Six Healing Flowers in Traditional Herbal Medicine

Six Healing Flowers

Beautiful blooming  little things in nature, gorgeous, soothing to the mind and eyes.. they add colour and brightness in a case in your living room or by the window. But, you’d be surprised at how many illnesses these bright cheerful things can cure. They’re not just pretty things to look at, or decorate your house with, but very useful when it comes to letting nature take over and heal mind body and soul. Some of them are simply that, healing flowers.

I would like to elaborate on six of my favourite flowers that I have used on my healing journey, both on patients and myself. Calendula, Echinacea, Lavender, Passionflower, Peony and Dandelion

Calendula:

Calendula is an annual herb, bright yellow or orange with pale green leaves. It’s mostly a European plant, but now it grows in the Americas, Mediterranean and Australia too. This flower mostly blooms in summer and is best harvested by the end of August. Calendula makes a great tea, as it serves as a demulcent to calm an upset stomach.

It can be infused in a tincture or oil. Fresh flowers are edible in salads or mild desserts. I have made salves, balms and ointments with Calendula infused oils as it soothes minor skin rashes, irritations, burns , cuts,  wounds, insect bites, etc. Calendula creams can be used a daily moisturizer too.

Echinacea:

Echinacea, also called purple coneflower has its native origins in North American continent. This plant can be used as a whole for various purposes. It’s perennial, mostly blooms in summer and can be harvested while in full bloom. This spiny, prickly elegant flowering herb has a substance called alkylamides that work on our immune system and provides it with a robust boost when consumed.

Echinacea is used to prevent and relieve upper respiratory tract infections and combats common cold and flu. It soothes the respiratory tract and helps against coughing and lung damage in smokers. This healing flower and its leaves are antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. The whole plant can be used in tinctures, cough syrups or tea.

Lavender:

Lavender is great in your front yard, herb garden, backyard, in a vase in your living room and all over your house, just about everywhere and in everything. Because of its heavenly scent, alluring color and  versatile uses, I like my lavender in a lot of things. The flower has its origin in Europe and the Mediterranean region. But it can also be easily grown in the Americas and cooler parts of Asia.

Lavender blooms at different times in different countries. In Canada, July and early August see a lot of lavender festivals. This herb is a tough woody perennial and likely to drive anywhere. Lavender is extensively used in aromatherapy, in the form of essential oils, helping people relax, manage stress and sleep disorders.

Lavender oil is also anti-inflammatory and anti-septic, thus used in balms to soothe rashes, skin burns and insect bites. It’s camphorous fumes are also used for inhalation and topical applications to heal some throat and chest conditions. Dried lavender bouquets or sachets can be stored in closets with clothes for a natural fragrance and to ward off insects and moths.

A hot tea steeped with lavender is a must in my family on most cold nights. A few drops of lavender oil mixed with eucalyptus in a cup of Epsom salts adds to your bath water can get rid of the ache in your overworked muscles.

Passion flower:

Passionflower is again a European herb or creeper, vine that is used in plethora of natural medication. There are more than 300 species of this plant growing all over the world but not all are medically rich. This is a perennial that grows new roots and shoots every spring. It is best cultivated on a fence but it is still fine growing on supporting trees.

Historically, passionflower has been used in treating anxiety, hysteria, seizures, restlessness, sleeplessness and other nervous disorders like tremors. Liquid extractions are the best when it comes to passionflower although the dried herbs can be encapsulated for easy consumption. Tea and tincture made from passionflower act fastest on the body making healing comfortable and effective. But care should be taken to not use passionflower for long-term or for over a few weeks as prolonged use might affect a person in undesired side effects like slowing cognition, drowsiness, rapid heartbeat, etc. Check out Passionflower tincture by St. Francis Herb Farms

Peony:

This healing flower, the national flower of China, Peony has been used in Chinese medicine for several hundred years. The Chinese use three kinds of Peony for various ailments, white Peony, red peony and Moutan peony. 

Peony has appeared in various Chinese scripts as being used in food flavoring, an added ingredient in tea, and also the root or rhizome being used for cure of abdominal pain, treating pre menstrual symptoms, ridding oneself of bad qi, strengthening spleen and liver, helping circulation of blood, blood cleansing and in general detoxification.

Dandelion:

This bright yellow hardy flower  is such an invasive perennial that it has made a bad name for itself as a weed, but is my favourite among all healing flowers. Dandelion means lion’s teeth and it got its name because of the tooth like serrations on its leaves. dandelions grow in plenty in the Americas, Australia, New Zealand and Eurasia and has now also traveled to parts of Europe and India.  In traditional herbal medicine, dandelion is extensively used for various purposes. The whole plant can be used for different purposes.

The root of the dandelion is used as a laxative, diuretic and a detoxing agent for the liver, gallbladder and kidneys, while inulin can be extracted from the roots in vinegar to be used for healing a digestive system. Roasted dandelion root tea can be used to heal an upset stomach. The leaves and flowers are extracted into an alcohol tincture and used as a cholagogue and a choleritic to help increase bile flow and treat dyspepsia. Dandelion is also used in bitters to stimulate appetite and strengthen the immune system. Check out Dandelion tincture by St Francis Herb Farms

Sunflower, lilac, hyssop, hawthorn, rose, jasmine, honeysuckle, lotus and several other flowers are also used in various remedies, but I’ll keep them for another post.