Flower Power – Of Essences, Infusions & Elixirs
Words: Katie Hess, Flower Alchemist
Photos: Alisa Anton
There is a practice in Japan called Shinrinyoku, or forest bathing, which consists of walking in the forest for periods of time to ‘bathe in’ or absorb, the energy of the plants as a way to rebalance our bodies and minds. Researchers at the Nippon Medical School in Tokyo studied the effects of this practice, and found that bathing in the energy of the forest reduces the stress hormone cortisol and increases white blood cell production boosting the body’s defense against disease. They discovered that a single hour spent in nature reduced cortisol and increased white blood cell production for an entire week. Moreover, the de-stressing, immune-boosting benefits of spending a weekend in nature continues to enrich an individual for an entire month afterward. When we spend time in nature, we feel calmer and clearer, more in tune and aware of the world around us.
In simpler terms, a flower elixir is a liquid infusion of a fresh flower, so gentle you can drink it. This infusion is so packed with the ‘chi’ of the flower, that when consumed or applied topically, the energy travels throughout the acupuncture meridians of the body, resulting in specific shifts in state of mind, as well as enhanced vitality, radiance and youthfulness.
But what if we don't have enough time to get out into nature? After all, most of us spend the majority of our days indoors and in front of computers, causing us to become distracted, overstimulated and fatigued. We have a hard time getting restful sleep, and our lives are so fast-paced that it has become virtually impossible to be balanced without regular, consistent practices that allow us to slow down and help us restore that balance.
If we don’t have the time or ability to get out in the wilderness to absorb the healing energy of nature, how can we bring that power into our lives?
Enter: Flowers, in the form of flower infusions.
Flower infusions have been used in healing practices for thousands of years in cultures all over the world. Of any given part of the plant, flowers contain the highest concentration of life force. This life force, or ‘chi,’ can actually be captured, collected and infused into water thereby resulting in a flower elixir. Doctors like Hildegard von Bingen and Paracelsus in the 14th and 16th centuries instructed their patients to seek out certain flowers growing in the wild and drink the dew from the top of the flower to enhance their mood. The early 20th century British Medical Doctor Bach also turned to deriving flower therapies to relieve psychological stressors that manifest as physical disease.
In this modern day, we use solar infusion techniques, along with stabilisation with alcohol and a dilution process similar to that of homeopathy, to create flower essences or flower elixirs, that can be used to enhance specific states of mind. Taken regularly over time, they also catalyse insights related to the qualities of that particular flower.
At a time in when culturally we are more distracted, fatigued and stressed than ever, flower elixirs help us feel calmer, more balanced and happier. With regular use, they can help us free ourselves of the modern day 'static'. Taken consistently over time, flower elixirs dissolve self-limiting patterns and can aid in accelerating personal growth – isn’t that a capability we all want to be able to access in our life?
But, I've never heard of flowers emitting 'energies'...
If it seems strange to consider that a flower has energy, imagine all the invisible waves coming to and from your smartphone or computer. It is because of invisible energy waves that we can live stream movies, music and access the internet wirelessly. Invisible waves everywhere in our daily life bring us messages, via emails, videos, phone calls. The information we have access to through invisible waves of energy is in fact, limitless.
The lotus flower only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud; the obstacles of life and its suffering. The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life. - Goldie Hawn
Plants and flowers have their own electro-chemical energy processes – we even know that bees find their pollen by scanning the energy fields emitted by flowers. Like cell phones, plants and flowers possess communicative energy that is invisible to the naked eye, but this energy is of a different quality. It is much more subtle, gentle and compatible with the human body and mind. This life force, or energy, also contains information and messages in a form that is effortlessly transmitted to and perceived by our bodies and minds.
Different frequencies of invisible energy can be either nourishing or exhausting – flowers to the rescue!
Imagine a huge, ruffled peony in front of your face right now. The feeling that it transmits to you is totally different than if it were a daisy. A sunflower affects you differently – and carries with it a different message – than a rose. Intuitively and instinctively, we know this – and may be surprised to realise it has nothing to do with scent. We’ve known this since childhood, without having necessarily articulated it before. The wisdom of our bodies and minds is designed to process, understand and benefit from the unique qualities of flowers, trees and plants. Even if we’re not fully conscious of it, we are processing the energy, vitality and messages of flowers and plants around us all the time, whenever we are in their presence. Technology is amazing, allowing us to share information and truth, leading to better education, awareness and empowerment of people. However, the frequencies of computers, cell phones, Wi-Fi networks and all of our gadgets tax the body over time. The subtle frequencies of plants and flowers, on the other hand, can be used to bring natural vitality back to the body.
What’s the best way to find out which flower elixirs will be most effective for us?
As with anything, the best method of evaluation is through personal experience, trial and error. Flower elixirs are extremely gentle, and so safe they can even be taken during pregnancy. There are no side effects nor interactions with medications or herbs. Similar to homeopathy, they are so dilute that even people with allergies to flowers can use them safely. The best part: Flowers are in abundance all around us! Mother Nature has the solution for just about any problem we could dream up. Flower elixirs are one of the most sustainable forms of natural remedies, requiring the harvesting of only a small number of flowers.
Find out what your favourite flowers say about you with this flower quiz.
Using flower elixirs to dissolve the modern-day static, transform self-limiting patterns and liberate our full potential is exciting for us as individuals. However, put into the context of our interconnectedness, the use of flower elixirs is an effective method to not only accelerate our personal growth, but to transform our world from the inside out.
How common is the current use of flower elixirs?
Currently flower remedies are prescribed by doctors in Europe and available in every large pharmacy in Australia. There is great potential for the benefits of flower elixirs to become more widely understood and well known across the world as an effective means to not only dissolve stress but to liberate our human potential.
How can I incorporate taking flower elixirs in my (already packed) daily routine?
Convenient and easy to incorporate into daily life, flower elixirs don’t require an expensive gym membership or any adjustment to your normal routine. You can simply put them on your desk or in your purse to remind yourself to take them regularly, or add them to your water bottle daily to get the benefits. The result of using flower elixirs is a tangible sense of increased wellbeing within several days of regular, consistent use. People experience sounder, more restful sleep during the night, and during the day have enhanced calm, vitality and overall happiness. Sometimes when we take vitamins or other supplements, we may not detect a difference in how we feel. In comparison, with flower elixirs, it is perceptible, and over time there is an exponential positive effect: when you are always at your best – free of static from modern day life – you can operate at your full natural capacity.
What else can I do to enhance the effects of flower elixirs?
Meditation and mindfulness practices will also enhance our awareness of the insights arising within us as a result of the flower elixirs: together they help us develop a sharper ability to not only recognise and release self-limiting patterns but also catalyse and enjoy our full potential. If our systems were like computers, it would be not only updating our software programs for better ones – it would be like switching out or enhancing the entire hardware system running in the background. But we are not computers – we are so much more powerful. Our own energy affects our environment and the people around us. Whether we’re in an amazing or crummy mood, it immediately affects everything and everyone around us. That’s the most exciting aspect of flower elixirs – that they can be used to create a huge ripple effect of positivity. Not only do flower elixirs affect the person using them, but they also begin to affect the families, friends and colleagues of the person taking them – in a positive way.
Consider the results of a study published in the British Medical Journal: researchers discovered in a multiple-decade study, that if your friend’s, friend’s friend (stranger to you) becomes wildly happy, it has more of a beneficial effect on you than if someone put $5,000 cash in your pocket. Conversely, if YOU become wildly happy, it has more of a beneficial effect on a perfect stranger, than if someone put $5,000 cash in their pocket. Scientists are just beginning to prove what we’ve truly known all along – that we are all interconnected – and our state of mind directly impacts other people in every moment.