Want to learn about the health uses of sunflower and how to use sunflower as medicine? Continue reading and find out.
Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is not just a gorgeous late summer flower and a source of valuable seeds, but a medicine on its own. Sunflower has been used in remedies for centuries in parts of Eastern and Central Europe, where people knew of the health benefits of sunflower petal tea and tincture, sunflower root powder, and medicinal sunflower wine. In this article, we will share all these medicinal recipes with you and show you the main health uses of sunflower. But first, here are the simple ways to harvest sunflowers for medicinal use.
How to Harvest Sunflower for Therapeutic Use
The whole sunflower plant has therapeutic purposes, but each part has different and specific medicinal properties and is harvested at different times of the year. Here are the medicinal parts of sunflowers and the ideal time to harvest and store them.
- Sunflower root is harvested in early autumn when it is still vigorous. Dug it up with a spade, wash it well, and then cut it into strips. This will prevent molding during the drying process. Once fully dried, store it in a paper bag or glass container. Sunflower root has laxative and mild gastric soothing properties.
- Sunflower stem is harvested and used only when it’s still green; it has strong antipyretic effects (fever-lowering)
- Sunflower leaves, like the stem, are harvested and used only when they are green and fresh; sunflower leaves have, in addition to antipyretic effects, expectorant, and pulmonary decongestant action.
- Sunflower petals are harvested by picking them out of the sunflower and can be used fresh to make sunflower tincture, or dried in a thin layer for later use. Sunflower petals are an amazingly powerful remedy, recent research shows that they have an intense immune-stimulating, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor action and increase the body’s ability to adapt to stress.
- Sunflower seeds are well-known as seed and oil sources, but few people know that, when used very fresh and unpeeled, they are a powerful remedy for kidney, bile, and circulatory diseases. Roasting them alters their curative properties.
- Flowerhead is the part of the sunflower that remains after removing the seeds. In Romanian folk medicine, the sunflower head was a proven remedy for headaches, sunstroke, and skin eruptions.
How to Use Sunflower as Medicine – 5 Sunflower Recipes
1. Sunflower Root Powder Recipe & Use
Ground the dried sunflower roots using a mortar or an electric coffee grinder, then sift them through a fine sieve to remove the hard parts. The usual dose is one teaspoon of sunflower root powder on an empty stomach (keep under the tongue for 10 minutes and then swallow with water). The maximum dose is 4 teaspoons per day.
2. Sunflower Leaves and Stem Medicinal Wine
Fill a jar with sunflower stems and leaves, then add a homemade white grape wine to cover them fully. Then seal the jar and leave this mixture to macerate in the sun for two weeks. Strain the tincture through a clean piece of cheesecloth, and store the tincture in amber jars. The adult dose is 3-4 spoons, 4 times a day.
3. Sunflower Petals Tincture Recipe
Chop the freshly picked sunflower petals as finely as possible with a knife, put them in a jar until it is full, then add 80-degree alcohol on top, so that it covers the petals completely. Seal the jar and leave it to macerate for ten days, then strain through a piece of cheesecloth. Store the sunflower petals tincture in small amber bottles. The adult dose is a teaspoon diluted in half a cup of water 4-6 times a day.
4. Sunflower Head Tea Recipe
After removing all the sunflower seeds, cut one sunflower head into small pieces, and boil it for five minutes in a liter of water. Remove from the heat and allow the tea to cool down for half an hour. Now strain the tea and you can drink 1-2 cups a day.
5. Sunflower Seed Mush Recipe
Grind 5 tbsp of raw sunflower seeds (unpeeled) in an electric coffee grinder and grind finely. Put the ground seeds in a bowl and add warm water to form a paste. Leave to soak for a quarter of an hour at room temperature. To enjoy its healing properties, you can have the sunflower seed mush on an empty stomach, the entire quantity at once.
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11 Health Uses of Sunflower with Recipes
1. Flu Sensitivity
If you are prone to catching the flu or other infectious diseases, you can have 1 tsp of sunflower petals tincture 3-4 times a day, for a minimum of 3 weeks. If you’re already down with the flu, you can up the dose to 6 tsp of sunflower petals tincture/day. According to recent studies, sunflower petals have a stronger immunity-boosting effect than echinacea. This is one of the most important health uses of sunflowers.
2. Malignant and Benign Tumors
In this case, you can follow a cure of at least three months, in which you take one teaspoon of sunflower petals tincture four times a day. Dilute each dose in half a cup of water, and in cases of advanced cancer, sunflower petal powder (obtained by grinding the sunflower petals using an electric coffee grinder) can be taken – half a teaspoon four times a day. Experimental medicine studies have established that the administration of this plant inhibits the development of tumor formations, and in some cases, can even lead to partial remission. This is one of the least-known health uses of sunflower and sunflower remedies.
3. Pharyngitis, Tonsillitis & Chronic Bronchitis
You can follow the sunflower petals tincture treatment above presented (to prevent the flu). In addition, dilute three teaspoons of the tincture in half a cup of water and gargle multiple times a day. As simple as it sounds, this is one of the common health uses of sunflower.
4. Adjuvant in Pulmonary Tuberculosis
Combine a spoonful of honey with four spoonfuls of medicinal wine made of sunflower leaves and stems presented above. You can have three to four such doses a day, on an empty stomach, over the course of at least two months. This natural sunflower remedy has the effect of reducing fever and pulmonary congestion, as this is one of the main health uses of sunflower.
5. Measles, Itchy Eczema
For measles and itchy eczema, as well as other mild skin conditions, you can drink 1-2 cups of sunflower tea every day (recipe above) for three weeks. The sunflower head tea has purifying and slightly anti-inflammatory effects.
Have 3-4 tablespoons of the medicinal wine made of sunflower leaves and stems presented above, up to 6 times a day, at two-hour intervals. This sunflower medicinal wine has fewer lowering properties, as sunflower leaves and stem both have this medicinal quality. This is one of the most popular health uses of sunflower.
Take a teaspoon of sunflower root powder half an hour before each meal. Keep the sunflower root powder under your tongue for a few minutes, before swallowing it with a little water or cold-pressed fruit juice. This is one of the most important health uses of sunflower.
8. Indigestion and Stomach Pain
For indigestion and stomach pain, you can have a teaspoon of sunflower root powder every four hours. After keeping it in your mouth for a while, swallow it down with half a cup of warm water. If after taking the root powder you have this vomiting sensation, you should give it a go – it is your body’s natural reflex to purge the indigested foods and cleanse the digestive tract.
9. Headaches Caused by Fatigue or Stress
When headache strikes, drink a cup of sunflower seeds tea made by steeping 1 tsp of raw sunflower seeds in a cup of boiling water. In addition, you can apply compresses with this same tea to your temples and the top of your head, until the pain subsides.
10. Nephritis, Cystitis, and Adjuvant in Gonorrhea
In this case, the sunflower seeds mash can be administered (follow the recipe and method described above). This is an old Romanian remedy, whose effectiveness was verified at a time when modern antibiotics and sulfamides had not yet been discovered.
11. Gingivitis & Periodontosis
To detoxify the body, prevent gum disease (gingivitis, periodontitis), and even treat respiratory diseases of the upper respiratory tract, rinse your mouth every morning with cold-pressed sunflower oil. Indeed, sunflower oil pulling can help prevent gingivitis and periodontitis, and alongside a healthy diet, can even prevent tooth demineralization and cavities from forming.
Swish a spoonful of good quality sunflower oil through your teeth (without swallowing) for five minutes, then spit it into the toilet. The effectiveness of sunflower oil pulling was confirmed by a medical institute in Saint Petersburg, Russia, which tested its effects in the case of some patients with chronic conditions, such as degenerative rheumatism, thrombophlebitis, and even ischemic heart disease.
Sunflower Seed Mask Recipe
The sunflower seed and honey mask is a facial mask for dry and normal skin that activates blood circulation but also cleanses, smoothes and refreshes the complexion. This cosmetic mask can be made very easily at home from natural ingredients and is one of the secret health uses of sunflower in natural skin care.
- 1 handful of raw sunflower seeds
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp cold-pressed sunflower oil
How to Make & Use
Grind the sunflower seeds using an electric coffee grinder, then sift through a sieve to remove the chaff. Separately, dilute the honey in a tiny bit of hot water and combine well with the sunflower oil. Instead of honey, you can sometimes use an egg yolk or a little bit of fresh cream. Now incorporate the sunflower seeds powder too. If the texture is too thick, add a few splashes of hot water. Spread the sunflower seeds mask over your clean face and neck, and leave to act for half an hour. Wash it off with plenty of lukewarm water.
Sunflower Safety and Contraindications
Especially the aerial parts (stem, leaves, flower) of the sunflower plant, but also the roots, can frequently cause allergic reactions in some people. For this reason, using sunflower remedies internally should be done with caution, at first in very small amounts – one-tenth of the dose. If you experience any side effects, such as respiratory distress, diarrhea, runny nose and eyes, or burning sensation on the skin, interrupt using any sunflower remedies internally.
The Short History of Sunflower
Five hundred years ago, the first conquistadors who stepped foot on American soil found a never before seen flower near the sacred places of the Aztecs. It had a huge corolla, with dozens of yellow-golden petals, it grew taller than a man, and its huge hat was always facing the sun. The Aztec priests considered sunflower a sacred and… alive plant, its daily movements towards the sun being inspired by the gods themselves.
The sunflower was brought to Spain, to increase the splendor of the royal gardens, and then it was spread throughout Europe as an ornamental plant. It is interesting that, for centuries, Europeans were not aware of its nutritional value at all, needless to say the health uses of sunflower.
Then, in 1835, a Russian peasant near Voronezh made a discovery that would propell to the industrial revolution: the sunflower oil press. A few years later, hundreds of thousands of hectares in Europe were covered with amazing golden-yellow sunflowers. Another hundred year would pass until people discovered the health uses of sunflower. Indeed, we’re talking about the therapeutic value of the sunflower, which proved to be a true health elixir with powerful therapeutic action.
Read Also: 3 Healing Dandelion Recipes and How to Use at Home
And here we have shared with you the most notable health uses of sunflower and how to harvest different parts of the sunflower to later use them as medicine. Sunflower is a powerhouse with great medicinal value. If you’ve enjoyed learning about the health uses of sunflower, please share this article so more people can use this information. Stay healthy, naturally!
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