Spring into Incredible, Edible Flowers

Springtime blooms are exciting, because they signify new beginnings and new life. So why not enjoy them in a new way—as beautiful garnishes and healthy additions to our favourite foods?

In a 2012 study conducted by Jeannette Haviland-Jones, Ph.D., researchers found “that flowers increase happiness and life satisfaction, and lead to increased contact with family and friends.”[1]

So what happens if we consume them in our tastiest spring-inspired meals?

Here are three different edible flowers accompanied by their medicinal uses, associated recipe ideas, and tips:

Dandelion

Medicinal Benefits

Contrary to popular belief, dandelions are not just pesky weeds! Each part of the dandelion is edible, including the pretty yellow blooms. Not only are they super high in phytochemicals, they are also teeming with vitamins A, B and C, as well as iron and potassium.[2] [3]

Studies have found dandelions to be effective when used for digestive issues, loss of appetite, flatulence and gallstones. They also make a great circulatory tonic, skin toner, and blood tonic, and can be used for treating viral and bacterial infections, in addition to certain types of cancer.[4] [5]

Recipe Idea

Best harvested in early spring, the delicate flowers are naturally slightly bittersweet, and are excellent in salads. Simply pluck the pesticide-free flowers around early April, remove the green stem, and include the flower heads in a fresh garden salad.

Tip: the root and leaves of the dandelion can be an effective mild laxative.[6]

Chamomile

Medicinal Benefits

Chamomile is a goodie. It’s pretty in your flower garden, and it grows easily in BC. The small, sweet flower has some hefty medicinal benefits in the calm department. Traditionally used to treat anxiety, insomnia[7], and stress, chamomile is also antibacterial[8] and anti-inflammatory![9]

Recipe Idea

The flowers can be plucked and dried, then slightly crushed to make tea. Alternatively, the can be eaten fresh atop of a salad or added to a snack like avocado toast.

Tip: if symptoms of hay fever appear, discontinue use.

Lavender

Medicinal Benefits

Is there anything better than the scent of lavender? This fragrant flower is a medicinal dream. Lavender is known for relieving tension, stress, and anxiety.[10] The purple flower is also antiseptic, antispasmodic, and antibacterial. It’s also an analgesic, a relaxant, and a nerve tonic.

Who knew??!

Recipe Idea

Honestly? Make tea. Dry and crush your lavender. Combine one tablespoon dried flower with 8 ounces of hot water. Let steep, covered, for 10 minutes. Strain out loose flora, and drink up!

Tip: Lavender is generally considered safe, but it’s recommended that pregnant women avoid drinking lavender tea in large quantities.[11]

For more recipes using flowers and other herbs, check out my book, The Good Living Guide to Medicinal Tea. xo

References

[1] http://safnow.org/rutgers-emotional-impact-of-flowers-study/

[2] Rodriguez-Fragoso, Lourdes, et al. “Risks and Benefits of Commonly used Herbal Medicines in México.” Pubmed. Web. 2008. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2322858/

[3] https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/dandelion

[4] Rodriguez-Fragoso, Lourdes, et al. “Risks and Benefits of Commonly used Herbal Medicines in México.” Pubmed. Web. 2008. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2322858/

[5] https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/dandelion

[6] Rodriguez-Fragoso, Lourdes, et al. “Risks and Benefits of Commonly used Herbal Medicines in México.” Pubmed. Web. 2008. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2322858/

[7] “Chamomile.” Livertox. Web. 2015. http://livertox.nih.gov/Chamomile.htm

[8] Janmejai K Srivastava, Eswar Shankar, and Sanjay Gupta. “Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future.” Pubmed. Web. 2010. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/

[9] Renata Dawid-Pać. “Medicinal plants used in treatment of inflammatory skin diseases.” Pubmed. 2013. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3834722/

[10] “Lavender.” The University of Maryland Medical Center. Web. 2015. http://umm.edu/health/medical-reference-guide/complementary-and-alternative-medicine-guide/herb/lavender

[11] Rosemary Gladstar. Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide. Storey, MA. 2012. P. 151.

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