Edible flowers make food interesting and healthful

Edible flowers have good therapeutic properties and have been in use for a long time as home remedies for certain ailments

Colourful flowers are used in the production of dyes and food colours, some others are used raw or dried in cooking, and others are just used as fodder

Moringa or drumstick flowers are rich in protein, fibre and minerals and are made into poriyal, vada (just like banana flowers) or cooked with scrambled eggs

Consuming Moringa flowers has been scientifically proven to act against tumours. In Ayurveda, they are used to strengthen reproductive health and the nervous system

Neem flowers are used in rasam, or a special pachadi for its bitter taste in a dish that incorporates all flavours and is consumed to mark the onset of a new year

Neem flowers have been scientifically proven to prevent cancer. Mashed neem flowers are mixed with honey to treat infestation in children as well

The flowers of Pongamia pinatta have antiviral and antioxidant properties, and also heal digestive disorders. Powdered and mixed with honey, it treats cold and cough

Tea made with the dried flowers, fenugreek, turmeric and pepper reduces blood sugar and heals piles. Non-edible oil extracted from it is good for skin diseases

The red hibiscus has a pigment anthocyanin that has antioxidant properties. The flower is used as a hair tonic and also consumed as tea/infusion to lower BP

Hibiscus tea is a home remedy for urinary tract infection as well. The flowers possess anti-bacterial and anti-diabetic properties and protect the liver

They lower the depositing of fat in the liver and similarly lowers blood cholesterol, thereby clearing clogs in blood vessels and guarding against atherosclerosis

Those on diabetes medication should avoid hibiscus as it lowers blood sugar levels. Same advice goes for those on BP medication as it lowers BP

Pregnant women are not advised to take hibiscus tea/infusion as it has the potential to cause bleeding

A common climber in Tamil Nadu homes, the blue (butterfly) pea flower or “sangu poo”, is infused and consumed to burn fat, or applied as a hair tonic

Interestingly, the blue pea flower’s antipyretic effect is similar to that of paracetamol. The flower also helps improve cognitive function and brain activity