Flower Essence Therapy and Homeopathy


Based on an interview with Den Illing, Auckland, New Zealand
by Jann Garitty

“Homeopathy and flower essence therapy are two very effective healing modalities, each in its own right and also wonderfully complementary of each other, when the situation demands – a dynamic synergistic relationship.”
— Den Illing

Unearthing the underlying cause of outward symptoms

Distinctions and similarities between the two modalities

Essences support emotional issues while the work of a remedy unfolds

Complementary relationship of flower essences and homeopathy

Addressing epidemic themes of today: lack of confidence, lack of self-trust

Physical symptoms relieved by homeopathy & flower essences help with stress factors

About Den Illing

Den Illing is a Homeopath who also works with flower essences and has done so for the past 19 years. Many of Den’s clients are seeking support for deep crisis or recovery from trauma. “People come and at times, share their deepest and most troubling concerns and as a homeopathic and health practitioner, I have found flower essences to be an invaluable treatment—particularly in times of trauma and stress.”

“There are many different ways that occur in people’s journey of accepting and overcoming difficult and traumatic experiences. Those that manage to work through and integrate their personal history find an inner strength, and frequently become people that inspire those around them. The ability to forgive those that may have caused them harm and to also accept themselves and their situation is a part of their healing and ongoing growth and development.”
Den has a clear process that she follows whether prescribing flower essences or homeopathy. She does not usually give homeopathic remedies and flower essences together initially, unless there is trauma or a distressing emotional component to the person’s situation. When prescribing homeopathy it is important to observe how the client responds to the remedy as that provides the information upon which the ongoing treatment plan is based. If both modalities are given together, it is difficult to ascertain the specific effects of each. If treatment is to begin with flower essences, she will usually give essences for 5-10 days and observe any changes before introducing a homeopathic remedy. The client’s response to the essences can sometimes also help in determining which homeopathic remedy is needed. Often, once the emotional distress is alleviated with the essences, a dramatic shift of physical symptoms occurs as well. If a homeopathic remedy is prescribed, there is more clarity as to what the remedy needs to address for ongoing prognosis and management.

Unearthing the underlying cause of outward symptoms

Den uses flower essence therapy in a manner similar to that which she uses for homeopathy—aiming to address the underlying core issues. When selecting essences, she strives to condense it down to what’s underneath the presenting emotional condition. For example with anxiety, she tries to understand the underlying cause of the superficial symptoms, which in that case is anxiety. Says Den, “It’s not always clear what the cause is with regard to the problem, but ascertaining that is the aim. This is also what we strive to do when prescribing homeopathically – clarify the issues that encompass or underpin all aspects of a person’s being—physical, mental and emotional. Typically, people tend to not go to the origins of emotions and, in fact, avoid or divert naturally from the source or trigger of discomfort. During the consultation I try, if possible, to gently bring it back to that origin, to the deeper source of emotional pain, to the actual cause of the pain. When that happens and people get an understanding of what is actually underlying their situation, it can be quite profound and the impact of that is felt on a deep level. It’s fantastic and often very empowering for them, when they realize they are moving through their emotional issues. Gaining this insight provides more clarity and consciousness around why they are feeling and responding the way they are, and with that often much of any existing anxiety or stress is relieved.”

“When prescribing homeopathy, we end up with a lot of information because we are considering all aspects of a person’s experience. A good homeopathic prescription involves finding the thread that encompasses and interconnects all the levels of a person’s vitality, physical symptoms, emotions, mental state and overall general state.”

Distinctions and similarities between the two modalities

Den identifies themes regarding the underlying issues. However, when prescribing flower essences, she focuses the treatment on what’s most limiting and difficult for the client in the present moment, not historically or what has occurred in the past.

Both modalities can be used for acute and deeper constitutional conditions.

“We know most health issues stem from our emotional imbalances or stresses and although I don’t consider flower essences a treatment for physical symptoms as such, I have seen many physical symptoms shift, sometimes overnight, because of the relief of emotional distress.”

A key similarity between homeopathy and flower essences is the action they excite when taken. They both support and assist the body’s automatic and natural healing response. With homeopathy, it will be seen and experienced on all levels, physically as well as generally, and a sense of well-being unfolds. Flower essences very clearly impact our emotions and spiritual being. Ultimately, both modalities generate a shift of self-awareness and consciousness which is an intrinsic and essential part of the process of healing.

Homeopathic Remedies

Flower Essences

General Uses

Used for both physical and emotional ailments and imbalances in both acute  or chronic/constitutional situations

Used for  mental/emotional and spiritual distress, challenges and imbalances in both acute and chronic/constitutional situations

Generally one remedy only is prescribed at a time and repetition is dependent upon the response to the dose

Several essences may be used together to address themes and responses to emotional situations Doses are taken as needed and usually repeated for a period of time


Consideration of symptoms and the person’s responses to those symptoms on all levels—physically, mentally and emotionally—is required and an understanding of the  underlying or connecting theme between them all determines the prescription

The emotions, attitudes and responses to the emotions and life situations is the focus of the prescription


Used for first aid, acute illnesses, or  chronic health complaints

Used for acute situations and also deeper emotional personality issues

Used as constitutional remedy for general health and healing of physical/emotional states

Used for wide and varied general emotional issues and complaints

Addresses underlying core issues to restore balance

Addresses underlying core issues to restore balance

Essences support emotional issues while the work of a remedy unfolds

Den says, “In practice I aim to ensure that stress areas and the emotional aspects of a person’s experience are addressed and supported as early in treatment as possible, particularly when trauma or intense stress is apparent. The benefits and response to treatment is optimal and people gain confidence and comfort, from being supported in the process. People have called, sometimes within hours of the consultation, saying they can’t believe how different they feel. But we must also take into account that they may have come in with very acute distress and, in addition to the essences, people will talk about things that they may not have discussed with anyone else previously. That is hugely therapeutic in itself.”

“We see those dynamic responses and quick amelioration with both flower essences and homeopathy in acute situations.  When we are dealing with chronic complaints or in cases where treatment is focusing on behavioral or deeply entrenched patterns, that immediate response is usually not so prevalent.”

Complementary relationship of flower essences and homeopathy

“There is a homeopathic doctrine known as Hering’s ‘Law of Cure’ that assists homeopaths to understand whether our homeopathic prescriptions are in fact exciting a healing response or possibly behaving in a suppressive manner. Basically in response to a remedy, it is understood, the process of healing follows a certain direction and sometimes old symptoms may reappear, albeit perhaps fleetingly and generally as a shadow of the initial experience. This can be experienced both physically and emotionally, and if people find that challenging or unsettling, I will offer flower essences to support them, in their processing of whatever emotions arise.”

“Having both modalities available to use when the need presents provides, I feel, an expansive and powerful healing tool. I love being able to utilize both modalities when the need is present and they work beautifully together. I don’t see them being contraindicated in any way, apart from initially when you are trying to ascertain the remedy response to determine the ongoing management plan. Once it has become clear what the remedy can do for them and whether it’s the most appropriate remedy for the individual, then including essences, if needed, into their treatment plan to support that action and the client’s process is often hugely beneficial.”

Addressing epidemic themes of today: lack of confidence, lack of self-trust

People generally come for a consultation with a certain issue, or they may have three or four situations that are troubling them. Den has observed that one of the biggest issues and a common theme experienced by many people, in varying degrees, is a deep lack of confidence in themselves. “People feel that they’re not good enough whether that be in themselves, in their work, relationships or parenting, and as a result there’s a great lack of self love. It has the most massive impact and underlies the epidemic situation we are seeing in both adults and children.”

“The level of stress experienced globally compared to 20 years ago is incredibly high. Our world has changed and the expectations people have of themselves and what they can achieve, and are in fact required to achieve, in a day, week or year, for many is almost impossible. This amplified pressure heightens and intensifies stress and the need for emotional support. It is no surprise that anxiety, depression, reduced self-esteem and confidence are prevalent themes today.”

“We really are entering an era where flower essences need to become a significant part of our mental and emotional health care on a much broader scale than we currently have.  They will be an almost essential tool to helping our population manage the ever-changing and increasingly challenging pace of life.”

“I am very excited by the increased interest in flower essences among homeopathic and other health professionals in New Zealand in recent years. I feel we need to see them more widely used by the general public and within our more mainstream mental health service providers. I have recently begun sharing the process that I have developed when prescribing flower essences in consultation with other practitioners in a workshop style format. Following is a case typical of the progression that may occur using both systems in a complementary fashion.”

Physical symptoms relieved by homeopathy & flower essences help with stress factors

JK, a 46 year old woman, came for homeopathic treatment for her health issues. She had been treated with homeopathy for three years before having a flower essence blend which she hoped would help overcome the stress she was experiencing at the time. This was the beginning of her journey with flower essences, and she continues to come once or twice a year when she feels the need. This process is typical of what unfolds utilizing both flower essences and homeopathy.

JK presented with: heavy periods accompanied by pain, severe irritable bowel, ongoing gastric sensitivity and inflammatory gut symptoms with diarrhoea, bloating and vomiting, resulting in her having an extremely limited diet. Her diet for several years consists only of raw vegetables, no dairy, wheat, fats, gluten, carbs, alcohol, coffee, and sugar. Despite this, she looks well and has a strong solid build. She is a very attractive woman but feels she is extremely ‘ugly and overweight’ and is often filled with self-loathing, self-doubt and anxiety. JK worries to the point of making herself quite stressed at night and becomes sleepless and nauseous when stressed. She runs an IT consultancy and is clearly very capable and successful within her business. Her childhood was difficult and she works hard at ensuring her children have a “totally different childhood.”  Her father was an alcoholic and JK feels she supported and cared for her mother both physically and emotionally since she was very small. She was the ‘adult’ in their relationship.

Over the 7 years of treating JK, several homeopathic remedies have been prescribed. The key effective remedies that have sustained the biggest changes, in order of prescription are Aurum Arsenicum, Lac Humanum, Carcinosinum and Phosphorus in varying potencies. Her menstrual problems have dissipated, she no longer requires pain relief and she is going through menopause, which at this point, is not problematic for her. She has in the last three years, been able to enjoy a wider variety of food and drinks. Her gastric sensitivity is much improved and her food options have increased considerably. She is much more at peace with allowing others to do things for her and allows herself time to relax, something she just couldn’t consider previously. JK is more comfortable and happier about her body and her appearance.

However, when the stress is on at work or she is unhappy about her children’s behavior, her gastric symptoms can reappear and flare up, although to a much lesser degree than prior to treatment. The sleepless, worried nights she can experience in those situations can trigger a downward spiral.

To help JK manage and shift her tension and irritability when she feels she is getting worked up and stressed, a blend was made for her to use as needed. There are four core essences to help with that stress factor and other essences have been included at different times to accompany them to target the other themes as below:

The core essences:

Chamomile – to soothe the anger and irritation manifest in the gut
Dandelion – to help her tune in to her body and overcome the intense over-striving, pushing herself beyond her limits tendency
Elm – for when she’s overwhelmed and unable to meet the perfectionist standards she sets for herself
Impatiens – for when she feels hurried and is often rushing and tension occurs when others are not as “up to speed”

Dandelion and Impatiens are key essences for JK as they really encompass her response to daily life and stress.

The additional essences used at various times over the years, in combination with the above core essences to address the identified themes in JK’s life experience are:

Red Chestnut, Buttercup, Larch, Sunflower, Columbine, Centaury


Lack of self-love and self-worth although much improved and less intense, it still arises particularly when she is stressed, and is experienced in varied degrees from both ends of the spectrum of lack of self-confidence through to the other polarity of self-disgust. Blends have included one or two essences from the above to address this theme.

Overwhelming sense of responsibility for others – in particular family, staff and friends.

Intense need to be appreciated and loved makes it difficult for her to say no to people which combined with her drive for perfection in everything she does, adds to the pressure she experiences.

Ongoing treatment:

The fact that her gastric symptoms can still be triggered, indicates there are underlying issues still to be resolved. During our last appointment, she recognized she harbors anger towards her father and the situation of her early childhood years. She is also aware that she needs to create stronger boundaries for herself. These are core issues for her and she has been slowly moving towards them over her years of treatment. She has now become robust enough to face into this situation and will, at her own pace, move towards resolution.

About Den Illing

Den Illing is a homeopath of 19 years with a varied clientele base of adults and children. She has a special interest in working with people overcoming emotional challenges and trauma recovery, and flower essences often play an important role in treatment. Den’s passion for food and cooking has led to her interest in nutrition and she will often assist people who want to improve their diet and look at food as part of their therapeutic health journey. She also recognizes the importance of movement in whatever form people enjoy and considers that to be an essential part of any health building and recovery program.  Den has been President of the NZ Homeopathic Society since 2011, and she is also the Editor of Homoeopathica a journal published by the NZ Homoeopathic Society.



[ About FES | Online Repertory |Class Offerings | Research & Case Studies | Interviews and Articles]
[ What's New | Publications | Membership | Find a Practitioner | Members' Pages | Home ]


P.O. Box 459, Nevada City, CA  95959
800-736-9222 (US & Canada)
tel: 530-265-9163    fax: 530-265-0584

E-mail: mail@flowersociety.org

Copyright © by the Flower Essence Society.
All rights reserved.