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June/July 2003
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 To learn more about the Alaskan Flower Essence Project, visit or call (800) 545-9309. For more on Five-Flower Formula and Healing Herbs, see or call the Flower Essence Society at (800) 548-0075.


Products for Relaxation
Lovely, Luscious, Luxurious—and affordable!

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 still glitters!

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 to view their catalog and place an order, or call (888) 733-LUSH. —C.C.
Getting Squeaky Clean…

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 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, or call (614) 263-3938. —R.C.
Organic 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 (difficult to find elsewhere; they avoid mass production) call (866) 476-8918. —R.C.



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