Flower Essences for Separation Anxiety


by Anthony Qaiyum, Chicago, Illinois
Reprinted with permission from the original web posting

A Parenting Dilemma

Over the past four months my two-and-a-half year-old daughter, Saffron, became extremely upset when being separated from me and especially my wife, Rachel. While it’s totally normal for a child to be attached to her parents, we grew concerned when on separate occasions she threw inconsolable, screaming fits when we left her with each of her previously-beloved and long-time babysitters. This level of neediness was new for her, and although our research and word of mouth advice told us it was a normal phase of development, it was killing us to be the cause of her anxiety-ridden meltdowns. When we called home after leaving, we would hear her happily playing in the background, but only after a screaming, tearful, flailing goodbye. We already used our babysitters sparingly, but we started leaving her with them even less often, and if we did, we would usually stay home until after Saffy’s bedtime to save us all from the traumatic partings.

But we knew that eventually we’d have to deal with the issue again. A couple months ago there was a lecture by an out-of-town guest teacher at a local Montessori school that we both really wanted to attend as a way to learn more about our schooling options in Chicago. It started at 6:30 pm. We feared an emotional disaster…

So I did what any self-respecting apothecary owner (Merz Apothecary) would do in the same situation—I called my mom. Aside from being a wise grandmother, my mom is also a certified Bach Flower Practitioner. I’ve already been using flower essences as a mental/emotional aid for about 20 years, and I swear by Bach Rescue Remedy (also known as Five-Flower Formula) as way to cut down on stress and anxiety in nerve-wracking situations, such as presentations, big meetings, plane flights, etc. In our store and with friends and family, I’ve seen it used successfully in helping adults, children, and even pets get through stressful situations more easily.

Although we had used Rescue Remedy successfully with Saffron in the past, for this particular issue it just wasn’t giving her much relief. When I explained the situation to my mom, she suggested three flower essences: Chicory, Mariposa Lily, and Mimulus. I immediately consulted the Flower Essence Repertory by Patricia Kaminski. ... In her book I read the following about those three essences:


Positive qualities: Selfless love given freely, respecting the freedom and individuality of others; emotional containment

Patterns of imbalance: Possessive or manipulative behaviors disguised as love; demanding, or emotionally needy; getting attention through negative behavior; self-centeredness

Mariposa Lily

Positive qualities: Maternal consciousness, warm, feminine and nurturing; mother-child bonding, positive connection to mother and similar female figures

Patterns of imbalance: Alienated from mother or from mothering role, feelings of childhood abandonment or abuse; orphan state of consciousness


Positive qualities: Courage and confidence to face life’s challenges; radiant light that shines outward to the world

Patterns of imbalance: Over-exaggerated concern for daily life events; extreme apprehension of new thresholds of experience

I should make clear that I certainly wouldn’t want to try to avoid the normal phases of my daughter’s development. But given my own experiences with flower essences and my basic knowledge of how they are made and their benign nature, I thought it couldn’t hurt to give Saffy a potential aid in dealing with her overwhelming and rapidly developing emotions. Rachel agreed and about a half hour before Shirley, our babysitter, arrived, we put two drops of each remedy in her sippy cup full of juice and let her drink from it normally. The rest of our routine was the same as always. When Shirley arrived, instead of running away from her and grabbing Rachel’s leg, she immediately asked Shirley to read her a book. As we were getting our coats on, Saffy ran over to me and said, “Daddy, you’re going out with mommy tonight. Bye bye!” I was shocked. We did the hug and kiss goodbye, and her previous fearful apprehension was gone. She waved goodbye as we walked out the door and we went to the car with our jaws dragging on the ground. Was this really the same little girl that was screaming and flailing on the ground for the past few months?

Since then we’ve used these remedies successfully again with both of her babysitters. And on one occasion that we forgot to use them, the parting was once again emotionally traumatic for her. Now I know that there are sources out there that say that flower essences have not yet proven effective in any double-blind, placebo controlled studies. I don’t have an answer for those claims, but given our eyes-wide-open experiences with our daughter, I’m not waiting around for someone to explain the success that we’ve already seen.



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