Herbal Interests // Daisies
Happy Tuesday! It's time for Herbal Interests, our series on using herbs and other plants in everyday situations. The herbs are taking over, but today I am going to go over the medicinal properties of the common daisy, and there will be a few little recipes at the end!
I have been eyeing the onslaught of daisies growing around the stop sign near the gas station in our small town for a couple of weeks now. I can say, "the gas station" because there's only one (well, two, but who's really counting?). The other day, I took to my instincts. I put Tad in a bonnet, placed him in the stroller, and we walked ourselves down to where the daisies were blooming. The beautiful thing about Kalona is that every home is different. Growing up, my mother was a huge influence (she still is) on what type of neighborhood I should enjoy and desire to live in. Cookie cutter developments were never very high on her list. As I walked down the street that hosts the daisies, I was taken in by a particular home that was overgrown with lilacs. So overgrown, in fact, that you couldn't even see the front door, or the porch. Just lilacs everywhere. It was magical, and the home was so worn down, I wondered who lived there. I can come up with so many stories in my head...
The Daisy, Bellis perennis, also known as the common daisy, English daisy, meadow daisy, and bruisewort. It is an invasive and problematic weed, often found in yards, parks, cemeteries, roadsides, and meadows. It is a perennial plant that can grow up to 20 centimeters in height and is self-fertile. It blooms between May & November, but its peak blooms are in the spring.
- Fresh or dried flower heads can be used in medicines, but the leaves can also be used.
- Daisies contain essential oil, tannins, mucous substances, flavonoid, bitter substances, organic acids, resins, and inulin. These are found in all parts of the plant.
- They are anti-inflammatory and are a mild astringent.
- They can be used internally as an herbal remedy for the common cold, bronchitis, and other upper respiratory inflammation.
- Used for loss of appetite, they have a stimulating affect on the digestive system and have been used for other digestive ailments such as gastritis, diarrhea, liver, gallbladder, and mild constipation.
- They can be used to aid painful menstruation, cystitis, and inflammation of the urinary tract.
- Can be useful topically on small wounds, sores, and scratches to speed up the healing process. They can also aid dermatitis, eczema, bruises, and boils.
- Used as a tincture, this herb can be used for acne, and as a mouth wash or gargle for mouth inflammation and sore throat. Chewing on fresh flowers may relieve mouth ulcers.
- In folklore, it was recommended to eat fresh leaves to stimulate nutrition uptake, due the bitter substances found in the herb.
- To make an herbal tea, add 2 teaspoons of dried flower heads to one cup boiling water and let soak for 10 minutes before straining. You can drink up to three small cups daily.
- To make a tincture, put daisies in a glass. Add grain alcohol, enough to cover the herbs. Close the glass and let stand in a warm place for two-six weeks. Filter the tincture and pour into a dark glass or bottle. Use 10-50 drops of the tinctures up to three times daily.
- Can be used to make an astringent to purify the blood.
- Fresh leaves, flowers, buds, and petals have a pleasant taste and can be used in salads or added to soups. Flower heads can be used in vinegar as a substitute for capers.
I hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about how to use daisies! There are so many growing around here, I can't wait to go forage. Dreaming of the day when we start our own garden. Until next time...