Flowers for health
As medical herbalists we use so many flowers in herbal medicine, the plant world really is astonishing with its abundance of herbs that we can use both every day and medicinally.
The focus of this article is using flowers around the home for your health.
Some helpful herbal flowers to have in your garden include calendula, chamomile, elder flower, lavender, red clover, hawthorn flowers and passion flower. The elder flower and hawthorn trees may not fit in your garden, but the flowers are readily available from your local herbal dispensary.
This collection of flowers are more commonly used dried and then made into herbal teas. The drying process is an important step in using herbal flowers.
If you are growing flowers for use in a tea, you will need to pick every couple of days. To get the flowers at their best, always pick the flowers before they get to full bloom. Pick in the morning after the dew has lifted and before the sun gets too hot. Gently pick and lay the flowers flat on a clean surface, or on a basket that allows air flow. Place the flowers/basket in a warm area but away from strong sunlight. Check daily and turn over if needed. Once they are dry you can label and store them in a glass jar or similar container again away from direct sun. They will keep for 6-8 months in a cool dry place, hopefully you will use them before then.
So what are the benefits of some of the above?
Calendula is known for its ability to heal wounds externally and is often used in balms and creams as a healing and soothing herb. Used internally calendula has much the same action, it is often included in herbal teas that are used to help heal problems of the digestive tract and urinary system. Made into a tea it is a useful wash for skin conditions such as eczema, and skin rashes.
Chamomile flowers are also used externally and internally, chamomile tea is often used as a face wash for acne, we have had reports of excellent results from both males and females. Chamomile tea (strained) can also be used as a nice addition to a baby’s bath, it is very gentle on delicate skins.
Elder flower is a very traditional remedy for use with children, it can be used as a tea and is traditionally drunk hot as a remedy for colds and flu. Elderflower has antiviral properties which means that it can help lessen the duration and severity of the flu. This is best used at the first sign of infection.
Now for a taste sensation! if you have a rosemary plant in your garden and it’s flowering, walk outside and pick a flower and then eat it! You can also try this with a fresh lavender flower, sage, dandelion, (break up the flower) and thyme flowers. Just pop a small floweret in your mouth and discover a whole new world of tastes.
Just please remember to identify all plants before eating or using them as a skin product.