Creating Flower Essences
Introduction to flower essences
Flower Essences are one of my favourite aspects of my Naturopathic Practice. They are as gentle as they are powerful, safe and easy to use for all ages, during pregnancy, and for animals, they do not interact with medications or herbs, and they bring a little bit of magic to every healing journey. The best part about them is that they are so easy to make at home, and that as well as ending up with a potent little energetic medicine in your cabinet, through the process you also have the opportunity to deepen your bond with the medicine you make, the plant, and the season/time/moon it was created in.
In essence (muwahaha), flower essences are a water based extraction that carry the energetic imprint, blueprint, or signature of the plant - to learn more about how water is affected by energy, have a look at some of Emoto's research here. It's like a water based set of instructions on how to carry the energy, medicine, story or attributes of the flower itself, and when taken in drop doses internally, topically or in ritual, those aspects can be imparted to the recipient. Similar in principle to homeopathic medicine, by utilising the vibrational energy of the plant, we will in turn affect our human vibrational fields when we use it for our own healing. Where a tincture or tablet of a herb will act on the body with it's phytochemical profile, creating a direct physiological response, an energetic or vibrational extract like a flower essence will show the body's energy fields how to best integrate its aspects, and gently bring it back to alignment in this showing.
Flowers, compared to other plant parts or plants used as a whole, have a particular expression and action on the body. As flowers are the reproductive element of the plant, they show each herb at it's height of expression and manifestation. Each flower is a culmination of energy directed throughout all of the seasons to reach this point, in which the plant attempts to reproduce and create. For this reason, flower essences carry an energy that can assist us fully express an attribute or emotional/thought pattern in wholeness. In regards to the seasons and moon, flowers are most closely linked to Summer and the Full Moon, although each individual flower will have it's own characteristics.
Sitting with your Medicine - Learning directly from our Plant Allies
Each flower, and each plant in fact, can be seen as holding a set of principles, archetypes, or energetic patterns that can be related to all levels of our humanity - the body, the mind, the emotional body and the spirit or energy body. For example Yarrow, as a flower essence, can help us maintain our energetic and emotional boundaries, making sure we aren't too receptive or too leaky within our energy body - it's archetype is often referred to as 'the Wounded Warrior'. This is a perfect mirror of one of its applications in herbal medicine, being one of the most widely used western herbs for staunching heavy bleeding and wounds, or encouraging proper blood flow for light or absent periods. Being a plant that represents the appropriate movement of our life blood and energies (energy, qi, vital force), we can use Yarrow to alter and correct these movements if they are out of balance within us. (You can find out more about our Yarrow Flower Essence here.)
While there is an abundance of information on the many uses of herbs both as herbal medicines and flower essences, it is equally as important to sit with the plant itself, and listen to its medicine story directly. While there will be an umbrella action or archetype for each plant and sometimes plant family, each individual plant will also have its own slant and unique characteristics. An example of this could be a flower that has spent much of its time near running water - perhaps it dives more deeply into the emotional level. Or maybe they have been exposed to a lot of strong open wind - could they help with building resilience and flexibility to help us cope with the blustrey-ness of our own lives? Have they spent their whole plant life under the shady protection of a great tree, or in an open field under the sun?
Spend some time tuning in, sitting with the plant in its environment, and get a feeling for who they are. This could involve you meditating, meeting the plant while following a drum journey, seeing what animals or bugs are hanging out nearby, watching the plant and looking at its identifying elements, acknowledging its colour, numerology, and planetary associations. Your ability to hear them will grow the more often you chat with them, so don't be discouraged as you get started on your plant whispering journey!
How to Make a Flower Essence
You will need:
~ A glass bowl, size is up to you. Make sure it is well cleaned and rinsed before use
~ 3 parts (100ml or so is ideal) Spring water, or other quality water (avoid tap water to reduce contaminants/fluoride etc)
~ 1 part Brandy (35ml if you have 100ml water) as a preservative - others have used Vodka or other alcohols but I prefer to stick to the traditional methods as used by Dr Bach :)
~ A sieve or some muslin to strain the water
~ Another clean glass receptacle such as a pouring jug
~ A coupe of smaller dropper bottles to create your 'stock' and 'dose' bottles (25 or 50ml amber bottles is ideal)
To start with, I recommend collecting a simple flower that grows in abundance near you or on your property, as this will give you the best opportunity to see it in its different phases and develop your relationship with them. Be aware of potential contaminants such as pesticides, and don't use flowers near busy roads, city/suburban waterways or industrial areas, as they are most likely to be affected by local pollutants in the air, water and/or soil. Also make sure you have correctly identified the plant by cross-checking reputable sources - there are dozens of flowers that look like Dandelions, but only one is the real thing!
As a general rule, if you are unsure, don't use it. There are plenty of great forums on facebook and elsewhere to help you identify plants, and most herbal Materia Medicas will give you key identification characteristics also.
How to collect the flowers
Before getting started, this can be a great time to stop for a moment, and ground in your energy, or ritually prepare yourself for the making of a sacred medicine. This can be as simple or intricate as you like, from a few deep mindful breaths, to consecrating the objects you are using and calling in your guides. I really like using my drum to go in and meet the plant before working with them, as this can help you know how to best utilise their energy and medicine. Always make sure you ask the plant first if it is ok to take from him/her/it, and listen for the 'stop' for how much you can take. Mine and others experience is that they will mostly say yes, and when they say no, it is often because they are somehow contaminated or not right for making a medicine at this time. Trust the answer you here and go with that. If you get a consistent no from many different plants of the same kind, there may be something deeper there for you to look at in terms of right timing to connect with that particular plant energy.
There are many ways people collect there flowers for essences, but these are the two I choose from:
Using a clean pair of scissors or secateurs, cut the flower heads as close to the flower as possible, and let it fall into your glass bowl. Avoid touching the flowers to reduce impacting the medicine with your own energy.
Gently pick the flower with your hands, and place them into the glass bowl. If you get a little extra stem or some leaves, add them or remove them as you wish. I believe that the medicine-makers energy can weave just as much magic into a medicine as the plants themselves, but only do this if you have a good self-awareness of your current energetic state. It also helps me feel more connected with and in gratitude for the plants medicine. This is best to do if you ritually/consciously called yourself into a present, grounded state before starting.
Once you have gathered you plant material, take a moment to say thank-you - you may even like to leave a little something by the plant in gratitude. I sometimes leave a sea-shell or something similar.
Making the Flower Essence
Fill the bowl with your flowers in it with spring water. There should be enough flowers to cover the surface amount of water. It is typical to let them sit in the sun while it is high for 1-2 hours, but you may particularly want to infuse the qualities of the moon, and let it sit under the moon for a few hours instead. Don't let the flower infuse any longer than 1-2 hours though, as we want to reduce the potential for drawing the phytochemicals from the plant into the water, especially if the plant is toxic. If you want to leave the essence under the sun/moon for longer, or on an altar, you can do so once you have added the brandy as a preservative.
Once your flower essence is finished infusing, strain out the plant material at least once. You may have to do this several times if you see any material left over in the water. Make sure the glassware/bowls/jugs you are using are very clean and ok for making energetic medicines. I have a few specific things that I only use for flower essences so there is little chance of them being affected by food particles or oils.
For your 3 parts of water, you will want to add 1 part Brandy - for example if you have 120ml of flower infused water, you will want to add 40ml Brandy. Combine these in a glass bottle, and then label it as recommended below.
You have now created your very own Flower Essence!
How to Store & Care for your Flower Essences
Being energetic in nature, like Homeopathics, Flower Essences are sensitive to Electro-magentics. To maintain their integrity and potency, store them away from direct light of any kind (sunlight or electronic - especially flourescent lights), electronic objects such as your mobile phone, computer or microwave, and most definitely away from your wifi/modem! Keep them in a cupboard or cabinet in a sealed glass container, preferably amber or other dark tinted glass. Avoid plastic, as it will hold it's own chemical profile which is preferably not in long term contact with your essences.
Label them well, as I can guarantee you are almost completely unlikely to remember the details a few months later, take it from me! Include the name of the flower, the date and time it was made, what ingredients you used (ie. spring water & brandy etc), whether it's the mother essence / a stock bottle / a dose bottle, and any particulars such as moon phase, astrological transit, or any ritual elements you incorporated (maybe crystals used, tarot cards, runes etc).
Dandelion Flower Essence Mother 50ml / Spring Water & Brandy / Infused under Full Moon in Capricorn on x/x/xx / Sat on altar with citrine and amethyst overnight / a week away from Ostara
I also sometimes like to journal a little about the creation if I have had any strong feelings about what the essences medicine is, any visions or intuitions that came through, or maybe about stuff I was working through at the time I felt really called to work with a particular plant. Sometimes I will do a short tarot reading, or pull some oracle cards to deepen my understanding of what this particular essence will work with despite it's typical applications.
Flower Essences are usually dated to expire within 3-4 years from the date of making. Some people continue to use them after this date, as they are energetic medicines, not extracts, but this must be done at your own discretion, understanding the risks of contamination and bacterial growth. If you are confident in your ability to determine if the remedy is safe, then that is up to you!
Dosing Your flower essences
What you have created is a Mother flower essence. Congratulations!! That means that it is the essence that you will make 'stock' bottles from, and from the stock bottles, you can make your 'dose' bottles. This helps ensure that it is truly the energetic imprint being used, as in Homeopathic principles, the more dilute something is, the more potent it is. It also helps to reduce the impact of any phytochemicals or compounds extracted from the plant during its infusion.
So, from your mother essence you have just made, add 7 drops to a new bottle (25 or 50ml is ideal depending on how frequently you will use it), and then fill it with 3 parts spring water, 1 part brandy. You will then repeat this process, adding 7 drops from your new 'stock' bottle into a new bottle, again adding 3 parts spring water and 1 part brandy to create your 'dose' bottle.
Your dose bottle is the one you will use to take the flower essence, at 7 drops per dose. You can add these drops to a glass or bottle of water, on your skin (I put a few drops in my wrists sometimes, or my feet if the intention is to also bring in some grounding) , a bath, any ritual, or directly under the tongue. A common dosage is 7 drops twice daily, but you can do this more frequently for acute situations, or less frequently for deeper acting essences.
Create your own flower essence pharmacy
Now that you know the ins and outs of making your own flower essences, you can create as many as you like! Remember to always involve the wisdom of the living plant itself as much as possible, and to be aware of factors that could compromise your essences or contribute to unwanted contamination. I hope you have enjoyed this guide, and that your flower essence making is as joyful and enlightening as mine has been so far!
Rebecca Holly xx
A small but important note: Flower Essences are spectacular, but are not designed nor intended to replace any prescribed treatment or therapeutics. Always seek the counsel of your health care practitioner before making any changes to your current health care regime. Please be mindful of the sources of information you draw upon to support your learning process in the uses and applications of any plant based medicines, and always use a discerning eye for potentially dangerous or misleading advice. Remedy Botanica cannot be held responsible for any adverse effects experienced in relation to the guidelines given here.
Rebecca is a Naturopath and Kinesiologist, and has been practicing for over 5 years. She loves working to empower women to step into a more natural, pain-free, and embodied menstrual experience, and has seen how this positive change can also manifest a deeper connection with your intuition and authentic self, allowing you to feel more grounded and in alignment with your purpose and true self. Rebecca is currently undertaking the Four Seasons Journey as a student of the School of Shamanic Womancraft.
For more information on Rebecca and Remedy Botanica click here.