Scent of Life – Flower Essence Therapy
by Michell Spoden
Recently I have been drawn to the scents around me from candles of amber and incense that create a relaxed feeling to body wash of eucalyptus and spearmint that cool my skin; the power of life is in them indeed.
Richard Katz and Patricia Kaminski are married and professional partners, and directors of the Flower Essence Society in Nevada City, California, since 1980. Through the Society they organize and inspire many educational, research, and publishing efforts throughout the world.
Richard and Patricia are authors of numerous articles and books about flower essences, including the best-selling Flower Essence Repertory, now in its fifth edition and translated into six different languages. Richard and Patricia have traveled extensively, giving seminars throughout the world on flower essence therapy. They also manage Flower Essence Services, which produces flower essences and herbal products at Terra Flora, their 27-acre Biodynamic/organic garden and wildlife sanctuary in the northern Sierra Nevada foothills of Nevada City, California.
Michell: Please give us a brief description of Flower Essence Therapy?
KK: Flower essences are herbal infusions or decoctions, made from the flowering part of the plant, which uniquely address emotional and mental aspects of wellness. The first 38 flower remedies were formulated by a British physician, Dr. Edward Bach, in the 1930’s, although new remedies from other plant species are now available.
To understand how flower essences work requires a recognition that the human being is more than a physical body, but also incorporates a “body” of life energy, a “body” of sensitivity and feelings, and a spiritual essence or Self. Flower essences are energetic imprints of the life force of plants which interact with these subtle bodies of the human being, and evoke specific qualities within us. We can say that they work in a similar way to inspirational music or art, which carry meaning through the vehicle of sound or light, while the flower essences work through the medium of water.
Modern physics has known for nearly a century that matter and consciousness are intertwined. However, medical science still generally works with a nineteenth century model of the human being as a mechanism in a world of machines. We expect that in the coming century medical science will develop ways of studying the impact of consciousness on health, and we will learn more about the ways in which flower essences work. However, empirical research, which consists of the collection of case studies and practitioner reports, will remain the primary source of knowledge about how flower essences work.
Michell: Is this type of therapy better or more effective than others?
KK: Flower Essence Therapy addresses the underlying emotional/soul issues which are related to the journey towards wellness, and can lead to a much more complete state of health than the suppression of pain, or artificial stimulation of feelings through bio-chemical intervention. Flower essences can help people who suffer from physical illness by addressing the emotional responses to the illness, and by working with the underlying conflicts and tensions that may have contributed to the onset of the illness. However, flower essences are not cures for any specific illness, and are chosen on the basis of mental and emotional issues, rather than specific physical ailments.
Michell: Can you give us if certain flowers are directed to heal certain types of things? For example Lilies, Cherry Plums, Holly.
KK: Each flower essence has indications for the positive aspect of healing desired and the pattern of imbalance being addressed.
Of the three you mentioned, for example:
One lily (there are many), Mariposa Lily
Positive qualities: Maternal consciousness, warm, feminine and nurturing; mother-child bonding, positive connection to mother and similar female figures
Patterns of imbalance: Alienated from mother or from mothering role, feelings of childhood abandonment or abuse; orphan state of consciousness
Positive qualities: Spiritual surrender and trust, feeling guided and protected by a Higher Power; balance and equanimity despite extreme stress or adversity
Patterns of imbalance: Fear of losing control, mental and emotional breakdown; desperate or destructive impulses; acute tension and rigidity
Positive qualities: Loving and inclusive gestures to others; heartfelt compassion; ability to express gratitude to others
Patterns of imbalance: Social isolation; jealousy, envy, suspicion, anger
Many other flower essences and their indications can be used for healing.
Michell: I noticed that you there are the actual garden centers in different places but not open to the public. Are you in need of more growers of flowers for medicinal purposes? If so how can someone become a grower and be a part of your network?
KK: No, no growers are needed, as our products are produced in our Terra Flora gardens or at the actual sites where the flowers grow. The flower essences and herbal oils which FES produces are certified Organic and certified Biodynamic, and so we need to use flowers grown with those certifications as well.
The gardens at Terra Flora, in Nevada City, California, headquarters of Flower Essence Services, received official Biodynamic certification effective October, 1997, by the Demeter Association, the international accreditation agency for Biodynamic Agriculture. Biodynamic® is a term that actually predates “organic” by several decades. While it encompasses many of the principles of organic farming, such as the elimination of all chemicals, Biodynamic agriculture fosters the individuality of the entire garden and farm organism, so that each part creates a greater whole. Each farm or garden is in turn connected to the Earth as a living being, and the cosmic rhythms of Moon, Sun, planets and stars that support the Earth’s true identity.
FES Quintessentials flower essences are certified Biodynamic® and organic, effective in mid-1999. This certification means that FES flower essences contain more than 95% Biodynamic® ingredients. We use a brandy preservative made from Biodynamic® grapes and our plants are either grown in the Terra Flora Biodynamic® gardens or wild-harvested in small quantities in pristine habitats.
Michell: I noticed there is a place for using flowers to help those who want to quit smoking? This is very interesting. Do you see this sort of therapy leading the races to help people to quit smoking?
KK: We can’t be certain how many people have utilized flower essences for smoking cessation. However, the article referenced here is based on reports and testimonials from people who have utilized flower essences in their recovery from tobacco addiction. Following the publication of that article, we have had people tell us that they made remarkable changes in their smoking habits and were able to stop the addiction. We have been very heartened to learn of these recoveries.
Michell: Please explain the Theoretical Essence of flower therapy?
KK: There are several ways to approach a scientific understanding of flower essences:
The most extensive scientific information we have about the effects of flower essences comes from empirical evidence:
1) Clinical reports from flower essence practitioners in many countries, a sample of which can be found on the Flower Essence Society web site at www.flowersociety.org/Practitioner_interviews.htm
2) Clinical outcomes studies such as the Depression study in Calix, volume 1, Flower Essence Society, 2004, pp. 89-106
3) Double-blind placebo studies, such as the stress and environmental sensitivity studies done by Dr. Jeffrey Cram
Cram, J. R. “A psychological and metaphysical study of Dr. Edward Bach’s flower essence stress formula.” Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine Journal, Volume 11, No. 1 and Cram, J. R.. “Effects of two flower essences on high intensity environmental stimulation and EMF.” Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine Journal, Volume 12, No. 3.
The idea that water can be a carrier of information was the subject of pioneering and controversial studies by the French scientist, Dr. Jacques Benveniste. (See Schiff, Michel, The Memory of Water: Homoeopathy and the Battle of Ideas in the New Science. Thorsons, London, 1995). Some researchers have suggested that the clustering effect of water, the bonds between molecules, may be involved in the “memory of water phenomenon,” and that this might be a partial explanation for the effects of highly dilute homeopathic remedies. In a similar way, the water that is the matrix for the flower essence carries the energetic imprint of the flowers used to prepare the essence. This is a promising area for further research.
Evidence that emotions affect human physiology with profound health consequences is now widely accepted. The field of “psychoneuroimmunology” studies the effects of psychological stress on the functioning of the immune system. One good reference in the field of mind-body medicine is Pert, Candace, Phd, Molecules of Emotion, The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1999. Flower essence therapy is founded on the knowledge that emotions and attitudes are key factors in health and wellness.
Michell: I was at the store the other day and there was flower honey. Do you make that ? if so how is that done ?
KK: There are bee hives at Terra Flora, and we do collect the honey. However, most flower honey sold in stores is labeled as such because the beekeepers locate the hives in areas predominated by particular flowers and sources of nectar.
Michell: Do you work alongside with horticultural therapist?
KK: No, we don’t.
Michell: What is someone does not care too much for flowers ? are herbs and trees of the essence also ?
KK: Flower essences are named as such because the part of the plant used to make essences is the flower. Flowers of herbs, of course, are included, as well as flowers from trees.
Michell: I also noticed that you use this type of therapy on Animals? Please share with our viewers how this has worked?
KK: Yes, and there are many other articles and case reports on the website that explain the use of flower essences used with animals. Flower essence therapy has proven very successful in helping animals heal from a variety of emotional, and also behavioral, conditions.
These are just some of the ways flower essences can be given to animals:
Misting — Many animals can be treated by misting on the body and in the air surrounding the animal. This method allows access to frightened animals and can also be used with marine animals when out of water. A light mist can be applied near the lips or nose to entice licking. Take care to learn the particular boundaries and reactions of each animal you are treating. Many birds enjoy misting, while other animals may be startled until they become familiar with the technique. Pet or hold the animal or otherwise establish bonding before treating the animal, so that flower essence dosing is viewed within a positive context.
Topical Direct — Lightly spray drops of the formula on the paws, behind the ears, on the pulse points or other energy receptors of the animal’s body. The animal will either lick the essence or simply allow them to be absorbed through the skin. In some cases, you can spray the essence into your own hands and then massage into the appropriate area. You can also formulate a carrier cream for these purposes.
Food Biscuit — The formula can also be sprayed onto tiny morsels of food — the most ideal is a dried biscuit. However, vibrational medicines like flower essences are best taken apart from food so that the more subtle influence can be registered without interference. Therefore, only one small biscuit should be used during the time of flower essence treatment and this activity should be separated from regular eating.
Water Bowl — Apply one or two sprays of the formula into the animal’s water bowl at least twice a day. Fresh water should be put in the bowl each time and the essences stirred clockwise and counterclockwise to energize the water. For large animals—such as in water troughs for horses—increase the dosage accordingly. This method works well for horses or other animals that have private waterers and drink regularly. It is less successful for animals like cats who have irregular drinking habits, or where the same water source is shared by more than one animal. Also, the flower essences will evaporate and must be replenished regularly.
About the Interviewer
Michell Spoden is the author of Stricken Yet Crowned and is also pursuing a transitional housing project for woman with an agricultural aspect. She has a degree in Business Science Administration and is finishing her bachelor’s in Project Management.