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Cornflower refers to poetry, or to music, with the well-known Italian singer of the same name of this plant, but without wanting to make those too down to earth, we will talk about the plant. And of the flower and their properties which are many and precious.
Cornflower: meaning of the name
The scientific name of the Cornflower is Cyanus segetum Hill and refers to the little known but deserving figure of the centaur Chiron, a type very expert in medicine, according to what the legend tells. The word Cyanus comes from the Greek and means "light blue": just look at the flower and everything is clear.
The name Cornflower, instead, it has little to do with our friendly centaur: it derives from the French "fleur de lys"(Lily flower). We are in France, let's remember that the lily was the flower of the rulers: the Bourbons, so we are faced with the “royal” flower. With all due respect for friends from across the Alps and for the name Cornflower, in history and in the popular villages, other names have sprung up to indicate this beautiful healing plant, such as Ambretta, field carnation, sciuri da nasi and, this is the best: strassasac.
Cornflower: where it is
The Mediterranean region is the preferred area for this plant, but it also reaches montana. In general, in fact, the Cornflower it is found in grassy places or where there is gravel or uncultivated land. In truth, as far as "locations" are concerned, the ideal ones would be wheat fields. Ideally, because in practice they must be those where chemical herbicides are not used so let's call it: ideal place. Someone remained and there the Cornflower it proliferates by flooding the surface with blue joy.
Cornflower: the plant
The plant of the Cornflower, of which often only the color of the flower is in mind, it has a thin stem that reaches even half a meter in height. It is part of the family of Asteraceae (Compositae). The stem thus made is a support for the wonderful compound flowers, of an intense blue color. Then there are the leaves, very thin, almost not wanting to disturb the flower, and covered with a light fluff. Delicate.
Cornflower - a beautiful flower
At the top of the stem, therefore, here is the flower or rather "the flower heads". They have been peeping out from the month of May and if you want to grasp and then use them as we will see later, they must be cut just below the casing. To preserve the Cornflower it should be left to dry in the shade, in an airy place, and then placed in glass or porcelain containers. It is important that it remains in dim light, away from the light.
Cornflower: healing properties
Why on earth to grasp and start conserving the Cornflower were it not for its healing properties. For example, its flowers are slightly astringent, anti-inflammatory, also have a diuretic effect and are good for those with coughs. Going on a more technical level, the active ingredients of the Cornflower they are flavonoids, anthocyanins, pectins.
One of the most common uses of this plant is in eye field: can be an astringent eye drops for red eyes if treated with distilled water but not do it yourself. In the home herbal practice, however, we can think of using it by preparing an infusion if we need, for example, a decongestant treatment and / or anti-reddening of the eyelids and areas around the eyes.
Also on the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat the Cornflower it has an anti-inflammatory action, in fact it can be seen used as a mild cough remedy, as a diuretic and as an intestinal astringent. The astringent and anti-inflammatory effect, for the record and out of curiosity, can be attributed to the flavonoids and anthocyanins, the latter also having the great merit of the blue color which will not astringent, but it's good for the eyes and the heart. In addition to the mood.
Cornflower how to use it
We have seen how it can be used both as a "remedy for internal use" and "for external use". In the first case it is seen as an intestinal astringent and a light diuretic, you can make an infusion with 2g in 100ml of water and drink two cups a day, or a decoction with a handful of sun-dried flower tops boiled in half a liter of water.
Let it macerate and cool, sweeten with honey or sugar when the liquid is still hot, and then drink. For those who want, there is also the wine of Cornflower, to be prepared by letting 50 g of dried and finely chopped flowers macerate for 80 days in 1 liter of white wine. But let's not drink it before having it poured and filtered with a cloth.
The external use of the Cornflower as we have mentioned, it is often focused on the eyes. So here are the compresses for inflamed eyelids. For the throat you can rinse and gargle with an infusion prepared with patience and 5 grams of dried flowers in 100 ml of water.
You can use the Cornflower also as a cosmetic and immerse yourself in a bath of hot water "seasoned" with flowers for delicate and reddening skin. If we want to limit ourselves to washing our face, the infusion remains a good astringent tonic. In the kitchen the cornflower is not the master but it is certainly not poisonous. It does not have a great taste, so it often just acts as a filler when serving a mix of other tastier herbs that are on their own a bit low in volume. At the end of dinner, the Cornflower come back to keep us company in the composition of digestive herb bitters.
Cornflower: how it is grown
For those who do not want to go in search of wheat fields without herbicides to hunt for Cornflower, there is the possibility of cultivating it. There sowing begins in March, in the nursery, and then transplanted, or sown directly at home in March or April. There are various species of this flower that are grown today but we can divide them into two groups. Those dwarfs are the blue we see used to decorate the edges of gardens and flower beds. The giant ones, on the other hand, are better as cut flowers and have the choice of colors such as pink, red, purple or many shades of white.
Cornflower seeds: where to buy them
We know everything, so we can start, what we don't know we will learn by cultivating the Cornflower. To get started, you can buy 250 Cornflower seeds on Amazon for only 2.89 Euros.
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