Giving flowers is a time-honored tradition and a beautiful expression of love. But flowers hold many secrets beyond their amorous appeal. They are an expression of sex!
Flowers grab the attention of passing insects with a wild display of fantastic colors and designs. Makes perfect sense, since it is the flower's job to manage the reproduction of the plant. Plants produce beautiful flowers to advertise their sexual organs hidden inside. The flowers then release powerful aphrodisiac scents, an instinctive incentive for insects to come in and play. Not only does the insect benefit from the flower's nectar, but the plant benefits as well. The insects carry the pollen to other plants which insures rapid fertilization and reproduction. Flowers are smarter than you might think, but there's more to flowers than just sex.
As spring emerges and flowers bloom, consider the fact that flowers do much more than just look pretty. We have depended on flowers for our food supply as rice, wheat and corn and of course, tea. Cotton flowers are used for clothing and flowers have been used as herbal medicine for thousands of years. Long before pharmaceutical drugs, flowers were used as herbal remedies and recorded use goes back to 500 A.D. Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic and Western herbal doctors all have a rich history of using flowers for medicinal purposes to heal a variety of afflictions. As a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, here are just a few examples of flowers I use in my practice:
Flowers truly have thousands of uses which we often take for granted, even though everyone consumes, wears or ingests them on a daily basis. Yet, it is flowers' healing properties that we can find most miraculous. Traditional Chinese Medicine understands flowers are useful beyond their sexual appeal of beautiful packaging and wonderful gifts. I thank the flowering plants for their beauty and I love to receive them on special occasions, but I never overlook the fact they also provide us with an abundance of natural herbal cures which make everyday life more enjoyable.
One caveat, whether herbs are flowers or other botanicals, they should be used in a balanced formula and dosed by a licensed practitioner. In Chinese medicine, herbs are always dosed together in formulas for safety and effectiveness. To find a licensed acupuncturist trained in Chinese herbal medicine go to TCMDirectory.com, Acufinder.com or PacHerbs.com.
1. Smith FP and Stuart GA, Chinese Medicinal Herbs, 1973 Georgetown Press, San Francisco, CA
2. Chinese Herbal Medicine Materica Medica, 3rd edition, Bensky, Clavey & Stoger , 2004.
3. Shen Pingniang, et al., Composition comprising extracts of flos lonicerae, fructus forsythiae and radix scutellariae, uses and preparation thereof, U.S. Patent Application 20020168426,