What are “Medicinal Flowers”?
The term “medicinal flowers” include various types of flowers used for medicinal purposes, and the study of their various uses. Plants have been used for medicinal purposes long before prehistoric period. Recently, WHO (World Health Organization) estimated that 80 percent of people worldwide rely on herbal medicines for some aspect of their primary health care needs. According to WHO, around 21,000 plant species have the potential for being used as medicinal plants. Medicinal flowers are rich resources of ingredients which can be use in drug development either pharmacopoeial, non- pharmacopoeial or synthetic drugs.
Medicinal flowers such a Mugwort, Jasmine, Rose etc. cure several common ailments. These are considered as home remedies in many parts of the country.
The list of various Healing and Medicinal Flowers are as follows:
1. Spade Flowers
Botanical Name: Ionidium suffruticosum Ging.
Synonym: Hybanthus enneaspermus Linn.
Habitat: Australia, Asia (Agra, West Bengal, Madras, Gujarat, Karnataka) and in Africa
- The Spade flowers are diuretic (A diuretic is any substance that promotes diuresis, the increased production of urine) and demulcent (A substance that relieves irritation and inflammation).
- Since the flowers has anti-microbial properties, so it can be applied for treating wounds and in dermatitis.
2. Cotton rose
Botanical Name: Hibiscus mutabilis Linn.
Other common names: Confederate rose, Dixie rosemallow, Cotton rosemallow and Sthalkamal (Hindi name)
Habitat: Southern China, Japan, India, Taiwan, and in all other continents expect Antarctica
- The infusion of flowers are effective in chest and pulmonary complains.
- A decoction is use in the treatment of lung ailment.
- The paste of flowers are applied to burns, swellings and on to other skin problems.
- The flowers are antiphlogistic (reducing inflammation or fever), depurative (to have purifying and detoxifying effects), febrifuge (a medicine used to reduce fever), demulcent and stimulant (Stimulants are a class of drugs that speed up the messages between the brain and the body).
- If used internally, it can remove heat from the blood, reduce swelling and detoxify.
- If pounded and applied externally, it relieves inflammation.
- The flower’s nutritional properties are good for menopausal women as it balances hormones, and purifies your blood.
Botanical Name: Nelumbium speciosum Willd.
Synonym: Nelumbo nucifera
Other common names: Kamal and Padmini
Habitat: Southern and Eastern areas of Asia and China
- Lotus, the national flower of India has different medicinal uses. Smooth paste of lotus petals is useful in headache and relieves burning sensation (as in diabetic neuropathy).
- It act as an absorbant in chronic diarrhoea.
- Lotus stamens are used to control bleeding during pregnancy (threatened abortion).
4. White Water Lily
Botanical Name: Nymphaea alba Linn.
Habitat: Temperate and Tropical parts of the World
- White Water Lily, the National flower of Bangladesh act as absorbent in chronic diarrhoea and as coolant.
- The flowers can also be used in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), colitis, nasal bleeding, menorrhagia and in vitiation disorders such as acne and skin diseases.
- The decoction and paste is proven medicine for bleeding disorders, gastritis, neuropathy, burning sensation in eyes, tiredness and fatigue.
- It is good and comforting for mind and heart.
Botanical Name: Anthocephalus cadamba Miq.
Synonym: Neolamarckia cadamba
Other Common Names: Laran, Kadamba, Cadamba and Leichhardt
Habitat: India, Nepal, Srilanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia and Philippines
- The flowers are used in fever, uterine complaints, skin disease, inflammation, anemia, dysentery and in leprosy.
- Flower decoction is used to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
6. Ashoka tree
Botanical Name: Saraca asoca
Synonym: Saraca indica
Other common name: Sorrowless tree
Habitat: Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam
- Ashoka tree flowers are traditionally used in Indian Ayurveda as uterine tonic and has been indicated in menstrual irregularities.
- It increases uterine contractions.
Botanical Name: Jasminum auriculatumVahl.
Other common name: Juhi
Habitat: India (Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu), Nepal, Sri lanka, Bhutan and The Andaman Islands
- The jasmine flowers are mentioned in ayurveda for burning micturition, treatment of wounds, disease of oral cavity, headaches and for poison cases.
8. Spanish Jasmin
Botanical Name: Jasmin grandiflorum Linn.
Other common names: Chameli, Royal jasmine and Catalan jasmin
Habitat: South Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, East and Northeast Africa, the Yunnan and Sichuan region of China
- The Spanish flower is use to make medicine, oil or essence which is used medicinally.
- Applied externally, an infusion of flower is used to treat skin diseases.
- The infusion of the flowers is used to relieve coughs.
- The flowers are also used to treat headache, weak eyes and scorpion stings.
- It is also used in liver disease (hepatitis), liver pain and in diarrhea.
Botanical Name: Ocimum basilicum Linn.
Other common names: Sweet basil or Great basil
Habitat: Tropical regions of central Africa to Southeast Asia
- Sweet basil has been used for thousands of years as a culinary and medicinal herb. It acts principally on the digestive and nervous systems, easing flatulence, stomach cramps, colic and indigestion.
- The flowering tops are antispasmodic (to relieve spasm of involuntary muscle), aromatic, carminative (relieving flatulence), digestive, stomachic (promoting the appetite or assisting digestion) and tonic.
- They are taken internally in the treatment of feverish illnesses (especially colds and influenza), poor digestion, nausea, abdominal cramps, gastro-enteritis, migraine, insomnia, depression and exhaustion.
- Externally, they are used to treat acne, loss of smell, insect stings, snake bites and skin infections.
10. Midday Flower
Botanical Name: Pentapetes phoenicea Linn.
Other common names: Scarlet flower, Noon flower, Copper Cups, Dupahariya (Hindi), Uchchamalari (Malayalam) and Nagappu (Tamil)
Habitat: Tropical south Asia, Northern Australia and Philippines
- The paste of flowers are used for diseases of the bowels and to cure abnormally heavy period flow.
11. Porcupine flower
Botanical Name: Barleria prionitis Linn.
Habitat: Southeast Asia, China, Indian Subcontinent, Arabian Peninsula and Northeastern Africa.
- Porcupine Flower has numerous medicinal properties including treating fever, respiratory diseases, toothache, joint pains and a variety of other ailments; and it has several cosmetic uses.
- It has pronounced anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and analgesic properties.
- Also used for acute respiratory infections, colds and flu.
- Reduces the severity of oedema, joints and muscles pain.
- It is used for diabetes and herpes.
- Used for diseases of the oral cavity and eliminates bad breath.
- For external use, ointments based on Porcupine flower accelerate skin healing with abrasions, injuries and burns, relieve inflammation and swelling, stimulate tissue regeneration and have a pronounced anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effect in skin diseases and fungal infections.
- It also eliminates itching from insect bites.
Contraindications of Porcupine flower: Individual intolerance, allergic reaction, pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Side effects of Porcupine flower: Can cause allergic reactions and in case of excessive use, can cause indigestion.
12. Vegetable Hummingbrid
Botanical Name: Sesbania grandliflora Linn.
Habitat: Southeast Asia
- The flowers are rich in sugar and iron, with a flavour like mushrooms. The centre part of the flower is usually removed because it is very bitter.
- The flowers are emollient and laxative.
- Juice of the flowers are used as eye drops as it is said to relieve dimness of vision.
- Sinus congestion is reduced by taking a decoction of the flowers.
Botanical Name: Origanum mojarana Linn.
Habitat: South Turkey, Europe, Africa, America and Asia
- It is also use as a “nerve tonic” and a “heart tonic,” and to promote better blood circulation.
- Tea made from the leaves or flowers is effective for runny nose and colds in infants and toddlers, dry and irritating coughs, swollen nose and throat and ear pain.
14. Musk Rose
Botanical Name: Rosa moschata Herrm
Habitat: Western Himalayas
- In medieval times roses were cultivated more for their medicinal value.
- The musk rose has various properties such as they are antidepressant, antispasmodic, astringent, antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic.
15. Spanish Cherry
Botanical Name: Mimusops elengi Linn.
Habitat: Tropical forests in South Asia, Southeast Asia and Northern Australia
- Flowers of Spanish cherry are considered as astringent, cooling, anthelmintic, tonic and febrifuge in traditional medicine.
- They are effective against heart diseases, leucorrhoea, menorrhagia and act as antidiuretic in polyuria and antitoxin.
- Flowers are also use as snuff to relive cephalalgia and as lotion for wounds and ulcers.
- Powdered flowers are use in a disease called Ahwa in which strong fever, headache and pain in the neck, shoulders and other parts of the body occurs and as brain tonic
- Decoction of Flowers have been used against diarrhoea.
- Fresh flowers are use for treating white vaginal discharge and dental diseases.
- Water from soaking them overnight is given to children for coughs.
- Dried flowers, ground together with thanakha, are applied to cure heat rashes and prickly heat.
- Extract of flowers used against heart diseases, leucorrhoea, menorrhagia and act as anti-diuretic in polyuria and antitoxin.
- Powder of dried flowers or the juice of flowers is administered through the nostrils to get relief from headache and sinusitis.
16. Water Lettuce
Botanical Name: Pistia stratiotes Linn.
Other common names: Water cabbage, Nile cabbage or Shellflower
Habitat: Central America, Mexico, Caribbean islands, Asia
- The flower of water lettuce has antifungal, cytotoxic, antioxidant and diuretics properties.
- The decoction is use to treat various blood disease, piles, bleeding disorders and skin diseases.
Botanical Name: Ceratophyllum demersum Linn.
Other common names: Hornwort, Rigid Hornwort or Coon’s tail
Habitat: Found in all continent except Antarctica
- The flower has cooling effect and it is useful in the treatment of biliousness and scorpion stings.
- The paste can be applied over piles.
- The decoction is beneficial in excessive thirst and burning micturition.
18. Arabian Jasmin
Botanical Name: Jasminum sambac
Habitat: South and Southeast Asia
- Arabian jasmine flowers are great for skin, hair, and health. Including eye disorders, epilepsy, headache, fever, vomiting, impotence, itches, wounds, and ulcer, to name a few.
- Packed with powerful anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, aesthetic, and analgesic properties, this aromatic herb is a hidden treasure.
- The aroma of flowers tend to reduce stress and depression.
- Jasmine (or mogra) tea is a popular Ayurvedic medicinal flowers because it has properties that can improve the cardiovascular health and increase the antioxidants in the body. This helps in ridding the body of everything that is negatively affecting, which in turn helps us feel light and free of stress.
- Jasmine tea is also a part of many weight loss diets because it can reduce the fat cells in the body and maintain proper weight more quickly.
19. Cabbage Rose
Botanical Name: Rosa Centifolia Linn.
Other common names: Provence rose or Rose de Mai
Habitat: Persia, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, India (Kashmir, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Gujarat)
- Powder preparation of dried petals or simply the paste of the rose petals when applied over the wounds, provide quick healings.
- Application of paste of the petals over the body helps to regulate excessive sweating and gives pleasant smell.
- Rose petals extract are use as drops or as eye wash due to its anti-septic effect provides relief from the burning sensation occurring in eyes.
- Rose essential oil is also useful as aromatherapy in insomnia and blood pressure.
- The petals are laxative. A syrup made from the petals is use to treat constipation in infants.
20. White Rose of York
Botanical Name: Rosa alba Linn.
Other common names: White rose, Safed gulab or Backyard rose
Habitat: Europe and Asia
- Roses contain a good amount of Vitamin C and are very safe for human consumption.
- The petals can be eaten raw to increase blood circulation, and they also relieve depression.
- Rose tea acts as a mild laxative.
- A paste or cream made from the petals does wonders to improve the condition of the skin, especially on the face.
21. White Champaca
Botanical Name: Michelia champaca Linn.
Synonym: Magnolia alba
Other common names: White sandalwood or White jade orchid tree
Habitat: Southeast Asia and Tropical regions of East Asia
- This medicinal flowers are useful in diabetes, quick wound healing, cardiac disorders, gout and dysuria.
- The white champaca is considered as Antitoxic agent as it expels worms and promoted the flow of urine.
- It gives tone to the stomach, checks the over production of bile, leprosy, skin diseases and ulcers.
- Removes phlegm and it is good remedy for cough and rheumatism.
- Promotes menstrual flow and is a good laxative.
- Good to relieve Stomach and intestinal cramps.
- It is use in the treatment of Indigestion, nausea, Chapped feet, Headache, eye infections, gout and fever.
Botanical Name: Bixa Orellana Linn.
Habitat: Found in many countries worldwide
- Infusion of flowers used as expectorant for young children.
- The Annatto pulp and other parts that contain astringent properties are use to cure cases of dysentery and other kidney diseases.
Side effects: Achiote is generally safe; however, it can cause allergic reactions in sensitive people. Symptoms include anaphylactic shock and hives. Overconsumption of achiote can cause diarrhoea and gastrointestinal discomfort.
Botanical Name: Jasminum arborescens Roxb.
Synonym: Jasminum montanum
Habitat: Asia, Deccan Peninsula and also in Tropical Himalayas
- The flower is use to make medicine. Jasmine has been use for liver disease (hepatitis), liver pain due to cirrhosis, and abdominal pain due to severe diarrhoea (dysentery). It is also use to cause relaxation (as a sedative), to heighten sexual desire (as an aphrodisiac), and in cancer treatment.
- The flowers has many medicinal properties like anti-depressant, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, expectorant, anti-spasmodic, galactogogue, sedative, parturient, uterine etc.
- The flower can remove intestinal worms and is also use for jaundice and venereal diseases.
- The buds of this medicinal flowers are useful in treating ulcers, vesicles, boils, skin diseases and eye disorders.
- Drinking Jasmine tea regularly helps in curing cancer.
- The dried flowers of are use by the Chinese to flavour jasmine tea. Jasmine tea is most commonly consume with or after meals as a digestive aid.
- The oil from flowers is use for making perfumes, creams, shampoos, soaps and incense. Its flowers are use to flavour Jasmine tea and other herbal or black tea.
Botanical Name: Hiptage madablota Gaertn.
Other Common names: Madhavilata or Clustered hiptage
Habitat: India, Southeast Asia, Taiwan and philippines
- The flowers have many medicinal uses and so it holds a reputed position in Indian traditional medicines. Flowers are good coolant when added with drinking water.
- Flowers being aromatic, bitter, acrid, astringent, refrigerant, vulnerary, expectorant, cardio tonic, anti-inflammatory and having insecticidal properties.
Botanical Name: Pandanus odoratissimus Roxb.
Habitat: Coastal districts of Orissa (especially in Ganjam), Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and to some extent in parts of Uttar Pradesh, Philippines and Indonesia, extending eastward through Papua New Guinea and northern Australia, and throughout the pacific ocean beaches
- The flowers of kevda has great use in Ayurveda to provide symptomatic relief in diabetes, fever, joint pain, earache and to manage threatened abortion as well as psychiatric conditions.
- The stigma of this medicinal flowers are processed in oil and can be use as nasal drops to treat convulsions due to epilepsy.
- This is 100% pure oil of male kewda flowers. The oil is effective stimulant, and to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
26. Devil’s Cotton
Botanical Name: Abroma augusta
- Abroma augusta’s flowers has beneficial effects in uterine disorders, dysmenorrhea, arthritic pain, rheumatism, and diabetes.
- It also relieves headache associated with sinusitis.
27. Kanak Champa
Botanical Name: Pterospermum acerifolium Willd.
Other common names: Muchakunda, Karnikar tree, Bayog (in Philippines), Bayur tree, Maple-Leafed Bayur tree or Dinner plate tree
Habitat: Asia, Burma and Myanmar
- Kanak Champa is an herb widely use for the treatment of diabetes. The flowers are well known application for hemicrania.
- Kanak Champa finds use in Ayurveda, where its medicinal flowers can treat headaches, ulcers, wounds, coughs, colds, bleeding disorders, etc.
- It is a belief that the flowers can cure tumours, leprosy and diseases of the blood, and to be an insect repellent.
28. Shoeblack Plant
Botanical Name: Hibiscus rosasinensis Linn.
Other common names: Chinese hibiscus, China rose, Hawaiian hibiscus and Rose mallow
Habitat: Sub-tropic and tropic regions of the world
- The flowers are aphrodisiac, demulcent, emollient and refrigerant. The internal use of flowers proves effective in the treatment of excessive and painful menstruation, cystitis, venereal diseases, feverish illnesses, bronchial catarrh, coughs and to promote hair growth.
- An infusion of the flowers gives cooling effect to ill people.
- The flowers shows its effectiveness in the treatment of carbuncles, mumps, fever and sores.
- The other use of this flower is in fertility treatments. In India, the flowers of the Hibiscus rosasinenesis are ground with henna and used as a female contraceptive. The powder of the henna and the flower could be consume once a day for three to seven days to avoid contraception. There are also extracts use to effect male fertility.
Botanical Name: Artemisia vulgaris Linn.
Family: Compositae (Synonym: Asteraceae)
Habitat: Temperate Europe, Asia, Northern Africa and Alaska
- The decoction of flowers can be effective in treatment of jaundice.
- It is an anti-cancer agent and also used in treatment of skin diseases.
30. Holy Basil
Botanical Name: Ocimum sanctum Linn.
Other common name: Tulsi
Family: Labiatae (Synonym: Lamiaceae)
Habitat: Southeast Asian tropics
- The flowers of holy basil is useful in bronchitis.
- The paste of the fresh flowers are could be used in insect bites and it has also been used in treatment of ringworm.
- Holy basil can treat many conditions, including H1N1 (swine) flu, diabetes, the common cold, headache, fever, stress, upset stomach, ear ache and more.
- Studies have shown that holy basil has a wide range of health-promoting properties including: Anti-arthritic, Anti-diabetic, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-pyretic (prevents itching), Antimicrobial (including antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and more).
31. Perforate St John’s-Wort
Botanical Name: Hypericum perforatum
Habitat: South Africa, Australia, North and South America
- The flowers primarily act as a natural way to relieve symptoms of depression. It is very effective in treat anxiety, mood swings, and feelings of withdrawal and symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- These medicinal plants usually act as a concentrated pill or applied topically as an ointment.
- St. John’s Wort health benefits: Helps relieve symptoms of depression, Reduces inflammation and Soothes skin irritation.
32. Roman Chamomile
Botanical Name: matricaria chamomilla
Habitat: western Europe, India and western Asia
- Chamomile has a high concentration of antioxidants.
- Drinking a cup of chamomile tea before bed can help you relax and have a more restful night’s sleep.
- It relieves congestion and improves overall skin health.
Botanical Name: Sanguinaria Canadensis
Other common names: Canada puccoon,bloodwort, redroot, red puccoon, pauson and tetterwort
Habitat: North America
- The little white flower is very effective in low doses when treating respiratory problems.
- The paste of flowers when mixed with other compounds and applied on the skin to treat rashes, warts and various dermic problems.
- Bloodroot tea or tonic is very effective in cleansing the blood and lowering fevers.
34. Passion flower
Botanical Name: Passiflora incarnate
Other common names: Passiflora and passion vines
Habitat: Mexico, South America, United States,Asia and Oceania
- Passionflower contains medical properties and it is best suited for treating disorders such as insomnia, agitation, anxiety, and epilepsy.
- It also acts on the nerves to reduce pain and induce a calming sensation.So it is one of the important medicinal flowers in Asia.