Edible Flowers for Fitness!

Gentlemen, flowers aren’t just for the ladies anymore — beyond their aesthetic value, there are many flowers that have tremendous health benefits!  The medical information on flowers is limited, but the research is growing.  Check out some of the many flowers with nutritive and medicinal properties:

  • Apple and Orange Blossoms – both are edible but should probably be consumed in small quantities, as their nutritional properties are still being explored. 
  • Baby’s Breath – are edible and may be anti-carcinogenic, as well as protect against alcohol induced hepatic fibrosis.
  • Chamomile – long used as a tea for their calming effects, chamomile flowers are also edible in raw form.  Research indicates that chamomile flowers have anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and wound healing properties.
  • Chrysanthemum – are traditionally used to brew a type of tea in China.  They’re high in anti-oxidants and minerals, and they may have anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties.  
  • Dianthus – can make a colorful and nutritious toping on salads.  They’re high in minerals (including potassium) and anti-oxidants.
  • Echinacea – is primarily used as a tea for its anti-viral and anti-allergenic effects.  Echinacea can also be applied topically as a poultice to promote wound healing, and the petals can be added to soups or salads as a beautiful garnish.
  • Elderflower – a tasty herb that’s used in popular drinks.  Very little research has been done on the flower (there’s more interest in the berry), but it may help improve metabolism.
  • Fuchsia – the beautiful blossoms can be eaten raw and are high in anthocyanins.  
  • Hibiscus – these flowers aren’t only beautiful on a salad or as a tea, they have numerous researched health benefits.  Hibiscus contains anthocyanins and antioxidants, and may lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Jasmine (Jasminum officinale) – is a fragrant and flavorful flower, traditionally blended with green tea.  It can also be added to other recipes (like salads).  It may have anti-carcinogenic and anti-viral properties. 
  • Lavender – this wonderfully smelling flower can be used topically and as a food.  It is anti-septic and may help alleviate dandruff when applied topically.  There are a variety of recipes that use lavender, even a lavender ice cream.  I’m thinking a lavender frozen yogurt would be tasty.  
  • Marigolds – can be used in tea and and applied to the skin as a poultice.  They’ve shown efficacy in wound healing when applied topically.  Nutritionally, marigolds are high in the pigment lutein and may have anti-tumor action.
  • Nasturtium – the leaves and flowers are edible and make a great addition to an edible garden.  The buds can be pickled and used like capers.  The flowers appear to have anti-oxidant properties.
  • Pansies – these edible flowers are high in potassium and other minerals.
  • Peony – may have anti-depressant and cardio-protective properties.
  • Rose Hips – are a good source of vitamin C and may provide relief from arthritis through their anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Violet (viola species) – the violet’s flowers and leaves are edible.  They are high in minerals, anti-oxidants, and potassium.

While not everything should be judged by its utility, as you can see, flowers are extremely useful!  In addition to their nutritive and health promoting qualities, they attract important pollinators to your garden and can keep away pests.  And last but not least, flowers have an unrivaled ability to brighten our mood and help us express love to those closest to us! 

Note: Be sure to properly identify the flower and its edibility before consuming, and be sure that they’re free of pesticides and other chemicals.  Also, those who are allergic to pollen may be allergic to certain flowers.

References:
Baby’s Breath and Alcohol-induced Hepatic Fibrosis
Chamomile Anti-inflammatory Properties
Chamomile Anti-proliferative Effects
Chrysanthemum Anti-Oxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Edible Flowers as Important Mineral Sources
Elderflowers and Insulin Sensitivity
Hibiscus for Blood Pressure and Lipidemia 
Anti-viral properties of Jasmine
Marigolds’ Anti-tumor Action
Nasturtium’s Anti-Oxidant Potential
Peony’s Anti-depressant Effects

Originally posted 2013-02-19 23:58:00.

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