The healing power of flowers
The month of May bursts with vivid colors of various fruit harvests and fragrant blooms. While a bouquet of flowers can lift up our spirits, some of these gorgeous bulbs have potent healing powers.
Here are common ones you see in your neighborhood:
• Gumamela flower, leaves and roots, according to www.philippineherbalmedicine.org, are used in herbal medicine as an expectorant, diuretic, emollient anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, anodyne and refrigerant. Also known as hibiscus, this ornamental plant is seen in most home gardens in hues of pink, purple, red, orange, white and yellow.
Decoction or a tea of gumamela is used to treat bronchitis, coughs, fever, dysentery, urinary and bladder infections, high blood pressure and constipation. A poultice or mashed flowers paste is used to treat headaches, boils, swelling, abscesses and mumps.
• Chamomile. Manzanilla is the Philippine and Spanish name of chamomile. The dainty flower is touted as a healing superstar with a long list of traditional medicine applications. For thousand of years, it has been used to improve sleep, alleviate skin problems and relieve gas pains. It is also widely used to calm very stressed nerves.
• Santan is a popular flowering shrub used as a hedge in most home gardens. According to www.medicalhealthguide.com, santan “contains important phytochemicals that are known to have antioxidative, antibacterial, gastroprotective, hepatoprotective, antidiarrhoeal, antinociceptive, antimutagenic, antineoplastic and chemopreventive effects.”
Traditionally, a decoction of santan leaves is used to treat wounds, skin ulcers, hiccups, nausea, sore throat, asthma and bronchitis cough. A decoction of the flower is used to treat hypertension, female reproduction organ infections and irregular menstruation. A poultice of the leaves and flowers is used for sprains, boils and eczema.
• Sampaguita, Arabian jasmine or jasminum sambac, is the national flower of the Philippines. Garlands of the small but intensely fragrant flowers are peddled in the streets, as well as in church courtyards.
In Ayurvedic healing, the flowers, leaves and roots of the sampaguita plant are used to treat headaches, ulcer, fever, leprosy, vomiting, skin problems, and ophthalmic problems according to www.naturalhomeremedies.co. The leaves and flowers are used to treat and prevent breast cancer, as well as uterine bleeding.
It’s reported that the Arabian jasmine is considered an antiseptic, emollient (softens and soothes the skin), tonic and thermogenic (increases heat in the body). All parts of the plant - leaf, stem, bark and roots possess medicinal properties. The plant extract contains resin, salicylic acid, alkaloids, glycoside, flavanoid, terpines, and tannin. The jasmine plant also possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, antioxidant, antibacterial and antifungal properties.
• Ylang Ylang flowers have long been in demand for its essential oil, which are considered as antidepressant, antiseborrheic, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, nervine and sedative according to www.stuartxchange.org. Studies indicate antioxidant, antimicrobial, antidiabetic, cytotoxic, antifertility and insecticidal properties. Traditionally the oil is used for a variety of infectious and skin diseases, insect bites, acne and scalp conditions. It is also used as a sedative and antidepressant.
• Bougainvillea proliferates under the scorching sun and vibrant colors provide stunning accent to our balcony, patios, and gardens. Who would imagine they also provide cure to some ailments?
According to www.drhealthbenefits.com, the health benefits of bougainvillea stem from the phytochemical components of the flowers. The health benefits of bougainvillea flowers include treating respiratory problems. The expectorant property of the flowers relieve cough while its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties heal sore throat.
A bougainvillea infusion or tea can reduce fever due to its antipyretic properties. The site further reported that drinking the tea to relieve diarrhea is effective in flushing out toxins, as well as boosting the recovery process.
• Kalachuchi or frangipani flowers is said to be beneficial to the skin because of its astringent and moisturizing properties. The extract of kalachuchi, due to its anti-inflammatory properties, is used to cure headaches, muscular or back pain. The kalachuchi is rich in anti-oxidants, as well as helpful in relieving stress and anxieties.
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