Turns out, sunflowers as medicine is a thing. I had no idea that they have been used as medicine. Every time I see a sunflower it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but that doesn’t exactly count as medicinal. Nathanael said, “I know they’re really good at keeping me awake on road trips…” but that’s about everything we knew.
Sunflowers as Medicine
There are over 60 varieties of sunflowers, and there are no poisonous look-a-likes, which is awesome. Pretty much everyone knows you can eat the seeds and use sunflower oil for cooking. You can also use the seeds to feed your chickens! Here are a few other things sunflowers have been used for:
- the roasted seeds have been boiled and made into a tea to relieve whooping cough
- tea from the flower petals has been used for other lung ailments such as bronchitis
- tea from the leaves has been used to reduce fevers
- a poultice from the leaves and root can be used to relieve snake and insect bites
- the leaves are considered to be an astringent (tightens tissue), expectorant (helps bring up mucus), and diuretic (helps pass urine)
- the seeds are considered to be an expectorant and diuretic as well. They can also help to relieve constipation
- tea from the flowers was used to treat malaria
- contains folate, iron, magnesium, Vitamin E, and zinc
- the high magnesium content in sunflower seeds can help reduce blood pressure
- sunflower oil is good for the skin. It’s been known to help with hemorrhoids
- The unopened flower buds can be boiled and eaten like artichokes
Essentially all of the seed properties are present in the sunflower oil as it comes from the seeds. You can find sunflowers in old fields and on roadsides. They are native to Central America and western North America. Sunflowers are also great companion plants for pretty much any plant.
Definitely a plant I will be growing in my medicinal garden!
- Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants. Steve Brill.
- The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism. Malcom Stewart.