Plants have been with us since the beginning, and we have been growing and caring for them as well as having them nourish and care for us. Though we may be familiar with the benefits of several plants, some times you run across one that has a very rich and ancient history. This beautiful blue flower is one of those herbs.
Blue cornflower has a long association with renewal, largely due to the fact that they bloom around harvest time and tend to grow like weeds among wheat and barley crops. In Ancient Egypt, they became known as a symbol of fertility, resurrection, and renewal. The Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun was buried with a woven collar that included cornflowers for just such symbolism. In Greek mythology, this flower was known as a healing herb. When Hercules shot Achilles with a poisoned arrow, his wound was treated with cornflower. In keeping with the symbolism of fertility and resurrection, this herb came to symbolize the Virgin Mary in the Middle Ages. The cornflower has even become a symbol in modern history. In both world wars, it was one of the few flowers that survived both mud and bombs. It’s often worn on the chest during memorial ceremonies for each of these wars and has come to be a symbol of compassion to the victims of war.
“In folklore, cornflowers were worn by young men in love; if the flower faded too quickly, it was taken as a sign that the man’s love was not returned.”Wikipedia
Several varieties are currently grown ornamentally. They often are seen in various shades of pink, red, purple, and blue. The only ones with medicinal qualities are blue flowers. Cornflower is also in the same family as Dandelion, Chamomile, and Ragweed so people with allergies to this plant family (the Asteraceae family) should be cautious with this herb. However, this allergy is rare enough that Cornflower can easily be found being used as a splash of bright blue in herbal teas throughout the world.
Hailing from Mediterranean Europe and Western Asia, this striking flower was thought to have come to Great Britain sometime in the Iron Age. From there, it was spread worldwide by British Colonization. Today, it’s endangered in its native habitat, but widely cultivated as an ornamental plant. For those of you who are garden savvy, it prefers full sun and does not like shade at all. It also prefers porous, dry or moist, nutrient-dense soil.
Anxiety, Stress, & Depression
Just looking at this strikingly blue flower can help to improve your mood. So it’s not surprising that cornflower tea can help to ease anxiety, reduce stress, and improve symptoms of depression. This herb might be a good herb to add to your daily routine to help with your mental health in these interesting times.
For Healthy Eyes
One of this herb’s most well-known uses is as a treatment for eye infections. Simply make a tea with the flower and use it as a wash to rinse out eyes that have become infected with conjunctivitis. However, there are several other uses for this herb that have to do with keeping your eyes healthy. Cornflower contains anthocyanins which have been shown to help improve vision, reduce puffy eyes, eliminate itchy eyes, and help prevent some of the deterioration associated with age.
Fevers and Infections
This strikingly blue flower is a great one for helping to treat fevers and infections. It also helps improve immunity and prevent infections, especially some of the more serious ones, from setting in. Drinking a tea with cornflower at the start of an infection can help to lessen the severity of it and increase your body’s natural ability to fight it off.
Constipation and Digestion
This lovely little flower can be used for some of the not-so-lovely actions in our daily lives. It can help to boost bile production, helping to improve digestion. It also helps to lessen symptoms of constipation and improve bowel functions. Digestion plays an important role in our health. Let’s do all we can to support our digestive system.
Skin, Hair, & Nails
A strong tea made from the flowers can be used as a wash to help get rid of dandruff or for soothing eczema. The petals are often included in cosmetics for their benefits. This is a great herb to add to a relaxing herbal bath. The petals are also highly nutritious and are especially rich in the minerals that help to improve hair, skin, and nails.
Regulates Kidney Function
Cornflower is a gentle diuretic that helps to regulate kidney function. This also makes it a great herb to help shed water weight. A strong tea can also be used to help treat mild kidney and urinary tract infections. Drinking a tea made with cornflower, along with a few other easy strategies, can help to improve the general health of your kidneys.
Cornflower is an anti-inflammatory herb and can help to ease several aches and pains including menstrual cramps. Simply drink cornflower tea as needed until the cramps subside. You can also try drinking the tea daily for a few days before the onset of your menses and during it to help prevent cramps.
There are many more amazing uses for this brilliant little flower. Not only is it a great medicinal herb, but it’s also used as a natural ink and dye, as well as a culinary herb. Blue cornflower works great as an edible garnish for desserts. It also can be used in salads, soups, and many other edible preparations. It’s great to add a pop of bright color to a meal. It’s also included in the Know Your Gut, Trust Your Gut tea blend, which also includes other amazing herbs such as red clover.
Whether you use it in a relaxing bath or simply drink it in a tea, blue cornflower is a great herb to become familiar with. It’s a popular herb (with good reason) used in many commercial cosmetic formulas or tea blends. You never know, you may find out that you already use it in several ways that you don’t yet realize.
Anastacia Elizabeth Walden
Freelance writer and editor at Walden Writes For Women, in Gainesville, Florida