There are many types of flowers to choose from, with each one having its own unique properties. For centuries, flowers have been used as a remedy for mental and physical illnesses. These plants that often have pleasing scents have been used to heal everything from insomnia to depression, and even acted as a natural sedative before the discovery of chemical remedies. When choosing the best type for your needs, you need to understand what benefit they will have on you.
What are flowers used for?
Flower remedies work in many ways, from reducing stress to curing insomnia; here’s how they do it. Each flower is said to hold a different vibration that can be transferred into our bodies, whether it is by the flower being eaten, inhaled, or rubbed onto the skin.
Some flowers are used by simply smelling the aroma of the flower, whilst others require the plant to be steeped in hot water or freeze-dried. This can then be drunk as tea, allowing the essence of the flower to be absorbed by our body.
How do they work?
According to experts, each flower has a message for us, which is reflected in its color and shape. The message is then received by the pituitary gland, which can be found at the base of our brain. This is considered our master gland, as it controls other glands throughout our body that produce hormones to keep us healthy; including those in charge of regulating moods like serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline, and melatonin.
Essential oils are found in flowers and fruits such as rose, lavender, orange blossom and peppermint. These strong fragrances can be inhaled by releasing the oil into an oil burner or placing a few drops onto a tissue and inhaling from there. This releases the scent directly to our olfactory system through tiny receptors found in our noses. The messages can be interpreted by the brain and transferred to different parts of the body.
This is sometimes called aromatherapy and is based on the belief that essential oils in essential oil blends are absorbed via the skin or inhaled into your lungs where it is later carried to cells, tissues, organs, glands, and nerves. The message can be transferred directly to the limbic system, which is also known as our emotional brain. This area of the brain controls memories and behavior through emotions such as fear, anger, sadness or happiness.
This part of the brain works in conjunction with the hypothalamus, which is responsible for many actions including blood pressure, body temperature, and hunger.
Treating physical illnesses – From headaches, colds and flu are to insomnia, depression, and anxiety, many plant remedies are used in each condition. To treat a headache for example, you can try rosemary essential oil on your temples or geranium rubbed into your skin.
The effects of a flower remedy can take up to six weeks, so try not to expect miracles after the first dose! The only way to determine whether they are working for you is by logging your symptoms and observations in a journal.
Treating mental illnesses – Some flowers such as chamomile and lavender have been used in this field for centuries and are still used today. Some studies have found that the essential oils of these plants can slow down breathing and heart rate to induce sleep, whilst others have found them to be a natural sedative. Chamomile has also been suggested as an anti-anxiety remedy because it reduces blood pressure and restores healthy circulation. Valerian on the other hand is a sedative used to treat insomnia. It has been proven that aromatherapy with lavender and chamomile can reduce anxiety, depression and stress more effectively than antidepressants do. Both are also considered antispasmodic – this means they relax spasms in muscles or tissues caused by either cramps or convulsions.
Aromatherapy can be more effective than antidepressants in reducing depression and stress
The effects of aromatherapy have been proven to reduce anxiety, depression and stress more effectively than drugs do. The reason for this is that essential oils are naturally produced when a plant is damaged or under environmental stress. They act as a defense mechanism that warns predators to stay away but more importantly, it attracts insects to the plant which aid in pollination.
Some remedies for depression include jasmine tea, lemon balm and lavender baths. These do not work instantly, however, so try them as a preventative measure or during crisis periods only.
Other treatments – Lavender is also great for skin problems such as acne, rashes, and dermatitis. It can be applied to the affected area undiluted or mixed with a moisturizer (for example rosehip oil) which will help alleviate itching.
When treating mental illness make sure you consult your GP before trying any new herbal remedy because some can be harmful if taken in the wrong dosage.
A few precautions:
If applied directly to the skin, essential oils can cause skin irritation which in rare cases could lead to contact dermatitis. They are also toxic if they enter your bloodstream through cuts, eczema, or open wounds. They should never be taken internally because the liver cannot process them and will store them as fat. Evidence has shown that they can damage the liver, kidneys, and brain if taken in high doses over a long period of time.
NOTE: Essential oils are very concentrated, so even small amounts can cause problems! When treating physical illnesses it is important to dilute them with a carrier oil before use (for example rosehip or coconut). If you have a serious medical condition or are taking medication, please consult your GP before using essential oils.