Bush Flower Essences
The Winter Essence: Correa lawrenceana
Harvested on a cold winter’s day, with no sun, the flowers were heated gently in rock-salt saturated spring water and left to stand 4hrs. The flowers still looked fresh and intact at this time and green, clear, bubbly water when collected to make the Mother tincture with 50/50 salty essence and brandy.
Mountain Correa lawrenceana aids integration and balance. This is a yin and yang essence that balances right and left sides of the body, aiding both action and meditation. This flower had been attracting my attention for a week or more, waiting for a sunny day that never came in a week when everything seemed disjointed, blocked, not flowing well and I felt like hibernating for the rest of winter! It put things back into perspective and balance, activating the green heart chakra/yellow manipura with a focus on compassion for self and others.
This is a low growing bush with long green/cream bell shaped flowers, fused petals, 2-3cm long, Fuchsia-like. Hairy dark green leaves, lighter very hairy undersides. A cold weather flower with “truncate woolly calyx cups with 4 small teeth, 8 staminal thread-like filaments "(p431, Flowers and Plants of Victoria).
I live in the bush in country Victoria, surrounded by fantastic wild flowers and I although I make extracts, infused oils and essences from the European herbs in my garden, I am fascinated by the native flowers and their healing properties.
As child, living near bush, I collected and 'pressed' many bush flowers. I actually planned to be a botanist. I studied botany and plant pathology at RMIT and still have the text books. Somehow I was diverted from plant pathogens to human pathogens, to microbiology and immunology…. but that’s all old history. My fascination with plants endured as a gardener and hobby herbalist and lead eventually to herbal medicine studies.
The problem with the bush flowers is that they appear individually for such a short time. Fringed lily for example, flowers for one day only. I couldn’t harvest a kilogram of plant to make an alcohol extract or oil infusion. So I revisited my copy of Ian Whites Bush Flower Healing . I read and enjoyed the book years ago while living in the city (no wild flowers there) and I have his Emergency Essence in stock and know it is effective. While Ian’s book includes flowers of the Australian desert and tropics, I was encouraged to find that many of the flowers listed were growing in my country backyard!
Learning about bush flower essences
Preparing bush flower essences seemed fairly simple, but I needed to know their properties and when to use them. Looking on the web http://www.ausflowers.com.au I found that Alison Lovett was running a weekend introductory course in Melbourne in November 2016 and I went along. It was a fascinating and intensive weekend (thanks Alison!) and a great introduction to Ian White’s 69 bush flower essences . Over the next month I made 13 essences from my local bush flowers. I’m now up to essence number 34, including some non-native plants growing in my garden. Others have prepared flower essences, including the famous Bach flower remedies, from a wide variety of plants, and the www has information on a host of these. A favourite book on this is by Gurudas .
I prepare essences by floating a layer of carefully selected and harvested flowers in a glass bowl filled with local spring water and placing the bowl in bright summer sunlight on a hot basalt block for at least 4 hrs. I’m essentially making flower tea (a tisane). The water often looks oily, cloudy or bubbly. With some flowers there is a dramatic change of colour in the water, with yellow flowers giving brown water, white flowers turning the water black, and purple flowers giving brilliant blue water. Something is definitely happening here!
I then filter the tisane through a natural (no chemicals) paper coffee filter and add an equal volume of Hardy’s Black label brandy as preservative. This 50/50 mixture (shaken well) is the Mother tincture that can be diluted for stock and treatment preparations. I’m now investigating the properties of these essences, based the literature and my own observation of their characteristics.
In many cases the properties of the essence match those described by others, but sometimes the effects are quite different, so each essence must be explored by its maker. Thus the same flower, grown in different conditions, can have quite different properties, as is the case with all herbs.
How do the flower essences work?
These are essentially homeopathic remedies with properties defined by the structure of the flower, it’s scent and growth habits, observation of the effects they have on people (proving , as done for homeopathic remedies) and the intuition of the maker of the essence. Feedback from people using the essence is important to confirm the effects. Flower essences often have emotional effects, bringing about subtle mood changes, and these can lead to profound physical changes. As with Reiki and Pellowah therapy (see my therapy pages), the flower essences work at the level of the subtle body, within the physical nervous system and the non-physical energetic levels of being (see Richard Gerber’s excellent book, ).
I’ll list the properties of my essences on this website, as I investigate them, on the therapy pages. They will add to my repertoire of herbal remedies.
1.White, I., Bush Flower Healing. 1999, Sydney, Australia: bantam Books.
2.White, I., AustralianBush Flower Essences. 1993, Scotland: Findhorn Press.
3.Gurudas, Flower essences and vibrational healing. 1989: Last Century Media.
4.Gerber, R., Vibrational Medicine. 2001, Rochester, USA: Bear and Company.