Petal to the mettle

Flower-essence therapy can be a gentle balm for difficult emotions.

POTIONS CONCOCTED FROM freshly picked, sun-soaked blossoms may seem the stuff of fairy tales, but they just might help you live happily ever after. "Flower essences work to ease our emotional state," says Sally Dawson, a New Zealand-based chiropractor and member of the Flower Essence Society. "After using them, people often find that they're less stressed, more adept at coping with their problems, and better able to move forward in their lives."

Like homeopathy, flower-essence therapy "involves ingesting a substance that is physically dilute but energetically active," explains psychologist Jeffrey R. Cram, Ph.D., author of a study on flower essences published in The International Journal of Healing and Caring. Developed in the 1930s by physician and bacteriologist Edward Bach, each of the 38 most commonly formulated flower essences deals with a specific emotion. For example, wild rose rekindles ambition in the apathetic, sweet chestnut replenishes optimism in times of despair, and cherry plum calms those who feel like they're losing control.

Research has yet to determine exactly how flower essences work — and to what extent — but Cram theorizes that they stimulate the body's energy fields to help users respond positively to new stimuli. "Flower-essence therapy assumes that living beings comprise more than their physical bodies," he notes. So just as acupuncture works to balance the flow of qi, flower essences might influence the direction and efficacy of energy.

Practitioners typically recommend taking four drops of flower essences four times daily, either added to drinking water or placed directly on the tongue. To determine which types are right for you, consult a practitioner or "There are many nuances in the remedies," says Dawson. "They can be useful in situations involving low self-esteem, guilt, or loneliness; many problems can be gently eased."

PHOTO (COLOR): FLOWER POWER: Lift your spirits by tapping into the mood-boosting properties of floral essences.


By Elizabeth Barker

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