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13 Edible Flowers & Their Potential Health Benefits

Edible flowers have been popular for centuries. Edible flowers are used in various styles of cuisine and they can be found on various dishes all over the world. Though not all flowers are indeed safe to eat, however, some edible flowers provide us with tremendous health benefits. So, that is what we are going to read here all about. We hope you would find this interesting while reading to some of the edible flowers with their potential health benefits.

13 Edible Flowers & Their Potential Health Benefits:

13 Edible Flowers & Their Potential Health Benefits

There is a worldwide use of edible flowers and they have been in use for a long time in various cuisines across the world. Their history comes from one of the oldest civilizations of humans. It must be noted that the oldest known accounts of some medicinal flowers come from 5000-year-old Sumerian clay tablets.(1)

There are studies that examine the chemical properties of medicinal plants and flowers being used in various medicines. Let’s see what’s more for us!

1. Dandelion:

Dandelions are known to be one of the best stubborn garden weeds. However, they are extremely nutritious edible flowers. Yes! You read that right.

These edible flowers have small blossoms, which are roughly 2-4 cm in diameter, having lots of tiny, bright-yellow petals. These flowers supply various plant compounds that are known to have significant antioxidant properties.(2)

There are many options for eating these flowers. Dandelions can be eaten raw or can be tossed into a salad. You can also fry these flowers or can make use of them in preparing jelly and wine.

2. Hibiscus:

One more edible flower with some real potential health benefits is the hibiscus. Hibiscus plants produce hibiscus flowers that can grow as large as 15 cm or 5 inches in diameter and they are found in various colors, such as red, yellow, pink, and white.

Hibiscus is well known for its medicinal and culinary applications. This flower can be eaten straight or can be used in tea, jams, relishes, or salads.

The hibiscus tea is bright red and has a tart or sour flavor.

Hibiscus tea is consumed in many cultures because of its medicinal properties. Some studies indicate that these flowers can help in reducing blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels; although more research in this regard is required.(3, 4)

3. Calendula:

One of the best edible flowers with their potential health benefits is calendula. This flower is also known as pot marigold or “poor man’s saffron”, and has the taste of saffron, especially when sautéed in olive oil. This is a spicy flower and can be added to salads, bread, and soups.   Calendula is loaded with antioxidants along with vitamin A and it can help you keep your eyes functioning properly and your skin quite healthy.

NOTE: Do not consume calendula flowers if you are pregnant and also if you are taking allergy medications.

4. Nasturtium:

Nasturtium is known for its unique, savory flavor and bright colored blossoms. These flowers might be cooked and enjoyed or can be eaten raw. They have a peppery and spicy flavor.

These flowers ate funnel-shaped and are usually orange, yellow or red. Nasturtium flowers make a wonderful garnish for pastries, cakes, and salads.

These flowers are highly nutritious and contain lots of minerals and various health-promoting compounds along with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant abilities.(5)

5. Rose:

There are more than 150 different species of roses and the best thing about roses is that they all are edible. You need to just eat the rose petals. The petals of the rose are very aromatic and have a slightly sweet flavor.

You can eat the rose petals raw or can mix them into various green and fruit salads. Fresh rose petals are used to create rose-infused beverages, jellies, and jams. You can add chopped petals of a rose to sugar or butter and that gives you a unique flavor.

Rose flowers, like other edible flowers, offer lots of health benefits. There is research that suggests that roses have specific compounds in them that are known to reduce anxiety and also promote relaxation.(6)

6. Sage Flowers:

Sage flowers are known for their unique taste of both savory as well as sweet flavors. This is the reason why they pair well with lemon and some other garden herbs. Sage flowers are generally used for making herbed tea, vinegar, or floral food decorations. Though there are several varieties of sage, the most common varieties that are used is the garden sage.  Sage flowers might promote your brain health, and strengthen your memory. Moreover, these flowers are a rich source of vitamin B, calcium, vitamin K, manganese, iron and many more crucial nutrients. These flowers might also be beneficial in treating oral problems, reducing blood sugar levels, reduce bad cholesterol level, ease symptoms of menopause, and also help in preventing cancer.

7. Purslane:

Purslane is another edible flower that can be eaten either raw or cooked, and it has got some real potential health benefits. This flower has its rich nutrient content including various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. However, the best thing present in it is the Omega-3 fat content. In fact, purslane offers more omega-3s than almost any vegetable.(7)

The flowers and leaves of purslane can either be served fresh and raw in salads and sandwiches or maybe steamed with vegetables as a side dish. You can also add them to your favorite soups.Bottom of Form

8. Borage:

Borage is also known as starflower and is an herb producing star-shaped flowers. These blossoms are blue mostly; however, they might also be pink or white.

Borage has got its importance in herbal medicine and it is used for treating minor ailments, like a cough or sore throat. However, there is a lack of human research to support this efficacy as fair medical therapy.(8)

The borage flowers have a slightly sweet flavor that resembles cucumber and honey. You can consume these flowers fresh in a salad or can use them as a garnish for cocktails and desserts. These flowers can also be cooked and be added to various soups, or stuffed pasta fillings. 

9. Honeysuckle:

There are around 200 species of honeysuckle, but the Japanese and Woodbine varieties of honeysuckle are the most commonly known species. These are typically white or yellow and they hold nectar that we can eat straight from the flower itself.

This flower has been significantly used in traditional Chinese medicine practices for several years.(9)

You can apply honeysuckle flowers and the flower extracts to your skin or can ingest them for treating several kinds of inflammatory conditions. But, there is a lack of human research to prove its efficacy.(10)

This flower is mostly used for preparing tea or a sort of flavorful syrup and this syrup can be used to sweeten iced tea, yogurt, or lemonade.

10. Pansy:

Pansies are quite pleasant to look and they are also pleasant to eat. Pansies have small blossoms that measure around 5cm to 8 cm in diameter, and they exist in several colors; however hues of purple, blue and yellow are known to be the most common ones. These flowers have 5 petals with a dark area in their center resembling a stain of ink.

These flowers have a mild and slightly floral flavor and they can be added to your desserts like cakes, cookies, and pastries as an excellent decoration.

Pansies are known to be a potent source of a lot of important plant compounds that are known to have wonderful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in them.(11)

11. Squash Blossom:

Squash blossom is probably one of the best edible flowers with their potential health benefits. Though these blossoms form on almost all types of summer squash, the most popular form comes from Zucchini. The zucchini flowers are bright yellow and have a long and are rounded bell shape.

You can eat the flowers raw when added to salads or can fry them or even bake them until the delicate petals of the squash blossom become crispy.

You can eat only the male squash flowers and not the female blossoms (which turn into squash) so that you don’t have to sacrifice your squash harvest if you are doing so. (12)

12. Chamomile:

This is a floral herb that is used in cooking and also in traditional medicine for many years. Chamomile flowers resemble closely to daisies and they give a slightly sweet and earthy flavor to your foods when they are cooked.

Chamomile is often consumed to reduce anxiety and also to improve your quality of sleep. (13, 14) You can prepare chamomile tea from the flowers or can prepare syrups and use them in desserts and smoothies.

13. Lavender:

Lavender is a floral herb that is originally grown in the Mediterranean and parts of North Africa. These are the violet-colored flowers and are small yet plentiful.

This flower is most probably best known for its unique fragrance which offers a calming effect. (15)

You can add lavender to a variety of foods, such as baked goods, liqueurs, infused syrups, and many more.

Final Thoughts

Though we talked about some of the best edible flowers with their potential health benefits, we must also keep you aware that not all flowers are edible and many of them can also prove to be fatal for you. So, you need to be very careful while selecting the flowers to eat or to use in food. Moreover, you must also be careful about not eating the flowers that grow on the roadside, even if they are edible flowers.

The best thing that can be done to use edible flowers as food and gain some potential health benefits out of them is, to grow the edible flower plants in your garden and make sure not to mix them with dangerous flowers.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 5, 2020

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