(also see How to use Flower Essences, About Flower Essences, our main Flower Essences page, and the Flower Essence Index)
With the 142 flower essences and flower essence combinations on this site, it can be challenging to be sure you're choosing the most helpful ones for your situation. Or that of a family member, friend, or pet, for that matter. There are so many choices, and sometimes after reading their descriptions, we may feel as though we need almost all of them.
Finding the right flowers for one's own emotional growth and healing starts with being honest with one's self about important issues in one's life (we'll get to those for other people and pets in a bit). Perhaps the best place to start for the newcomer to flower essence therapy is with the guide Choosing Flower Essences (.pdf) from the Flower Essence Society. While not intended to replace counseling from a flower essence therapist, it can be an effective tool to promote self healing. The Flower Essence Repertory is a larger compendium - an excellent, thorough source, though regrettably not available in electronic format.
Choosing Flower Essences is a self-test with questions that cover every one of the flower essence we carry, except for the Five Flower Formula (for relief from traumatic, intense, or shocking situations).
Each flower essence has a set of three questions associated with it and, following the instructions, you are to mark an 'a' for always and 's' for sometimes after each question. More than one 'a' or a few 's's by an essence indicates a connection. We have found, however, that this can result in too many flower essences being selected for one formula (no more than 6 or 7 essences are suggested in combination).
There are ways to narrow down this list; one is to use a 1-5 scale instead of an 'a' or an 's'. You can then chose a few with the highest scores and start with those. Or, you can to group the flowers relative to the emotions or issues you'd most like to address. The individual descriptions of each essence on this site can help distinguish between flowers that may seem similar. When looking at these, recall that Choosing Flower Essences covers both the North American Flower Essences and the original 37 flowers used by Dr. Bach. So if you can't find a flower essence on one list, check on the other. (Yes, we're working on getting them all together on one list!)
We find people can have success using a single flower essence or combination for one or two months, working through a particular emotional issue - there are several factors which might affect the necessary duration; how 'deep' the issue or pattern might be in your psyche, for example. Others may find it best to be working with two or more essences or combinations at one time, perhaps one for the you relate to the world at work and the stress involved with that, and one for your life with family and friends. It is worthwhile to experiment, but important to give the essences enough time to begin to work before choosing a different one.
The same process can be used for choosing flower essences for family members, friends or pets. It is important to remember, however, that one should notice if one is making self-serving choices - always keep the user's emotional health in mind. When provided to a family member, friend or pet, give the essences with encouragement for best results.
Note: While flower essences will not interfere with other health programs, they do not replace professional medical care if that is appropriate.
Flower Essence and Bach Flower Article List: