To make flower essences is an alchemy of awareness. Flower Essences are solar-herbal infusions that affect the spiritual self, by the life force imprint that the flowering part of a plant contains through the water in which it is decocted. Dr. Edward Bach was the first person to formulate and document 38 flower remedies, and now there are many more being created and studied based off of empirical research (case studies and practitioner reports). I have outlined the basic techniques of how to make flower essences, and explained how they work and how to use them. I am in the process of researching flower essences that have little or no data yet, and am excited to share more about that soon.
The first thing to realize is that humans are not simply physical bodies. We contain a life force just like plants do. We are affected by vibrations just like plants are. For example, certain sounds, colors, crystals, scents, and energies stimulate different feelings within us. We feel a resonance within spaces or near people or objects, in the food we eat, and the things we see, hear, touch, etc. Flower Essences react with the subtle bodies within our energetic system (a 7 layered energy field which includes the physical). Before the physical body can heal, the densest layer, the etheric body, which is like a subtle double of the physical, has to repair itself so the physical organs can return to normal. Similarly, the emotional and mental bodies must be awakened and stimulated to allow the physical body to recover and return to health.
Why Make Flower Essences?
Flower essences are energetic pathways that weave a healing light between the subtle bodies contained within each human being. They are extremely gentle and yet overtime, can have a deep effect on the person, especially when the person using them has recognized the deeper most “core” mental and emotional issues being addressed. They will match the resonance of the feelings and obstacles going on for someone. If you only work on the surface of your truth, the flower essence won’t be able to have as much of an impact. This is why it is important to decide which mental and emotional issues are needing the most attention and healing for your optimal growth and overall health. Do your research on what kind of flower essences contain the “signatures” that most resonate with your issues, and be open to learning about new flower essences that you may feel drawn to. I will be offering more about flower essence profiles in the future.
Always strive to use all organically grown flowers *or* wild harvest in sustainable ways in places that are not sprayed with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or chemical fertilizers! Also be on the lookout for flowers covered in insects, attached to spider webs, etc. Avoid using occupied flowers.
When you are ready to gather items to make flower essences, you may find it useful to refer to this general list of items you may need:
- small-medium sized glass or crystal bowls
- a glass measuring cup or designated glass bottles for measuring
- scissors or hand pruners
- a wooden stick or spoon
- a basket for gathering and holding your harvested flowers
- glass jars with lids (no plastic lids)
- Brandy (I prefer “Korbel” brand) or Vodka (“Everclear” is good) OR instead of alcohol you can use vinegar (good for kids or those who are sensitive to alcohol)
- pure mountain spring water
- a glass funnel (*optional)
- cheese cloth or metal strainer
- a towel for cleanup
- amber colored glass bottles with glass dropper tops (1-2 oz. preferably)
- amber colored glass bottles with screw on lids (4-8 oz. preferably)
- glass mason jars (*optional)
- sticker labels and a pen
- journal or notepad
Note: If you use Brandy or Vodka your essence will last 1-2 years (or longer) – If you use vinegar it will last 6 months-1 year.
To show examples of the process, I am showing pictures from flower essences I have made over the past 2 months (mid spring-early summer). I am so grateful to have a home in the Sierra Nevada Foothills, where I can walk into my large back yard and find countless wild flowering herbs, flowering medicinal trees under blue skies and bright sun, in fertile soil near the Yuba River and fresh water creeks. I can walk along nearby trails and greet familiar flowers and also discover ones I’m only beginning to understand. I also happen to live within walking distance to our friends’ organic farm. I sometimes harvest flowers from the farm, but mostly from my backyard, or nearby mountain trails. We live in a designated “No Spray” zone since we’re so close to the farm.) Depending on where you live or where you plan to harvest flowers, just make sure to do your best to avoid flowers near the streets, or anywhere there could have been toxic sprays contaminating the flowers… I will give more info. about some of these flowers in a follow up post about my favorite medicinal plants in the next couple of weeks.
St. John’s Wort
How to Make Flower Essences
Harvesting the Plant
Begin your adventure in a positive state of mind. Be sure of what plant you want to harvest. It’s important to know what plant you will be working with and why. On a sunny morning between (10:00-12:00 is best, or whenever the morning dew has dried off but you still have hours of sunshine left before nightfall) when you have everything you’ll need ready, go outside and find the plant. Hopefully you will be familiar with the flowers and the area already. It’s always good to sit and ask for permission to harvest some before you start picking away or cutting. You may even wish to tell the flowers your intentions for it’s medicinal use. Harvest what you need from the plant with care, and give thanks.
Note: Some people like to choose a special day to make their herbal medicines… (For example: Harvesting and preparing the essence on the full moon, new moon, spring equinox, or summer solstice.)
Try to avoid using your hands to actually handle the flowers. Instead, have your basket ready to catch the flowers as you carefully snip them off the stem with your scissors or hand pruners.
Collect the best looking flowers from the plant or several plants in the same area, making sure to leave some for the pollinators and animals, while being conscious of only taking what you need without hurting the plant. You only need enough flowers to cover the top of the bowl (or dish) you are using to hold the water.
Tip: If you are going out to a trail or hiking to a remote location, pack everything you’ll need into a backpack and plan to stay a while or hike back and then return for your essence later on. It is best to leave your flower essence next to the plant you harvested from (if possible) while it infuses. It needs to be in direct sunlight the entire time.
Preparing the Bowl of Water
I normally use 4 oz. of spring water in a small glass dish, but for large flowers, it is often necessary to use a larger shallow dish with more water.
Measure your water and pour it into the bowl.
Use your wooden stick or spoon to gently nudge the flowers onto the surface of the water *face up*, without pushing them in to submerge them. They only need to float at the top. If you have to touch the flowers with your fingers, do so sparingly and make sure your hands are very clean.
Place your bowl of flowers and water next to the plant in the sunniest flattest most secure spot you can find, allowing it to sit untouched for at least 2-3 hours on a hot day, or up to 5 hours, especially on a day that is not as hot.
Tip: Think about where the shade will start to cover by the movement of the sun on it’s path through the sky above. Consider if you will be leaving your essence in a public space where it can be prodded by onlookers (not a good idea). It’s best to find a secluded safe spot to leave your essence, or in a space that is respected by other humans and pets in a shared space.
After you get everything set up for your flower essence, you begin the wait time (or you go on to the next essence you may want to make that day) but not before you take notes. Write down the date, time, and location, as well as the name of the plant you harvested the flowers from. Add any notes about feelings you may have had if you feel moved to. This note-taking habit will be crucial to keeping track of time and planning for the next phase of making your flower essences.
Preparing your “Mother Essence”
The “Mother Essence” is the first collection of your essence after you strain the flowers from the water. Before you add the essence into the Mother Essence Bottle pour the appropriate amount of alcohol or vinegar into the bottle. It is common to use 20-27% alcohol or 30% vinegar for Mother Essences. I use 4 oz. of spring water and 1 oz. of Brandy (which is 25% alcohol / 75% water).
When the time has come to collect your essence, carefully strain the flowers into a mason jar with cheese cloth or a metal strainer, to remove the flowers from the essence. Make sure there are no pieces of the plant in the water. After several hours in the sun, the flowers my look like they sunk a little bit, but they will still be floating. All flowers are different. Don’t be alarmed by the difference in how each flower handles the water.
Pour your strained essence into your Mother Essence Bottle and screw on the lid. Carefully and intentionally shake the bottle gently between 5-20 times, perhaps even choosing a number you resonate with. This activates the essence.
Preparing “Dosage Bottles” of the Flower Essences
“Dosage” or “Stock” Bottles are the dropper bottles that you use for taking the medicine internally or for application onto the skin (or into a product you will be making). I use 1-2 oz. amber-colored glass bottles because it protects the potency of the flower essence and is a great size to work with and keep with someone in a pouch or purse, etc.
Put 10 drops of your Mother Essence into every 1 oz. bottle. Each Dosage Bottle should have 20-25% alcohol or vinegar and 75-80% spring water, and then the added Mother Essence drops. Activate the Dosage Bottles and charge them with your love, or reiki, and try not to think too many specific thoughts about what you “want it to do” for yourself or your loved one or client. The Flower Essence contains the medicine already and will resonate with the person who uses it.
Use sticker labels to mark your Dosage Bottles appropriately with at least the name of the flower and the expiration date. You may like to add instructions for usage and the healing qualities, or “signature” of the flower essence. If you get fancy you can add professional looking labels with your logo, website address, and an image of the flower.
Remain in a state of gratitude.
Store your Mother Essences in amber-colored glass bottles in a dark place (like a cupboard or shelf out of direct sun, or in a box.)
The picture below shows the Mother Essences in clear glass bottles before they were put into amber-colored bottles (This way you can see the essence better, and some people prefer to make their Dosage Bottles with a wide opening before they store the rest. It’s up to you!)
How to Use Flower Essences
Place 4 drops under the tongue 3-4 times a day for 4-6 weeks to clear mental and emotional blockages. Think positively and stay open in your mind and heart. Visualize yourself healing.
Add drops to your herbal medicine products like, salves, lotions, body oils, etc. Flower Essences can be combined with Essential Oils, or Herbal Tinctures, but I do not recommend using Essential Oils internally, only for topical body products, or aromatherapy.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article, and that you have a wonderful time making your own flower essences! I also offer a step-by-step guide called, “Make Herbal Infused Oil for Salves, Lotions, Body Oil, Lip Balms, Deodorant, etc.” and have several pages of information about: Spiritual Aromatherapy; How to Use Essential Oils; and much more (just explore the navigation bar at the top of the page!