Flower Essences 101

©2009 Tenanche Rose Golden, M.A. Edited and Revised from an article published in The Cooperator, the monthly newsletter of the East End Food Co-op nataural-foods store in Pittsburgh, PA.  All Rights Reserved.




Have you ever seen the Bach Flower Essences in your local natural-foods store? Whether you have or not, you may want to know about these amazing “remedies”,



A flower essence is a remedy straight from Mother Nature. It is a liquid tincture that holds the energy pattern of flower blossoms. This tincture carries unique healing qualities of the flower to humans, animal and even plants. By combining the forces of earth, air, fire and water within its matrix, the essence reaches its full healing potential. This “essence” of the flower is then bottled in a light-sensitive dropper bottle for administering oral and topical dosages.


For many years wildflowers from every corner of the earth have been used to make flower essences. Many believe that each world region has its own unique healing qualities. Desert cactus flowers, mountain laurels and rainforest orchids can all help us to heal on mental, emotional and spiritual levels.


Don’t mistake a flower essence for an essential oil used in aromatherapy. They are not the same. Each is made and formulated by a unique distillation processes.  Unlike an essential oil, a flower essence can be taken orally as well as applied externally on the body’s pulse, acupuncture and meridian points for personal healing. They are effective because they catalyze the body’s own natural healing response and work with the body’s natural healing processes.


Though considered a “new” science, the therapeutic use of flower essences dates back some 10,000 years, with the earliest known tradition being among Australian Aborigines. They continue to use flower remedies in their ceremonial practices and “flower saunas” which are still practiced today. A tradition of flower essence therapy in Malaysia and Thailand, where temples specialize in flower essence healing, is also still in practice. Virtually every indigenous culture in the world considers plants to be living beings, with their life force most concentrated in the flowers. The blossom is considered to be a powerful healing ally.



Dr. Edward Bach, a British bacteriologist and homeopath, was one of the first modern pioneers of healing with flower essences. He is credited with introducing the therapy to western medicine during the first half of the 20th century. Via meticulous research between the years 1930 through 1936, Dr. Bach introduced 38 basic flower remedies to the western world. In his findings he discovered that flower essences helped the body heal itself by working with its vital force or “life-force energy.” He also found that these remedies worked by balancing the emotions and mental attitudes that were the underlying causes of physical diseases! Through thousands of case studies over the years, these remedies have proven to be so effective that the U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administation) gives them their stamp of approval.


The Bach Flower Remedies, and especially, the Rescue Remedy™, can be found in practically every health-food store in the world. Because of their supportive role in healing, thousands of holistic practitioners, chiropractors, acupuncturists, herbalists, massage therapists, psychologists, and counselors have incorporated these and other flower essences into their practices.



The energy patterns in essences influence the body’s bio-energetic field. When this life-force energy is in a state of balance, it maintains the body in a state of health. Flower essences can help us to restore and harmonize our emotions, where negative emotional and mental attitudes have contributed to illness. In a non-invasive way, they can also assist us in clearing away the limiting thought patterns that keep us from being and living to our full potential. They are a great complementary therapy to any holistic health enhancement program that may include exercise, balanced diet, stress reduction, inner development, and holistic medical care.



Dr. Bach developed a system of natural healing with 37 different single remedies made from wildflowers and one remedy made with potentized spring water. Each remedy addresses personality traits and emotional states that he found to be common in the human psyche. These remedies and traits are:

 Flower Essence*          Heals Personality Imbalance/Trait/Emotional State

Agrimony:                     mental torture; worry concealed from others

Aspen:                          vague fears of the unknown; anxiety; apprehension

Beech:                          intolerance; criticism; judgment (self and others)

Centaury:                      weak willed; follows the crowd and fads

Cerato:                         self-distrust; self-doubt; foolishness

Cherry Plum:                fear of losing one’s mind; harming self or others

Chestnut Bud:              doesn’t learn by experience; lack of self-observation

Chicory:                       self-centered, possessiveness; self-pity; domineering

Clematis:                      daydreaming; inattentive; sleepy; lack of ambition

Crab Apple:                 self-disgust; feeling unclean; despairing

Elm:                              feeling inadequate; exhausted perfectionist

Gentian:                        discouraged; doubt; depression

Gorse:                          hopelessness; despair

Heather:                       self-centered; fear of being alone; poor listener

Holly:                           hatred, envy; jealousy; suspicion; cut off from love

Honeysuckle:                stuck in the past; nostalgic; homesick; regretful

Hornbeam:                   weariness, exhausted; stressed; boredom; laziness

Impatiens:                     impatient; irritable; extreme mental tension

Larch:                           lacks confidence; expects failure; irresponsible

Mimulus:                       fear of the known: (flying, dentist, public speaking)

Mustard:                       deep depression of unknown cause; gloom

Oak:                             despondency from relentless struggle and effort

Olive:                           complete mental and physical exhaustion

Pine:                             guilt; self-blame for the wrongs of others

Red Chestnut:               excessive fear for others: (war, famine, disasters)

Rock Rose:                  acute fear; terror; panic from accident or near escape

Rock Water:                 self-repression; self-denial; rigid ; eating disorder

Scleranthus:                  procrastination; indecision; unreliable

Star of Bethlehem:        after-effect of recent or past shock or trauma

Sweet Chestnut:            mental anguish; hopelessness; feeling utterly alone

Vervain:                        stress, strain from hyperactivity and over-enthusiasm

Vine:                            intolerant; domineering; unsympathetic; ambitious

Walnut:                         difficulty adjusting to change yet desires to move on

Water Violet                 proud; aloof; self-reliant superiority; isolationist

White Chestnut:            persistent mental arguments; insomnia; worry

Wild Oat:                     frustration; dissatisfaction; uncertain vocation

Wild Rose:                   apathy, resignation; emotionally flat

Willow:                         resentful, bitter, blames everyone else for adversity


Rescue Remedy™ is a composite formula of five of the remedies: Star of Bethlehem, for shock; Rock Rose for terror and panic; Impatiens for mental stress and tension; Cherry Plum for desperation; and Clematis, for being bemused, faraway and out of the body. Many people make a habit of carrying this remedy for use in emergencies. I found myself taking this remedy (along with my rose essences) after the traumatic events of September 11, 2001. It helped me to calm myself, to go to my job and to keep my composure, where I had been jittery, fearful and tearful for hours after the events.


Flower essences work best when you consciously chose and willingly work with them. If you feel that you might benefit from flower remedies it won’t hurt to add them to your own personal healing program. Follow the dosage instructions on the bottle, which generally instruct you to take a couple of drops under the tongue or sip in pure water or juice. Try to stay away from caffeine, tobacco, and other toxic substances that would interfere with the healing process within your body. You can also apply flower essences to pulse and energy meridian points on your body. You can use them in bath therapy as well as mist sprays.


If you have doubts about which essences would benefit you the most at this time, consult an experienced flower essence practitioner. She can assist and guide you in choosing essences that may benefit you from various essence makers who formulate hundreds of remedies made from flowers from all over the world. Various testing and diagnostic tools may be used, such as kinesiology (muscle testing), dowsing, self– and practitioner assessment. Some practitioners even use more intuitive methods of choosing essences. Remember to choose a practitioner you grow to trust and who is knowledgeable and experienced in working with essences.


In these challenging times flower remedies are wonderful tools to help us make it through the day. Perhaps they will also assist us in aspiring to find our greater potential as human beings in our ever-changing world.


Information presented in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or mitigate any disease or condition. If you have a medical condition, please consult a qualified health care professional.



1. Vasudeva Barnao, “The Wildflowers of Australia – Living Essences of Australia” Essences of Nature Magazine, Vol. 3, Issue 3, p. 26.

2. Clare G. Harvey, Amanda Cochrane, The Encyclopaedia of Flower Remedies, p. 5.



Ball, Stefan. Bach Flower Remedies. Teach Yourself Books, 2000.

Chancellor, Dr. Philip M. Handbook of the Bach Flower Remedies. Keats Publishing. 1971

Harvey, Clare G., Cochrane, Amanda. The Encyclopaedia of Flower Remedies. Thorsons, 1995.

Weeks, Nora. The Medical Discoveries of EDWARD BACH, Physician. Keats Publishing. 1994.

Essences of Nature Magazine, Vol. 3, Issue 3, p. 26.

www.essences.com (Website of the World Wide Essence Society)


© 2003, 2009 Tenanche Rose Golden. All Rights Reserved.


This article cannot be reproduced by any means or for any purpose without written permission from the author.


Tenanche Rose Golden, MA, MT, RMT, CFEP has been working with flower and mineral essences since 1989. She is a massage therapist, Reiki Master-Teacher, and Reflexologist who has studied Bach Flower Therapy with the British Institute of Homeopaathy. Tenanche is the author of the book, Rose Flower Essences: A New Guide to Natural Healing with 65 Remedies Made From The World’s Most Beloved Flower. She is currently working on a book about healing with rose essential oil. Tenanche can be reached at 412-721-7006. Her website is http://www.rosaflora.net

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