Well+Good is your healthiest relationship, hooking you up with the best, most interesting things/people/leggings in wellness. And nothing gets at this concept better than the plus-sign in our logo.
Inside this plus sign, which acts like a gallery window, we showcase the most exciting, transformative objects and ideas that add wellness to your life. This week, we’re focused on the wellness wow-factor of flower essences.
Someone gives you flowers. What’s the first thing you do? Stick your face in them and inhale, of course.
There’s no denying that flowers make you feel good. They change your mood, elevate your spirit, shift your emotions. That’s no small feat. How many things in the world make you feel that consistently good that aren’t in the form of cardio-related endorphins?
That makes flower essences arguably better than the strongest drug (or stiffest martini).
Flower essences are plant extracts meant to harness that good feeling. They were first developed in the 1930s by English homeopath Edward Bach, who claimed that flower extracts retain the healing properties of the plant.
And that tradition continues: “We are capturing that feeling in a bottle,” says Katie Hess, founder of Lotus Wei, an artisanal flower essence and elixir maker who has us obsessed with her olfactory know-how. “Each flower has a different quality, and it brings out that quality in you.”
She explains that remedies work vibrationally. “If you have a guitar on your lap and sing the note E, the string will start to buzz with your vocal chords. That’s sympathetic resonance.” These remedies are a bioenergetic infusion—“a subtle electrical vibration in water,” as Hess puts it—and have been used to help people with depression, anxiety, stress, and even deeper emotional issues, she says. They essentially change your internal vibe. “The body is an orchestra,” Hess exclaims.
Science is still catching up with, you know, feelings.
Like many other alternative therapies, flower essences have gained respect over the last decade (you can even get the calming Bach Rescue Remedy at Whole Foods or a healthy deli now). And their rise in popularity as a stress-reliever or energy booster can’t be denied—we’re talking a few drops on the tongue of Quiet Mind (with bird of paradise and passionflower) before bed or misting the office with Inspired Action (starring Chandelier succulent and fire star orchid, featured in our logo) before a meeting or to beat a mid-afternoon slump. More high-end spas are adding Lotus Wei mists, serums, elixirs, and oils to their treatments, too.
Although holistic remedies with or without flowers tend to wilt under the scrutiny of Western clinical trials, “we know that we spend a day out in nature, we feel different. There is something else going on there,” says Hess. That speaks to a finding of Stanford researchers last year who said walking in nature changes the brain and improves mental health. And it explains wellness trends like forest bathing.
Simply understanding how you feel when you hike through a forest as opposed to the subway is reason to trust your nose and your body and arm or annoint yourself with the essences, points out Hess. “Flowers are a direct communication with nature,” she says. “They help you bloom.”
For our last Plus Factor, we dove into the (radiance-boosting) world of oil cleansers.