Sometimes, as we make our way through life, we suffer from stresses and shocks that can throw us off kilter. This imbalance can be acute, perhaps the sting of a criticism that can ause momentary self-doubt, or chronic, the despondency and loneliness that can accompany a long-term illness. This is something on which we can all agree, but such an imbalance can be much more than simply mentally or emotionally uncomfortable. The mind and body are not separate, and what affects one affects the other.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is believed that emotions are the root cause of disease. It isn’t that emotions are necessarily good or bad. All of the emotions we experience are valid. However, when we are experiencing optimal health, our emotions are felt, acknowledged, and met with an appropriate response, followed by the next emotion. It is only when we become stuck in a certain emotion – such as fear, uncertainty, preoccupation, despondency or over concern – that emotions create disharmony and illness, and especially when we attempt to ignore or suppress them. This is where flower essences (also known as vibrational remedies) can help.
Flower essences speak to our emotional patterns and attitudes, so while there is no remedy specifically for a certain disease, such as arthritis or heart disease, they facilitate healing the many illnesses caused and exacerbated by our emotional patterns. Those who use flower essences often find that as their negative emotional patterns change, physical symptoms of illness also shift.
Flower essences are distilled infusions of the flowering parts of specific plants. The most well-known pioneer of the healing power of these essences is English physician Dr. Edward Bach. In the 1930’s, Dr. Bach discovered the essences of plants used vibrationally for emotional healing, and created the widely-used Bach Flower Remedies consisting of 38 essences. Today, there are many more essences created by modern companies using the flowers of various regions, and even gems.
There are remedies for over concern for others (Red Chestnut), uncertainty from overwork (Hornbeam), critical attitudes (Beech) and thoughts that race through the mind and keep us awake at night (White Chestnut). There are remedies to address fears or anxiety (Aspen), impatience and irritability (Impatiens), nervousness and depression (Mustard), for removing resentment (Willow), for tension from overachieving (Vervain), and for mental shock (Star of Bethlehem). There are many more, as well, all with their own unique qualities to address specific symptoms. I’ve listed some below that might be helpful to specifically address some issues that may arise when making the transition to raw foods, considering it, or struggling with it.
Flower essences are a gentle form of natural healing that are so safe to use that they can be used with children and pets. They can be used internally (by placing two to four drops under the tongue), topically (in the bath, in compresses or simply rubbing a drop on the skin), or diffused into the air. They work well with other forms of healing, including psychotherapy and hypnotherapy, massage therapy and energy work, herbalism, acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic, naturopathic and allopathic medicine.
The following flower essences are just a few that may be most helpful - taken individually or in combination (try not more than six at a time):
* Aspen - When you are feeling vague fear about the unknown. All change can be scary.
* Mimulus - When you are feeling fear of things you can name - fear of family criticism or losing familiar comforts.
* Cherry Plumb - When you feel you might lose control of thoughts or actions.
* Chestnut Bud - When we continue to make the same mistakes, without seeming to learn from them.
* Elm - When it seems overwhelming - new recipes, new habits, new skills. It can all seem too much.
* Gentian - When you are feeling easily discouraged or feeling self-doubt.
* Gorse - If you feel hopelessness or even despair, and are thinking of giving up.
* Larch - When lack of self-confidence causes you to anticipate failure.
* Red Chestnut - When feeling overconcern or worry for others. We can often be so certain that if only a suffering friend or family member would try what we’re trying, they could regain health, that it causes us pain.
* Rock Water - When you may be a little too dogmatic in your approach. There is room for variation, for not being perfect.
* Vervain - When your interest in the raw food lifestyle seems to be more of a fervor, and you feel that you know best for others and that you are never wrong.
* Walnut - Any resistance to change can benefit from Walnut, which will ease the transition.
* Wild Rose - When you feel that you just can’t make the change, so there’s no point in trying.
* Willow - When you feel resentment over unfair treatment. Perhaps your family, friend or co-workers are giving you a difficult time because you’ve endeavored to change.
These are just a few of the essences and a taste of what they can offer. These essences, and others, have been helpful to me over the years. They are sold in a number of places - health food stores and online, of course - and we can even make our own. In a future article, I’ll discuss how to do this.