Sometimes known as 'bachelor's button', cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) grows wild throughout Europe and certain parts of North America. Bearing rich blue flowers, the plant can reach up to three feet high. Native to Greece and Turkey, cornflower has a long history of healing use.
Potent infusion for balancing the body
Addressing a wide range of health concerns, cornflower helps to boost immunity, ease anxiety and sooth digestive distress. Combine one teaspoon dried cornflower petals or five fresh blossoms with one cup of boiling water. Cover and steep for 15-20 minutes. Strain and consume half an hour before main meals. To ward off an infectious bug, drink three cups per day for no longer than two weeks. Cornflower tea has traditionally been used with great success to calm diarrhea along with renal and urinary tract infections. It also helps to alleviate the discomfort associated with rheumatism.
Cornflower also softens the skin, eases tight muscles and relieves joint pain. To relax stiff muscles and joints, add fresh or dried flowers to bath water for a palliative soak. Create a wrinkle soothing facial steam by sprinkling a few tablespoons of the herb into a bowl of boiling water. A paste made from the flowers subdues acne and eczema. Additionally, cornflower tea can be applied directly to irritated skin. Oil extracted from cornflower is anti-inflammatory -- effectively reducing wrinkles and dark circles beneath the eyes.
For conjunctivitis or eye strain, infuse one tablespoon fresh petals per one cup of boiling water. Allow to steep for five minutes, strain and cool completely. The tea can be used as a wash or compress to relieve infected or tired eyes.
A word of caution: Individuals who are pregnant, breast feeding, allergic to daisies or ragweed should avoid the use of cornflower.
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