History and research
While peoples through the world have worked with the healing properties of flowers, the first modern flower essences were developed by Dr. Edward Bach in England in the 1930s to address emotional and spiritual issues underlying illnesses. Vibrational remedies such as flower essences help bring emotions into balance. Taking a flower essence has been likened to the effect of being uplifted by a book or movie, or developing a feeling of peace when viewing a beautiful sunset; the effect is a shift in one’s state of being rather than a direct correction of a medical condition.
Bach intuited the emotional balancing effects of different flowers after tasting the dewdrops on flowers during his morning walks. He then developed the modern essence-making method of placing a few flowers in a bowl of water in direct sunlight. The water becomes imprinted with the energy of the flower. The essence is then stabilized with brandy. Bach tried out the essences on himself, and then gave them to patients.
Modern-day flower essence producers follow very similar procedures. Once a person is drawn to a plant, he or she studies its botanical characteristics and relationship in the local ecology. She also attunes to the plant to intuit its properties. Next she takes the essence she has made, and notes its effects. After that, she offers the essence to other people, and interviews them about their experiences while taking it. This feedback serves to confirm and expand the preliminary intuitive sense of the effect of an essence.
Controlled studies conducted by Dr. Jeffrey Cram, a California psychologist, show that results with flower essences are not merely placebo effects. Cram’s research found that flower essences were effective in treating depression. Most flower essence research is of the anecdotal type conducted by essence producers—recording the effects of an essence on person after person, until the pattern of an essence is well established.
Several flower essence producers have conducted independent research on the effects of essences, and have recorded compatible findings. The Alchemy of the Desert by Cynthia Athina Kemp Scherer and the Flower Essence Repertory by Patricia Kaminski and Richard Katz both state that saguaro is helpful in dealing with issues of power struggles with parents and other authority figures. The authors agree that creosote bush, also known as chaparral, helps people in a cleansing/purification process. Both books recommend Oregon grape for overcoming a fear of emotional hostility from others, and pomegranate for resolving conflicts about how to express feminine creative energy.
Essences have been administered to people, domesticated animals, wild animals, plants, land areas, and buildings.
I began making essences in 2000. I primarily make unique essences that are not available from other essence producers. However, sometimes I am strongly drawn to make a kosher essence of something that is available from another quality essence maker. If this person/company conducts research on the effects of essences, I will refer you to their findings.
Please understand that an essence I make, and the one that another person made and conducted research on may differ somewhat in effect. They may differ subtly because of the intention one brings to the process, and the prayers one says in making the essence.
For research purposes, I acquired essences of the same flower by more than one company. When I test for remedies for myself or clients, I do not find that the essence from a given company is the best in all situations. There are subtle differences. I’ll present the research results on essences made by other producers. Please understand that those effects may not translate totally to the effects of the essences I am offering here.
Anecdotal findings with The Desert Heals essences are showing them to be very helpful to people. I would welcome collaboration in research studies.
When I started making essences, my intention was, and still is, to produce remedies that are eco-kosher. Kosher means “fitting;” a kosher product is supposed to be fit to use on all levels. It is produced in an environmentally sustainable way, causes as little harm or suffering as possible, and contributes to creating social justice.
When the original kosher regulations were developed, there was no such thing as a pesticide or plastic. Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi coined the term eco-kosher to guide us in integrating our current ecological knowledge with the original intent of kosher regulations.
Flower essences are eco-kosher in that a great deal of healing is derived from a very small amount of plant matter. Flowers are selected and harvested with great care so as to cause as little harm to the plant and surrounding environment as possible. Good essence developers are very concerned about enhancing the natural environment, rather than depleting it in any way. I choose to make all my plant essences from plants growing in the wild, or in an organic garden.
Glassware and utensils used in the preparation of essences have been boiled and meet the other requirements for kosher preparation. Spring water that is certified kosher is used to make the essences. After the healing qualities of a flower, other plant part, or gem have become imprinted in the water, alcohol is added as a preservative. When I began making these essences, there was no organic kosher alcohol available commercially. So I started out using kosher brandy from Israel. I now use organic kosher vodka made in the US.