Flower Essences
During the New Age Movement of the 1970s and 1980s,
many discovered aromatherapy, the fragrant essences of certain
plants that are believed to assist the healing process and
the opening to spiritual awareness. So in like measure, many
discovered the healing powers of flower extracts, substances
first isolated by British homeopathic physician Edward Bach
(1886–1936) in the 1920s. During his early years at the Homeopathic
Hospital in London, Bach’s observation of a patient he
was asked to diagnose led him to believe that there were 12
basic personality types. Each personality type was distinguished
by a common set of moods, states of mind, and underlying
weaknesses. He began a search to find substances that could
treat these personality peculiarities that ultimately allowed disease
to exist.
He discovered the first of these remedies in 1929. He next
developed the process of extracting from the plant its healing
substance and doing it in such a way as to enhance its properties.
He went on to isolate 11 additional plant essences, all like
the first located in flowering plants. His discoveries were introduced
to the world in a 1931 text, Heal Thyself. Having found
the 12 basic substances, he turned his search to additional essences
that could help people with specific problems. Through
the 1930s, 26 such essences were isolated. Periodically as a set
of new discoveries was made, he published a new edition of his
book, the last appearing in 1936 as the Twelve Healers and Other
Remedies A Simple Herbal Treatment. He died shortly thereafter
and his remedies were largely unnoticed through the war years.
His work was carried on by several close associates who worked
out of his home, which had been transformed into the Dr. Edward
Bach Healing Center.
The idea of flower essences was rediscovered in the 1960s
by an American herbalist, Leslie J. Kaslof, who created an
American affiliate to the Bach Centre and is largely responsible
for making flower essences known in North America. Through
the 1970s the Bach remedies were integrated into the larger
holistic health movement. Among those influenced by Kaslof
was Richard Katz, who began to experiment on a set of uniquely
California flowers from which he extracted an additional set
of remedies. In 1979, he founded the Flower Essence Society
to publicize the new remedies.
The spread of the message of the Flower Essence Society
suggested that flowers from a number of different locations
could be the source of equally potent remedies, and through
the 1980s and 1990s, other enterprises such as Alaskan Flower
Remedies and Pegasus Products (Colorado) were founded. Second,
the original observation of Bach that there were 12 personality
types was suggestive of a possible correlation between
flower remedies and astrology. In fact, astrologers, such as
Donna Cunningham, discovered such to be the case, and
through the 1990s various astrologers found them a meaning
supplement to their work.
Cynthia Kemp, an astrologer, founded Desert Alchemy to
provide specific lower remedies related to specific events noted
in a chart. Another astrologer, John Stowe, founded Earthfriends
to produce both flower remedies and aromatherapy
products. As astrological remedies, flower essences have enjoyed
a heretofore unprecedented popularity.
Bach, Edward. The Twelve Healers and Other Remedies A Simple
Herbal Treatment. 3rd ed. London C. E. W. Daniel, 1936.
Chancellor, Philip M. Handbook of the Bach Flower Remedies.
New Canaan, Conn. Keats Health Books, 1980.
Flower, Amanda Cameron Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
Cunningham, Donna. Flower Remedies Handbook. New York
Sterling Products, 1992.