Stop and Eat the Roses... Edible Flowers and Their Benefits
October is a busy time here at Nüssli118° as we kick into gear for the holiday season ahead. But no matter how hectic things get, the team and I still make time to stop and eat the roses. Yes, you read that right! Because when it comes to healing and nourishing properties, edible flowers have A LOT to offer.
You may be familiar with edible flowers in the form of tea, like chamomile. Or maybe you've dined at a fancy eatery that decorated your summertime salad with a spicy nasturtium flower or two. Well, that's just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many edible flower varieties out there, and each one offers unique health benefits. Not to mention, they add a pop of color and whimsy to your plate :)
I recently acquired some beautiful dried flowers from The Té Spa – a fellow Boston based, Black woman owned company. I was so inspired by their beautiful colors! But there's more to those bright hues than meets the eye. I learned that the vibrant colors of edible flowers indicate that they have beneficial compounds in them like phytonutrients, flavonoids and antioxidants. These can lower your risk of serious health problems like cancer and heart disease.
Back at the Nüssli118° kitchen, I put my colorful bounty to the test. I've been dreaming of a flower-laced chocolate treat for some time now, and after a little experimentation we have a winner! The yummy results are now available in our Cambridge shop for a limited time...
Introducing our Almond Cacao Fudge topped with rose petals, butterfly pea flower and calendula.
Why did I choose these particular flowers? For one thing, the classic trifecta of yellow, blue and pink makes for a gorgeous confetti-like effect that just puts a smile on my face :) But more importantly, each one is highly nutritious. Dessert decorations that add health benefits? I'm a fan of that!
Here are some of the main benefits that can be derived from rose, butterfly pea flower and calendula:
- Research suggests that rose has specific compounds that are known to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
- Rose petals contain polyphenols, antioxidants that work to protect your body from cell damage. The polyphenols in rose have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cognitive diseases.
- They contain vitamins A and E which contribute to youthful, glowy skin.
Rose petals have been used for millennia to treat menstrual disorders and digestive problems.
Butterfly Pea Flower
- Historically, butterfly pea has been used to enhance memory. Modern studies have shown that it did improve the learning capabilities of test subjects, perhaps due to its ability to enhance the growth of neurons in the hippocampus region of the brain.
- A 2003 study concluded that the butterfly pea has an anti-stress effect and can promote the body’s homeostasis.
- It is anti-fungal and naturally resistant to many pathogens and pests in our environment.
- A 2012 study revealed that the plant contains an anti-cancer compound called taraxerol and, at the time of that study’s publication, it was the first plant known to contain it!
- Calendula is a marigold plant that contains powerful flavonoids. These compounds are said to reduce inflammation in the body, prevent blood clotting, help balance blood sugar, fight cancer and more.
- It contains linoleic acid, which also contributes to its anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties.
- Calendula has been used to treat a variety of skin conditions. Research shows that it effectively aids in the healing of rashes and wounds because it soothes and promotes the growth of new, healthy tissue.
- Calendula promotes eye and skin health with its high levels of vitamin A.
I hope this inspires you to go out and eat the roses! (And butterfly pea flowers, calendula, lavender, chrysanthemums, nasturtiums... SO many nourishing blooms!) Just remember that not all flowers are edible. Like mushrooms, some are even poisonous. So always look for food-grade, edible and organic options, whether fresh or dried.