After you’ve picked some fresh flowers for your centerpiece this summer, how about adding a few to your dinner?
It might sound crazy, but the practice of eating flowers – what scientists call “floraphagia” – dates back to 140 B.C. It’s even mentioned in the Bible.
And now, a new study shows it may help you avoid those forgetful “senior moments.”
In a recent study out of Poland, passionflower extract was given to rats in varying amounts (based on their weight) over the course of seven weeks. Afterwards, the rats that were given the extract were able to find their way through a maze a lot more quickly than the placebo group.
The extract appears to jumpstart a key brain chemical called GABA, which is a driving force of making and keeping memories.
This purple, pink, and white climbing flower has been used in the past as an alternative to hormone therapy for women going through menopause. Passionflower is also known for its calming properties, and it’s been used for centuries to relieve anxiety, particularly when sipped as a tea.
Passionflower just one of many edible flowers around the world with healing properties – and some interesting flavours! Lilies are added to Asian cuisine… squash blossoms to Italian dishes… and carnations to French fare.
If you’d like to take up floraphagia yourself, consider some of these flowers that are packed with nutrients – and Paleo-friendly too!
• Nasturtium: This colorful flower is related to our cruciferous friends like broccoli and cauliflower and brings a host of cancer-fighting benefits. Its leaves, seed pods, and flowers are all edible, and its strong peppery flavour can spice up your salads or add kick to your steak. Plus, it’s packed with vitamins A, C, and D – and you can grow your own!
• Rose: This beautiful bloom is also a source of vitamin C. The rose hip has a bit more nutrients than the rose petal, but both are edible – and both can be found in supplement form as a capsule or liquid extract. Check the label because some rose oils are meant for your skin and shouldn’t be ingested. Most people use rose water for cooking and baking.
• Lavender: These buds pack vitamin A for your eye health… calcium for your bones… and iron to avoid anaemia. The “essential oil” form of it is usually what’s used in cooking and baking – but this fragrant flower packs a lot of flavour, so use it sparingly in your recipes. You can also use the oil for aromatherapy, since it also has some calming effects.
Finally, don’t forget that hops are a flower used in making beer – and they’ve also got the power to fight cancer!
Talk to your doctor before incorporating any flowers or herbs with medicinal properties into your diet or your supplement regimen to make sure they won’t interact with anything else you’re taking.Wishing you the best of health,
Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing
Passiflora incarnata L. Improves Spatial Memory, Reduces Stress, and Affects Neurotransmission in Rats, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.5578/abstract
Edible flower petals are packed with nutrients, bendbulletin.com/health/4332653-151/edible-flower-petals-are-packed-with-nutrients#