9 Medicinal Flowers for Health and Healing

By Val Silver

Medicinal flowers have been used for healing and soothing mind and body for centuries. Some of these flowers may even be growing in your own backyard or nearby woods and fields.

Flower medicine takes many forms for a variety of wellness needs. Flowers may be used alone as a single remedy or combined with other flowers, roots, stems and/or leaves to make remedies. They are often prepared as tinctures, teas, syrups, lozenges, and even eaten for internal use. Infused flower oils and ointments are often used on the skin. 

With the exception of flower essences, medicinal flowers primarily heal on the physical level. That means they affect the organs, systems and cells of your body.  For example, relaxing herbs work by calming or mildly sedating the nervous system. 

Depending on which flowers you are using, and how they are prepared, flowers may be used fresh or dried.

  • Use dried flowers (with broken cell walls) for making herbal teas, oils, and nourishing herbal infusions so that the nutrients and water soluble constituents can escape from the cells. You can use fresh flowers when making an oil, but there is a higher risk of introducing bacteria into the mix.
  • Choose fresh, natural looking, organic flowers. If they are browned, they are not good for medicine or eating. Throw them out.
  • Except for a few exceptions, fresh herbs are usually best for making tinctures.

Medicinal Flowers for promoting wellness

Calendula

Calendula has antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties that make these flowers a favorite for healing uninfected wounds, rashes, and dry skin. Dried flowers are used to make washes, compresses, cream and oil for topical applications. 

Flavonoid-rich fresh calendula flowers are edible, but their spicy, peppery flavor is not for everyone. Still, a few petals do make a summer salad look very pretty. Consumed as food or as a tincture, calendula flowers may help stimulate the immune system and quell oxidative stress and inflammation.

Calendula's cheery orange or yellow flowers make beautiful, easy to grow members of your flower garden, providing you with a ready supply of flower medicine.

Dandelion flower 

Ease muscle tension and stiff joints by massaging them with dandelion flower oil.  Dried flowers brewed as a tea or made into a tincture help with aches and cramps.

Dandelion flowers have a honey-like taste and can be used in salads, soups and fritters. Dandelion wine is a pleasant way to take your spring tonic. Flowers are rich in beta-carotene and other nutrients.

Every part of dandelion has medicinal value.

Roses

healing with flowers

Roses may be best known as aromatic flowers of love, but its the wild roses that are medicinal flowers. Roses petals can also be eaten raw in salads or dried and mixed with herbs. 

Rose hips are rich in vitamin C. Because they are astringent, they help relieve coughs and excess mucus due to allergies. Rose hips and petals are made into teas, cough drops, syrup, infused honey and jam. Rose hip oil is a favorite addition to skin care. 

Rose water soothes inflamed eyes. Rose petal cream is famous for conditioning the skin.

Essential oil of rose is extremely expensive and highly valued for easing depression and soothing the spirit. You can enjoy similar benefits by spritzing with rose hydrosol or rosewater and using fragrant dried petals in potpourris.

Hybrid garden roses are not medicinal.

Saint John's Wort

Saint John's Wort is widely known as an herb for easing mild to moderate depression. Its medicinal flowers and leaves are also used for soothing nerve pain and inflammation. The herb is administered internally as a tincture or externally as an oil. It is also used in homeopathics for nerve pain. 

Saint John's flowers bloom in early summer. Look for its yellow flowers in fields or on the side of the road. You can tell its the right plant because the flowers have tiny holes in them (hence the name Hypericum perforatum) and they will stain your fingers red when rubbed.

Nasturtiums

nasturtiums

This common garden flower is useful for flower medicine. Spicy nasturtium is rich in vitamin C. The orange and yellow flowers are used for garnishes and in soups, salads and vinegar. 

All parts of this plant are used for medicine. It has anti-microbial properties, making it useful for infections. Crush petals and put on pimples to promote healing. Make a poultice of leaves and flowers and apply to boils and abscesses. Eat nasturtium leaves and flowers to ward off colds and flu. 

Jasmine

The heavenly, sweet aroma of  pretty little white Jasmine flowers makes it easy to see why this plant is called the flower of angels.

Antioxidant-rich jasmine flowers have been used to soothe the stomach, enhance digestion, treat hepatitis, ease the pain of liver cirrhosis and abdominal pain caused by severe diarrhea. It's sedative qualities induce relaxation caused by stress and anxiety.

Jasmine is considered a brain booster because it promotes calmness, alertness, improved mood, and better memory. These effects are due to the antioxidants and polyphenols that promote the secretion of mood-enhancing serotonin and dopamine. 

It is also known as an aphrodisiac and libido enhancer.

Jasmine adds a lovely flavor to rice, green tea, and herbal teas. It is commonly used in lotions, perfumes, and skin products. 

Hyssop

Hyssop is a holy herb dating back to biblical days. Traditionally, it has been used for warding off evil and cleansing holy places.

This flower medicine shines as a remedy for respiratory complaints. Sip hyssop tea for sore throat, coughs, bronchitis and congestion. It has also been used for digestive and intestinal discomfort. Because it promotes circulation, hyssop tea and oil can improve symptoms of gout, arthritis, rheumatism, and hemorrhoids.

Hyssop can dispel parasites, such as worms, from the intestines. When applied to wounds and cuts on the skin, it can fight bacterial infections. 

Fresh hyssop flowers and leaves are edible. You may want to steam them first to reduce some of the intense minty taste and bitterness. Add them to salads, soups and stews. Dried hyssop can be taken as a tea or used to season food. 

Violet Flowers (Viola odorata)

medicinal flowers, violets

Violets act as an expectorant and are helpful for respiratory complaints. You can make syrup with violet flowers to use when you are congested.

Violets are laxative, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic. Who knew that the common violet, sitting in pots in so many homes has medicinal properties? Wild violets commonly grow in yards.  Violet may have anti-cancer properties. Add a few leaves and flowers to your summer salad.

Lavender officinalis

Lavender is beloved for the aroma of its flowers and leaves, as well as its medicinal and cosmetic benefits. This pretty, aromatic gem is noted for its antioxidant, sedative, antimicrobial, calming and uplifting properties. It has a long history of use as a perfume, healing herb, and air purifier. Lavender is used in many aromatherapy blends as a calming and balancing herb. It is a favorite women's herb for anxiety, depression and insomnia.

Sip lavender tea to relieve gas, nausea and headaches. Its slight bitterness stimulates bile to aid digestion. A teaspoon of dried flowers brewed in a cup of hot water or a dropper of tincture is a usual dose.

Bees are drawn to these fragrant medicinal flowers and fleas and flies are repelled by them. 

These are just a few of the medicinal flowers nature provides for us. Several flowers, such as chamomile, lavender, linden, and valerian, calm your nerves and promote relaxation. 

Healing with flowers such as wild yarrow  is sometimes as easy as going into your own yard or garden and delighting in their presence.  Many dried medicinal flowers so you can make your own remedies and teas. 

A wide variety of flower essences are also available to help you heal mentally and emotionally.

Medicinal Flowers page updated 12/2020

Sources:
Jasmine: 5 astonishing benefits of adding this incredible flower to your diet
Hyssop Helps Heal Respiratory Conditions & the Gut

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For Educational Purposes Only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult with your health provider before using natural remedies and/or complementary therapies if you are pregnant, nursing, or you are being treated for a medical condition. Be aware that certain herbs and supplements interact with medications.

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