For Valentine’s Day, I know most of us ladies want some chocolate. I love chocolate myself, and the darker the better. You don’t need me to tell you about the health benefits of dark chocolate, there are probably 100 posts about it being uploaded as I write this. So this year, I am thinking outside the Moonstruck box!
Let’s consider another Valentine standby, flowers. Not just any flowers, flowers with medicinal power. You see, many of these beautiful and sweet-smelling plants are also powerful healers that deserve a place in your natural medicine cabinet. You can put together a healing “bouquet” of remedies made out of flowers. It’s creative and sure to win a special space in your Valentine’s heart, especially if your sweet pea is into health and wellness.
Here are some ideas to build your bouquet:
Echinacea, also known as coneflower, is a popular garden plant because it’s a perennial (meaning it returns year after year) that’s pretty and hardy and doesn’t require much maintenance. It’s also a great antiviral that has been used traditionally to reduce symptoms and shorten the duration of colds and flu. A 2015 study by researchers in the Czech Republic found that a hot drink made of Echinacea extracts was as effective as Tamiflu at reducing flu symptoms—with fewer side effects. You can buy it as a tea or as a supplement. Either way, this is one flower you’ll be glad to have on hand when you feel that first throat twinge or body ache!
Chamomile. This is a sweet little white flower with a big yellow center that, when dried and steeped as tea, is also a widely-hailed relaxant. Peter Cottontail’s mother made him a cup of chamomile tea to help him calm down after the farmer chased Peter out of his field! Add a box of chamomile tea—a cup of which is a fabulous way to relax before sleep—to your “healing bouquet” and you and your sweetheart can unwind together over a cup in front of the fire. Maybe even with some chocolates. 😉
Roses. They’re every woman’s idea of a romantic Valentine’s gift! Consider rosewater, which is created when rose petals are steam distilled. The end result is a beautiful smelling rose toner that I use to spritz my face… like all the time! Rose hips have anti-inflammatory properties, so in addition to smelling divine, it’s good for reducing facial redness, whether from acne, rosacea, cold weather or dry skin. You can also add rosewater to your bath for a nice scent, which is soothing as well as decadent. Put Epsom salts in the bath for magnesium, and sprinkle rose petals on top of the bath water. Hey, wouldn’t that be a fun thing to do with your Valentine? Take a rose-scented bath together? A healthy sex life is an important part of intimacy and long-lasting relationship.
And speaking of roses, rose hips are the fruit of rose bushes and these little scarlet, globe-shaped beauties are packed with vitamin C! I add them to my green tea, which I drink daily. It gives me an added antioxidant boost, and keeps my skin youthful. You can buy dried rose hips dried at any health food store or online. Blend with some of the other flowers on my list like chamomile.
Lavender is a tiny purple flower that packs a healing punch—the scent is profoundly relaxing, and the essential oil has antibacterial properties that make it a great way to care for scrapes, stings and bites. You could use the dried flowers to make a sachet—if you don’t sew, place ½ cup in the middle of a pretty handkerchief, tie the top with an organza ribbon, and your Valentine can place it on her bedside table or under her pillow for a soothing scent as she drifts off to sleep.
Or, give a bottle of lavender essential oil—a few drops sprinkled in the bath or even the floor of the shower make bathing extra relaxing. Rub it on the bottoms of your feet before bed to help you relax enough to give in to sleep, or mix it with a little coconut oil and dab on a boo-boo to keep germs at bay. Lavender is also showing promise as a pain reliever—a 2015 study found that dialysis patients reported a significant reduction in needle insertion pain over patients who had no intervention or who received a placebo, and a 2013 study found that children who had their tonsils out needed a lot less acetaminophen to manage their pain when they inhaled lavender essential oil than those who didn’t.
Geranium essential oil smells divine and is helpful for a few different purposes. Because geranium oil is astringent, which means it causes tightening or contracting in the tissue it touches, it’s a good treatment for acne and wrinkles, depending on which end of the life cycle you’re on! Mix a few drops of it with a half-teaspoon of your favorite oil—I like sweet almond or coconut—and apply it to the affected area once or twice daily. Geranium essential oil has also been shown to be a promising remedy for postmenopausal depression. A 2015 study divided 120 postmenopausal women who were exhibiting classic symptoms of depression in to three groups—a control group (which received no special interventions), a massage group, and an aromatherapy massage group who received massages using an oil that had geranium essential oil in it. The aromatherapy group saw the biggest reduction in depressive symptoms, so if your sweetie is feeling a little blue, this particular flower can help lighten her mood.
So go make your lover a beautiful bouquet, and choose your flowers wisely based upon their medicinal purpose. From now on, Valentine’s or not, you will think of flowers with a new healing perspective. And unlike chocolate, they don’t go straight to your thighs.
Suzy Cohen, has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes the best approach to chronic illness is a combination of natural medicine and conventional. She founded her own dietary supplement company specializing in custom-formulas, some of which have patents. With a special focus on functional medicine, thyroid health and drug nutrient depletion, Suzy is the author of several related books including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.