Flower essences are a form of holistic medicine/therapy that work towards healing the “whole” person. The term “wholistic” means not just curing the physical symptoms of disease/illness, but also healing the emotional, thinking and attitudinal aspects of the patient as well – thereby healing the whole of the patient by reaching the root cause of the problem. Holistic therapists view people and animals as networks of complex energy fields that are all interconnected, no living being is just a physical body, coming with that physical body are emotions, opinions and attitudes and it is the connection of all these subtle components that make all living beings unique and individual. These individual components, or subtle energy systems, are not something that we can touch, taste, see, hear or smell, yet they are there and they play an extremely important role in our ability to function as living beings. Flower essences work on these powerful, but unseen, energy systems by rebalancing them, restoring balance and order to the whole body so that it is able to heal itself, creating good health and a great feeling of wellbeing.
Flower essences are nothing new, they have been around for a very long time and their use spans many cultures. The Egyptians, Malayans, Africans and Aborigines have all used flowers to treat emotional states and imbalances, sometimes eating the flowers, or the roots, or even the whole plant. The first person in Europe to record the healing power of flower essences was the healer and mystic Paracelsus (1493-1541) who collected dew from flowers to treat emotional imbalances in his patients. Unfortunately over the next few centuries the knowledge of the healing properties of flowers was mostly lost, especially in the western world, until the arrival of that great, British, modern pioneer of flower essences, Dr Edward Bach (1886-1936).
Dr Bach realised that the emotional state of his patients had a great bearing on their ability to heal, those who were happy and contented healed much quicker than those who were not. He found that the conventional approach to medicine regarded the body as functioning much like a machine, with treatment based largely on the principle of fixing or replacing broken or dysfunctional parts, it didn’t acknowledge that emotions and attitudes played a large part in wellbeing and healing. He also discovered that in recognising and treating emotional imbalances in the body before illness appeared, he could help people to stay healthier and happier and many physical illnesses could be prevented. He devoted most of his life to developing his system of 38 remedies to help emotional states and they are probably the best known flower essences in use at the moment, especially his blend of five remedies known as Rescue Remedy.
There are now a great many producers of flower essences in all corners of the globe, from the UK and France to the USA, Australia and South Africa. I personally like using the Australian Bush Flower Essences which have been developed by founder Ian White and currently form a system of 69 essences. I find them to be very versatile, comprehensive and appropriate for the stresses and strains of our modern world which affect animals and people alike.