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Flowers are beautiful, and they come in so many different types, colours and sizes that each seems to be a work of art. They are used extensively for beautification, rejuvenation and perfumery. Ancient medicinal practices have always given much importance to the magical properties of flowers besides their spellbinding aromas. This is because many of them have incredible properties that can be used as natural remedies, benefiting us in many ways.I feel that the power of flowers to heal and beautify our skin and hair is almost magical. You can use them in so many ways; to make a soothing cup of tea, a refreshing face wash, an astringent, massage oil, lotion, body soap – you name it! While some flowers help in treating skin related problems, others act as anti-inflammatory agents or stress busters. I have listed out eight easily available flowers that you can bring home and use for your beauty. I do hope you enjoy using these fabulous recipes as much as I have in making them.
Belonging to the citrus family, bergamot is known to be helpful in the treatment of many skin related issues. A strong tea made of bergamot flowers can be splashed onto the face as an astringent or used for strengthening hair. Take 500 grams of the herb and boil in 1 litre of water, strain and then use.
2. Calendula/ Marigold
An easily available flower especially during winters, calendula is popularly known as marigold. Did you know that the petals are edible? Also, calendula oil is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. This flower when made into a paste can be used to reduce skin blemishes. You can also make a strong tea using 1/2 cup of flowers to 1 1/2 cups of boiling water. You can also add the petals to a baby’s bath, which will help reduce nappy rash, sunburn and cradle cap.
If you have insect bites, a poultice can be made and applied as it is both soothing and healing. The paste of the flowers will help reduce blemishes and clarify the skin. Use it as a mask or make a face mist.
If you feel you are extremely stressed and your muscles are aching, make an aromatic vinegar of carnation petals. The brightly coloured, sweet scented flowers were referred to as ‘divine’ in ancient Greece, where it was known as Dianthus. Take 100ml of vinegar and add the petals of 10 carnations. Let this sit for about a day and then add to your bath water.
Most of us are familiar with chamomile because it is commonly available as tea in cafes and stores. It is known for its soothing effect, which helps in inducing sleep. In many ancient medicinal practises, it is credited for many incredible properties, including beauty. If you suffer from puffiness around the eyes, make a strong infusion of chamomile flowers and use as compresses on the eyes. It also helps relieves general weariness.
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The word ‘dandelion’ is said to have been derived from a French term meaning ‘lion’s tooth’. It is known to be a powerful diuretic, and an important ingredient for herbal remedy to various ailments. In terms of beauty, dandelion is filled with nourishment and is great for the skin. Make a tea of both the leaves and flowers and use as a face wash for itchy skin or eczema and to treat redness. This particular flower makes the most fabulous body oil and you can steep the flowers and leaves in a good quality olive or almond oil for a week before using it to massage your body or add to your bath water.
An all-time favourite, the benefits of jasmine are known far and wide. No wonder why you find it in various cosmetic products such as face creams, lotions, soaps, oils, etc. This highly fragrant flower makes a glorious bath vinegar when infused with white vinegar. You can infuse its goodness into oil by using almond oil. I even make a jasmine spray mist by steeping the flowers in mineral water at night and straining it into a spray bottle. Store in the fridge and use it daily for a week and see the difference in your skin.
This beautiful flower is very useful for the skin and hair. It contains salicylic acid, which makes it soothing, a good astringent and a calming agent. Use it as a lotion, vinegar or an ointment. Take 1 cup of the flowers and leaves and boil them in 1 litre of water. Strain and use the filtrate. If you are suffering from painful pimples, apply a paste of fresh leaves, which will soothe and cool inflammation.
Very commonly available at florists, it is popularly known as Rajanigandha in India. Besides being used in perfumery, the flowers also have a few health benefiting properties. Tuberose can be made into a fragrant massage oil; take 200ml of rice bran oil and steep about 20 flowers in it, let it rest for a week before you strain and use it as an invigorating massage oil.