They say that drastic times call for drastic measures; meet fire with fire. It’s an ideology that is deeply embedded in our culture, and perhaps coded in our DNA. We’re wired to survive at all costs, and we often meet difficult circumstances with extreme action.I think sometimes we approach ‘self-care’ in a similar way. We identify a ‘problem’ to solve in ourselves – from stress and anxiety to sunspots – invest in an arsenal of natural and organic wellness solutions, and then wage all-out effort to fix it. Is there a gentler way? Recently, I’ve been drawn to the subtle power of flower essences for anxiety, stress and other much more subtle demands for which can even be difficult to articulate. Flower essences are water-based infusions that deliver their energetic vibration of a flower in a tincture or mist format. They are only slightly fragrant, and any taste is from the alcohol carrier. But make no mistake, these exquisite flower essences work in subtle ways. In stunning contrast to the intoxicating nature of essential oils, CBD, and other plant-based remedies that are ingested or inhaled, flower essences are almost imperceivable at first, yet deliver subtle, but noticeable results on mind, mood and attitude.
Perhaps the most powerful way in which flower essences for anxiety work is that they create shifts in our awareness and perception, arguably the root of all conflict. Flower essences have been used to support anxiety, emotional and spiritual growth and navigate stubborn issues such as impatience, chronic low-grade stress and social anxiety.
In order to understand how a plant or gemstone infused water can impact the human experience, it’s essential to understand what they are and how they are made. We look to Ava Zhan, herbalist and founder of Pacific Northwest Essences, to explain the mystical ritual of creating an essence.
First, carefully selected plants or gems are picked for their distinct properties and then infused in water under the sun or moon for a certain number of hours (depending on many factors, such as the season). The plants or gems are then removed, and the mother tincture is strained and preserved with brandy. In cases where the plant is rare or very delicate, the plant is not even picked; instead, a bowl of water is placed under the blooms, and the solar and lunar energy acts as a conductor, infusing the water with the healing essence of the plant. Essences are then stored in dark glass and often amplified with quartz or other gemstones.
While it sounds simple, essence making requires mastery and intention. Not unlike Dr. Emoto’s scientific breakthrough proving the consciousness of water, flower essences carry the unique healing blueprint of plants. Recommending flower essences for anxiety is gaining recognition and approval by integrative and naturopathic doctors.
Of course, not all plants and gemstones are created equal. An expert in herbalism, herbal medicine preparation and homeopathy, Ava Zhan suggests a library of core essences that are the equivalent of pantry staples for the soul. About two dozen single essences will address a range of common symptoms or complaints, such as issues around loneliness, anxiety, family discord, irritability or other mood discomforts, sleep problems, skin concerns, and psychic protection.
According to Zhan, the best way to choose the flower essence that is right for you is either by instinct or intention. If choosing instinctually, simply pay attention to the colors, shapes and light reflections in a plant that you’re drawn to. These visual “messages” are a plant’s primary mode of communication, and they will resonate more strongly with an individual who might benefit from its essence. A different way to choose an essence is to read about the essence properties. Prioritize what concerns you would like to work on first and choose one or a few essences that will support your goals. Finally, you’ll want to choose the format that works best for you. Pacific Northwest Essences are offered in a tincture or aura mist. For a tincture, drop 3 drops on the tongue 3-4 times per day. If you choose an aura mist, spray liberally over your head or in a room, 2 – 3 times a day or as often as desired.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve used several of the Pacific Northwest Essences blends; Voice of Courage, Grow with Confidence, Softness in Hardship and Pillow of Flowers, and I have found them to be so beneficial, I felt compelled to share my experience with you, and offer them at Beauty Heroes. Perhaps you’ll benefit from their subtle energies, as I have.
Voice of Courage is an essence blend of borage, bull thistle, paper birch and blue viola that has helped me face conflict with greater confidence and compassion. I have felt more empowered to hold my ground in difficult conversations, and I know my place when publicly addressing polarizing issues. While outwardly I may appear bold, inwardly I often second guess myself. I have felt a shift in this tendency, and I credit my consistent use of Voice of Courage.
Grandmother Willow is a potent blend of eight essences of flowers and crystals, formulated with one big, beautiful intention: to help the current generation reconnect with their elders, their heritage and their lineage. The essence of trees, flowers, two lichen, and one crystal carries energies of old-age wisdom, helping contemporary nomads reconnect to the comfort and counsel of older generations.
Pillow of Flowers is a new blend that supports deep sleep, relaxation and restoration, an easy, peaceful transition into slumber. With its long history of helping to alleviate anxiety, agitation and fear, chamomile essence assures a restful sleep. A handmade essence of white morning glory is added to this blend to support the sleep cycle and synch our circadian rhythm with the setting and rising of the sun. Black tourmaline provides powerful detoxification of negative thoughts and worry so the mind and body can properly rest.
Softness in Hardship is one that really speaks to me. This is formulated for those of us who may be prone to adrenal fatigue and burnout, and who have a difficult time remaining patient and loving while navigating difficult experiences. A blend of paper birch, white yarrow, bull thistle, teasel and rose quartz support us in remaining calm, kind and compassionate, even in the most stressful situations.
Finally, Aura Shield is an essence delivered in a mist format that creates a botanical barrier between the body and external energies, helping us stay grounded as we navigate uncomfortable, even caustic, situations. Yarrow essence has been shown to support emotional resilience during conflict, while bull thistle and tiger’s eye give us a sense of empowerment. Obsidian arrow serves as a psychic weapon, and weeping willow provides a canopy of protection, helping us remain focused on our own inner work. Celestite calls in the angelic realm, giving us a sense of peace.
There’s no question that we’re living in drastic times. My invitation is to respond with delicate measures; meet fire with grace, and practice loving self-care with the subtle power of nature.