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Flower Essences: Gentle Support for Troubling Emotional States

By Caitlin Potere  •   6 minute read

Flower Essences: Gentle Support for Troubling Emotional States

For those who are unfamiliar, flower essences are safe, gentle plant extracts that profoundly affect emotional health and balance.  The original system of 38 different flower essences were discovered and developed by Dr. Edward Bach, a well-known bacteriologist, physician, and pathologist, in the 1920s and 1930s.  Flower essences come in a liquid form that can be taken by mouth directly, added to drinks, or used in bathwater or room sprays.  They have no known side effects or drug interactions.

The most famous flower essence is actually a combination of 5 essences, known as Rescue Remedy.  This mixture was created by Dr. Bach to help people cope with emergencies and crises.  It is often used for times of acute stress or anxiety to help the person relax, regain focus, and obtain a state of calmness.  Rescue Remedy is an excellent product to have on hand in your holistic medicine chest.  However, when time permits, it is a good idea to carefully study each of the 38 individual essences in order to find deeper healing.

We’ve put together a blog post highlighting several flower essences that may be particularly helpful during this stressful time.  Flower essences can be taken one-at-a-time or combined with several other essences.  Do keep in mind that flower essences should not replace other medications or talk therapy.  For those with severe acute mental illness, seek emergency care.



Let’s meet the essences.

Elm: For feeling overwhelmed by responsibility. 

With the recent disruption in our social networks and daily routines, most people are finding that their roles and responsibilities have rapidly shifted.  In many cases, this means taking on more responsibilities.  Parents suddenly trying to homeschool their children, essential workers facing a mountain of tasks at work, and individuals helping out friends, family, and neighbors in need.  Facing these circumstances, many would feel a lack of confidence, self-doubt, loneliness, and a dwindling amount of energy.  Elm helps dispel these negative feelings and encourages us to reflect on the limits of our “ability to respond.”  Elm allows us to shift our identity away from being the “hero” or the “rescuer.”  In this way, we find the emotional space to balance helping others and helping ourselves.


Gorse: For feelings of hopelessness and despair.

For those who find themselves falling into depression and despair, accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.  In this state, we might even willfully refuse to be encouraged by good news or the positivity of those around us.  When we fall ill, we might even think it’s incurable and nothing can be done to improve or heal.  At the root of this downheartedness is a loss of faith.  We have lost all hope and we think that there is no possible way forward.  Gorse comes in like a lighthouse – a beacon of light that illuminates the path forward, reigniting the spark of hope in our hearts.


Impatiens: For feelings of impatience, frustration and irritability.

Impatience is a state of mind that is experienced by everyone at some point or another.  However, when it becomes a state of being, we begin to live life at a rush, becoming bitter and irritable at other people who are slower or more methodical.  We would prefer to work alone because we can get the job done faster.  We may simply be thinking, “I want this to all be over NOW and everything to go back to how it was!”  In this state, we may appear to be very busy and engaged, but the truth is that we are skating on the surface of life, missing the more subtle and gentle exchanges that can occur with others and the world around us.  Impatiens flower essence encourages us to relax, slow down and become more receptive to the unfolding moment.  (This remedy is part of Rescue Remedy).


Mimulus: For fear of something known.

This flower essence is an ally when we are experiencing fear of worldly things which we can readily name – illness, pain, accidents, poverty, loneliness, misfortune.  We may quietly and secretly bear our dread, not feeling confident enough to speak freely of it to those around us.  Mimulus helps us to meet these fears and transform them.  It brings out the quiet courage and strength that lies hidden in all of us so that we can face the trials of life without fear.


Red Chestnut: For over-concern for the welfare of loved ones.

During times like these, it is completely rational and healthy to be concerned for the welfare of our friends, family, and loved ones.  However, there may come a point when this concern becomes an amplified and all-consuming fear.  This anxiety may start to have a negative effect not only on ourselves, but upon the people who we are worried for.  Red Chestnut flower essence gently reminds us to pull back, reigning in and anchoring our mental and emotional energies.  Our thoughts become calmer and less worried.  In this way, we can become stable rocks on whom others can lean.


Rock Rose: For feelings of gripping terror, panic and fright.

Rock Rose is the foundational remedy of the 5-flower combination Rescue Remedy.  Used during times of emergency, deep personal crisis, or cases where there even appears no hope.  These feelings may have started small but have spiraled out of control into a panicky, terror-struck fear that makes conscious thought and decision nearly impossible.  We might be facing severe illness, our own death, or the death of a loved one.  We may even be having an “out of body” experience.  Rock Rose restores calm and courage to the spirit so that we can meet these tremendous challenges with transcendent strength.  (This remedy is part of Rescue Remedy).


Star of Bethlehem: For the after-effects of shock or trauma.

In the course of this tumultuous time of our lives, we may need to routinely face unexpected bad news, abrupt changes, and unwelcome happenings.  The shock of these events can leave us feeling empty, disturbed, and lost.  We may begin to feel “out of alignment” with our lives and the world around us.  Star of Bethlehem flower essence is like a comforting, warm blanket that helps us readjust and feel safe again.  (This remedy is part of Rescue Remedy).


White Chestnut: For unwanted, repetitive thoughts.

This flower essence is indicated when our mind becomes like a prison for our soul.  Our thoughts become compulsive, intrusive, obsessive – looping endlessly, replaying and reanalyzing daily events and conversations.  These thoughts may not necessarily be filled with anxiety or fear, but they endlessly circle around and around like a looped recording, breaking our concentration.  We might even suffer from headaches, or insomnia, unable to turn our minds off and fall asleep.  White Chestnut releases us from this mental prison, calming the mind and allowing us to think straight.  We are able to calmly deal with any underlying problems.


Willow: For self-pity, bitterness, and resentment about one’s life situation.

During this time, we are all collectively experiencing misfortune and adversity.  Many of us will find this difficult to accept, feeling that we have done nothing to deserve this.  We may become bitter and resentful, eventually taking less interest and joy in the things that we previously enjoyed.  We might withdraw into ourselves and feel ourselves become emotionally stuck, unable to move with the flow of life.  In these circumstances, Willow flower essence offers to restore our resilience, allowing us to reclaim responsibility and flow more gently with, rather than against, the flow of life.


Yarrow Protection Magic: For multidimensional protection.

This combination flower essence remedy is handmade by local herbalist Bronwen Gates and contains White Yarrow, Golden Yarrow, Pink Yarrow, and sea salt.  Yarrow is not one of the original 38 Bach essences, but all the same, it is a very powerful and important flower essence with a universal application.  Yarrow “knits together” any openings in our energy fields (or “auras”), allowing us the protection to re-balance, stabilize, and heal.  It bestows a shining shield of light which protects and unifies.


At Castle Remedies, we carry the original 38 Bach flower essences by FES (Flower Essence Society).  They are available in 1/4oz bottles for $7.80 each.   We carry many varieties of Rescue Remedy as well. 


Browse our collection of Rescue Remedy products


Read more about the 38 original flower essences


Browse our collection of FES flower essences


View Yarrow Protection Magic



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