Treat the Person Not Just the Illness, Flower Remedies with Alexis Smart
I first met Alexis at the Echo Park Craft Fair back in May. The craft fair was full of interesting products and people. I remember I was there with my dad and for some reason I specifically felt drawn to her booth. I stopped and asked her what she was selling. Flower remedies! Hm. What does that mean? I opened up Pandora's box to learn about a healing remedy that I knew I wanted to try. Dr. Edward Bach was the physician who researched and developed his own remedies made out of flowers back in the 1930s. He was a celebrated bacteriologist, pathologist and surgeon. He felt that conventional medicine treated the disease and ignored the "whole" person. Through trial and error he tested thousands of plants, and settled on a final selection of 38, which he believed covered the full spectrum of human emotions. "Each (remedy) was aimed at a particular mental state or emotion. He found that when he treated the personalities and feelings of his patients their unhappiness and physical distress would be alleviated naturally as the healing potential in their bodies was unblocked and allowed to work once more." Alexis buys her flowers from England where they still practice Dr. Bach's specific requirements to create the flower essences. She then combines them to create her own line Alexis Smart Flower Remedies.
I don't know anyone who I would not recommend these to. Her products are subtle. It's not as strong as medication and I definitely noticed a positive difference. I felt scattered with endless mental chatter and within three days of trying her product Brain Drops, I felt calmer, more focused and not as weighed down by my to-do list. I was completely beside myself. Why aren't more people talking about this? I think it is because many of us don't know that it exists and we don't have access to high quality essences. I use one remedy per month (one bottle) and by the end I feel transformed. It's unlike anything I have tried before. I think the flowers are powerful but work in subtle ways. I strongly encourage you to check out her website and heal yourself with flowers. Photos of Alexis and the 38 essences were shot at the beautiful Dream Collective Store.
Q&A with Alexis Smart
Q: For the person who does not know what Bach remedy flowers are, could you give us a brief synopsis?
A: The Bach Flower Remedies are 38 essences which are made from living plants. They were discovered in the 1930’s by Dr. Edward Bach, a British doctor/immunologist who observed that the outlook of his patients greatly influenced their physical healing capacity. He sought a form of medicine that would treat the emotional state, wherein the body would not be inhibited by emotional blockages and the self-healing mechanism could begin to work. They are prescribed for the mental, emotional and spiritual level, never for the physical complaint. They are simple to use, harmless and benign and address all the states of mind that a human being can experience.
Q: What inspired you to start your line of flower remedies?
A: It happened organically. One month I had a whole slew of clients who had been dumped. They were all exhibiting the same symptoms, though personality-wise, they were very different from one another. In their grief state, they all needed the same remedies. After one of them was better, she came over and asked if she could have that “heartbreak remedy" for a friend who had just had a breakup. I needed to put a name on the label and I thought “what is the opposite of broken hearted?” Whole Hearted! And that was the first formula of the line. I had seen so many people in my practice heal from things they thought were impossible to overcome and I had always wished I could reach more people. I realized that there was a real need for these formulas out there and there was nothing like them out there being offered.
Q: Can you use these remedies if you are already taking medicines?
A: Yes, that is the wonderful thing about them. They are safe and compatible with medications and other natural remedies.
Q: Is there ever a time when one should not take the flower remedies?
A: I can’t think of one.
Q: How do you know which remedy to start with?
A: Dr. Bach meant for his system to be very simple. His whole philosophy was “heal thyself,” and that’s why he wrote so simply in his descriptions of the remedies, so we could easily recognize ourselves. Think of your personality and what gets in your way. Be honest with your self (and forgiving). Then read over the description of the remedies and you will instantly resonate with the one you need.
Q: What makes your remedies different from the original Bach remedies or the ones you can buy in Whole Foods?
A: I use a brand called Healing Herbs from Herefordshire, England. They, to me, are more effective and I believe them to be closest to the true, original Bach Remedies, as the company was started by the people who Dr. Bach trained and they are made in strict accordance with his preparation methods.
Q: Could you explain how to ingest the remedies?
A: If you buy the concentrate, then you can put two drops in a bit of spring water and then take a sip of that and hold it under your tongue for about a minute. You do this four times a day (or more often in acute cases). You cannot overdose on flower remedies.
Q: What is your biggest passion in life?
A: Helping people. It’s what fuels all of my creativity, even the stuff seemingly unrelated to my work.
Q: What are some of your favorite ways to unwind?
A: I am very good at unwinding! I love reading and watching movies, playing guitar and going for walks. Oh! And I love being in water. I take baths and whenever I can I go to the Korean Hot Springs.
Q: Daily ritual you could not live without?
A: My tea! My parents are British and I suppose it’s in my DNA.
Q: What was one of your most moving AH-HA moments from using your remedies?
A: Every time I take a new formula for something I’m going through I have another aha moment…years ago, I went to Tulum for a wedding. I ended up staying an extra week alone in a beautiful cabin on the ocean with no electricity. I woke up and did yoga, swam every day and connected to a profound peace I had been missing. When I returned to L.A., I was shocked at the noise and the disharmony I felt everywhere. There were helicopters, drunk people on my street, parties (I live in Echo Park) and I felt full of hatred and misanthropic thoughts. I have a woman who helps me with remedies sometimes and I told her, “I hate everything and everyone and I can’t see any way out of this.” She made me a formula and in a few weeks, I suddenly loved everyone and everything! I felt very gentle, patient and in a state of appreciation for my friends and family. Even though I already knew this intellectually, I really got it that we don’t have to change our external environment to be happy. Everything is within us. That is the true lesson you learn when you embark on flower remedy therapy.
Q: How do you customize it for each client?
A: When people come for a session, they often start off by saying “What am I supposed to tell you? I don’t know what to say…” I ask one question, like “Well, what brings you here today?” And they begin their story. I interrupt as little as possible and let them speak in a stream of consciousness kind of way. By one hour in, I have all the information I need for their formula. They have revealed very clearly what their major issues are and which remedies they will need. Often, they are surprised themselves to discover what had really been bothering them. They report feeling better, just having talked and being heard. That’s just the beginning though, because I make them a remedy and the healing begins. I make a bottle with up to seven different essences in it. They take it four times a day for one month and then come back to see me, I get a report on what happened and usually change the formula a bit to treat any new things that are coming up. People usually see me once a month for the first three month or so and once they feel better, they come less often or as needed. I do have clients that always want to have their flowers and have been coming once a month for years. They liken it to doing yoga or eating right…it’s just another part of their practice. That’s how I see it for myself too.
Q: What is your daily mantra?
A: I think it changes depending on what I need. I do worry about other people a lot…so I try to remind myself that they are all taken care of and it’s not on my shoulders.
Q: Where/what is your sanctuary?
A: As I said, I love water. The bath, the ocean, a hot spring. I can feel heavy sometimes and water helps me feel light.
Q: What is your favorite way to detox?
A: I am skinny and I get low blood sugar if I miss meals, soI learned the hard way I am not a candidate for juice cleanses or fasting, but I will add fruit and vegetable juices daily to feel cleaner. What I find works best is just to eat very cleanly…nothing processed. When I need balancing I do a kind of vegetarian Body Ecology Diet, which is based on many things, but generally soaking grains overnight, proper food combining (no protein and starch together) and lots of cultured veggies on the side. I also detox with herbs. Milk thistle (for the liver), burdock (blood cleanser) and cleavers (for lymph).
Q: Beauty essentials you can not live without
A: Flower remedies and constitutional homeopathy make the biggest difference in how I look. Probiotics and colostrum (taken internally) keep my skin really clear and glowing. Externally, I love Evan Healy skin care. I was a big fan before I worked with her, but now her line has the added benefits of flower formulas designed by me. Specifically, I love her Cream Cleanser, Rose Geranium Hydrosol (I think I spray my face with this stuff ten times a day) and the Rose oil. Her Shea Butters are amazing too! Oh, and I have found that taking electrolytes helps my skin a lot. LA is a dry desert and it really shows in your skin.
Q: Your philosophy on healing in one sentence?
A: Happiness is who you truly are.
Q: What books are you reading right now?
A: The Materia Medica by Ananda Zaren (homeopathy) and Prospero’s Cell by Lawrence Durrell
Q: Who are some people that you look up to and respect in the wellness community?
A: Dr. Matt Van Benschoten is a genius. If you have something that no one can get to the bottom of, go see him. He has cured some friends of mine of pretty serious diseases. Karie Gonia has changed my life with Reiki and Bernie Soon with EMDR therapy. I also love what Amanda Bacon is doing at Moon Juice.
Q: What is your next big vision for Alexis Smart Flower Remedies?
A: I would like to write a book about healing. I picture doing this on a Greek Island (the best place to write).