Unfolding the petal-perfect virtues of edible flowers


A latest evaluate article revealed within the journal Foods describes the well being advantages and different helpful traits of various flowering vegetation.

Research: Exploring Plants with Flowers: From Therapeutic Nutritional Benefits to Innovative Sustainable Uses. Picture Credit score: Shan 16899 / Shutterstock.com


The usage of edible flowers has elevated considerably in recent times, primarily due to their dietary and medicinal properties. Flowers are wealthy sources of many bioactive compounds, together with carotenoids, phenolic compounds, nutritional vitamins C and E, saponins, and phytosterols.

Instead meals supply, flowers considerably contribute to meals safety and environmental sustainability. However, some flowers might also comprise poisonous substances, thus making them not appropriate for consumption.

Many post-harvest therapies, together with refrigeration, crystallization, lyophilization or freeze-drying, sugar canning, and preservation in distillates, have been developed to extend the shelf-life and high quality of flowers. Regardless of these developments, edible flowers are primarily offered recent and chilled with out another post-harvest therapies.

Vitamins and bioactive compounds in edible flowers

The recognition of edible flowers is rising due to their dietary and well being advantages. Proof signifies that the consumption of some edible flowers can present each day really useful quantities of sure minerals, together with magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium. Nevertheless, boiling some flowers might scale back their mineral content material.

Totally different elements of flowers comprise totally different quantities of vitamins. Pollen, for instance, has excessive quantities of proteins, amino acids, carbohydrates, and lipids.

Nectar has balanced quantities of sugars, amino acids, proteins, inorganic ions, lipids, natural acids, and alkaloids. Petals and different elements of flowers function potential sources of nutritional vitamins, minerals, and bioactive compounds.

Phenolic compounds and carotenoids are the key bioactive compounds present in flowers. Latest proof signifies that about 60% and 54% of identified edible flowers comprise carotenoids and phenolic compounds, respectively. Nevertheless, it has been noticed that flowers containing excessive quantities of carotenoids don’t typically comprise excessive quantities of phenolic compounds and vice versa.

Flavonols, equivalent to quercetin, kaempferol, isorhamnetin, myricetin, and their derivatives, are the primary class of flavonoids present in flowers. Flavones equivalent to luteolin, apigenin, acacetin, and chrysoeriol are the second main class of flavonoids. Amongst phenolic acids, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, caffeoylquinic acid, protocatechuic acid, and gallic acid are present in edible flowers.

Hydroxy xanthophylls and xanthophylls containing hydroxyl and epoxide teams are the commonest sorts of carotenoids present in edible flowers. Provitamin A carotenes and colorless carotene phytoene can be present in flowers. In Renealmia alpinia (Rottb.) Maas, a medicinal plant sometimes present in rainforests in Mexico, extraordinarily excessive quantities of provitamin A carotenes have been reported.

Well being advantages of edible flowers

Bioactive compounds current in edible flowers are related to many well being advantages, together with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, anti-obesity, hepatoprotective, neuroprotective, gastroprotective, antidiarrheal, anti-microbial, antispasmodic, analgesic, and astringent properties.

About 97% of identified edible flowers are related to therapeutic properties. Particularly, about 32%, 26%, and 14% of flowers have been recognized to have immunomodulatory, anti-microbial, and gastro-protective properties, respectively.

Earlier in vitro research have noticed excessive antioxidant exercise in begonias, roses, backyard nasturtiums, daylily, calendula, Japanese rose, Daurian rose, daylily, and chrysanthemum. Moreover, many edible flowers, together with hibiscus, rose, chrysanthemum, tagetes, cosmos, coral vine, lesser bougainvillea, jasmine, honeysuckle rose, cassia fistula, chives, calendula, and pomegranate flowers exhibit anticancer results in opposition to a variety of cancers together with these affecting the liver, colon, mind, pores and skin, bladder, prostate, and breast.

Chrysanthemums. Image Credit: Old Man Stocker / ShutterstockChrysanthemums. Picture Credit score: Previous Man Stocker / Shutterstock

Anti-inflammatory properties have been recognized in Roselle, Hangzhou white chrysanthemum, wild chrysanthemum, honeysuckle, and daylily flowers. Moreover, anti-obesity results have been attributed to Roselle, magnolia, and waterlily flowers.

Excessive ranges of lutein and zeaxanthin, each carotenoids, have been detected within the petals of tagete flowers. These carotenoids are identified to have protecting results in opposition to ocular pathologies, equivalent to age-related ocular degeneration.  

Different advantages of flowers

Meals manufacturing accounts for roughly 40% of land use and 70% of freshwater use, that are vital obstacles to attaining a sustainable ecosystem. Contamination of soil and water as a result of human actions is one other main drawback within the context of meals manufacturing and safety.

Phytoremediation is a technique of utilizing vegetation to take away contaminants and pollution from the setting. Plant roots can take up and immobilize heavy metals present in soil, which may then be transformed into risky types and launched into the environment via stomata, a course of in any other case referred to as phyto-volatilization.      

Vegetation also can degrade soil pollution via phyto-degradation or rhizodegadation via using enzymes or soil contaminants utilizing microorganisms within the rhizosphere, respectively. Phyto-extraction is one other vital strategy sometimes used for industrial purposes.   

Within the textile trade, flower-derived dyes are gaining reputation due to the potential environmental and well being hazards related to artificial dyes. Latest proof signifies that flowers like jasmine and saffron purple petals can be utilized to provide bioethanol and an environmentally pleasant additive for bentonite-based drilling fluids, respectively.

Porous carbon nanosheets may be produced by carbonizing paper flowers. These supplies can be utilized in power storage and dye removing.

Journal reference:

  • Coyago-Cruz, E., Moya, M., Mendez, G., et al. (2023). Exploring Vegetation with Flowers: From Therapeutic Dietary Advantages to Revolutionary Sustainable Makes use of. Meals. doi:10.3390/foods12224066 
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