Purple coneflower, aka Echinacea purpurea, and also known as my favourite floral centerpiece. This flower has it going on. It’s a natural pollinator attractor, it’s medicinal and it is cottage garden pretty.
This year, I’m using it for more than my floral centerpieces. The benefits are too impressive. University of British Columbia research suggests that regular consumption will reverse or alleviate inflammation.
I knew it for diminishing cold symptoms, if one regularly consumes it on first signs of a cold. That sounded good enough to me. But now there is suggestion that regularly consuming the tea will assist in all sorts of anti-inflammatory scenarios. Yup. I’m in.
To make the tea:
Pour boiling water on a teaspoon of dried coneflower petals and a teaspoon of ginger. Add lemon juice and honey for your taste preference.
White clover, aka Trifolium repens, is the stuff I played with as a kid, searching for a four leaf clover. (Not a lot of four ‘leafs’ since they’re called ‘tri’folium).
I purchased seed, on purpose, to seed a significant portion of the front yard, alongside the garden paths. My purpose? A nitrogen fixer for the fruit orchard, and it will grow anywhere, no matter how poor the soil quality is.
White clover is also useful for medicinal reasons. So when I’m treating my gout (which I’ve never had) or eye infections (also haven’t had), I’ll remember I don’t need to consult the doctor (haha, the in-house doctor, my husband, probably won’t appreciate my less conventional approach).
I can use it for a tea for diminishing the symptoms of a cough, cold and fever too. I will be trying it for this purpose.
To make a clover tea, dry 1 cup blossoms, dried mint, and a wee bit of honey.
Calendula, aka Calendula oficinalis, is a stunning burst of sunshine. I grew more of this flower this season so I can share with a soap-making friend. Marigolds are classically not difficult to grow. Mine haven’t been robust (might be my soil).
I make massage oil for our family. Again, with its anti-inflammatory effects, I’m in.
The cold infusion method to making your own calendula oil:
Dry calendula flowers. Add to a carrier oil, like olive or almond oil. Allow to sit in a jar in a warm place for four weeks.
Lavender, aka Lavendulan angustifolia, also known as one of my favourite flowers, reminds me of Italia.
According to mindbodygreen.com, lavender oil is the only essential oil you need. And to smell it, we all know why. It is calming and pleasant. I add dried sprigs into jars of Epsom salts and used that for sore muscles in the bath. I have found I had a mess in the tub though. So I put them in a sachet now.
Apparently it’s useful for bug bites to reduce itchiness and swelling. I’ll have to try that tomorrow morning, after my son and I wake up in the tent. Though with this heat wave, I can’t imagine they’re hanging outside.
To make your own lavender essential oil:
Cut lavender sprigs and tie with string. Hang upside down for a week or two in a dry, warm location. Add to a clean jar with almond, safflower or olive oil as the base. Set in a warm sunlit location for two weeks. Strain when finished.
Too easy really.
German chamomile, aka Matricaria chammomila, is a dainty, compact version of a Shasta daisy. Except it’s not a Shasta daisy, just resembles one. I’ve used it for tea. If you’re looking for a tasty tea, I wouldn’t recommend this one though.
An anti-spasmodic, useful for gastritis, it is used for tea to treat stomach ailments.
I’ll try it as an oil and hair moisturizer instead.
German chamomile hair moisturizer:
Combine equal parts rosemary oil, lavender oil, German chamomile oil, and almond oil.
(Since I can’t grow almonds in these parts, I’ll buy that ingredient. The rest of them, I’ll dry first, then add oil and create my own.)