With spring flowers in full bloom how can we use these magnificent flowers in our everyday life for healing and balance? Here are some powerful flowers you can most likely find in your backyard and can integrate into a healing routine.
Wild Violet - Zi Hua Di Ding
Wild violets can be found easily in your backyard, on a bike path or between sidewalk cracks. Violet goes to the heart, liver and lung channel. Wild Violet is very common throughout North America. There are approximately 550 species in the Viola genus. The flowers and leaves are edible and can be added to a salad. Flowers can be collected and any number of preparations can be made, such as violet vinegar, syrup, tincture, lemonade, body butter, infused with aloe, the possibilities are endless.
In Western herbal medicine violet has been used historically for respiratory conditions, it can be used in a syrup for sore throats, dry hacking cough, dryness, yin deficiency in the upper respiratory tract and swollen lymph nodes. It has also historically been used in Western herbal medicine to soften tumors and has a long tradition as an adjunct treatment for cancer. Violet is an alternative herb, meaning it cleanses the blood. It is cooling in nature and moistening making it good for yin deficiency. The leaves are high in vitamin A, C and rutin and quercetin. Both in Chinese and Western medicine Violet has been used for skin disorders such as eczema and can be used as a poultice or compress for inflammatory skin disorders.
Lilac - Yuan Hua
This is one of my favorite flowers in Spring! Lilac is an aromatic and bitter herb. The aroma is absolutely an antidepressant and it is used for depression and anxiety. In North America we see the Lilac flower bloom anywhere from early to late May. It is also known as Mountain Lilac. The flowers are edible. Historically in American folk medicine Lilac has been used in wound healing, for rashes or sunburns, inflammatory skin conditions and the treatment of parasites.
Historically the flowers have been used for GI disturbances such as gas, bloating and constipation. Lilac has stringent qualities which make it very useful in tightening the skin, fine lines, wrinkles and blemishes. It can be used as a toner or hydrosol. In Chinese medicine lilac is going to the lungs, kidneys and large intestine. The flowers are warm, acrid and bitter. In Chinese medicine they can be used to eliminate phlegm and relieve cough in chronic bronchitis. It is also moving qi in such conditions as accumulation of fluid such as edema and ascites. It can be used for colds and flu to clearing hot phlegm in the body by working to clear stubborn coughs, bronchitis and lung infections. One of my favorite flower honeys to make is lilac honey. Use a honey local to your area. Fill the jar with fresh lilac flowers and leave a small amount of room at the top. Let sit for up to 6 weeks. You can strain the flowers out or leave them in when it is done.
Lavender Flowers - Xun Yi Cao
Lavender flowers have a long history of uses from depression, headache relief, sleep, insomnia, anxiety, skin disorders, menopause and digestive upset. Lavender is a flowering plant in the mint family. Dating back over 2,500 years lavender originally came from the middle east, the mediterranean and India. Lavender is a cooling herb going to the Liver, Lung and Pericardium channel.
Traditionally lavender bundles were placed in the hands of women during labor to give them courage and strength. In addition, the scent, contributed to easing anxiety and stress during childbirth. Lavender flowers have a very high concentration of volatile oils which make it excellent in steam inhalations and herbal baths. Lavender flowers can also deter insects. It can be bundled and added to clothing draws to deter moths as well.
The lavender scent is most widely known for its use as a nervine for depression, anxiety and stress. Dried lavender bundles can be hung in the house or by the bed to aide in sleep. It is also very good for children who have trouble sleeping or with nightmares. Lavender tea can be taken at night to also aide with sleep, calm anxiety and depression. Lavender is also excellent for irritability or a sense of disconnection, conflict or "stuck" emotions.
Lavender essential oil is a very safe essential oil to apply topically and is very effective for minor skin irritations such as bug bites, itchy skin and eczema. The essential oil can also be added to a steam inhalation for headaches or to open the chest in cases of chest tightness. This is also a very common essential oil used with children. Diffusing it throughout the house can help with anxiety or emotions running high in kids and teens. Recents studies have found Lavender essential oil can reduce cortisol levels, in addition to having an anti-inflammatory effect in the body. It has also been used for normalizing blood sugar levels in adults and children.
Lavender is also a respiratory relaxant and bronchodilator, making it very useful for spasmodic asthma, chest tightness, cough and whooping cough. It has also traditionally been used as a digestive herb as an anti-emetic, (vomiting), digestive conditions exasperated by stress such as Irritable bowel, colic, spasmodic digestive conditions.
Lavender lemonade is one of my absolute favorites. Use a handful of fresh lavender and add to 2 cups of boiling water, let sit for 15 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons agave. Squeeze 1 cup fresh lemons. Strain the lavender from mixture and combine with the lemon juice. Add ice and serve.