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Flower Essences: For Health
and Healing By Claudia Delman
Think about the last time you walked in a park or hiked
in the woods. Did a breeze blow through your hair? And did that give
you a subtle feeling of well-being and relaxation? That is how one feels
when flower essence therapy does its job. Flower essences help to bring
about shifts in our energy, and remind us that we have a choice—we
can feel a different way.
Modern life is stressful for many people, but I think for those of us
who try to give a voice to those who suffer, because of our heightened
awareness, we often suffer more. When I first started working in the
animal rights field, I read every article about animal abuse that crossed
my desk, and I would cry every week.
My own relationship with flower essences—an ancient tradition—started
more than 20 years ago when a friend introduced me to the Bach Flower
Remedy called Rescue Remedy or Five-Flower Formula, an infusion that
treats stress, shock, and trauma. I use flower essences every day, especially
during times of stress and transition. I have used them on myself to
help release unhealthy emotions like anger and guilt.
Every flower can help with a specific mental, emotional, or spiritual
imbalance. Flower essences are made by placing healthy flowers in a
bowl of water that is then placed in the sun for three hours. The resulting
infusion is combined with brandy for preservation, then diluted and
drops are taken internally or used externally. Flower essences can also
be used as sprays.
Because it is a standard formula and is the most widely known, Five-Flower
Formula (Rescue Remedy) can help us understand some flowers’ properties
and how they are used. Three of the essences in Five-Flower Formula
are: Rock Rose, to bring stabilization and calmness; Clematis, which
helps bring the mind back into the body in times of stress; and Cherry
Plum, which helps ease the mind and body during times of panic.
People usually think that with flower essences, they are going to get
something that smells good—they’ll open the bottle and sniff—and
are unprepared for the dominant smell of the brandy. Flower essences
are not aromatherapy, but the two do have a common element. Aromatherapy
can also shift our emotions and our awareness, but flower essences actually
re-pattern them. Not limited to flowers, essence remedies also include
tree essences and gem elixirs, as well as environmental essences.
Flowers send simple, energetic messages that remind us of who we are
and what our natural state can be. They can transform our emotions,
and quiet our minds. The message from the flowers is that we can heal
and they will help us.
The essences work very subtly but with great strength, and can provide
help for anyone. For example, I have a friend who, even though he had
traveled all over the world, developed an irrational fear of flying
and had to take tranquilizers in order to get on a plane. Knowing he
was going to have to fly soon, I sent him Mimulus, an English remedy
for fears that we can identify. He took the Mimulus for a few days before
his flight and had much less difficulty. On his way back, he wasn’t
even nervous and didn’t need his tranquilizer. My cat companions
get flower essences added to their food and water. This helps them behave
better towards each other.
There are millions of flowers all over the world. As a practitioner,
I use essences from the British Isles, Australia, Brazil, the Southwestern
U.S., California, Alaska, and New England. In Brazil, flower essence
use is so widespread that you see people taking drops of essences when
standing in line at the grocery store. Flower essence therapy is also
offered in hospitals. In this country, we are just at the tip of the
iceberg—the use of essences is a little secret that is just waiting
to get out.
An Essence for Everyone
If you want to get started with flower essences, but are feeling a little
overwhelmed with the multitude of options, I would recommend trying
something from the Alaskan Flower Essence Project. Alaska is a pristine
environment and the plants that bloom there have to survive in extreme
conditions. Most grow on a thin layer of soil over land that is permanently
frozen, so the plants are adapted to a very short growing cycle. Alaskan
flowers really understand the concept of being under pressure!
If there is one essence that I feel can be of most service to us and
to animals in these challenging times, it is Soul Support from Alaska.
This remedy can be used to bring strength and stability in times of
stress, emergency, trauma, and transformation. It provides support to
rejuvenate and restore balance on all levels. It can be used after an
accident involving shock or trauma, for emotional catharsis, after receiving
bad news, while recovering from an operation, in animal rescue and rehabilitation—even
for those dreaded visits to the dentist or vet.
Soul Support is a combination of nine essences, one of which is Chalice
Well. Made in Glastonbury, England, the essence is made at this sacred
well and helps us to know that we are not alone, that we are safe and
supported in our environment. Labrador Tea (for those of you familiar
with homeopathy, this is the remedy ledum) helps move us from an unbalanced
to a centered state. Ruby is another essence in Soul Support. It helps
to support one’s ability to ground spiritual and mental energy
into the physical body, especially during times of chaos and upheaval.
Everyone can benefit from Soul Support. It can be used everyday by people
and animals who are experiencing stress, whether that be from a rescue
situation or just coping with modern life. Flower essences are a wonderful
way to heal ourselves and others. We are only a few drops away from
feeling better and from being able to handle whatever comes our way.
Claudia Delman is a flower essence practitioner
living in San Francisco, where she is also Outreach Coordinator for
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. She can be reached via
email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the Alaskan Flower Essence
Project, visit www.alaskanessences.com
or call (800) 545-9309. For more on Five-Flower Formula and Healing
Herbs, see www.fesflowers.com
or call the Flower Essence Society at (800) 548-0075.
for Relaxation Lovely, Luscious, Luxurious—and
For best home spa aids (bath products), Lush wins—hands
down! All handmade with natural ingredients, Lush is a woman-owned business
that offers dozens of aromatic things to help you discover the myriad ways
to relax and feel beautiful. Packaging is very minimal—a thin wrapping
of clear plastic—with a simple label telling what it is. What’s
impressive is that each product lists the date it was made and who made
it. Their “catalog” is a colorful, cheeky newspaper filled with
testimonials and pictures from fans all over the globe. The majority of
Lush products are vegan, but since a few things aren’t, a green dot
makes for easy spotting.
A real treat is the electric blue “Happy” bubble bar ($4.70),
infused with essential oils to relax the body and lift the spirits. I’ve
never had such a lovely, foamy bath. Careful—the bubbles last so long
you might never get out of the tub! And what I really couldn’t get
out of the tub was the glitter from their “Shimmy Shimmy” bubble
bar ($4.70)! Unless you really want to be a glitter queen, be wary of the
shimmering stuff. A week later my partner and I still found sparkles on
our towels, skin and faces. Even after a thorough scrub, the bathroom floor
If you like patchouli, the “Middle Earth Turns into Rock” pumice
soap ($5.50) will make you very happy. When wet, it turns into a soapy “mud,”
which lathers into a fragrant foam, leaving your skin squeaky clean and
slightly perfumed. I can’t not mention the “Buffy the Backside
Slayer” skin conditioner ($6.50). (Since I’m a Buffy fan, my
best friend sent me a selection from Lush as a gift.) It’s a milky
pumice bar that lathers into a lotion, so you can skip the post-shower or
-bath moisturizing. Use it in the bath or shower after rinsing off your
regular soap, then hop out silky and ready to go.
Lush also offers an assortment of their signature bath “bombs”
($1.95-$3.95), which fizz in hot water, making a fragrant (sometimes colored
or glittered) bath session. Hair care and decadent massage bars are among
many of the other things they make. Lush has a store in San Francisco, but
if you don’t happen to be there, visit www.lush.com
to view their catalog and place an order, or call (888) 733-LUSH. —C.C.
Raining Rose soaps score an A+ for philosophy. Their hemp-based, all-natural
soaps are completely cruelty-free—and they come in tree-free kenaf
paper boxes with the cutest darn labels you’ve ever laid eyes on.
Flavors like Hempermint (my favorite), with a box that looks like it came
straight out of a Candyland board game set; Oatmeal, which greets you with
a friendly, hearty bowl of oatmeal; and Rosemary, a smiling potted rosemary
plant, all smell wonderfully and lather up nicely (all $4.99). However,
try to keep them dry when not in use—they’ll melt and are vulnerable
to soupy soap dishes.
Raining Rose also makes organic lip balms, a shampoo and conditioner, and
a variety of herbal skin products. Visit www.rainingrose.com
or call (800) 481-3934 to learn more.
Green Girl Basics also makes great biodegradable and plant-based soaps.
Taking advantage of various essential oils and herbs for their natural healing
properties, Green Girl soaps smell nice but not too strongly, and they lather
well without leaving that greasy film that soaps often leave. Plus, they
stood the true test—the shower—without disintegrating to mush
right before your very eyes. Choose from, among others, Chamomile Complexion,
Eucalyptus & Rosemary, Hemp Shaving, and Tea Tree & Seaweed (all
cost either $4–$5). Green Girl also offers lotion sticks, and the
list is soon to be expanded. Many contain beeswax and honey, however, so
check the ingredients if you avoid these.
To make a purchase or learn more about Green Girl Basics, visit www.greengirlbasics.com,
or call (614) 263-3938. —R.C.
Health and Beauty
Their name says it all—organic, wild-crafted products that are completely
animal-free and don’t use synthetic or petroleum ingredients.
Now I don’t know if it’s magic potions or simply fresh, quality
ingredients that they use, but Organic Health and Beauty’s stuff is
just divine (though, alas, a bit pricey). One whiff of their Lemon Peppermint
Toner ($11.95) and you just might be tempted to follow with a sip. Many
of their products were just recently debuted, making perfect timing for
summer—just when you need a splash of refreshment the most. Their
lotions achieve a perfectly balanced moisture that isn’t over-oily
and doesn’t leave a greasy film on your skin—yuck. The Awaken
Mint Lotion ($14.95) is a great one to try. Aromatherapy skeptics should
try their refreshing body spritzers ($9.95). They carry an assortment of
moisturizing butters, facial cleansers, and bar soaps; they also have an
herbal insect repellent ($8.95). Finally, if you can and will indulge in
a bath, you’re guaranteed instant refreshment and relaxation with
their Awaken Mint Bath Salts ($11.95).
To find out more or place an order, visit www.organichealthandbeauty.com
(difficult to find elsewhere; they avoid mass production) call (866) 476-8918.