The potential of edible flowers
Edible flowers have been used in Chinese cuisine for thousands of years. They act as a garnish, are used as a fully fledged ingredient and are also popular as a cure for various ailments. In recent years, more and more people argue that edible flowers have positive health effects. But are they really as healthy as they think?
In 2014, researchers of the University of Zhejiang reported on the potential health benefits of edible flowers. They measured and analysed the phenolics of 10 Chinese edible flowers. In addition, the antioxidant capacity was evaluated. The study included the following ten flowers: Paeonia suffruticosa, flos lonicerae, rosa chinensis, lavandula pedunculata, prunus persica, flos carthami, hibiscus sabdariffa, flos rosae rugosae, chrysanthemum morifolium and lilium brownii var. viridulum. The researchers discovered that the edible flowers are rich in phenolics and have high antioxidant capacity. They referred to several studies that suggest there is a link between the consumption of phenolics and anti-inflammatory activity, a reduced risk of certain forms of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Subsequently, they concluded that the edible flowers have the potential to serve as an additive in food to prevent chronic diseases, promote health and prevent food oxidization. Unfortunately the researchers did not test the effects of edible flowers on humans.
Further research is needed to see if the edible flowers really benefit human health.