Edible flowers aren’t just beautiful… they’re good for you too.
Add edible flowers to a meal and not only will you add a little color, but you’ll throw in some extra health benefits as well. Many edible flowers are full of valuable nutrients. Think of edible flowers as you would spices; they add taste to a meal but they’re also good for your health.
If you’re looking for flowers that are beautiful, tasty and nutritious, here are a few to choose from. Remember that just like with any wild plant, be sure you know exactly what you’re picking and where it comes from. Identification is key.
With a bright blue flower that tastes a bit like cucumber, all parts of the borage plant are used for medicinal purposes. The flower and leaves can be used for coughs and depression, and borage seed oil can be used for skin disorders like eczema. Borage is also high in essential fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid.
Most people think of dandelions as a weed, but the bright yellow plant is full of vitamin A, B, C and D. The flowers have antioxidant properties, and the leaves act as a diuretic, as well as stimulating the appetite and helping in digestion. And chances are, you probably already have some dandelion growing where you live, so no need to grow your own.
With a taste similar to garlic, chives are a common herb found in many an edible flower garden. But they’ve got a medicinal value as well, having long been used to lower blood pressure. Their purple blossoms are also full of vitamin C and iron, good for boosting your immune system.
Beyond smelling fantastic, lavender contains vitamin A, calcium and iron. Often found in oil form, it is used for restlessness and insomnia, as well as a variety of digestive complaints. Thanks to polyphenols, it can even help reduce bad bacteria in your stomach, helping with bloating.
5. Sweet Violet
Often found growing in the wild, sweet violets offer a lot more than just their beautiful color. In fact, in Ancient Rome,the violet was believed to moderate anger, strengthen the heart, and promote sleep. The leaves have antiseptic properties and the flowers possess slightly laxative properties.
Chrysanthemum has long been used to make a calming tea in China, known to boost immunity and reduce high blood pressure. The bright flowers also may have anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties.
7. Scented geranium
With a slight citrus flavor, scented geraniums give a little twist to an otherwise boring summer salad, but the plant is also known for its relaxing properties. You can make a cup of tea to calm your stress levels or help you deal with a headache.
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Image: Angela Marie Henriette