Pretty and Practical Herb: How Cornflower Eases Anxiety and Improves Immune Function
by Susan Patterson
Natural Society, 20 November 2012
The stunning sky-blue cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) native to the near East and frequently seen in gardens throughout Europe and temperate regions of North America is a common wildflower with amazing health promoting properties. Known as ‘bachelors button’ this attractive plant has been prized for its medicinal properties for centuries.
Cornflower is an easy-to-grow flower that is as practical as it is pretty. Known for its ability to curb anxiety, reduce joint pain, soothe irritated skin, calm an upset stomach and reduce eye swelling, it is easy to see how the cornflower can be used to solve numerous health ailments. In addition, cornflowers contain properties that enhance immune system functioning.
Soaking in a tub filled with warm water and fresh or dried flowers eases joint and muscle stiffness and soothes irritated skin. A facial steam made from boiling water, and a few tablespoons of dried flowers help soften skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Boiling flowers in water and making a hot compress can ease the pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis and muscle soreness. Leaving the hot compress in place for as long as possible works best. For eye strain, apply a compress made from one tablespoon of flowers and one cup of boiling water. Allow the mixture to steep for five minutes and to cool completely before applying.
Cornflower oil, made by extracting oil from the flower, is used in a number of cosmetics and can be applied to dark circles and wrinkles directly to reduce puffiness and irritation.
Adding one teaspoon of cornflower petals with one cup of boiling water makes an effective medicinal tea. For fighting infections, allow the tea to steep for twenty minutes and strain. Consume the mixture half an hour before meals and drink three cups daily for up to two weeks. Drinking the tea will also boost immune system function, calm anxiety and quiet a rumbling tummy.
Pregnant and breast-feeding mothers should always check with a health practitioner before using any herbal treatment.