AUSTRALIAN BUSH FLOWER ESSENCES
What is love? Is it only ours?
Or does love whisper in the flowers?
J. DONALD WALTERS
THE HISTORY OF FLOWER ESSENCES
Flower Essences are made by extracting the healing vibrational qualities from specially selected flowers. The Australian Bush Flower Essences are continuing a very long tradition of healing with flowers. Ancient records show that over 3,000 years ago the Egyptians collected the dew from flowers to treat emotional imbalances. Australian Aborigines have used flowers to heal the emotions. They would eat the flower or sit next to a flowering tree to obtain the vibration of the plant. In fact, flowers have been used for healing in virtually all countries and cultures.
The earliest European records date back to Abbess Hildegard von Bingen in the twelfth century. She was an amazing woman who, from an early age, experienced visions instructing her in many areas of theology, medicine and music. In her major writings, Physica and Causae et Curae, Hildegard showed great insights into the Doctrine of Signatures, understanding the healing properties of a plant from its appearance, colour, size, texture and growth habits. Of the rose she wrote, ‘The rose is cold, and this coldness contains a useful mixture. During the early morning or when the day has already begun, take a petal of a rose and place it upon your eyes. It extracts the moisture, that is the seeping, and makes them clear.’ Of an evening, Hildegard had her nuns place muslin cloth over flowers or other plants so that they would absorb the dew that formed on the plants overnight. Next morning she would wring out the cloth, collecting the water and using it to treat emotional and physical problems in her patients.
Hildegard became a great healer and monastic leader but also an outstanding musician, writer, theologian, prophet and advisor to kings, emperors and popes. Although she was never formally canonized she has been long venerated as a saint and is listed in the Roman Martyrology. Of her visions she wrote, ‘These visions which I saw, I beheld neither in sleep nor dreaming nor in madness nor with my bodily eyes or ears, nor in hidden places; but I saw them in full view and according to God’s will, when I was wakeful and alert, with the eyes of the spirit and the inward ears.’ Her books are still consulted to this day and much of her music is now recorded and played worldwide.
Paracelsus, a famous Swiss alchemist and healer in the sixteenth century, is also credited with the use of flowers in healing, collecting the early-morning dew on flowers and using it to treat emotional problems and physical ailments. Paracelsus gave medical advice to the Dutch scholar Erasmus and came into contact with some of the more prominent scholars of the religious Reformation. He was appointed city physician and Professor of Medicine in the city of Basel. When describing his beliefs about healing he wrote, ‘The art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician. Therefore the physician must start from nature, with an open mind.’
More recently Dr Edward Bach (1886–1936), an English doctor, became the modern pioneer of Flower Essences and brought them back into popular use. He had studied medicine at the University College Hospital, London, and was a house surgeon there. He worked as a bacteriologist and later a pathologist. Even though he was a success in his work with allopathic medicine he was not happy with the traditional focus on diseases rather than on the person being treated. He gave up his lucrative practice and devoted the rest of his life to a new system of medicine that could be found in nature. Over time he found the remedies he wanted in the fields and lanes of England. He discovered that when he treated the personalities and feelings of his patients their unhappiness and physical distress would be alleviated. Dr Bach wrote that the function of Flower Essences is ...
‘... to raise our vibrations and open up our channels for the reception of our spiritual self, to flood our natures with the particular virtues and to wash out from us the faults which were causing them. They are able, like beautiful music or any gloriously uplifting thing which gives us inspiration, to raise our very natures and bring us nearer to ourselves and by that very act to bring us peace and relieve our suffering. They cure not by attacking disease but by flooding our bodies with beautiful vibrations of our higher nature in the presence of which disease melts as snow in the sunshine.’
Since the early 1980s there has been an explosion in the use of Flower Essences right around the world. One of the pioneers in this area is Sydney naturopath and homoeopath Ian White who developed the Australian Bush Flower Essences.
Ian White comes from a family of herbal healers and is in fact a fifth generation Australian herbalist. As a small boy he used to spend much time in the bushland around Sydney with his grandmother, who like her mother before her had a passionate interest in the healing powers of Australian native plants. They were some of the first white people to work with the local flora. Ian started off his tertiary education in mainstream science but after a trip to India, where he became very ill with dysentery, he returned to Australia with his physical and emotional health in tatters. Attempts by his family to build up his strength with three good hot meals a day didn’t work. So he turned to alternative medicine and decided that was where he really wanted to go with his life. He enrolled at the New South Wales College of Natural Therapies and graduated as a naturopath and homoeopath. His interest in Australian plants continued but his initial training was with the Bach Flower Remedies. It was about this time that a dear friend of his was dying from bowel cancer. Ian started a meditation circle which met once a week to direct healing to his friend. The friend in time died but through his dying the Australian Bush Flower Essences were born. While meditating in the healing group one day, Ian was shown a picture of a plant and the best place in which to make up its Essence. As time went on these visions continued with a different flower being shown on each occasion. In his book Australian Bush Flower Essences he wrote, ‘If I was unfamiliar with a flower its name would appear beneath it. I was also given an understanding of its healing properties.’ Following these instructions he gradually made up 50 remedies.
Through observation of the effects of the Essences he was able to verify the channelled information. He also tested the remedies with kinesiology, Kirlian photography and medical electronic diagnostic equipment. Today there are 69 Essences which have all proved to have extremely powerful healing properties. These Essences are very safe – it is impossible to overdose – and they can be taken alone or in conjunction with allopathic treatment or other alternative healing modalities. The Bush Essences are now used right around the world. Ian travels in Australia and overseas presenting seminars to the public and to healthcare professionals. He has published three books about the Bush Essences and is a regular contributor to healthcare magazines, radio and television programmes.
HOW FLOWER ESSENCES ARE MADE
The Australian Bush Flower Essences are made by floating specially selected flowers in good quality purified, spring or mineral water in a clear glass bowl and leaving them in sunlight for approximately two hours in Australian conditions, longer in cooler climates. During this time an energy exchange occurs whereby healing qualities are released from the flowers into the water. The flowers are then removed and the newly charged water is added to an equal quantity of brandy, which is used as a preservative. This makes the Mother Tincture.
Seven drops of Mother Tincture are added to a 15–30 ml bottle containing two parts brandy to one part purified good quality water. This is the Stock Strength. Then seven drops of the Stock Strength are added to a 15–30 ml bottle filled with a mix of one part brandy to three parts water and this is the Dose Strength. The Dose Strength is the one recommended to be given to any animal (or human). Specific dosage is described later in this chapter.
HOW THEY WORK
In the wild, animals seek out plants that will improve their health or just make them feel good. A dog eating grass is a common example. The response of some cats to catnip is extraordinary as they go into paroxysms of pleasure rolling in the leaves of the plant. I remember one cat I had as a child who would regularly jump onto the top of the piano, select a fresh pink rose from a vase of mixed flowers and delicately pull off the petals one by one and eat them with obvious enjoyment. I have no idea what her attraction was to the rose petals but they appeared to bring her great pleasure. In the Hidden Powers of Animals, Dr Karl Shuker relates many stories of animals actively seeking their own therapeutic treatment from the plants around them. The leaves of the paradise flowers in India are a good source of quinine which sparrows have been observed eating and lining their nests with during an outbreak of malaria. Menstruating baboons in Africa chew the leaves of the candelabra tree which have analgesic properties and are believed to bring relief from pain and cramps. Chimpanzees in Tanzania have been seen to regularly eat the leaf of the aspilia plant, a relative of the sunflower. These leaves have been found to contain a powerful antibiotic which is effective in killing harmful bacteria and fungi. Certain African monkeys are accomplished herbalists, eating the fruit of the balanite tree to cure parasitic infections and the leaves of the sodom apple to halt bouts of diarrhoea.
Flower Essences go a step beyond herbalism. This special healing energy of the flower vibrates at a very high frequency which enables the Essences to work, not just within the physical body as the herbs do, but right out to the very edges of the energy fields which surround the body.
These energy fields or energy bodies are similar in all animal species, including humans. Different writers, healers and clairvoyants describe these fields in various ways. Chiron healing, for example, describes 26 energy bodies, but the most general description is of five main classifications. These start from the physical, through the etheric, astral and mental bodies, out to the causal or spiritual bodies. We usually describe a rainbow as having seven colours whereas in fact it is the break-up of pure white light into an infinite number of colours ranging from white to the darkest of purples. Similarly, perhaps, the energy around a living being is like a graduating field starting with the dense energies close to the body and ending with the very fine vibration at its outer perimeter. Whatever way this energy is described, its condition greatly influences the state of well-being of all living things.
Ayurvedic and Yogic traditions describe the chakras, which are special energy centres in the etheric field of the body. In humans there are seven main chakras along the line of the spinal column. Animals also have these energy centres though the number of main chakras varies with the type of animal and, according to some writers, the heart and throat chakras are often not well developed in many animals. However, the chakras do have the capacity to develop, and in some individual animals they can be very well-defined. Dogs appear to have an active heart chakra but often there is an excess of love. They sometimes give too much and may develop heart conditions. Cats, on the other hand, rarely have heart problems. Is this because they tend to give out love in carefully measured doses? Dr Carl Shuker describes some interesting research conducted at the Veterans’ Administration Hospital in Long Beach California. This indicates that cats can detect X-ray radiation, not with their eyes, but with receptors in an area behind the upper part of the nose. This could well be the position of a chakra. An article by Calidad on the circle-of-light website describes an animal chakra in this area. ‘[There is a chakra in animals] located at the bridge of the nose between the eyes. It is pale silver blue and governs sensory intake and the transmission of sensory input to the brain. This is not the third eye which is located a bit higher than the bridge of the nose.’
Mammals also have a chakra, similar to another solar plexus, between their shoulder blades. This is called the brachial chakra. From currently available information it is not clear what the purpose of this chakra is, but in four-legged creatures this area is much more exposed to the world than the same area in humans, so it could relate to the way they respond to the energies in their environment. Whatever its function, it would be wise to take this into account when an animal is being micro-chipped or receiving an injection, as this is the area that is often used for such procedures.
The chakras have been found to connect with each other and to portions of the physical cellular structure by subtle energetic channels known as ‘nadis’. These fine threads of energetic matter parallel the physical nervous system. Each chakra is associated with a major nerve plexus or ganglia and also with major endocrine glands. Light energy, which heals and energises the whole system, flows into the etheric body through the chakras which are all connected, either directly or indirectly, with the meridians (the energy lines in the body). The chakras transmute the energy to a level that is usable by the physical body, and it then moves via the meridians into the physical system. In embryos, the meridian ducts are formed well before any of the organs or vascular systems. It seems that the meridian system is the first physical link established between the energy fields around the body and the developing physical body, and it forms an interface between them. Different emotions and their associated physical problems are linked to individual chakras. When a Flower Essence is taken internally, the energy of the Essence goes into the physical body via the mucous membranes, the digestive and nervous systems, to the meridians, out to the outer energy layers and then back to the physical body via the chakras and meridians. Gurudas’ book Flower Essences and Richard Gerber’s book Vibrational Medicine describe this process in detail.
Although the energy fields around animals are invisible to most people, some healers have the ability to see them and can tune into them just by looking at the animal they are dealing with. It is possible to train your eyes to see these etheric bodies. Certainly, most people can feel the energies by holding their hands well out to either side of the physical body and, with eyes closed, gradually moving the hands closer in. Rubbing the hands together first, to help sensitise them, can facilitate this process. As the hands come in towards the body the different textures, tem- peratures, strengths and weaknesses of the various energy fields can be sensed.
An animal’s main chakras can be picked up in a similar manner by running the hand along, though not touching, the main line of the body. By picking up varying textures, temperatures and intensity of energy in the chakras or the energy fields, and recognising what is normal for a particular animal, it is possible to gather information about its well-being. With practice this process can be a useful diagnostic tool.
An important aspect of healing with Flower Essences is the premise that behind virtually all physical disease is emotional imbalance. Each emotion affects a different body part. Recent research by biological scientist Candace Pert indicates that hormones are released by the body when emotions are stimulated. These are taken up by the appropriate receptor cells and, if the emotion is recognised and expressed in some way, then the hormones dissipate. However, if an emotion is blocked, suppressed or ignored, or if a physical action such as fight or flight is not manifested, then the ‘hormones of emotion’ become stuck in the receptor cells. In time, if the process is often repeated, this can lead to disease in a particular area of the body. The Essences play an important role in unblocking these unprocessed emotions and so help prevent the body from developing disease.
In animals, the most frequently used Australian Bush Flower Essence is Emergency Essence. This is a combination of seven Essences and is used to deal with trauma, shock, pain and stress. However there are currenly also 69 individual Flower Essences in the Australian Bush Flower Essence range, as well as special creams, mists and combination drops which cover a huge spectrum of emotional, mental and spiritual conditions. These products can all be very effective in treating animals, their owners and handlers in a multitude of situations.
HOW TO USE AUSTRALIAN BUSH FLOWER ESSENCES
The Bush Essences can be used with animals in a similar way to how they are used with humans. First, interview the animal’s owner to find out all the information you can about the animal and about the family situation in which it lives. With a feral or stray animal, try to find out where it was found and how any presenting injury was sustained. Examine the animal and identify the problem. Then look for the emotional imbalances behind it and select the appropriate Essences. There are many ways of selecting Essences for animals. You can look up the symptoms in the Repertory of Symptoms at the end of this book and then select from the suggested Essences.
You can use the Australian Bush Flower Essence Insight Cards which are a set of beautifully coloured photographic images of each of the Bush Essence flowers. You could select a card yourself or ask the animal’s owner to choose on behalf of the animal. Or you can allow the animal to choose for itself. Jan Fowles and Jill Franks, animal carers who work on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, have a special room in which they lay out the Insight Cards and then allow an animal to select its own Essence either by sitting on it or repeatedly sniffing or showing other interest in a particular card.
There are other methods to select for an animal, which bypass the conscious mind and allow access to the Higher Self of both practitioner and animal. You can use a dowsing tool to select an Essence from a list or from the actual Essence bottles. To do this you need a pendulum, usually a crystal attached to a string – though you can use a gemstone, metal, wood, shell, ring or even a key. Energetically cleanse the tool by soaking it in salted water or leaving it in the sun for a couple of hours. Then you need to test your pendulum. With your arm bent to 90 degrees at the elbow and the string held by thumb and forefinger make a statement or ask a question that will illicit a yes/no response and for which you know the answer, such as your name. ‘My name is Marie.’ Note how the pendulum swings. It will vary with individuals. Repeat the process with a ‘no’ statement. It will usually swing one way for a ‘yes’ and the other way for a ‘no’, or perhaps you will get a sideways movement. Test it a few times until you are confident of reading the responses. The pendulum has no power of its own, it is merely a tool to pick up on electrical energy within yourself. You can then select an Essence, using learned knowledge or intuition, and place the bottle of Essence on the animal and ask if this Essence is the correct one at this time. You can put one hand on your animal and ask the animal, or your Higher Self, if a specific Essence is good for that animal now. Alternatively, you can go to the boxes of Essences and ask if the Essence for this animal is in this box, in this row etc. until you find the Essence that is needed. Always ensure that your questions require only yes/no answers and phrase your question carefully so as to get the most accurate response you can. A question could be, ‘Is this Essence the best Essence to benefit this animal at this time?’
You can also surrogate muscle test to select your Essences. Anyone can learn to perform accurate muscle testing, but it is a skill and it takes practice to master as a selection tool. As with dowsing, muscle testing uses the electrical energy of the person testing and of the animal being tested to access the Higher Self. Muscle testing can be done using several different muscles. The most commonly used are the deltoid muscle at the shoulder, or the muscles of the thumb and/or forefinger. When a question is put and the resisting pressure is weak – where the arm or finger will yield to the pressure – a negative response is indicated, but where the muscle holds against pressure you have a positive reply.
To use the forefinger as the muscle indicator hold it out straight and firm. Then use the middle finger of the same hand to apply pressure just below the nail of the forefinger. Your other hand can be on the animal or you could hold a bottle of Essence and focus on the animal. When you ask your question the forefinger will either hold straight for a positive, or curl down for a negative response.
Using two hands, you can put the thumb and little finger of your left hand (if you are right handed) just touching, palm up, forming a circle, a circuit. To test, place thumb and forefinger of the right hand into the circle formed by the two fingers of the left hand. The right hand thumb and finger should be parallel, pads touching. Ask your yes/no question and then press your two left circuit fingers together, while using a similar amount of pressure to try to pull them apart with your right hand thumb and forefinger. If the answer is positive the fingers will stay together. If negative, they should easily come apart. Test several times to get the feel of this system. It is important that your focus be on the animal. You can make physical contact with the animal by resting your left hand or fingers on the animal. To test for specific Essences you can place the Essence somewhere on your body as you ask the question.
A third method is to use a second person who touches the animal while holding out her other arm to the side at shoulder height, palm down. Again, you ask the question then ask the person to keep the outstretched arm up while you gently push it down, applying pressure on the back of the wrist. If the arm holds the answer is ‘yes’; if it yields you have a negative response.
With all these methods it is important that the focus is on the animal being tested and that your intention is made clear before you start. By careful wording of your testing questions and making use of information you have learned from your interview and from your examination of the animal you can quickly uncover what is behind the presenting symptoms. Look for any troubling emotion and also for the object of that emotion such as another animal, a previous owner, a child in the family, etc. Take note of any recent trauma – change of home, death of a family member – human or animal, or any emotional upset within the family. For instance you could ask, ‘Does next door’s dog frighten you’ or ‘Do you miss grandfather (who has just died)?’ etc. In this way it is possible to work out the animal’s issue and then prescribe the appropriate Essence.
If you have the ability to hear the answer, you can ask the animal directly what the problem is and what Essence it would like to have. The answer may come as clearly heard spoken words but for most people it is more likely that the answer will come as an image or words which come to mind or a sense of what is needed. This will be discussed further in Chapter 4.
Treatment is usually seven drops of dose strength Essence given twice daily, squirted directly into the mouth or patted onto the head and body of the animal. However, Essences can be added to drinking water or food, though water is preferable. The Essences can also be used in an atomiser and sprayed on an animal, into its energy fields or around its immediate environment. The Bush Essences easily lend themselves to being combined with massage oils and creams and can be combined with essential oils and homoeopathic tinctures. They are very gentle, safe and self-adjusting. Some animal workers have found that many animals only need one dose of an Essence to deal with a problem, though two weeks’ treatment is the recommended regime, and no harm will come to the animal if the Essence is given over a longer period than needed. All animals are different and it is important to listen and look for indications from your animals of what their particular dosage should be. If you are separated from your animal you can hold the bottle of Essence and ask that the healing energy of the Essence be sent to the animal, though taking the drops is stronger and is the preferred method.
To make up a dosage bottle with more than one Essence you add seven drops of each selected Essence to a mixture of one part brandy and three parts purified, spring or mineral water in a 15-30 ml bottle. It is recommended that the number of Essences included in any one bottle be limited to four or five (though there will always be exceptions) and that the Essences all address the same broad area. It is best to deal with only one problem at a time.
USING FLOWER ESSENCE MISTS AND CREAMS
These beautiful products are made from the highest quality ingredients and have a broad range of healing properties. Each contains Bush Essences which are appropriate to the particular theme being focused on. The base creams and oils include shea and cocoa butter, sweet almond, rose hip, avocado and wheatgerm oil, as well as Vitamin A, emulsifying wax, arnica, chamomile, calendula and aloe, in various combinations. They also contain exquisite essential oils which vary from product to product. There is some discussion about using essential oils with animals. Some aromatherapists believe that animals do not like them and prefer to seek out their own scented plants in the wild, which is good if the animal has access to those plants. Others find that their animals love them and respond to them very well. All the essential oil experts who were approached about this
subject agreed that the level of essential oils present in each of these Bush Essence products is not so high as to cause any problems if used with animals. As with any skin product, it is best to try a small amount on your animal and see how it responds. If there is any negative reaction then obviously stop usage. However, if the response is good then use it confidently. Each of the products is clearly labelled with its ingredient contents.
The creams should be applied sparingly to the skin to ease emotional and physical conditions. The mists can be used to help create environments free from negative energies and each mist is conducive to a particular scenario. Mists are sprayed into the room or other area or into the animal’s energy fields. The mists can also be used on the skin to freshen or to relieve distress, being careful to avoid the eyes.
Calm & Clear Essence Mist and Cream. The mist creates a calm environment. It can help an animal to relax and focus. The cream can ease stiffness and tension in muscles and joints, particularly the head and neck, and can relieve head pain if applied to forehead and base of skull.
Emergency Essence Mist and Cream. The mist will defuse an agitated or emotional situation, and if sprayed on the skin can relieve the pain of insect bites and stings. The cream can soothe painful joints and ease bruising, rashes and other skin problems.
Face, Hand & Body Essence Cream is a good general skin cream and, as it was formulated to use on the delicate facial skin, is particularly gentle and soothing on irritated skin.
Sensuality Essence Mist is helpful for the animal that is not comfortable with being touched.
Space Clearing Essence Mist clears negative energies from rooms and other areas, or from an animal’s energy fields. It is good when moving to a new house, etc.
Travel Essence Mist can be sprayed in animal transport vehicles or family cars to improve conditions for travel.
Woman Essence Mist and Cream can be used for any ‘female’ problems – rubbed or sprayed on the skin of the abdomen.
Woman; Face, Hand & Body; and Travel Essence Creams all contain Mulla Mulla which can help deal with sun damage and radiation. So they could be considered for problems with sun-damaged ears and faces, particularly in pale- skinned animals. The She Oak Essence in these creams would also help with dryness of skin.
These creams and mists are luxurious to use and can bring about wonderful changes on many levels. Other possible uses for these products with animals are suggested in the following chapters and the individual Essence and Combination Drops will be discussed in depth throughout the book.
Some animals may go through a healing crisis early in their treatment with Flower Essences and other remedies. This shows as a temporary worsening of symptoms and has several causes. One, the animal is processing emotions or physical toxins and so the body and emotions are temporarily in overload. Two, the animal may be resisting the change that the remedies are bringing about in its body, though this is less common in animals than in humans. Three, some animals are super sensitive and need a smaller dose of the Essences. There are several ways to deal with this situation. You can stop the current Essences for a couple of days and maybe give the animal Emergency Essence if that feels appropriate. Or you can reduce the dosage by giving fewer drops per dose, or reduce the number of doses per day from two to one. Also you could try adding the Essences to water so that they are going into the body and energy fields in a more diluted form. If symptoms do not clear within a couple of days, or if they are severe, consult a health professional. The presenting symptoms could be an indication of something serious that is quite unrelated to the Essence treatment. It would be very rare to get a severe reaction to a Flower Essence.
OBTAINING BUSH ESSENCES
Individual dose strength Essences can be obtained directly from Australian Bush Flower Essences headquarters at Terrey Hills, Sydney, ordered from their web- site or purchased from many leading health food shops and Flower Essence practitioners. Pre-prepared dose strength Combination Essences are available from many health foods shops, natural therapists and local and international distributors. Stock strength bottles, from which you can make your own dose bottles, are available from Australian Bush Flower Essences or your local distributor. Contact details are at the back of the book.
Flower Essences are very hardy: however there are some precautions that should be taken to keep them at their best. Never store the Essences near electronic equipment. Don’t store in full sun for long periods or in other places where they will get excessively hot, such as in the boot of a car. Occasional exposure to such conditions will not harm the Essences but long term it could reduce their efficacy. Always close the bottle immediately after use and don’t allow the dropper to touch the mouth or other parts of the body or anywhere else that it could contaminate the Essences when it is returned to the bottle.
Using Australian Bush Flower Essences is a good way to bring the healing power of plants to animals that have no regular access to them.