Butterfly Weed – Butterfly Weed was commonly used as a tea or tincture by Native Americans to treat respiratory illnesses.  But in these forms it is equally as effective in reducing pain.  When made into a poultice it reduces swelling and speeds up wound healing.
Tea - Tea use 1 tablespoon dry roots or 1 teaspoon dry roots per 8 oz cup of water, bring to a low simmer, cover and steep at least 10 minutes
Tincture - 1:3 ratio fresh or 1:4 ratio dry root to potato vodka
Poultice - bruised leaves and place between layers of a soft cloth cover with hot water, squeeze out excess and apply to affected area

Calendula – The bright yellow petals of calendula flowers are frequently used to make skin creams, ointments oils and bath salts.  It's a humectant so externally it treats eczema, red rashes, yeast infections, ringworm, athlete's foot, diaper rash and cradle cap.  The salicylic acids make it antimicrobial, antiseptic and offer pain relief it's carotenoids make it a great antioxidant.  

Oils - cover petals + 1 inch with almond, apricot or avocado oils and steep in sunlight at least 3 weeks, shake daily, strain and store in a dark colored bottle

Camomile – Generally thought of as a relaxant these daisy like flowers offer so much more . . . that cup of tea also works as an anti-spasmodic and offers relief from menstrual cramps, indigestion, gas, bloating, diarrhea, vomiting, stress, nervousness, headaches, insomnia, nausea, and poor digestion.  The tea also has antimicrobial properties and is helpful in relieving fevers, colds and congestion.

Externally these flowers can be ground into a paste and used as an anti-inflammatory to treat eczema, rashes and burns.  Or added to a bath to treat skin irritations, hemorrhoids and cystitis.  Brunettes can also use a rinse of camomile tea to add golden highlights.  Camomile essential oil or tea can be added to a steam inhaler to treat asthma, seasonal allergies, sinusitis and congestion from colds

Daisy – These sunny little flowers are a treasure chest of medicinal power and can be used in a variety of ways.  Made into a tea it is an excellent expectorant and can also be used as a mild laxative.  

Externally a poultice or ointment made from decanted oils aids in pain relief from arthritis, joint pain and speeds healing in wounds. 

Oil - see Calendula

Geranium - Geraniums are one of the most common container grown plants. They are a native of South Africa and are prized for the fragrant oil that collects at the base of the flower brackets.  The oil is used as a natural flea, lice and tick repellent for humans and animals.  It is also useful when applied externally for athlete's foot, bruises, cuts and scrapes, eczema, hemorrhoids, nail fungus and sunburns.  Internally it relieves anxiety and symptoms of PMS.
Tea - use 2 teaspoons dried or 1/4 cup fresh leaves per 8 oz boiling water, steep at least 5 minutes
 - Soak a cotton ball or cloth in tea infusion, squeeze out excess and place on affected area.
 Oil - Chop entire flower bracket, including the top of the stem, follow directions for Calendula oil

Honeysuckle – Remember sucking on the sweet nectar of honeysuckle flowers when you were a child?  It turns out that they make an excellent anti-bacterial mouthwash and gargle for gingivitis and sore throats.

Externally a paste made from the flowers is anti-inflammatory and useful to treat skin rashes.  

Steep flowers in glycerine for at least 3 weeks and dilute with pH 9.5 ionized water (filtered water can be substituted) as a mouthwash.

Hydrangea - The roots are commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat malaria, by Native Americans to treat urinary tract and prostate problems - even to ease the pain of kidney stones and acute UTI pain - now show a great deal of promise in treating autoimmune syndromes.  It seems that one of the chemical constituents has the ability to "starve" the overactive TH17 cells produced in excess by the immune system without compromising or diminishing the entire immune system!  It has also been proven to regulate blood sugars which may just be a positive effect on healing the pancreas.  It also has very effective anti-fungal, anti-histamine and LDL cholesterol lowering effects.

Tea - Never use the leaves only the roots of the hydrangea.  Clean, dry and then chop finely  and steep 2 teaspoons in 8 oz of boiling water 10 minutes.

Lavender – Some consider lavender to be an herb, others an ornamental flowering plant.  But everyone can agree on 1 thing - the aroma of lavender is one of the most calming scents in the world.  The leaves and flowers of the lavender plant are so widely used for medicinal and culinary purposes that I'm going to devote an entire post to this lovely plant later in the week!  Briefly, it's used in lotions, bath salts and diffusers to create or enhance calmness.  Lavender has anti-microbial properties so it's useful to treat many skin disorders.

As a culinary herb it is used to flavor everything from main dishes to desserts!  I can hardly wait to share the complexity of this easy to grow plant.
Lilac – The fragrance alone lifts my spirits!  But lilacs can be steeped to make a tonic that reduces fever and to get rid of internal parasites. The flowers can also be used to make lilac water which is useful to treat burns, including sunburns, wounds.  

Tomorrow's post will provide directions for making your own flower waters - 1 traditional set of directions and 1 super simple set of directions.

Lobelia – Tea made with the flowers relieves fevers, coughs and colds, and can be used to treat digestive problems.  However, a tincture of the flowers is one of the most powerful expectorants I've ever used.  

Tincture - Cover flowers in a 1:3 ratio with potato vodka and steep at least 2 months in a warm, dark, dry cabinet.  Strain and store in dark bottles.  Take 1-2 teaspoons as an expectorant.
Passionflower - This plant grows very well in tropical and subtropical climates.  This photo is from my friend Nit'as yard in Austin, TX where it grows with wild abandon - much like it's name!  It's been widely used in Europe, Central and South America to treat a specific type of insomnia . . . what I call the "chattering mind" variety.  It's also helpful to treat anxiety, agitation and heart palpitations.

The flower does produce a very sweet fruit that can be eaten and does provide many of the same calming effects.  The fruit should be ripe and soft, but when overly ripe it becomes rather stinky.

Tea - both the leaves and the flowers can be used.  1 teaspoon dried passionflower steeped in 8 oz of water is the recommended ratio.

Peony - This is one of my favorite flowers!  The only truly disappointing thing about them is their short blooming season.  Traditional Chinese Medicine uses the flower to relax muscles and reduce muscular pain, including cramps and menstrual pain. 
Teas and Tonics - Fresh or dried flower petals are steeped in boiling water at least 10 minutes.  Use 1 teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon fresh chopped leaves.

Roses - Wild roses are said to have the highest vibration of any flower and it is the vibration closest to love.  Maybe that's why they have become its symbol.  Like lavender they are used in so many medical and culinary ways, I will be devoting an entire post to them tomorrow.  

Briefly, the petals can be made into rose water, the hips are an excellent source of Vitamin C and are used in teas, pastes and even encapsulated, the oil is highly prized as a perfume and as a treatment for depression, as well as a treatment for many skin disorders!  Much more to come tomorrow!

Valerian - Not only is valerian an excellent sedative (I even use it for my dogs during thunderstorms and fireworks), it also relieves menstrual cramps and muscle spasms.  I will warn you that it smells like dirty socks in a locker room and tastes terrible! But it is very effective.

Tincture - Steep dried or fresh roots with potato vodka in a 1:3 ratio at least 2 months in a dark, dry, warm cabinet.  Decant and store in dark bottles.

Some herbs are quite powerful and should not be used except under the direction of an herbalist or naturopath.  Always seek advice before using Blue or Black Cohosh, Blood Root and Foxglove.  They are all quite useful, but can create adverse reactions when used in excess or incorrectly.

Whether you are using these delightful flowers to elevate your spirits as you walk through your garden, as aromatherapy in your bath, as a tea to treat your body, as a poultice to treat your skin or as a part of your meal, it's undeniable that these flowers are powerful ways to heal with beauty . . .

Dr. P