Flower Power: Benefits Beyond Beauty

Kara Bauer Health Guide
  • Every now and then I am served a gourmet dish that includes flowers either decoratively or mixed into a salad. Although the flowers certainly make the dish look very beautiful, I always find myself leaving the flowers on the plate at the end of the meal. However, much to my surprise, there are many flowers that are truly edible and provide some noteworthy nutritional benefit and flavor. Flowers also are suspected to have healing power, which inspired the well-known Dr. Bach to develop 38 remedies using flower extracts to support natural therapies such as herbalism, homeopathy and aromatherapy.[1] 

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    Edible Flowers

    Flowers provide a multitude of antioxidants, flavonoids and vitamins. In fact dandelions contain 4x more beta-carotene than broccoli. Although each flower contains unique nutritional properties (as well as flavor), some of the nutrients found in flowers include vitamins A, C and E, calcium, zinc, magnesium, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, iron and sulfur.[2] 

     

    Flowers have been used in a variety of edible ways throughout manhood. You can include them in salads or add them to soups, sauces and stews. They also provide a great flavor enhancement for ice cream, sorbets, desserts and jellies. Most simply, they can be brewed into teas or even frozen into ice cubes for refreshing and decorative drinks.

     

    Before starting to add flowers to your diet, it’s important to take the following precautions:

     

    1. Do your research and make sure that the flower is an edible variety. Even though there are more edible flowers than non-edible ones, there are some that are poisonous so make sure you know what you are eating. Some common edible varieties include calendula/marigold, carnations, chamomile, dandelion, lavender, jasmine, lilac, pansy, rose, sunflower, violets, chrysanthemum, geraniums, and nasturtiums.  Consult a reliable resource to see pictures and names of flowers that are safe for consumption.

     

    2. Never eat flowers that have been sprayed with pesticides or insecticides. Your best option is to grow your own organic flowers. Consuming flowers from a florist or those found along streets, public buildings, etc. is not a good idea for this reason. Make sure that you know the flower has been grown without contaminants and that they are ok to eat.

     

    3. Don’t overdue it. As with almost any food, especially something new that you are introducing to your digestive system, you’ll want to start slow. Consume just a little bit of flowers at a time and take note of your body’s reaction. You’ll also want to experiment with flavor, as each flower has a unique taste, before adding too much to any food.


    Flower Essences Therapy

    In addition to the nutrients flowers can add to a meal, flower essences are also said to have emotional healing effects. This may make sense to some based on the way fresh flowers impact our overall feelings and connections with others. However, Dr. Edward Bach went so far as to develop 38 remedies designed to treat negative emotions, which ultimately lead to disease and compromise health and wellbeing. According to Bach and others who have followed in his footsteps, every flower has a unique vibrational pattern that offers healing energy with the power to dissolve negative emotions such as fear, uncertainty, detachment, loneliness, despair, worry, hatred, oversensitivity, etc.[1] 

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    Beyond straightforward flower therapy, flower essences have also been incorporated into other therapies. For example, in homeopathy, diluted essences are prescribed for emotional issues. In aromatherapy, essences are dissolved in oil and applied to the body. Herbalists also use flowers to compliment medicinal plant remedies to treat disease. Flower essences have also been shown to be helpful for emotional problems with kids and animals.

     

    [1] http://www.bachflower.com/

     

    [2] Mercola, J. (2012, April 18). 42 flowers you can eat. Retrieved from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/04/18/42-edible-flowers.aspx

Published On: April 12, 2013