By Rebecca Rice-Wilson
This detailed report illustrates that there is not a remedy “for” asthma, but rather a soul process in which the emotional life finds a new center of identity.
The physical and emotional precursors to asthma
My daughter Emma is now 8 years old. Her birth was very difficult and stressful; we experienced a 30 hour labor. As a result, her head was swollen and the doctors had to drain her lungs. Emma was and is a sensitive child. She is sensitive to many things including foods, chemicals, animal dander and environmental pollutants. She came into this world choosing a difficult path! She appears to be an old soul with much to learn and much to teach.
Prior to age two, we noticed a red skin reaction after handling cats at a friend’s home; we assumed this was an allergic reaction. In addition, she occasionally experienced some wheezing. But she was first diagnosed with asthma at the age of two, coinciding with the birth of her sister 10 days later. At the time, we went to the emergency room where she was admitted because she had such difficulty breathing; she said, “I need the angels, I need help.” She was admitted.
After the new baby was born, Emma’s condition went downhill from there. She experienced attacks often. She was angry, vocal and had temper tantrums. We could see that the cause of the attacks was becoming very emotional and we felt some of it was in part due to having a baby sister. We believed 90% of her asthma was caused by her emotional reaction and how she felt in the world.
Flower essences lessen the severity of asthma
In the last two-three years, Emma’s asthma has lessened in its severity. In addition to the flower essence combinations I have used with her, we monitor her diet to work to ensure whole foods nutrition whenever possible (which is proving more difficult as she gets older), we have done chiropractic work, presently she is under the care of an osteopathic physician and we do subtle energy work with a practitioner.
Difficult or stressful emotional situations would manifest Emma’s asthma in the form of wheezing, coughing and then the inability to breathe. In the past, if she felt anxious about a new situation, her initial reaction would be to reach for her inhaler. Now, we use flower essences as the first choice. Emma has gone from six doses of medication, two times a day, to now only occasional use of her inhaler. She is more peaceful, more calm and the world is not such a scary place for her.
Throughout using flower essences with Emma, I have also made formulas for myself in order to better assist Emma with her healing. Knowing that parents can be a mirror for their children or reflect family patterns, I’ve treated myself for anxiety as well. I try to determine how my behavior may cause Emma to need her medications. Sometimes I have taken the same formula as Emma’s. I have stepped onto a deep path of my own healing through initially using the flower essences with Emma!
Generally, Emma is on most of the formulas for a month’s duration of time. When finished with a formula, we see where we’re at and if a change needs to be made.
A formula to combat feelings of anxiety and panic that trigger asthma attacks
The following is a “panic formula” I made for Emma because she exhibits many fears; when she begins to panic, her initial reaction is to reach for her asthma medication. I’ve used this formula again and again in order to assist Emma in alleviating anxiety, which seems to be a trigger for her asthma. Now, she doesn’t reach for her inhaler, but for the essence bottle instead; it calms her.
Agrimony - it is difficult for Emma to express exactly her true feelings in the moment. She tends to be secretive in her feeling nature. Agrimony seemed an excellent remedy to help her access her true and genuine feelings at any given time and allowed these feelings to have a voice.
Aspen - Emma has many fears and in the infancy of her asthma, these fears seemed to trigger asthmatic episodes. With Aspen in her panic formula it seems to allow her to feel safer and more secure in the differing environments she is exposed to.
Chicory - this particular remedy is one I have given to Emma many times. For my husband and I, in assisting Emma with her asthma, it was evident that no matter what we did to help, it never seemed to be “enough”—enough love, enough attention, enough of whatever it was Emma needed; like a sieve filled with sand.
Heather - since Emma’s asthma coincided so closely to her younger sister’s birth, it was evident to us that she felt she was no longer the center of our world and this brought up many uncomfortable feelings in Emma. Heather helped her to feel loved and still a vital part of the family. I myself took Heather on many occasions. I read a quote somewhere that said: “how can an empty vessel give love?”
Rock Rose - in talking to many people it was clear to us that Emma was having panic attacks over things in her environment that were out of her control. And in order for her to control these things, she would panic, and then reach for her asthma medication. Rock Rose helped reduce Emma’s anxiety levels and enable her to use less medication.
Star of Bethlehem – this was chosen because asthma is very frightening for the child experiencing it, as well as for the parents taking care of her. Star of Bethlehem fit the bill when Emma needed comfort and a feeling of “everything is alright.”
Chestnut Bud - I chose this remedy in Emma’s panic formula because it seemed a good fit to assist in breaking the cycle of Emma’s reaction to certain events that caused her to become anxious and therefore reach for asthma medication.
Flower essences administered via a nebulizer help release the addiction to medication
The next great breakthrough we had with Emma’s asthma treatment with the flower remedies was to replace the saline solution in her nebulizer with flower essences.
Each time she needed an asthma treatment, we would add her medication, arbuterol, and then add three to four droppers of the particular flower essence combination we were using at the time.
We have always worked very hard to limit Emma's use of allopathic medication. This has been very challenging with something like asthma which is difficult to understand and can result in frustration for all the family members. Here is a formula, with which we had great success in treating Emma’s asthma:
Yerba Santa – this was chosen because asthma is an illness that affects the lungs, a major place where one holds grief. Yerba Santa fit the bill particularly well for its ability to release stored emotions in the heart and lung area.
Nicotiana - this remedy was used because we found Emma to have developed an addiction to her asthma medication. For her, taking “a pull on her inhaler” was no different than someone needing to take “a pull” on his or her cigarette. It was as though in times of emotional pain and need, she would reach for her “security blanket,” her inhaler.
Self-Heal - as it says in the Flower Essence Repertory: it is a very beneficial remedy for those who face great healing challenges, whether physical, mental, or spiritual. As anyone knows who has dealt with a serious ailment, as asthma is, this is the remedy par excellence.
Saint John’s Wort - I chose this remedy for Emma because many of her most devastating asthma episodes took place during the night. She would have trouble going to sleep and wake up several times with many disturbances. It seemed she was having some disturbing dreams and I felt Saint John’s Wort addressed this particular difficulty very well.
Evening Primrose - Evening Primrose addresses pre-natal issues and I chose this essence after doing some past-life work with a practitioner. It seems Emma had a difficult time in her past incarnation and I was hoping this remedy might address these issues in the present.
Golden Yarrow - this remedy was chosen because I felt Emma needed the protection that Golden Yarrow could provide: “Helps a person build a sheath which shields and protects.” It seemed that Emma felt very unprotected and exposed in a psychic sense.
Buttercup - Emma has always seemed to need some uplifting, and Buttercup fit this need to a tee. I loved the description that it provided “an inner golden light.”
Other important core remedies frequently used for facing life’s challenges
Gentian – this was important to assist Emma in feeling that everything was all right and the world was not as scary a place as it seemed to be. This helped to assuage the fear and doubt which plagued her.
Elm - this remedy is one that Emma picked herself! She chose this one when I would open my Bach case, and she chose it over and over again. Her message to me was that life was overwhelming!!
Mimulus - I chose a number of times in different formulas for Emma because I believe asthma contains a great element of fear, both known and unknown fears. I used Mimulus in conjunction with Larch in many formulas to assist Emma in feeling self-confident and courageous in facing the challenges she came to this life to handle.
Vine – I chose this because at times, Emma can be overbearing in how she attempts to get her way. I rarely will use Vine in a formula for Emma today but realize it was needed when she was 4-6 years old. She overcame this tendency to push her will on others through taking this remedy in many formulas I made for her over the years.
Oak – I added this because Emma seemed to take the path of most resistance in learning the lessons life gave her and I could see she wanted to be guided in a way that did not require so many struggles. We both have used Oak in many formulas to learn to enjoy life with a lighter ease and step.
Core remedies repeatedly used in different formula combinations to assist the body
YES - this formula is used because Emma is prone to toxic overloads from the environment and from other different sources. This remedy does well in assisting Emma in releasing harmlessly those things that impede her from having true health and well-being.
Chaparral - this remedy we used because it was beneficial in helping Emma to detoxify from the albuterol she was taking for her asthma. I liked that this remedy also worked on cleansing the psyche during dreams. Since Emma has so many sensitivities to life, this seemed a good remedy to help balance her.
Garlic - I felt this essence would help to strengthen Emma’s immune system and at one time there was some concern that we were dealing with some parasitic invasions; I felt this remedy addressed those issues.
Corn - this remedy seemed to fit Emma to a tee! She has a tendency to not be in her physical body and Corn was very grounding for her. When we would do energy sessions with our energy practitioner she mentioned that Emma needed grounding and she spoke specifically of needing grounding in her feet. Corn fit the picture at this time perfectly.
The birth formula for healing trauma
Again, as I mentioned, Emma had a very long and invasive birth and I felt there were core emotional issues that needed to be addressed. In making the birth trauma formula, I wanted to address problems with her birth and any issues she may have brought with her from past lives. After starting the formula, we noticed calmness in her that had not been there before and she was much less reactive. The formula included:
Yarrow - Emma is easily influenced by others and has a difficult time remaining centered in her self when others are around. I felt I liked the description in the Flower Essence Repertory—“Yarrow bestows a shining shield of Light which protects and unifies the essential Self…”
Pink Yarrow - again I chose this in the birth formula to strengthen Emma from the inside out! She is a sensitive being and looks to others for confirmation.
Mariposa Lily - this was added to help Emma heal any unresolved feelings and emotions between her and me. I also felt this remedy would help us heal anything I may have passed onto Emma from my own difficulties with my mother! I also took this remedy.
Shooting Star - I gave this to Emma because I felt she had suffered in order to be born on earth. My labor was long, difficult and had many medical interventions and Emma needed assistance with many things when she was first born.
Self-Heal - in using this remedy, I felt Emma needed help in realizing that inside of her was the courage and strength she needed to heal herself. I feel that Emma’s asthma is a great healing challenge, which she needs to learn and heal from.
Evening Primrose - this remedy spoke to me because Emma seemed to have a barrier erected against feeling the love and care we were working very hard to give to her. She tends to push people away without intending to and then feels such great remorse when she becomes aware of what she has done.
Dogwood - many times as Emma grew from a very small baby into a little girl, her body seemed at times to be stiff and unyielding to our warmth and to our physical expressions of love. She seemed to want to push us away and I felt Dogwood spoke to this.
A soothing heart formula for strengthening the connection with others
This is a formula I created recently to address Emma’s heart center. When we would do energy work, this was the area Emma would try to “protect” against the energy work, as though the pain was too great to let others see! I chose essences that were soothing for the heart rather than those to open her heart; that would have been too intense for her.
Baby Blue Eyes - I felt this remedy would help Emma to trust in the goodness of the world and find safety in opening up her heart center and need less protection.
Bleeding Heart - as a young child, Emma had a difficult time relating to others and would use her anger to hurt them. When other children no longer wanted this, they would turn away from Emma. I felt Bleeding Heart was needed, not for present relationships, but for relationships that had disappeared or died away due to Emma’s inability to want people to get close to her. Presently, Emma is much better at relating to others and is able to keep and maintain relationships.
California Wild Rose - even though Emma did not have apathetic feelings in her heart, she did have trouble connecting to others when she was younger and I felt this essence spoke to the warm feelings that were needed in her heart center.
Love-Lies-Bleeding - this essence gave Emma what she needed in order to understand that others also suffer, and that when we reach out to others we can forget our own troubles.
Mariposa Lily – I included this feeling that she needed more time with this essence.
Pink Monkeyflower - this is specific for the heart center and seemed perfect for what Emma needed in this area; opening up in order to experience the warmth of human love and affection.
Yerba Santa - this remedy I used over and over again. To me, it became such an important remedy on the road to Emma’s healing. I liked what the Repertory said: “gradually restores the temple space of the heart, making it more spacious and light-filled.”
Other key essences for release of tension and strengthening
Arnica - I used this remedy because it seemed no matter what we did for Emma’s asthma it was tenacious. There was no explanation as to why at times it would not respond to treatment.
Penstemon - I liked that this remedy had “enormous strengthening powers…” It seems to assist Emma in becoming stronger and less reliant on her asthma medication.
Dandelion - when we did energy sessions with Emma it seemed that she held much nervous tension in her physical body and this remedy was ideal in helping her release. I also used Dandelion Dynamo massage oil on Emma’s spine at night before bed.
Chamomile - this also was helpful in releasing emotional tension stored in Emma’s physical body.
Lavender - this remedy was great in assisting Emma to relax in order to welcome sleep easier. I used this in conjunction with Dandelion and Chamomile as a formula to release nervous tension.
Borage - I used this essence many times with Emma because she gets easily discouraged and Borage would help to lighten things up for her.
Practitioner Rebecca Rice-Wilson began her interest in flower essences many years ago but did not pursue it seriously until after both her children were born and she realized she needed tools. She attended a class and studied the Bach flower remedies and went on to study and read about the FES essences. She recently attended a workshop taught by Eduardo Greco. Helpful references for her have been Patricia Kaminski’s book, Flowers that Heal, along with the Flower Essence Repertory.
Write to Rebecca.