The Power of Edible Flowers to Inhibit Chronic Diseases

The subject of edible flowers is taking on renewed interest as modern scientific research is being conducted to look into the health benefits from their components. Edible flowers have been a part of the standard diet to varying degrees all across the world, but have largely  been forgotten in modern-day America.

Tess Pennington reposted her article today from earlier in the year that covered 42 varieties of edible flowers that you can add to your garden. She focuses primarily on their flavor and versatility, as well as pointing out what flowers to only eat in small amounts. Among these that should be consumed with caution are:

  • Apple flowers (Malus spp.) contain cyanide precursors 
  • Johnny jump-ups (Viola tricolor) contain saponins Borage (Borago officinalis) 
  • Daylily (Hemerocallis spp.) flowers are diuretics and sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum) can have blood-thinning effects. 
  • Blossoms of linden trees (Tilia spp.) are reportedly safe in small amounts but heavy consumption can cause heart damage. 
  • Marigolds (Tagetes spp.) can be harmful in large amounts, and only certain species have an appealing flavor. 

Clearly the above-mentioned have a direct effect on the human body. The converse is also true. 

According to the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), researchers found that edible flowers in China are rich in phenolics and antioxidants. 

Edible flowers, which have been used in the culinary arts in China for centuries, are receiving renewed interest. Flowers can be used as an essential ingredient in a recipe, provide seasoning to a dish, or simply be used as a garnish. Some of these flowers contain phenolics that have been correlated with anti-inflammatory activity and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. 

The findings of this study show that common edible flowers have the potential to be used as an additive in food to prevent chronic disease, help health promotion and prevent food oxidization. However, the antioxidant mechanisms, the anti-tumor, anti-inflammation and anti-aging activity of the edible flower extracts should be further studied to develop more applications as natural antioxidants. (Source)

Now is the time to take a closer look at making edible flowers an integral part of your home garden and your organic kitchen. Here are some of the many flowers that are safe to consume:

  1. American elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)
  2. Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)
  3. Bergamot (Monarda didyma)
  4. Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
  5. Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)
  6. Chinese hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)
  7. Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum spp.)
  8. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
  9. Dianthus (Dianthus spp.)
  10. English daisy (Bellis perennis)
  11. Geranium (Pelargonium spp.)
  12. Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
  13. Lavender (Lavandula spp.)
  14. Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)
  15. Lovage (Levisticum officinale)
Please see Tess Pennington’s full list of 42 edible flowers and report to us in the comments section below about your own experiences.

If you would like to contribute your recipes for edible flowers, or any organic food, please contact us here and we will consider featuring them on our website.

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