The Flower Essence Repertory

by Laura Bryannan

Panic levels certainly increase for a writer as closing time draws near and one still has absolutely no idea what to say! There was a definite lack of interesting metaphysical writing out there this past month to review for you. So, instead I've decided to tell you about a reference book, one that could be seen as a valuable resource to have around, especially considering the increase in tension we're experiencing in the world situation today.

The Flower Essence Repertory is the most complete listing of a particular category of homeopathic remedies available--a must for anyone interested in natural healing modalities. The Aspectarian has run a few articles over the years on the homeopathic system of healing, and many readers may be familiar with the traditional mineral salts that are used to alleviate a myriad of physical symptoms.

Homeopathic remedies work on the concept that "like cures like." For example, a particular substance, taken internally, may cause symptoms in the body such as a runny nose and eyes. However, given in an infinitesimally small dose, this substance will alleviate the symptoms of a runny nose and eyes in a person with that condition. There are many homeopathic remedies available created to work with physical disfunction; you can find them in health food stores, advertised in various metaphysical and health-oriented journals; I've even seen some at the local pharmacy!

The most wonderful thing about homeopathic remedies is that they are non-toxic and non-addictive. Because the active ingredient in each remedy is present in such a small amount, one could ingest an entire bottle of remedy with no ill effect. One could even take the wrong remedy for a symptom without any harm; if the condition for that particular remedy is not present, the user will simply experience no effect. Of course, this also is why the traditional medical community has such a problem with homeopathy. They can't believe that a remedy having a barely measurable amount of active ingredient could have any impact on the body. They maintain that the positive effect of homeopathic treatment is "all in the mind" of the patient--that the remedy really does nothing at all.

The flower essences are a unique category of homeopathic remedies. They work particularly with emotional and mental imbalance, as opposed to purely physical imbalance. Many practitioners believe that, by working to stabilize thoughts and emotions, one can cut physical illness off at the pass, so to speak--that mental and emotional dysfunctions are the ultimate cause of most physical problems.

Material on the healing properties of homeopathic flower preparations was first contributed by Dr. Edward Bach in the 1930's. Dr. Bach was a physician practicing in England who became dissatisfied with the traditional allopathic approach to healing. He began studying the research of the German physician who originated the homeopathic approach to healing. Thus inspired, Dr. Bach set out to discover the healing properties of the flora and fauna in the local English countryside.

His story is interesting because, as he set out on this adventure, he began to develop the symptoms of each condition he was looking to research. While in the midst of suffering from a particular emotional problem, he would be intuitively led to the flower or plant that brought him relief.

He was able to identify 38 homeopathic flower remedies that work to stabilize and heal in seven broad emotional categories: fear, uncertainty, insufficient interest in present circumstances, loneliness, oversensitivity to influences and ideas, despondency or despair, and overcare for welfare of others. His most well- known preparation, Rescue Remedy, is a combination of five flower essences. It has proven to be extremely effective in instantly reducing the effects of stress and trauma, from job interviews to shock from severe injury. And, like all homeopathic remedies, it can be used not only on humans, but on animals and plants too!

Continuing Bach's important work, the Flower Essence Society, based in northern California, has conducted research for the past 15 years to discover remedies using plants and flowers native to the U.S. They have contributed 72 more remedies that often go beyond the areas of imbalance covered by the English Bach remedies.

The Flower Essence Repertory is a complete description of all available flower remedies, both English and American. It is invaluable because, not only does it list each remedy and what it is used for, it also categorizes issues by type and lists the remedies that apply to them. There are flower remedies that help alleviate negative emotional and mental states, as well as remedies that work toward a particular positive goal.

For example, in the category "Judgement" we find:

A few of the listings for the category "Meditation":

With over 200 categories cross-referenced, you can name the condition or goal, and the Repertory provides a remedy for it! From abuse and addiction, to city life, exhaustion, grace, jealousy, martyrdom, parenting, self-acceptance and esteem, spontaneity, and transcendence, the flower essences provide a gentle way to restore imbalance or further work in a particular area.

If you're interested in getting more acquainted with the flower remedies, there are three ways to go about it. You can purchase the Flower Essence Repertory directly from the Flower Essence Society; it costs about $15.00 to do this. Here's how you reach the F.E.S.

The Flower Essence Society
P.O. Box 459
Nevada City, CA 95959

Be sure to ask them to send you the information they have on all their other products, namely wonderful aromatherapy and massage oils (and, of course, their flower essences!).

One business in the Chicago area that carries all of the Bach remedies is Merz Apothecary at 4716 Lincoln, just south of Lawrence. Their phone number is 773/989-0900, and their website is Mertz' is a fun place to go even if you're not looking for flower remedies. Warning: if you're someone with a weakness for soaps, bath salts, oils, and other toiletry do-dads, leave your money at home when you go! Mertz also has a great online quiz that will help you determine which flower essences are right for you. Check out the quiz by clicking here .

There are several good books out that can provide further information: The Healing Herbs of Edward Bach, by Julian and Martine Barnard; Flowers to the Rescue, by Gregory Vlamis; Flower Essences, by Machaelle Wright. Bach himself wrote several books about his views on health and his remedies. You can probably find some of these at the local metaphysical and health food stores. Even the big national booksellers are now stocking books on homeopathy and flower essence healing.

The flower remedies are not magic potions or cure-alls. They work in a subtle manner to balance the mental and emotional energies of the user. Like all natural healing modalities, one can expect various levels of healing crises to occur while using them: sometimes the initial condition slips away to reveal another issue to be dealt with--the peeling an onion analogy; sometimes the initial condition seems to get worse, as the negative emotions come up to be released and healed; other times, the effect is so subtle that the user does not realize until weeks later that the condition is simply not there any more!

In any event, considering these stressful times, anything that promises to bring mental and emotional balance in a safe, relatively inexpensive, way is certainly worth looking into. I urge you to explore these wonderful gifts of Earth Mother. May you all come out smelling like a rose!

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Last Updated: 27jul02
Laura Bryannan