The first time I heard about flower essences, I thought, “this is crap.” My well-trained, western scientific brain read “vibrational energy of plants” and wrote it off immediately.
But then I fell under the spell of some amazing plant-based skincare. Skincare that, when I smelled it, when I massaged it into my face, and when I rinsed it off, made me appreciate the beauty of the plants that went into it.
This built on my pre-existing appreciation for plants in the form of vegetables. There is such a beautiful and diverse array of plants that taste great and provide nourishment to the body! If plants can do that, and make for the most relaxing and enjoyable skincare, I thought, what else can they do?
Inspired by this newfound appreciation for plants, I began The Modern Herbal Dispensatory by Thomas Easley and Steven Horne and learned a bit about western herbalism.
Herbalism resonates with me in the same way that traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda do. According to my limited understanding, western herbalism, TCM, and Ayurveda are all health systems that address a wider range of things than western medicine, including emotional health and non-severe imbalances.
And, these health systems have been around for thousands of years. If they’ve lasted that long, there must be something to them, right? And interestingly, it seems like every time I bring this up to friends, either they or someone they know has had a problem fixed by a traditional system that they could not fix with western medicine. (I’m not discounting western medicine, of course. I’m interested in learning from both systems.)
Anyway, herbalism is fascinating to me, and the book is quite the thorough guide (from my beginner’s perspective). It explains general methods for working with types of herbs, including drying, extraction, usage, and more. And it has a short chapter on essences. The presence of the chapter in a seemingly well-researched book opened up my mind enough to not write them off.
The timing also coincided with a challenging period at work. The combination of work challenges and reading about essences in the well-researched book brought me over the edge and back to the original website where I first heard of essences. (The website is a sister site to the skincare I had enjoyed.)
The instructions on the site said to either pick flower essences based on my attraction to the photo of the flower from which it is made, or based on reading the descriptions. So, I went ahead and scrolled through photos and read descriptions. Before I knew it, I had made it through all the essences on the site. (Did I have too much time on my hands? Maybe.)
Three stood out to me:
- Canada Goldenrod Essence, for the person who needs some perseverance and determination to do the work that needs to be done. I wondered if this would help me complete a looming milestone.
- Ponderosa Pine Essence, for the perfectionist who could use a little more self-forgiveness. I wondered if this would help with me being hard on myself due to the work situation. I also love ponderosa pine trees.
- Shooting Star Essence, for the person who wants lightness and freedom from worldly problems. I wondered if this would help me get over my tendency to let work challenges overshadow my life outside of work. I also adore the way this dainty and magical flower looks.
I also learned more about how essences are made and how they’re supposed to work.
A flower essence is made by infusing picked flowers in spring water outdoors in the sunlight, then straining out the flowers and preserving (with alcohol) and diluting the remaining liquid for use at home. This is said to capture the vibrational energy of the flowers, which is absorbed by the user at home.
Essences can be digested in small quantities (3-4 drops, 3-4 times a day, not with food), or sprayed above the head or in a workspace. The ones I got were only available in drop (digestion) form.
When I was a kid I had a hippie babysitter that told me you can eat up to one rose petal per day, and if you eat more, it’s bad for you. I have no idea if that’s true, but I figured if I have literally eaten rose petals, flower-infused spring water could not be that bad.
I figured trying essences couldn’t hurt.
So I bought the three mentioned above and have been using them for a few weeks. I keep them on my desk and use them when I’m not snacking (though I snack a lot, so I don’t always get in the 3-4 times a day).
And I’ve been feeling better in both life and work. Work had been bringing down life (which sucks) but I picked up some side projects I had dropped, which improved life. I had some nice side conversations at work about cool moonshot ideas. And I took some steps to reduce the worry I felt about the work milestone.
Was it because of the essences? I don’t know. It could, of course, be the placebo effect.
It’s also possible that I bought them at a particularly low point, and because emotions vary, I’m feeling better because I’m regressing towards the mean.
Another possibility is that the ritual of doing something 3-4 times a day (which I especially remember to do when I’m feeling down) is good for me. Supposedly even 5-minute meditation sessions are good, so maybe this is too.
My other idea is that it seems the flowers have an energy that herbalists can intuit, which maybe normal people can subconsciously intuit also, and in the same way that you become like the people you spend time around, you become like the flowers you make regular contact with through essences. (I know, this one’s a bit of a stretch.)
Anyway, I’m not totally sure if it’s the essences at work or something else, but either way I’m enjoying the process so far and I look forward to trying more. Who knows, I might need to keep a shooting star essence around permanently to inspire me to keep seeing out interesting things.
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