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List Of Edible Flowers With Amazing Health Benefits

Edible flowers have been on the list of human nutrition for centuries. They were used either in the form of decoctions or herbal teas. Several reasons accompany the fact why the interest in edible flowers is increasing drastically-their health benefits being foremost.

These edible flowers contain an abundance of carotenoids, flavonoids, phenolic acids, anthocyanins and flavonols which are responsible for their potent antioxidant capacity. They also contain other components such as essential oils, vitamins, proteins, carotenes, plant peptides and saccharides which are also commonly found in fruits and leafy vegetables. [1]

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People from around the world consider eating flowers due to the unique combination of their pleasant visual aspect, colour, aroma, taste, shape, nutrition and non-toxicity. Some individuals value the nutritional composition of these edible flowers more and them being fresh, unprocessed or minimally processed food items.

Edible flowers are used widely in cooked meals or raw salads. Indians mostly use flowers like saffron, rose, hibiscus and lotus in cuisine for colour and taste, Japanese use chamomile for preparing tea and to stay warm, and ancient Romans used violets and squash blossoms for multiple health benefits.

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One of the most important facts about having edible flowers is that, unlike fruits and vegetables, these edible flowers should be eaten only after consulting a medical, naturopathic or ayurvedic expert. Also, flowers which are grown commercially or for floral arrangements should be avoided as they are particularly sprayed with pesticides and other toxic chemicals.

It is also to be noted that not all flowers are edible as flowers have to be non-toxic, have to have nutritional properties and innocuous (considering the presence of chemical and biological and hazards). Here is a list of edible flowers with potential health benefits.

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Health Benefits Of Edible Flowers

1. Paracress

Paracress is also known as the toothache plant or an electric daisy. They are yellow-coloured flowers with a deep red centre. Paracress is widely used in salads, for preparing shrimps and duck and in cocktails. The flowers have therapeutic benefits and used in the treatment of toothache, erectile dysfunction, common cold and epilepsy. [2]

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2. Hibiscus

Hibiscus flower is widely used in the treatment of fertility problems, indigestion, diabetes and high cholesterol due to the presence of antioxidants. It is a highly recommended plant species for pregnant women with diabetes. [3] Hibiscus is widely used to prepare tea, juices and baked goods.

3. Lavender

Lavender's therapeutic properties range from relaxing the central nervous system to treating parasitic infections, muscle spasm, insect bites and burns. Lavender has a subtle floral flavour and used widely in baked bread, salad dressing, desserts or marinades.

4. Dandelions

Dandelions have a compelling nutritional profile with glucose-lowering properties. They are used in the management of diabetes and other metabolic disorders due to the presence of bioactive compounds such as chlorogenic acid, chicoric acid and taraxasterol. Dandelions are used in salads, baked potato recipes and can also be stir-fried and used as an alternative to spinach.

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5. Violets

Violets contain active compounds such as vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus and saponins. The flower has strong anti-inflammatory properties that help keep the respiratory system and blood vessels strong. Violets have a strong aroma which is why it is widely used in salads and soups. [4]

6. Rose

In a study, rose petals have shown the potent antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Roses are a great source of phenolic compounds and many vital minerals and vitamins. The petals of roses are a part of many savoury dishes in the Middle East, India and North Africa. [5]

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7. Squash Blossom

Squash blossom are the flowers of squash we used as vegetables. It is widely used in Italian and Mexican cuisines such as pasta and soups. In India, Indian squash is stuffed and fried or sauteed with other vegetables. Some of the nutrients found in this flower are vitamin C and potassium.

8. Calendula

Calendula is consumed in many varieties of salads. They belong to the family of daisy and is known to treat conditions such as eczema, rashes, infections and inflammations. Calendula has anti-Hyperglycemic and anticholinergic effects due to the presence of natural antioxidants. [6]

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9. Rosemary

Rosemary gives a fine taste of a mild herb and therefore, largely used for garnishing. The flower has many nutritional benefits and contains vitamin B, A, C and is also an excellent source of iron.

10. Marigold

Marigold is the commonly grown flower in every house. A study has mentioned its antioxidative, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties to treat many conditions such as abdominal problems. [7] However, not all varieties of marigold are edible. For best taste, use French marigold or gen marigolds.

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11. Jasmine

Apart from using jasmine flowers as decorative flowers in the houses, you can use it to add a flavour to tea or sweet dishes. This flower is said to act as an antioxidant and also known for strong antibacterial activities. The oil of jasmine also has many health applications in aromatherapy.

12. Sunflower

Well, sunflower oil is known to many, but the petals, stems and buds of the flower are also directly consumed by people or used in preparing dishes. This flower is a rich source of vitamin and minerals and contains many flavonoids.

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13. Blue honeysuckle

Blue honeysuckle flowers have major phenolic compounds such as flavonols (rutin, quercetin and quercitrin) and flavanes (catechins and proanthocyanidins) and anthocyanins. They are known to prevent the risk of cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes and heart diseases. Blue honeysuckles are mainly used to prepare jams and juices.

14. Saffron

Of all the flowers mentioned, saffron is one of the costliest spices with amazing taste, aroma and health benefits. It is used for colouring food, especially sweet dishes and Kashmiri dishes like chicken curry, soups etc. Saffron is an antiseptic, antidepressant, and has antioxidants that may help cure digestive disorders. [8]

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15. Lotus

Lotus flowers are mainly in Asian countries to prepare tea. It is known to provide a soothing effect on the body due to its mild psychoactive and anaesthetic properties. Lotus petals are rich in Vitamin A, B and C.

16. Monks Cress or Nasturtiums

Monks cress, also known as nasturtiums has strong antibacterial activity against many infectious strains. It also has antitumor activity diuretic, antithrombotic and hypotensive effects. It has a slight warm peppery flavour and a mild taste. [9]

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17. St. John's Wort

This yellow, star-shaped, five-petaled flower is mainly used to treat sleep disorders, depression, hot flashes, headache, confusion, food cravings and wounds. The flowers are consumed in the form of tea.

To Remember

All the flowers aforementioned have many varieties or species and not all varieties are edible. Some can be non-toxic while others can be really toxic and dangerous. Also, these flowers are dose-dependent and must be taken in a proper amount after consulting a medical expert.