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  • Claire Walkiden

History of modern Flower Essences

Updated: Jun 9

Historically Flower Essences have been used by native peoples all over the world, going back many millennia, and although they may not have been made in quite the same way, the principals are the same. Aborigines used mainly plant life to make their medicines including taking the dew from plants and flowers early in the morning … this is a flower essence, they also soaked plants in water to extract the healing properties, sometimes applying heat, again, these are flower essences.

Native Americans used similar processes to make their medicines, as did the Egyptians. The process of using plants for healing has been used by man since we became conscious beings, and arguably before that. But as time has gone on and we have developed our scientific knowledge plants have been “dismembered” and only the active ingredients have been extracted to be used for medicinal purposes.


My personal belief is that we have missed the whole point of what plants do. Within a plant there may well be the active ingredient that cures an illness, and as purely an active substance, it can be patented as a medicine. But without the rest of the plant that balances out that active ingredient, you can get side effects; effects that you would not get with taking the whole plant. But, please be aware I am not advocating taking whole plants to cure yourself. Herbalism is a wonderful form of healing, but it takes many years to become qualified and understand what plants are used when and how herbal medicines are made.


In the 1930’s a British doctor by the name of Edward Bach started to make Flower Essences in a more ordered and scientific way, in effect he reinvented the modern Flower Essence. With his background as a medical doctor, who had spent many years developing and testing vaccines, a modern field of medicine in those days, and his keen interest in Homeopathy, he started to work with plants, in particular the flowers of plants to make his new form of medicine. He mistakenly thought that the Homeopathic community would support his ideas, as there was much in common and the methods he used initially were homeopathic procedures to make his first tinctures. As time went on he realised that the medical profession and the homeopathic community thought he was insane to be pursuing his new ideas, so he eventually made the process available to the general public…to help themselves, as they are harmless, but effective.

Initially he made 12 “Healing” essences that were as he saw it linked to the 12 personality types. These essences would help each personality type in their spiritual development. He then realised that there were a few cases where people had become shrouded by ways of being that masked their true personality types, so he produced 7 more “Helper” essences that removed those fixed ways of being. Then finally he produced a further “Second” 19 essences that helped people deal with everyday issues and challenges. So in total he made 38 essences that are still available today from several different companies all over the world. They are still made by the same methods Dr. Bach used and there has been widespread research carried out on these Flower Essences to prove they do what is attributed to them.

We will never know if he was guided spiritually to select the essences he did, or if he just studied the plants in detail, which would mean he would have had to study many, many plants and flowers to finalise his range. I doubt There is evidence that his first flower essence was his own personality type, and he then tried to think of people with other personality types to find the appropriate essences for them. Today there are many Flower Essence producers all over the world following in Dr Bach’s steps, trying to make sense of what they are learning about plants, and trying work out what they do.

I am no exception to that, over the 20 years of working with essences, doing blind tests and developing my own essences in the last 10 years, it is patently clear that they have a profound effect on people, even if they may not realise it themselves.

But as a producer I believe we make essences that help us on our own spiritual paths. I have always found the right flower seems to attract my attention or shout out to me, which means I need to make an essence of it, so maybe that was how Dr Bach found his essences?


Featured flower: Plumbago (Dr Bach’s flower essence Certo)

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