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Home/Blog/10 Edible Flowers: How to Use and Their Health Benefits

10 Edible Flowers: How to Use and Their Health Benefits

By Christine Ruggeri

April 4, 2024

Edible flowers

Edible flowers? Springtime is when flowers make their way onto the dining table as decoration, but as food? While we’re not talking about a flower sandwich or smoothie, many flowers do work well as flavor enhancers and as a colorful garnish — plus, most importantly, they may also contain some health benefits.

Indeed, for thousands of years, edible flowers like lavender, dandelion and hibiscus have been used as remedies and for their nutritional value. How exactly? In salads, baked dishes, desserts and teas, for example.

Here’s a quick guide to the best edible flowers, their benefits and how to use them. As always, you should consult your healthcare professional prior to beginning any new dietary or lifestyle regimen.

Best 12 Edible Flowers

1. Lavender

Lavender flowers have a flavor with pleasant citrus notes. They can be added to baked goods, teas, sorbets and more.

The benefits of lavender include supporting healthy stress levels and promoting better sleep. Research suggests that lavender tea helps support a healthy outlook as well as a healthy gut.

2. Calendula

Calendula is an edible flower that’s been used for ornamental and culinary purposes for centuries. It possesses flavonoid properties, such as linoleic acid, that support a healthy response to inflammation.

3. Hibiscus

Hibiscus is a flower with a beautiful deep red color that’s often used to make tea. Traditional hibiscus tea is made from the flower’s dried parts, including the calyx, which is the flower’s protective layer.

Studies indicate that hibiscus can help support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It also serves as an antioxidant because of the anthocyanins and polysaccharides present in the flower.

4. Fennel

The entire fennel plant is edible, including its feathery leaves and florets. It’s a celery-like winter vegetable that has a distinguishable licorice-like taste.

Like many edible plants, it’s rich in antioxidants that help fight free radicals and early aging. One study found that the plant’s total phenolic amount increased from leaves to florets, reaching its highest value as early florets.

Perhaps fennel’s most well-known benefit is its ability to aid digestion. Chewing on the seeds of the plant can help stimulate digestive juices, and the stalk is high in fiber.

5. Dandelion

Dandelions are often viewed as weeds, but they feature an impressive nutrition profile. The plant is from the daisy family, and it has a yellow-orange floret.

Mature dandelion flowers become white balls that contain seeds and fine hairs. Both the flowers and dandelion greens are edible and contain high levels of vitamin A, which has been proven to promote eye health, healthy immune system support and skin health.

Dandelion greens and flowers are often used to make tea or added to sauces, dips, salads, pasta dishes and more.

6. Chamomile

Chamomile has been used as an herb to promote longevity. The flowers are often used to make tea, which have been found to help support a healthy response to inflammation, promote relaxation and better sleep, and relieve congestion.

Chamomile flowers are packed with beneficial antioxidants and available in potent forms, like dry powders and extracts. Perhaps the easiest way to experience chamomile benefits is to sip tea and enjoy the calming effects.

7. Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum, also known as mum, is a perennial herb that contains a high content of anthocyanins — powerful antioxidants that promote a healthy response to inflammation.

In the Traditional Chinese Method, chrysanthemum is known for its sleep-promoting properties and helps facilitate relaxation. The edible flower is also used to promote detoxification and boost energy levels, and it’s often consumed as chrysanthemum tea.

8. Sage Flower

Sage is a perennial shrub that makes edible purplish-blue or white flowers. The flowers are commonly used to make tea or as a garnish.

Research indicates that it may help relieve occasional heartburn and even boost cognitive health.

9. Marigold

Marigolds are brightly orange-colored edible flowers that are used to make herbal teas, ointments and tinctures. The flowers have soothing properties when applied topically and are often used to help relieve sunburn, insect bites and dry skin.

Marigold tea supports a healthy response to inflammation and is rich in antioxidants.

10. Marjoram

Marjoram is a perennial herb that’s been used to make teas for centuries. It has a similar flavor to oregano but is more mild and sweeter.

The flowers and leaves of the plant are edible and can help aid digestion by stimulating the salivary glands.

Drinking marjoram tea is a common natural approach for easing occasional constipation, cramps and gassiness. Research suggests that its antioxidants and chemical constituents support a healthy response to inflammation.

How to Find and Use Edible Flowers

The most common way to consume edible flowers is by making tea. Generally, flowers can be steeped in hot water for one hour, or sun tea can be left in a sunny area for about one day. Adding lemon or honey to herbal teas is a great way to add sweetness naturally.

Flowers can also be used as garnishes, added to dips and sauces, or used in baked goods recipes.

You can purchase some edible flowers at health food stores or farmers markets. You can also pick your own edible flowers, but make sure they are indeed safe to consume.

If you’re foraging your own edible flowers or leaves, be sure not to pick from areas that have been sprayed with pesticides or any other types of chemicals.

To clean edible flowers, add them to a bowl of cold water and then place them on a paper towel to air dry. If you don’t eat them immediately, store them in a damp paper towel within an airtight container. They can be kept in the refrigerator for about a week.

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