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Top 10 Edible Flowers and Their Various Health Benefits

Updated: Mar 11

Edible flowers are not only commonly used as colorful decorations on plates but are also widely utilized in traditional herbal medicine due to their rich nutritional value. In fact, edible flowers such as lavender, dandelion, and hibiscus have been regarded as natural remedies for various health issues for thousands of years.

These flowers are not just beautiful decorations; their petals are filled with anti-aging antioxidants that contribute to promoting health. In traditional herbal medicine, people harness the medicinal value of these flowers and incorporate them into various treatment regimens, addressing a wide range of issues from anxiety to digestive problems, inflammation, and sleep disorders. This ancient wisdom highlights not only the aesthetic appreciation of these beautiful flowers but also emphasizes their intrinsic health benefits.

Eating Flowers

These petals are rich in various nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and a variety of antioxidants, including polyphenols, flavonoids, and anthocyanins. These compounds can neutralize free radicals, reduce cellular oxidative damage, and help lower the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Therefore, by consuming foods containing these petals, people can increase their body's antioxidant capacity, protect their health, and slow down the aging process.

Top 10 Edible Flowers

Who knew that so many of the flowers growing in your garden and meadows are actually edible and provide health benefits. Here's a guide to the top 10 edible flowers and their benefits:

1. Nasturtium

Nasturtium is a plant that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine practices in places like South Africa. The plant's flowers come in a wide variety of colors, including reds, oranges, and yellows. Every part of the plant is edible and contains vitamin C, vitamin A, and antioxidants like lutein. The flowers are consumed to boost eye and skin health by fighting free radical damage. Nasturtium extracts are valued for their antibacterial effects and possess natural antibiotic properties. Nasturtium flowers can also be used to make pesto or added to salads, providing a mild, peppery flavor.


2. Calendula

Calendula is an edible flower that has been used for centuries for ornamental and culinary purposes. It is an antiviral herb with powerful flavonoid compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties. Research indicates that antioxidants in calendula can protect the body from free radical damage and inflammatory compounds like cytokines. The edible flower also contains linoleic acid, which is a potent anti-inflammatory agent.


3. Perilla Flower

Perilla is a perennial shrub that produces edible purple-blue or white flowers. These flowers are commonly used to make tea or as decorations. In folk medicine, perilla is used for gout, inflammation, diarrhea, and ulcers. Research indicates that it may help relieve heartburn and even boost cognitive health.


4. Dandelion

Dandelions are often considered weeds, but they possess impressive nutritional components. The plant belongs to the Asteraceae family, and its flowers have yellow-orange petals.

Mature dandelion flowers turn into white balls containing seeds and fine hairs. Both dandelion flowers and leaves are edible and contain high levels of vitamin A, which has been proven to promote eye health, immune support, and skin health. Dandelion greens and flowers are often used to make tea or added to sauces, dips, salads, pasta dishes, and more.


5. Fennel

The entire fennel plant is edible, including its feathery leaves and petals. It is a winter vegetable similar to celery, with a distinct licorice flavor.

Like many edible plants, it is rich in antioxidants, which help reduce free radical damage and premature aging. A student paper published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture found that the plant's total phenolic content gradually increases from leaves to petals, reaching its peak in early petals. Perhaps the most well-known benefit of fennel is its ability to aid digestion. Chewing on the plant's seeds can stimulate the secretion of digestive juices, while the stalk is high in fiber.


6. Chamomile

Chamomile has been used as a medicinal herb to promote longevity. The flowers are often used to make tea, which has been found to help reduce inflammation, promote relaxation and better sleep, ease menstrual pain, and relieve congestion. Chamomile flowers are packed with protective antioxidants and are available in forms such as dry powders and extracts. Perhaps the easiest way to experience the benefits of chamomile is to sip tea and enjoy its calming effects.


7. Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum, also known as mum, is a perennial herb used in folk medicine to treat headaches, insomnia, and bone disorders. These flowers contain high levels of anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants that have been found to promote anti-inflammatory mechanisms. In Chinese medicine, chrysanthemum is known for its sedative properties. The edible flower is also used to promote detoxification and boost energy levels, and it is often consumed as chrysanthemum tea.


8. Hibiscus

Hibiscus is a deep red flower that is often used to make tea. Traditional hibiscus tea is made from the dried parts of the flower, including the calyx, which is the flower's protective layer. A 2018 review on the plant's therapeutic uses shows that hibiscus is utilized to support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It also serves as an antioxidant because of the anthocyanins and polysaccharides present in the flower.


9. Marigold

Marigold is a bright orange edible flower used to make herbal teas, ointments, and tinctures. These flowers have soothing properties when applied topically and are commonly used to relieve sunburn, bites, warts, and dry skin. Marigold tea has anti-inflammatory effects and is rich in antioxidants. Studies highlight that its components also have antibacterial properties and are sometimes applied to infected areas to act as a natural antibiotic.


10. Lavender

Lavender flowers have a pleasant citrus flavor. They can be added to baked goods, teas, sorbets, and more. The benefits of lavender oil are well-known, including its ability to ease anxiety and promote better sleep aromatically. Although the benefits of consuming its flowers are minimal, research suggests that lavender tea may help reduce depression and anxiety. Lavender flowers are also used to alleviate digestive discomforts such as gas and nausea.





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