Flower Essence Questions

What is a flower essence? Is that the same as a tincture?

A flower essence is very different from a tincture. A tincture is a potent alcohol extract of fresh or dried plants whereas a flower essence is a diluted cold water infusion of fresh flowers meant for homeopathic use. Flower essence therapy was developed by Doctor Edward Bach in the early 1900s to help sensitive people with emotional pain such as fear, uncertainty, loneliness, overstimulation, burnout, sadness, and trauma.

We sell flower essences as 30 ml stock bottles. A stock bottle is simply 50% best brandy and 50% aquifer water. Three drops of a flower’s mother essence are put into this stock bottle and we ship it to you ready for use. The mother essence is the pure cold water infusion of the fresh flowers which are harvested ritually, prayed over, and infused in the morning sun for a couple hours before straining and using to make stock bottles. The finished flower essence you receive is a diluted version of this mother essence preserved with the alcohol. There are only three drops of a mother essence in each bottle of our flower essences.

Are flower essences made from poisonous flowers like nightshades safe?

Flower essences made from poisonous plants are safe to ingest as the amount of the mother essence ingested even from the stock bottle is less than a microdose. Some of the flowers in our essences are very toxic and long-term use of large quantities of our essences is not recommended. If you wish to use an essence daily for a long-term period we recommend creating dosage bottles.

What is a dosage bottle and how do I make one?

 A dosage bottle is what you call any additional bottles of flower essence you make using the same 50/50 alcohol and spring water base and three drops from your stock bottle.

To make a dosage bottle you need one 15-30 ml (0.5-1 fl.oz) dropper bottle and fill it half with spring water and half with the alcohol of your choice as long as it is 40% alcohol or higher. This is because you need the final alcohol content to be 20% or above for to preserve the flower essence long-term. When your bottle is ready add three drops of the stock bottle you to this new bottle. Ta da, it is now a dosage bottle for everyday use.

How do I use a flower essence?

Flower essences can be taken right from the dropper on or under the tongue or alternately dropped into your tea, coffee, juice, or water. For our nightshade flower essences we suggest doing everything in threes – take three drops three times a day for three, six, nine days or months etc. Flower essences are meant to be ingested with intention and mindfulness as part of a daily ritual. Think about what healing you hope to gain from the plant spirit and focus on your goal while it is on your tongue.

Incorporate them into group communion rituals of sharing a cup, add into a tea ceremony, a daily divination reading, a ritual bath, or your recurring moon rituals. For more ideas on how to use them, read up on the kala prayer drinking rite of Victor Anderson and check out this great article on How to Use Flower Essences for Emotional Support by the Herbal Academy.

I avoid alcohol, can I use them without ingesting?

Yes! Flower essences are essentially the bottled “essence” of a plant spirit. They can be used for external anointing for spiritually cleansing people, objects, or places as well as aiding in divination, magical rituals, and plant spirit communion. Anoint your forehead, ritual tools, objects that need cleansing, or even add to a ritual bath –especially repeated spiritual cleansing baths to help with uncrossing and letting go.

Ointment Questions

Which one should I use?

Belladonna is best for sleep issues, muscle pain, muscle spasms, carpal tunnel, and tendon and joint pain. Datura is best for osteo and rheumatic arthritis and relieving the pain of bone injuries under the skin as well as sleep issues. High doses can help with anxiety. Henbane is best for massage, muscle pain, sore joints, mild arthritis, as an aphrodisiac and helping with depression. Mandrake is best for acute pain like burns, bee stings, pulled muscles, sprained wrists, and migraines – it is also great for massage, as an aphrodisiac, and with anxiety and depression. The Solanaceae ointment which uses all of them is a multi-purpose medicine which our customers find a bit stronger than the single ointments.

What is the shelf life?

2-5 years if stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat. Keep away from the bathroom, window sills, the kitchen stove, and hot cars.

My ointment melted! What do I do?

If your ointment melts from heat, treat it like a lip balm left in a car or that went through a dryer and make sure leave it in a dark, non-humid place at room temperature for a few hours until it returns to a semi-solid state. Depending on the severity of the heat or how many times it has already melted, it may not re-solidify when at a normal temperature again, but don’t worry, the medicinal properties are not compromised as they can handle high heat. 

How much should I use and how often?

Everyone is different, so start with a small dose and use more as needed. Some people just need a small rub, and others use up to 1/2 to 1 tsp of ointment. It can take up to two hours for the full effects to work and ointments can be re-applied every 6-8 hours.

Are they okay for long-term use?

There have been no medical studies done on long-term topical use of artemisias and nightshades. As with any medicine, if you use it every day your body will build up a tolerance and it will become less effective. To counteract this, take a break for 1-2 weeks from using the medicine before starting up regular use again so your body has a chance to re-adjust. If you are on any medication or are using the ointment to help with a medical condition, be sure to inform your doctor.

Can I use them if I am pregnant/breastfeeding?

No! These herbs are not safe to use when pregnant or breastfeeding, and hands should be washed after use and the application area covered with clothing if you have small children who will touch you.

What are the possible side effects?

Always perform a test patch before regular use. Negative side effects can include dizziness, drowsiness, blurry vision (belladonna), dry mouth, nausea, mental confusion, and intoxication. If you feel drowsy or intoxicated, do not use when driving or doing complex tasks or lessen your dose. At worst, you may feel like you had a glass or two of wine. If you feel nauseated, feverish and are experiencing heart palpitations — contact your doctor or go to the ER as you may be especially sensitive, allergic, or have a heart issue. The negative effects will fade in several hours. In the meantime wash off any remaining ointment with cool water and soap, drink lots of water, and eat some fibre rich food to ground yourself.

Are they safe if I’m on anti-depressants?

Yes, but they will not be as effective if you are taking SSRIs and you may need to use a larger dose than the average person – always do a test patch first though!

What if they don’t work for me?

It is rare, but you either need a stronger dose, you didn’t wait the full two hours for effects to set in, or they are simply not the plant medicine for you and we recommend trying alternatives for treating pain and insomnia. If you are in serious chronic pain or have mental health issues and our ointments do not work for you after trying larger doses and emailing us for help, we recommend asking your family doctor about cannabis and CBD alternatives.

Do you have non-toxic alternatives I can use instead?
Salves and oils made from poplar buds aka balm of gilead are easy to find online and at natural health stores – they are safe for use on children and pets and relieve even severe pain and inflammation. Our Motherwort and Blue Vervain tinctures relieve the symptoms of anxiety and frayed nerves. We do not have alternative sleep aids to nightshade ointments at this time, but recommend any non-toxic medicinal herb with sedative properties such as catnip, chamomile, lemon balm, hops, or lavender. Stronger, but relatively safe alternatives include California poppy, valerian, and wild lettuce.