What is Flower Therapy?

By Nannette Richford

  • Overview

    What is Flower Therapy?
    What is Flower Therapy?
    Dr Edward Bach, a London doctor, began his study of flower therapy in 1930. He believed that flowers' essence held healing properties with the ability to restore the mind from negative emotions and thereby heal the human body. Flower therapy continues in the realm of alternative and holistic medicine.
  • Edward Bach's Work

    Dr. Bach's work involved collecting the dew from flowers and using the tincture to develop solutions used to treat specific ailments that he believed were the result of negative emotions. Many of his discoveries resulted from an intuitive knowledge. Reportedly, Bach subjected himself to negative states of mind and sought remedies for the emotion by experimenting with flower essences. Historical accounts indicate that he possessed the ability to sense the healing powers of flowers by holding his hands over the flower. Once identified as the appropriate remedy, Bach obtained the essence from the flower. Initially collection of flower essences involved collecting small amounts of dew from the petals, but Bach learned that placing the flower in water and allowing the sun to penetrate created the same essence. The water then served as a remedy to balance human emotions and restore a healthy equilibrium.
  • Flower Therapy

    Bach's work lead to the practice of identifying negative emotions thought to manifest as physical ailments. He treated patients by placing flower essences near the patient to induce healing. This practice became known as Flower Therapy. It continues to be practiced as an alternative or holistic healing method in some areas.


  • Evidence

    Anecdotal evidence suggests that flower therapy provides benefits to balancing emotions, but scientific evidence does not support the claims. However, the ability of flowers to elevate mood has long been accepted as fact.
  • Victorian Influences

    What is often referred to as flower therapy today relies on both Bach's work with flower essences and long held symbolism of specific flowers. Much of the symbolic meaning derives from the Victorian era when flowers served to convey hidden messages. During that period, each flower denoted a specific message, either singly or in combination with other flowers. The presentation and timing in delivering flowers to a suitor or acquaintance provided a distinct message. Entire books devoted to the symbolism or flowers emerged providing guidance in the use of flowers as a form of unspoken communication.
  • Current Practices

    Florists often claim to provide flower therapy by arranging flowers designed to elicit specific moods. Although these practices do not follow Bach's practices or claim to heal the human body of physical and emotional illness, the roots of the practice lie in Bach's work. As a quick remedy to elevate mood, flowers appear to be effective. Whether flower essences contain healing properties or if flowers simply appeal to the human psyche, the floral business continues to flourish providing elaborate floral arrangements designed to brighten the mood and to celebrate life's accomplishments.
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