History of Essences
Today essences are made from various sources, but they are best known as originating from flowers, which is not surprising as flowers have been used in various therapeutic and mood enhancing activities throughout the ages. The concept of employing a flower’s energy for improving wellbeing, although less recognised, is also ancient in origin and thought to have been practised by early cultures from the Egyptians to Aborigines. Herbalist also traditionally held sprigs of flowers under running water and used the resulting liquid in treatments. In 16th century Europe, Paracelsus and other alchemists are known to have collected drops of liquid from plants, such as Lady’s Mantle, that mysteriously appeared overnight on the edges of their leaves. Indeed, Lady’s Mantle is named Alchemilla mollis after the interest it provoked in these early chemists, in their search for the elixir of life.
Although naming the drops ‘dew’, they realised they were different as they did not cover the whole surface of the leaf or appear on flowers. We now know the drops are caused by a process called guttation, used to release excess water and minerals.
During the early twentieth century, Dr Edward Bach (1886-1936) re-discovered flower essences and created the Bach Flower Remedies. He recognised the link between emotions and illness and developed essences to support the whole person rather than just their physical symptoms.
In Heal Thyself, he wrote “ . . . disease is . . . the result of a conflict between soul and mind and will never be eradicated except by spiritual and mental effort.”
Since the Bach Remedies were first introduced, many new essences have been developed to reflect the challenges of modern life and our increased understanding of the various factors that can affect well-being.