6 Floral Herbs we Swear by

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As the old saying goes, April showers bring May flowers. (Which might also explain why, according to one study, May is America’s favorite month).

But what if you don’t want to wait until May to enjoy the benefits of spring? And what if you could actually stop and smell the roses anytime of year by, well, ingesting them? As it turns out, flowers weren’t put on this earth to just sit here and look pretty. They were made to be chomped, nibbled, sipped and swallowed. They were made to be picked, chopped, steeped and dropped. They were made to be eaten any time of year.

The medicinal use of edible florals has been a popular practice amongst the health conscious for centuries, addressing everything from mental-emotional illnesses such as depression, anxiety and stress to physical ailments like aches, pains and common cold symptoms.

So if you’re feeling a little under the weather this season, we don’t blame you. It’s March—the most predictably unpredictable month for weather and wellness alike, but sometimes, all you need is a little floral pick-me-up. See below for our six favorites.

 

For the Skin: Calendula (Pot Marigold)

Pot Marigold is often found in oils, salves, creams and waxes. An effective aid in healing skin impurities, Pot Marigold mends wounds, rashes, burns and general dryness. But if you’re more interested in eating it than lathering it on, try this orange blossom plant in hot tea or broth form. When ingested, this concoction acts as an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory agent to your digestive tract. It’s just good stuff all around.

 

For the Common Cold: Holy Basil

With native roots in India and Southeast Asia, this medicinal tea is like the Holy Grail of natural remedies. The leaves and flowers fight colds, coughs, asthma, bronchitis and sinusitis, just to name a few. Fun fact: for some extra culinary pizazz, Holy Basil is also an exceptionally pungent culinary touch, pairing well with tossed salads or homemade pesto dressings.

 

For the Ladies: Motherwort

What helps women with menstrual cramps, menopause and childbirth? Motherwort—the most maternal flower out-there. Often taken as a herbal tea or tincture, Motherwort is a great, cost-effective alternative to over-the-counter pain killers like Midol during that extra-sensitive time in your cycle. Menopausal ladies love it too, because it helps to ease hot flashes and calm irritability. And, as if this leafy-stemmed flower didn’t work enough miracles on women already, here’s one more: Motherwort is often used in childbirth to strengthen contractions.

 

For Prevention: Echinacea

Speaking of mothers, I remember my mother handing me a herbal “cure-all” called Echinacea as a kid. At the time, I dismissed her herb-pushing as some type of flower-power propaganda. After all, she was a child of the sixties. But after reading into this purple petaled beauty, there could be some validity to this herb. According to numerous sources, Echinacea is preventative and immune boosting. So much so, that American Indians were said to use it to ward off sickness.

For the Teeth: Toothache Plant

No mysteries about this one. Used in many toothache and gum formulas, “Toothache Plant” helps relieve, you guessed it, tooth pain. You can even chew it fresh (in moderation), straight from the bulbous-topped plant. Or you can make it into a tincture, which totally works too! Either way, you’ll feel its mouth-numbing, drool-inducing effects. And you might even be able to avoid a trip to the dentist. It’s a win, win.

 

For Sleep: Passion Flower

It’s funny that this plant is called “passion” flower because there’s really nothing fiery, loud, intense or any other synonym for passionate about it. If anything, it should be called “chill flower” because it’s more of a sedative, known to relax the central nervous systems of even the most restless sleepers. For people with sleep apnea who would rather try a more natural route over prescribed meds, this is a solid option. You can buy it in capsules or even as a powder to be used in “sleepy time” teas or smoothie.

Katie Roberts

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