Saturday, January 15, 2011

Flowers As Herbal Medicine

Flowers are not merely objects of beauty for decoration and fragrance. Flowers are widely used by naturalists and therapists to cure chronic health disorders of patients. The planet has more than 10 million species of flower and almost every one of them has a medicinal property associated with it.

Medical experts, therapists and botanists have figured out medicinal properties of a great number of species of flowers. Roses, lilies, sunflowers, bluebells and numerous other flowers are used to treat physical and mental ailments. Herbal therapists, homeopaths and naturalists have been using flowers as medicine for over 100 years.

Beach flower therapy is one of the most popular flower therapies. An English homeopath developed it and today it is practiced in many countries across the globe. The therapy helps in eradicating problems from our daily life like insomnia, stress and depression. The flower extracts are mixed with brandy and water in almost equal proportion and it has a slow but steady affect on human body. Different flowers are used to have different effects on patients, depending upon their age, sex and scent sensitivity.

Sunflower and olives are two of the most commonly used flowers in natural and herbal treatments of diseases. Sunflower oil and olive oil are both well known to have a positive effect on the human skin and hair. Olive Oil takes care of the skin roots of the head and strengthens the hair. Sunflower oil is used as edible oil and it controls cholesterol in the human body, thus it is advised for consumption in small doses for patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases. Rose oil is also used to cure skin ailments. Rose extract is used in skin creams, herbal soaps and facial cosmetics.

The color of the flowers gives a name to the respective therapies. For instance, blue therapy is the termed given to the medical use of blueberries to cure the hormonal imbalance that causes sleep disorders like sleep apnea and insomnia. Similarly, green therapy makes use of green zinnias to take care of our nervous system and calm it. It is a stress control therapy and also helps in controlling depressive tendencies. Flowers have become an herbal medicine lately and the rise of alternative medical therapies has helped naturalists bring out the hidden and subtle medicinal properties of different flowers. Perhaps there is much more to be learned about the secret strength of flowers.

Claire recommends Easy Flower who offer the ability to Send Flowers

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Monday, March 2, 2009

Guide To Tropical Wedding Flowers

Tropical flowers originate from regions in Africa, Asia, Hawaii, Central and South America, and the Polynesian islands. Their rarity and unique beauty sets them apart from traditional wedding flowers. The very shapes they possess, and their bright colors, make them an ideal choice for weddings. Their versatility allows them to be used in a number of ways throughout the wedding.

Don't cut off the leaves that come with the flowers, as foliage can make a dramatic difference in your tropical wedding flower arrangements. You can put them around your centerpiece for a more casual, beach feel. A variety of foliage can also be used to accompany single or minimal bridal bouquets. Ferns and long leaves are great to compliment centerpieces and bouquets as well.

1. Anthuriums, commonly known as Flamingo Flowers, are a popular choice for tropical wedding flowers. They come in pink, white, green and red varieties. Since these are typically large flowers, they are suitable for decorative purposes rather than bouquets to hold. For bouquets, the designs of anthuriums usually dominate those of other flowers, so be careful in selecting what flowers you put them with.

2. Calla lilies are an elegant choice for tropical wedding flowers. They are graceful enough to use in singles as an alternative to big bridal bouquets, and also make for great centerpieces. White lilies are very formal and elegant; they have a simple beauty that makes them decorative even when used alone.

3. Hibiscus flowers come in many colors, and some also come in two tone colors such as the pink and yellow variety. It is the state flower of Hawaii, and is a perfect tropical wedding flower for beach weddings and Hawaiian themed weddings. They look great when their stems are cut off and the heads are made to float in clear bowls of water.

4. Orchids are also another favorite tropical wedding flower. They come in many colors and can be used for the bride's hair, the bouquet, corsages, and in tables.

5. Plumeria is another Hawaiian classic tropical flower. These make for great centerpieces as they do not have stems. Scatter them on tables of your reception area, or use them with tealights for a great centerpiece. They are dominantly white, but varieties come in dark red, yellow, and pink.

6. Heliconias around the location undoubtedly add a tropical feel to the wedding. Place them around the reception area, and if you have an outdoor wedding you can place them around tents and gazebos. They are too large and not appropriate for bouquets, but there are many ways you can work around using heliconias for the location of your ceremony.

Exotic Flowers of Hawaii - Order Them By Name

Orchids, anthuriums, heliconias and ginger are commonly associated with Hawaiian gardens and landscapes, but none of these exotic flowers are native to the islands. Each island has its own designated official native or endemic plant (except Maui, whose official flora is an import). Spend your next visit to Hawaii on nature hikes searching for native flora, or ask for these native Hawaiian plants by name when ordering your next distinctive floral arrangement.

Oahu's official bloom is the yellow ilima. On the Big Island, the official bloom is called 'ohia lehua' and is considered sacred to Pele, the volcano goddess. Kauai's isn't really a flower at all - it's an anise-scented shrub called 'mokihana'. The designated plant of Maui is the pink lokelani - the only non-native bloom of the bunch. Molokai has the white kukui blossom. Lanai's official plant is 'kaunaoa', a yellow and orange air plant. Lesser-known Nihau Island claims the white pupu shell. And uninhabited Kaho'olawe is the heliotrope 'hinahina'.

The official state flower of Hawaii is the yellow hibiscus. The hibiscus is also known as 'pua aloalo' in the Hawaiian language. It's been considered the state flower since the 1920s but it wasn't until 1998 that official legislation was passed. Pua aloalo has large, showy, petals with a spectacular unfolded appearance. They are also found in colors of white, pink, red, and purple, and have successfully come to represent all things Hawaiian and the Aloha spirit.

Oahu's yellow ilima is a beautiful bloom that resembles a small hibiscus. All parts of it have been known to be used medicinally as well as decoratively for leis. The buds were used as a mild children's laxative. The bark of the roots mixed with other plants and water is strained and drunk as a tonic. Look for these blooms as ground cover on Oahu at Makapu'u Beach, Ka'ena Point Natural Area Reserve, Waimea Arboretum, and the Turtle Bay Hilton, just to name a few places.

The Big Island (Hawai'i)claims the ohia of the lehua as it's signature bloom. The ohia lehua is an evergreen shrub that is commonly the first plant to show up in areas recently covered by lava. Its craggy branches and spiky headed softness appear perfectly adapted to its environs. It is said to resemble and symbolize the fiery head and temperament of Pele, the volcano goddess. Visit the Kalopa State Park to see this exotic flower in its natural habitat. Or look for its cultivated counterparts at the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden or the Sadie Seymour Botanical Garden, all on the Big Island.

Kauai's mokihana is a member of the citrus family. Its thin, leather-like, elliptic, and off-set leaves are redolent of anise long after they have been picked (years longer, in fact!). The flowers are small and clustered but the fruit and wood is what smells good. Hawaiians use mokihana fruit for lei and wreath-making, and even as a perfume by placing a piece of the fruit inside the folds of their traditional dress. The fruit is sometimes so potent that it occasionally burns the skin!

Maui boasts the only non-native bloom to achieve governmental recognition - the pink lokelani. It was brought to the 'New World' by the Spanish in the 1800s. Also known as the 'rose of heaven', and 'Maui rose', its velvety color and fragrant scent has served as inspiration for poets, painters, song writers and musicians ever since.

Molokai's official bud is the kukui - an important plant to all Hawaiians, originally brought to them by the Polynesians. Kukui was anciently used for medicine, dye, construction, food, and decoration. The flowers, leaves, and nuts are still used to make leis. Nuts were eaten and used to make oils. The nuts also contain a black dye used for tattoos. The wood was used for making canoes and the leaves chewed to treat depression and sadness.

The island of Lanai's official flora is the kaunaoa, actually a yellow and orange air plant. Kaunaoa is rare and difficult to find. Nihau is represented by the white pupu shell. It's not a flower either, but its distinctive, sinewy sworls can be found on the rocky shores of Nihau. The uninhabited island of Kaho'olawe's bloom is the hinahina. Small white to pale-purple blooms with a yellow eye and a stalk resembling a succulent, the hinahina is a lot like a cactus because it doesn't require a lot of water to survive.

So the next time you want to see some tropical plants native to Hawaii, there are several botanical gardens on the Big Island and surrounding islands, and plenty of opportunities to see them in nature as well. Also, when searching for distinctive arrangements, look for these native Hawaiian treasures.

Anne Clarke writes numerous articles for Web sites on gardening, parenting, fashion, and home decor. Her background also includes teaching, gardening, and fashion. For more of her useful articles on exotic and tropical flowers, please visit Exotic Flowers, supplier of high quality tropical and exotic flowers for any special occasion.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Pismo Beach flower

Pismo Beach flower
Originally uploaded by bookworm1225
We had to take a steep staircase to get down to the beach. Either side of the stairs was lined with plants and flowers, including this one.

Beach Flower

Beach Flower
Originally uploaded by Bob and Lynn
Flower growing on the Bahia Hondo beach near Key Largo

Beach flowers

Beach flowers
Originally uploaded by Bright Spider
Flowers at Atlantic Beach (July 2005)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Cannon Beach Magic - Flowers

Cannon Beach Magic - Flowers

Flowers everywhere! Cannon Beach flowers add to the magic. The joy of the color and fragrance is something to experience.