Frquently Asked Questions
What are flower essences?
Flower essences are herbal infusions or decoctions, made from the flowering part of the plant, which uniquely address emotional and mental aspects of wellness. The first 38 flower remedies were formulated by a British physician, Dr. Edward Bach, in the 1930's, although new remedies from other plant species are now available.
How do flower essences work?
To understand how flower essences work requires a recognition that the human being is more than a physical body, but also incorporates a "body" of life energy, a "body" of sensitivity and feelings, and a spiritual essence or Self. Flower essences are energetic imprints of the life force of plants which interact with these subtle bodies of the human being, and evoke specific qualities within us. We can say that they work in a similar way to inspirational music or art, which carry meaning through the vehicle of sound or light, while the flower essences work through the medium of water.
Modern physics has known for nearly a century that matter and consciousness are intertwined. However, medical science still generally works with a nineteenth century model of the human being as a mechanism in a world of machines. We expect that in the coming century medical science will develop ways of studying the impact of consciousness on health, and we will learn more about the ways in which flower essences work. However, empirical research, which consists of the collection of case studies and practitioner reports, will remain the primary source of knowledge about how flower essences work.
How do I use flower essences?
They are typically taken orally from a dropper bottle; the standard dosage is four drops four times daily. You can take the drops directly from stock bottles available in stores; mix them in a glass of water; or make a dosage bottle by mixing several drops with water and brandy (typically 1/4 ounce) in a one ounce dropper bottle. When mixing in a dosage bottle or glass of water, take two drops from each essence selected. There are many others ways of using them, such as in misting sprayers, in a cream base, or in baths.
Can I use more than one essence at a time?
Several flower essences can be taken together, mixed in a dosage bottle or glass of water. In making a combination, it is important to consider how the essences work together, as well as the appropriateness of each essence in the combination. It is best to limit the number of essences taken at any one time to three to five unless you are working with a skilled practitioner.
How do I choose flower essences? How do I decide which mental or emotional issues are most in need of assistance?
The best way to get involved in choosing flower essences is to read some basic literature on the topic. The next step is to decide which mental and emotional issues are most important for your health and growth. Based on your choice, you then select the essence or essences which correspond with these issues. You may also wish to talk with a friend or counselor, or to use an ssessment questionnaire or repertory to help you sort through the many possible choices for flower essences. If you are just getting started, choose your most basic and obvious priorities.
What if I don't notice any changes at all? Is every flower remedy equally effective for me?
Flower essences work by a principle of resonance. They will be most effective and noticeable when they actually match the core mental or emotional challenges you face. If you are addressing only surface symptoms or fleeting feelings, you may not notice much impact from the flower essences.
Will flower essences make me feel better?
In the long run, working with flower essences will help you to feel more alive and in touch with your goals, values, and creativity. However, the essences do not create euphoria, nor do they banish pain and conflict. They work by stimulating awareness of our conflicts and challenges, and they strengthen our ability to work through the obstacles to our health and growth. Thus, taking flower essences may at times stimulate some discomfort and awareness of pain or conflict. This is a normal part of the journey towards wellness, and can lead to a much more complete state of health than the suppression of pain, or artificial stimulation of feelings through bio-chemical intervention.
Do flower essences have physical effects? Can they cure physical illness?
Flower essences do not work bio-chemically like aspirin does for a headache, but they can affect our experience of our bodies. For example, essences which help release emotional stress may result in less physical tension. Someone who overworks may discover just how tired he or she really is.
Flower essences can help people who suffer from physical illness by addressing the emotional responses to the illness, and by working with the underlying conflicts and tensions that may have contributed to the onset of the illness. However, flower essences are not cures for any specific illness, and are chosen on the basis of mental and emotional issues, rather than specific physical ailments.
What if my condition is really serious?
If you have a serious mental or emotional condition, or a known physical medical problem, you should seek the care or advice of a qualified health practitioner. Many health practitioners now include the flower essences in their health programs, or work with other practitioners who do.
Are there any harmful effects from flower essences? Can I overdose?
Flower essences contain only minute traces of actual physical substance; they are primarily vibrational in nature, as are homeopathic remedies. This means that they are non-toxic and one cannot overdose on them, unless one were to drink a huge quantity of them and be effected by the alcohol which is used as a preservative.
Do I need to be on a special diet, or to be meditating to use flower essences?
Flower essences work best when one is sensitive and open to their effects. However, there are no special requirements to use flower essences other than a willingness to try them. People from a wide range of backgrounds and lifestyles have excellent results with flower essences. Many people using flower essences report that they become more aware of their diet and develop a desire for a quiet time of meditation or contemplation as a result of using the essences.
Can I take flower essences if I am on medication? Can I use them to get off my medication?
Flower essences can be very helpful for people who are taking prescribed medication for both physical and emotional ailments. To the extent that the medication dulls consciousness, the essences may take longer to take effect, or for their effects to be noticed. Many people taking psychiatric drugs are able to taper down or gradually eliminate their medications by using flower essences. It is important for anyone taking prescribed medications to have their condition professionally monitored, and not to attempt the discontinue medication without medical supervision.
How can I use flower essences if I am alcohol sensitive?
Flower essences are usually sold at the stock level. The stock contains brandy as a preservative, but this stock is typically diluted into a dosage bottle before taken orally. Dilution methods insure that any alcohol ingested is chemically and physiologically insignificant, approximately one part in 600 when diluted in a one-ounce (30 ml) dosage bottle, or one part in 4,800 in a eight-ounce glass of water. This is less than one hundredth of one percent. Greater amounts of alcohol naturally occur in the human bloodstream through the process of digestion and fermentation of food.
Many recovering alcoholics and other alcohol-sensitive persons have benefited greatly from the use of flower essences.
All of the following methods have been reported to be effective strategies for alcohol-sensitive persons:
- Add two to four drops of stock in a large glass of fresh water, stir and sip slowly.
- Add stock essences to a one-ounce dosage bottle, but fill it 1/3 full of apple cider vinegar as preservative, instead of brandy.
- Add stock essences in a one ounce dosage bottle, filled 1/2 full with vegetable glycerin. Vegetable glycerin is a derivative of coconut oil; it has a sweet taste and is used extensively to preserve herbal preparations.
- Add stock essences to a dosage bottle and use no preservative if it is refrigerated, or used in a short period of time (several days to a week).
- The flower essences are very beneficial when applied topically from the stock bottle in a variety of non-oral ways, including misting around the body, direct application to pulse points or energy centers on the body, mixed in creams or added to baths.
How will I know if they are working?
Unlike chemical drugs which suppress symptoms, flower essences are catalysts for emotional change, and work by stimulating awareness. Many people report general but discernible differences with essences. They may feel clearer, calmer, or better able to cope. However, in order to note really specific changes with flower essences you will need some way of objectively observing your emotional and mental states. You may wish to keep a journal, discuss your issues regularly with a friend or counselor, or take note of your dreams and other inner events. Often it is the comments of others close to us which first alerts us to changes taking place.
Becoming aware of inner changes may take some practice. With physical experiences, we know how to focus our awareness on a problem or pain. For example, the pain is not just in my leg, but mostly in my foot, or precisely in my left foot; it's a throbbing pain that is worse at night or in cold weather. In a similar way, we can learn to be more precisely aware of our emotions and thoughts by a conscious program of self-observation and reflection.
When can I expect to note such changes? How long do essences last?
A one-ounce (30 ml) dosage bottle is generally used at the rate of four drops, four times daily, and lasts about one month. This is a typical cycle for emotional change, and it is recommended that you use an essence for at least this period of time to fully experience its impact. The remedies often have a subtle beginning, which gradually becomes more obvious. However, a month is only a general suggestion; many people use flower essences for longer or shorter periods of time than this, with good results. An essence or combination should be discontinued when you feel you have completely absorbed or consciously recognized the benefits which were intended from it.
How are flower essences different from homeopathic or herbal products?
Rather than determining the physical symptoms, flower essences are best chosen by understanding the specific mental or emotional challenges which face you. These remedies are uniquely suited to address this part of your wellness program.
How do you know that flower essences have the effects that are claimed for them?
Flower essence properties are first developed through a thorough study of the plants from which essences are made. This study includes the plant's structure and form, growth pattern, color, relationship to the environment, chemical properties, herbal uses, as well as energetic properties which are perceived in the plant. These qualities are then correlated with specific human emotional patterns. These preliminary indications are then tested in clinical settings by health practitioners. Through their reports our knowledge of the properties of the essences can be revised, expanded, or verified.
This clinical study of the use of essences is called "empirical" research, or research based on experience. It is also the method by which homeopathic remedies have been verified during the last two centuries. Not all flower essences companies thoroughly research the properties of their flower essences. Therefore customers and stores need to investigate the standards and procedures used to verify the indications of essences they purchase.
How do store my flower essences?
The potency and efficacy of FES flower essences at the stock level are easy to maintain, when they are stored and used properly. To insure their longevity, please consider the following guidelines:
- Store essences out of direct sunlight, in a moderate or cool environment.
- DO NOT store flower essences in close proximity to essential oils, incense or other products with strong aromas. Essential oils and other such products have extremely potent vapors that can gradually penetrate through the dropper tops of the bottles hence causing a “scented” taste and compromising the quality of the essences. [Please note that flower essences can also be beneficially combined with essential oils. However, the flower essences then become united with these other substances and no longer have distinct vibrational patterns.]
- When ingesting flower essences, do not touch the dropper to your mouth and do not place the dropper on an unclean surface. If in doubt, rinse the dropper in water before replacing it on the bottle.
- When dispensing from stock bottles of essences, have all the components for your formulation well-organized before you open the bottle, so that that actual time you have the stock bottle open is kept to a minimum.
- If your long-term storage area for the essences tends to be on the warm side (70 degrees or more for prolonged periods of time) it is advisable to store your flower essences upright. In warmer conditions, the alcohol may interact with the rubber dropper, creating a rubber taste in the stock bottle of the flower essence.
- If stock essences are left open for a considerable length of time or if the cap is not screwed shut properly, the alcohol which acts as a preservative may evaporate. In this condition, flower essences can deteriorate due to microbial contamination. This will be clearly noted in the product—it will smell stale and there may be visible contamination.
- In adherence with legal regulations, FES is mandated to stamp a lot number and “best by” date on each stock bottle of flower essences. These regulations do not allow more than 10 years from the date of manufacture for such product. However, if the flower essences are used properly, the 10-year shelf life is only a very conservative estimate. If stored and used properly, it is our personal experience—and that of other qualified practitioners throughout the world—that FES flower essences can remain potent for decades.
Flower Essence Services
For more than three decades, Flower Essence Services has enjoyed a reputation for professional quality and service.
Flower Essence Services' Values & Actions
At Flower Essences they believe we have a responsibility to care for this magnificent planet that sustains us all. Flower Essence Services are dual-certified Organic and Demeter Biodynamic for our land, wild-harvesting and product preparation — these are the highest standards in the world for sustainable land use. They manage a large composting program to regenerate and ‘give back’ to the life of the soil, water and plants. They use limited packaging that emphasizes natural, recycled, and/or reused materials. They always print on recycled paper.
Flower Essence Services' bottles are always glass and our displays are handmade from ecologically harvested wood with natural finishes. We use plastic or synthetic materials only when there is no other reasonable alternative. They tithe financial support to local, national and international environmental and social organizations. We also supply product donations to social programs throughout the world. They are committed to ecological transportation strategies such as employee carpooling, a 4-day work-week, and consolidation of trips.
Flower Essence Services strives to conserve electricity, water and paper wherever possible; and they actively recycle glass, paper, tin, cardboard and plastic. They provide our staff with preventative, holistic health coverage.
Flower Essence Services uses only earth-friendly, non-chemical cleaners in their office and production spaces, eco-friendly lighting, LCD computer screens, and other sustainable measures. They are a small, locally-owned company and care about the people we encounter and the world we share.