Sunshine Wattle – Let the Sunshine in


When I just had enough of Melbourne in Winter with the day cast in grey skies, whipped by fierce southerly winds and rain showers I am greeted by masses of soft and bright yellows covering trees and shrubs everywhere in gardens, parks and the country side. Bathing my eyes in the sunny bright yellow colour of Wattle flowers brings sunshine into my heart and hope of Spring being just around the corner.

In Australia, there are around 1000 variants of the Acacia species or Wattle as they are commonly known here. The seeds from some 120 varieties have been used as foods by indigenous Australians for at least 6000 years. The roasted seeds have coffee, chocolate and hazelnut characteristics and can be used in desserts, cakes and as coffee substitute. I recently enjoyed a delicious spicy chai made with wattle seeds.


The flower essence Sunshine Wattle (Acacia terminalis) from the Australian Bush Flower Essence range helps to bring about acceptance of beauty and joy of the present … as when seeing a flowering shrub on a grey, cold day and smiling with joy. The essence supports people who had a difficult past and who are stuck there in their thoughts bringing the past into their present. It encourages optimism and joyful expectation.

“What, I sometimes wonder, would it be like if I lived in a country where winter is a matter of a few chilly days and a few weeks’ rain; where the sun is never far away, and the flowers bloom all year long?” 

… and truly thinking of Melbourne in Winter I am reminded of those words by British actress Anna Neagle and I know I live in that country.

© 2013. Annette Zerrenthin

Chicory flower

Chicory … the girl left behind waiting in vain

Chicory, is a common sight along roads and in meadows in the European summer. The German name for the plant ‘Wegwarte’ (Waiting by the way) emphasizes its symbolism in old folk tales of a girl left behind, waiting faithfully but in vain for the return of her lover.

With its bitter taste, the plant has been valued for its healing qualities for liver and gall bladder disorders, poor digestion, nervous exhaustion, diabetes, loss of appetite.

Chicory can be used as a tea or coffee substitute and its close relative, the endive, is used in salads.

As a flower essence, Chicory helps with behavioural patterns that are characterised by a possessive attitude, tendency to interfere and manipulate, and a feeling of insufficient love and appreciation. Edward Bach compared the positive Chicory state with the archetype of the ‘universal mother’ that gives without expecting anything in return.

© 2013. Annette Zerrenthin


The mystery of the Queen of the Night Cactus

On my recent visit to the Botanic Gardens in Potsdam, Germany I had the rare opportunity to witness the flowering of the Queen of the Night Cactus. The insignificant looking cactus produces huge flowers 15 cm in diameter that open once a year during the night only and fade at dusk. Its fragrance reminds of the irresistible combination of chocolate and vanilla.


The Shoshone Indians of the Death Valley use the root and stems as a cardiac stimulant, helpful for tachycardia arrhythmia, vague chest pain and shortness of breath that may be associated with overuse of tobacco and caffeine. They call the plant ‘pain in the heart’.

The Desert Alchemy flower essence range offers a Queen of the Night flower essence that supports feminine qualities of receptivity, subtlety, darkness, intuition, psychic vision, and deep feeling. It helps those who have difficulty connecting with their intuition or those who ignore / not honour what is instinctively felt to be right. It assists with being connected to all life through our inner mysteries.

© 2013. Annette Zerrenthin


What’s the difference between flower essences and essential oils?

When first coming across flower essences many people expect them to be scented in contrast to essential oils that are heavily imbued with the aroma of the plant they are extracted from.

Flower essences are vibrational imprints of flowers or parts of plants in water with a small amount of brandy added for stabilisation. They help us with emotional, mental and spiritual imbalances in a subtle, yet powerful way that address the disharmony on an energetic level. In Australia we have a number of flower essence ranges but you may have come across the Australian Bush Flower Essences or Living Essences of Australia ranges. The first range of essences was produced by Edward Bach in the 1930’s in the UK.

Essential oils are most commonly made by steam distilling parts of the plant (flowers, berries, bark, leaves etc.) to extract the aromatic components. The chemical composition and aroma of essential oils can provide psychological and physical therapeutic benefits.

Rose essential oil for example has been found to balance blood pressure and help dry skin on a physical level. It promotes a feeling of wellbeing and happiness on an emotional level and helps mental fatigue, exhaustion and stress.

The Bach flower essence Wild Rose encourages the potential in a person to embrace life, develop initiative, have a feeling of inner freedom and vitality. It has been called the ‘Zest for Life Flower’ by Mechthild Scheffer in the Encyclopedia of Bach Flower Therapy.

Read more on Rose essential oil and flower essences.

© 2013. Annette Zerrenthin