about Rescue Remedy which is a blend and all-time favorite for many flower alchemists. This is also a popular blend for pets who are undergoing stress, are fearful and experiencing uneasiness.  This blend contains five flowers which include Clematis (if you need concentration and focus), Cherry Plum (for a racing mind and needing clarity), Impatiens (for cultivating patience), Rock Rose (for fright and encouraging calm and courage) and Star of Bethlehem (soothing shock to the nervous system).  I personally love this blend for myself during stressful times.  One of my joys in life is experiencing the power of flowers through custom blends I create on my patio.  It's the perfect blend of my biochemistry days, loving Mother Earth and practicing naturopathy.

Back to my four childhood blossoms and what these flowers represent.  Morning glories awaken the spirit and help us find our brilliance.  Passion flower is calming and helps release mind chatter.  In fact, I readily use this today in teas at night for a good night's sleep.  Lilac embodies flexibility and non-attachment which is ironic as I used to love to watch the blossoms let go and float down to the ground.  Lastly, buttercup helps those who are too serious and encourages finding time for oneself.  As a child, I remember feelings of joy when I crested the hill and saw the yellow glow.  Today, when daffodils are in bloom and I smell the petals, it takes me back and reminds me to be happy and give myself a little self-care!  With all this, perhaps new, floral information you've learned, I encourage you to pause the next time you walk by some flowers and see them in a whole new light.  

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About Author

Celeste Cooper-Peel, ND, MA, MCHES, CWHC, E-RYT

Wellness & Fitness Manager

Celeste has been in the science, health and wellness field over twenty-five years. She began as a research chemist with a concentration in genetics and nutritional biochemistry. After working in the medical field, she saw the need to follow a path of proactive wellness and prevention. After receiving her Masters in Health Education, she ventured into the mind/body world receiving training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Yoga. Shortly after, she received the 2003 Wellness in the Workplace Award for a large health system in the state of Virginia. In 2004, Celeste joined SAS Institute, Inc. and continues to be passionate in her position overseeing Wellness. She believes curiosity and collaboration bring insight and new ideas which bring out the best in everyone from team members to those who are making healthy lifestyle changes. Believing that the body knows how to heal if given the proper tools, Celeste earned certifications in Aromatherapy and Essential Oils, Classical Chinese Medicine and Homeopathic & Naturopathic Medicine. She earned her Doctor of Naturopathy degree in 2020. Celeste is a published author, wife and mother and practices what she preaches and teaches. She is a nationally recognized Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) and has advanced certificates in Integrative and Functional Nutrition, Genetics and Genomics. She is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT) with the National Yoga Alliance, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Instructor, Certified Wellness and Health Coach (CWHC) and Certified Yoga Therapist (CYT). Follow @ccooperpeel on Twitter and Instagram.

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