Consuming flowers may not be safe

In recent years, home remedies derived from flowers has become a trend in some Asian countries. Many people who indulge in these DIY flower teas are inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners using flowers in their medicinal herbs. They believe flowers help to fade dark pigmentation and reduce rate of ageing. But there is really no scientific evidence that consuming flowers results in healthier and better skin.

There are indeed some flowers with health and skincare benefits, such as Jasmine. But there are also flowers that are poisonous, and would have to be taken in moderation, prescribed with antidotes when used in TCM or only prescribed in response to a certain illness. Some flowers may even evoke serious side effects. The Carthamus flower for example, when consumed without proper prescription, can cause hemorrhage or cardiovascular problems, which may in turn lead to death. Some flowers also cause diarrhea and allergy reactions.

In addition, nurseries often add chemicals like insecticides and fertilizers to their flowers to make them grow faster and better. During the transportation and handling processes, these flowers may once again be contaminated. Usually, TCM practitioners will sanitize the flowers by boiling them before using them for medical purposes. However, those who use flowers for home remedies tend to neglect this step and simply soak the flowers and consume them right away. This may cause food poisoning and in the long run, the accumulation of chemicals is certain to harm your body. Furthermore, if you’ve been prescribed medication at a Chinese Medical Hall, the physician usually prescribes you a variety of herbs, because different herbs are supposed to complement each other to produce the required medical effect. Flowers alone are not going to have substantial effects.

Some flowers that, when consumed on its own, do have health benefits. For example, white jasmine and honeysuckle, when brewed together, are known to keep one’s throat clear of phlegm and impurities. But do remember that in any event that you decide to use flowers in your home remedies, consult reliable sources about your concoction and always boil your flowers to sanitize them before use!
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