Although British homeopath Edward Bach developed 38 different flower essences in the 1930s, they didn't gain popularity in the mainstream market until recently.
Flower essences -- also called flower remedies -- are homeopathic medicines made from 100 percent spring water infused with wild flowers. The mix is either sun-steeped or boiled, combined with a grape-based brandy that serves as a preservative and hand-poured into bottles.
To ingest, a person squeezes a few drops of the remedy into a glass of water or rubs it on the wrists. Some remedies come in tablet form or are made into sprays or creams to be used externally. Flower essences aid with a variety of issues, from bad skin to anxiety or depression.
Today, Bach flower essences are still the most popular brand on the market. The top-selling essence is called Rescue Remedy, a combination of rock rose, impatiens, clematis, star of Bethlehem and cherry plum. This remedy helps in emergency situations with anxiety, stress and panic attacks.
Bay View’s Ashley Reaser doesn’t travel without out Rescue Remedy.
"I have always been afraid of flying, so I have this on hand in case I start to feel really panicky," she says. "I used to take stronger medication before getting on a plane, but for me, this works just as well and it doesn't knock me out."
Crab Apple is another coveted Bach remedy because it helps the body and the emotions simultaneously. When applied externally, the flower essence relieves skin problems such as itching, burning, stings and acne.
Flower essences are all-natural, and can be used with dogs, children and pregnant women. (Check with you doctor or veternarian before using any homeopathic medications.) Testimonies suggest that the flower remedies aid hyperactive dogs, shy, fearful or tantruming children and pregnant women feeling anxious about birth.
It is impossible to overdose on flower essences, and different kinds can be mixed together if a person has more than one issue.
In Milwaukee, flower essences are available at Outpost Natural Foods (all locations), Whole Foods, 2305 N. Prospect Ave., and the Riverwest Co-op, 733 E. Clarke St. They range in price from $10.50 to $14.99.
"I find them extremely gentle and extremely helpful," says Reaser.
Here is a full list of flower essences and what they treat:
Agrimony -- Feelings of internal turmoil.
Aspen -- Fear, particularly of unknown things.
Beech -- Intolerance.
Centaury -- The inability to say no.
Cerato -- Difficulty making decisions.
Cherry Plum -- Fear of the mind weakening.
Chestnut Bud -- Failure to learn from mistakes.
Chicory -- Selfish, possessive love.
Clematis -- Inability to live in the present.
Crab Apple -- For overall cleansing, skin problems and self-hatred.
Elm -- Feeling overwhelmed by responsibility, specifically work.
Gentian -- Discouragement after a setback.
Gorse -- Hopelessness and despair.
Heather -- Self-centredness and self-concern.
Holly -- Hatred, envy and jealousy.
Honeysuckle -- Living in the past.
Hornbeam -- Procrastination or exhaustion at the thought of doing something.
Impatiens -- Impatience.
Larch -- Lack of confidence.
Mimulus -- Fear of known things.
Mustard -- Depression for seemingly no reason.
Oak -- Unable to relax.
Olive -- Exhaustion following mental or physical effort.
Pine -- Guilt.
Red Chestnut -- Over-concern for the welfare of loved ones / children.
Rock Rose -- Terror and fright.
Rock Water -- Self-denial, rigidity and self-repression.
Scleranthus -- Inability to choose between alternatives.
Star of Bethlehem -- Shock.
Sweet Chestnut -- Extreme mental anguish and feelings of doom.
Vervain -- Over-enthusiasm.
Vine -- Dominance and inflexibility.
Walnut -- Inability to deal with change.
Water Violet -- Pride and aloofness.
White Chestnut -- Unwanted thoughts and mental arguments.
Wild Oat -- Uncertainty over direction in life.
Wild Rose -- Drifting, resignation and apathy.
Willow -- Self-pity and resentment.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.