Treatment with Flower Essences Amidst Poverty and Stress on the Outskirts of Peru


By Jann Garitty
based on reports from Ellen Turgasen,
Dr. Carlos Hilares and Consuelo Rios

For twenty years, Ellen Turgasen has had a relationship with a small community of people living in a town on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. She first traveled there in 1985 to work as a nurse in a clinic sponsored by the Maryknoll organization. It was a parish-run clinic serving the general community, and while it dispensed regular medicines, there was a strong consciousness regarding the use of herbs as well. She stayed and worked there for three years and subsequently developed close friendships with two of her co-workers, Carlos Hilares and Consuelo Rios.

At that time, Carlos Hilares was a medical student and worked as a volunteer at the clinic. He went on to finish his schooling in general medicine with a specialty in radiology. From there, he began working in a hospital in the radiology department.

Consuelo Rios worked as an auxiliary nurse in the clinic until she left to work with Dr. Hilares as a medical transcriber at the hospital. Shortly thereafter, she attended an Oriental medicine school in Lima that had courses in acupuncture, acupressure, and massage. Consuelo studied massage therapy and it was there that she also learned about flower essences. Consuelo continues to work at the hospital and also does massage and flower essence treatments out of her home.

Scenes in and around Villa el Salvador

In Peru, if one has enough money, they have access to good medical care. However in poorer areas, generally, medical treatment “can be sub-standard or just financially inaccessible. A problem that is also unfortunate and lamentable is that people who are poor often experience treatment that is rude and disrespectful.” Aware of this, Dr. Hilares wanted to have his own clinic, providing not only good alternative health care modalities but also kind, respectful “treatment” at low cost to the patient. He carried this dream for many years and in 2005, using his own saved money, built Natural Medic Clinic in a very poor community in Villa el Salvador. There, patients have access to medical attention, as well as acupuncture, herbs and flower essences. Carmen Casma provides acupuncture treatments and specific cases for flower essence therapy are referred out to Consuelo Rios. Dr. Hilares’ wife, who is a pediatrician, consults as necessary on specific cases with children. Shortly after the clinic opened, Ellen went to visit, bringing flower essence supplies with her, and worked as a volunteer giving massage treatments. She also taught Tai Chi classes. In time, Dr. Hilares hopes to expand the clinic and add more treatment rooms on the second floor of the building.

See inside the clinic

Because Dr. Hilares works two jobs during the day, Natural Medic Clinic is open for four hours during the evening. Initially, patients were charged just $1.50 per visit. Located in the poorest area of town, most patients exhibit poverty and stress-related systems. As Ellen says, “There is so much stress and it’s hard work just to survive in Lima, there never is any financial security.” (Peru as a whole has an unemployment rate of 40-50%.)

Some of the patients visiting Natural Medic

The first line of defense against stress

Dr. Hilares wrote:

“Our institution is a center for alternative medicine that provides attention to patients who have great human qualities but who are living in conditions of poverty and in some cases, extreme poverty.

“We provide services at an affordable cost. This financial accessibility to alternative medicine is an uncommon opportunity for this population to have quality and respectful health care.

“We give Five-Flower Formula to any patient that we observe is very anxious and demonstrates signs and symptoms of stress and tension. … [and] to patients who present symptoms that are moderate to severe with anxiety and depression, and cases of stress. We have noted that our patients …have responded favorably to it, reporting that they feel better, relieved and ‘lighter.’

“Almost all of the patients that we see in the clinic, in addition to the pains and symptoms associated with their presenting illnesses or injuries, experience symptoms of anxiety and stress. Because of this, our practice has evolved to where we now give almost every patient before or after their treatment in the clinic, in addition to whichever disciplines they are receiving, a dose of Five-Flower Formula in a glass of water. We have observed and can report to you that the patients describe an improvement in their symptoms and also we can see a difference in their countenance as well.”

Carmen (acupuncturist), Dr. Carlos Hilares, Yaki (receptionist)

Flower essence therapy: vignettes from life in Pachacamac-Villa el Salvador, Peru

The following are brief examples of the types of cases with which Consuelo Rios has utilized flower essences with her clients. She treats people from her home where she also provides massage therapy. As a whole, they provide a glimpse into the lives of some of those living in her community.

(Dosage when not stated, generally was four drops taken tour times each day.)

Gabriela Age: 7

Stutters, sucks her thumb, irritable, cries over everything.

Treatment: Chamomile
, classic for children, Trumpet Vine for speech impediments

4 drops under the tongue 4 times per day prepared in glycerin

Results: After 3 days she was more peaceful and tranquil and this lasted more or less for 1 month.

Five-Flower Formula was given at a later date 3 times per day via spray for three consecutive days.

Sleep was improved and she woke up more tranquil and calm.

Elizabeth Age: 15

Adolescent who is quiet and doesn’t talk much.

Muscular tension in her shoulders which results in knots.

She does not demonstrate her feelings of painful emotions.

She was raised without a father. She bites her nails.

Her father is alcoholic. Her parents are separated.

Once a month or so she goes to eat a meal with her father.

Treatment: Initially with Five-Flower Formula

She felt much better.

Continued with Chamomile, Dandelion, Yerba Santa, and Sunflower

She did not comply with the dose schedule but she did take the remedy for the entire month and it tranquilized her tension a bit.

Cristina Age: 17 (sister of Elizabeth)

Talks very fast, one thing after another. Her words come fast and furious. She grew up without a father.

Treatment: Chamomile, Cosmos

After this when she had very tense days Five-Flower Formula which made her feel “OK”

Observations : In two days she felt better, she slept better and was more refreshed

Jose Age: 14

Adolescent who is very defensive. He can change to negative moods very quickly. He grew up without a father.

Back muscles get very tense. Does not demonstrate painful emotions.

Treatment: Five-Flower Formula

Continued with Chamomile, Dandelion, and Yerba Santa

By the fourth day he felt better. Treatment continued for one month. He takes it now off and on when he feels he needs it and he requests it himself when he feels he needs it.

Maritzita Age: 16

Adolescent, anxious, tense. Wants to get accepted into the university. There appears to be much expectation for this from her parents.

Treatment: Chamomile, Dandelion

Observations: She felt a little better.

Consuelo Age:48

Grew up feeling abandoned by her father when she was 9 years old and she carries this pain with her even now although less intense. She has authoritarian mother.

Overweight by 30 kg. Hides behind a mask of happiness when she is sad or worried and anxious.

Treatment: Golden Ear Drops, Pink Monkeyflower, Chamomile

Much better. Practices affirmations like “All is well in my world. I am no longer a child of 9 years. What happened will not happen again … it is in the past.”

Concepcion Age: 51

Osteoporosis and Hypothyroid. Very worried about her husband who is scheduled to have hemorrhoid surgery.

Treatment: Five-Flower Formula

Observations: Very positive results.

Leonor Age: 52

Intense back pain in the lumbar sacral area makes it difficult to walk, and stress.

Treatment: Five-Flower Formula

Observations: Very good results. She “forgot about her pain.”

Victoria Age: 78

On her scalp she has scars resulting from being hit as a child for punishment. Without reason these scars recently have been swollen, red and painful.

Treatment: Five-Flower Formula sprayed on each scarred area 3X/day and 1 spray orally 3X/day X 3 days.

Observations: The swelling and pain disappeared.

Maria C.V. Age: 36

Acne rosacea, gastritis, stress (she is the mother of Gabriela, Cristina and Elizabeth). Grew up without a father; mother was authoritarian.

Treatment: Five-Flower Formula for 1 week to apply on the face.

Observations: Her tension lessened.

If you liked this report, you might wish to read:

Flower Essences: Reaching Out to Children in Need on the Streets of Brazil
by Denise Robles

Honoring Dr. Edward Bach: a new unfolding of his work; by Jann Garitty based on a report by Rosana Vieira

Working with Flower Essence Therapy in Chile: A Report by Teresita Espinoza Woters

Working with Handicapped Students in India
an interview with Ms. Shalini Ramesh

Volunteer Work with Families at Acortar Distancias
A report by Denise Paillaud

About Ellen Turgasen

Ellen Turgasen is a Registered Nurse and Certified Massage Therapist; she has been in private practice in Madison, Wisconsin since 1996. From 1985-1989 she lived and worked in Villa el Salvador/Lima, Peru as a lay volunteer with Maryknoll. She was a nurse/coordinator of a community clinic serving the poor. Ellen  maintains close relationships in Peru and visits on a regular basis to share knowledge, friendship and provide service. She can be reached by email at  
Write to Dr. Carlos Manuel Hilares


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