What Essences Are Not
Essences are not Homoeopathic Preparations
Homoeopathic preparations often start off the same way as essences do, with an aqueous solution of the source material. With homoeopathy, a small volume of that solution is then diluted in a large volume of water and shaken(sucussed) many thousands of times. A small sample of the resulting solution is diluted further, then sucussed. This procedure is repeated until the required potency is reached. Homoeopathic preparations are designated by the suffix of "C", "M" or sometimes the outdated term "x".
Homoeopathic preparation are medicines as far as the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) are concerned. They have their own sub-section in medicine law and manufacturers are required to meet rigid standards of production.
If essences are labelled as "5x" or similar, they are not essences.
Some producers use this type of labelling for marketing or promotional purposes. If the contents are indeed "5x", then they are a homoepathic preparation and require the necessary licenses or registration. If the contents are essences then they should be labelled correctly under the UK Trades Descriptions Act.
Essences are not Herbal Preparations
Herbal preparations, such as tinctures, tisanes and decoctions all contain the chemical compounds present in the plant of source. If any of these preparations were subject to laboratory tests, the compounds could be identified and the source verified.
Essences are not Essential Oils
Essential Oils are concentrated extracts of the active aromatic chemical compounds in plant material and can also be identified from laboratory analysis.
Essences are not Medicines
Essence have no place in the medicines category in UK law. Their preparation is too simple, too diverse, and too linked into Nature to be able to be re-created in laboratory or other tightly controlled conditions. Attempts to make essences by high-tech processes destroy their intrinsic effectiveness.
What Are Essences?
Essences are classed as 'foods' in the UK.
They are non-toxic, water-based products, that have no chemical or biological materials present other than the water and its preservative (brandy, vodka, glycerol etc). They are produced by and are subject to, UK food standards, DEFRA labelling law and MHRA literature and descriptions guidance.
'Essence' is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) as follows:
Being viewed as a fact or as a property of something.
Something that is; an entity. Now only as a spiritual entity.
Specific being 'what a thing is'; nature, character.
Substance: the substratum of phenomena; absolute being.
That by which anything subsists.
That which constitutes the being of a thing, either a) as a conceptual, or b) as a real, entity; that by which it is what it is.
The specific difference of anything.
An extract obtained by distillation or otherwise from a plant or drug, and containing its specific properties in a reduced form. In pharmacy, an alcoholic solution of the volatile elements or essential oil.
A perfume, a scent.
Many producers place on their labels:
'the energy signature of XXXX held in water and preserved in YY % alcohol ABV'
'the spirit' of XXXX held in water and preserved in YY % alcohol ABV
'the pattern of XXXX held in water and preserved in YY% alcohol ABV
These allude to definitions 2, 3, 4 and 7 from the OED.
Jacques Benveniste found that the primary mechanism for both homoeopathy and essences is in the nature of water itself. The bonding between hydrogen and oxygen atoms in water is remarkably flexible and the angles can vary more than with any other known substance. It is thought that this unique quality brings 'memory' to water.
Some researchers feels that since the human body itself is composed of around 70% water, it may account for peoples' ability to work with essences and the suchlike.
It was also thought until a few years ago that sunlight was an intrinsic part of the process of the water taking up the energy pattern. It is now recognised that strong sunlight speeds up the process, but is not a requirement.
How Essences Are Made
The simplest method for collecting essences, often these days called 'the sunlight method', is by floating flowers on the surface of a bowl of spring water, in sunlight, for several hours. The resulting liquid (the 'mother' essence) is then preserved in brandy or vodka.
Dilution of this 'mother' essence is simple, without sucussion: 1-7 drops are diluted further to create 'stock' essences and sometimes diluted further in the same way, to create 'dosage' strength.
Essence bottles are sometimes shaken 10-20 times before use or dilution.
Laboratory testing on 'mother' essences can find no physical trace of the source material.
Nowadays there are many methods used for collecting essences:
This is used for flower and many other types of essences : leaf, fruit, root, living flower (when the flower rests on the water whilst still attached to the plant), gem/crystal, colour, environmental (essences made at special places or times.)
This is used for half of the essences within the Bach Flower range and is useful when flowers are out of season or there is a desire to collect from other parts of a plant. The plant material is boiled in water and left to cool naturally. the resulting liquid is filtered and then preserved.
The same methodology as the 'sunlight method', but carried out by moonlight. Essences made by moonlight tend to be more subtle in their effect.
Using Lasers etc
Lasers have been used to pass through plant matter and to then to imprint water.
Proximity to source
Placing a bowl of water close to the desired source for several hours is widely used in the case of plants like orchids (blooms are singular and rare) and gems/crystals (water-soluble or poisonous).
In the last ten years this method of making essences has become very widespread. People use their intention, imagination or a specific focus to alter the water bonding. This is not as far-fetched as it first sounds. Experiments on water by Grad et al have shown that a small magnetic field (similar to the one created by human beings) will affect water. Water, intentionally held by a known healer, was fed to a plant, which thrived. This was in stark contrast to a plant fed by water held by someone known to be depressed.
How do Essences Work?
The easy answer to that is that no-one really knows.
Research (a lot of it somewhat flawed) up to 2004 had suggested that essences are no better that a placebo in their effect. Recent research done on what is know as SeiQuol and MYMOP methods (scientific data collected on perceived quality of life, before and after), has shown that it is not the placebo effect, but something else is happening...