Got stress? Try a personalized prescription from flower petals

Flower essences have become a popular anti-anxiety remedy among New Yorkers. So we met with Cheri Keeler to see if her bespoke blends work like natural Xanax.

flower essences for stress

I was feeling overwhelmed by work projects—and possibly suffering from the winter blues—when I made an appointment with Cheri Keeler, a Park Slope-based practitioner of flower essences, distilled versions of flowers used to ease maladies like depression, insomnia, or anxiety.

Keeler, who’s also a sought-after massage therapist, has the kind, inquisitive manner of a kooky Katie Couric. She gently asked about the experiences that had led to my maxed-out state. Then, with the instincts of a Michelin-star chef, she sorted through her bottles of essences to create the right recipe for me.

Flower essences have recently become more popular, particularly among those hit hard by the recession, says Bettina Rasmussen, owner of Bach Flowers, the most recognizable brand name on the market. “Some people can’t afford to go to the doctor anymore, so they’re trying to find something natural to heal their worries or fears,” she says. This fact is confirmed by sales at the city’s Whole Foods stores, which are higher than last year’s, says the store’s regional buyer.

Cheri Keeler, flower essences healer
flower essences healer

I’ve tried store-bought Bach Flowers before and they were great. But Keeler’s session lent the added benefit of a sympathetic listener, which to me is a vital part of healing. It’s hard to connect with a dropper bottle.

And unlike the self-serve aisle of remedies, Keeler’s prescription is personalized: Within 72 hours of taking my tincture—four vanilla-sweetened drops, four times a day—somehow the thoughts that had once riled me up no longer ruffled my feathers.

I’m pretty responsive to alternative remedies, but Rasmussen says immediate relief is common for non-believers too, especially when the condition you’re treating has flared up recently.

“Every time you put the essences in your body, you’re making an affirmation to yourself,” says Keeler. And since they have a cumulative effect, that affirmation grows stronger the more you use them. —Nina Pearlman

To schedule a SmilingHeart Flower Essences session with Cheri Keeler, call 917-509-5499 or write Cost is $75 for a 75-minute session and a two-week supply of remedies.

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