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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Healing Power of the Easter Lily (and How to Make Your Own Flower Essences)

Dawn Combs
Hobby Farms Contributor

When I considered what I might want to write about around Easter time this year, I began looking into the healing properties of the Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum). This flower and its beautiful scent is what I remember most about Easter as a child. I remember it featuring prominently in corsages that went with Easter bonnets and new dresses, but I had never researched anything beyond the symbolic use of the plant for its beauty.

What I found was rather surprising. The white or Easter lily has been used in the European and traditional Chinese medicinal traditions for a long time. The predominant way that this plant is used is as a flower essence or a tincture made of the flowers, but in traditional Chinese medicine the bulb (called "bai he”) is also used.

The Healing Aspects of the Easter Lily - Photo by Dawn Combs (HobbyFarms.com)
Photo by Dawn Combs

Lily bulbs are well known as a food and medicine in China. They’re used to clear heat in the body and address such things as chronic sore throat, dry nose and wheezing.

There are many interesting ways the Easter lily can treat the emotional and spiritual body. The emotional part of healing is, of course, important, but for our purposes here, I will focus exclusively on how the flower can act on our physical body.

A flower essence or flower tincture made from the Easter lily can be used for many issues that are created from "stuck” mucous and energy. It can be helpful for a respiratory illness that seems to hang around for far too long with a persistent racking cough. It might also be effective for a person who is prone to cysts and soft tumors anywhere in their body.

Easter lily is most effective for cysts in the breasts, uterus and ovaries. This beautiful flower is symbolically linked with the Virgin Mary and has stood for hope, purity, virtue, life and motherhood the world over. It is no coincidence then that there appears to be quite a bit of healing for women within this plant.

Renowned herbalist Matthew Wood, in his The Book of Herbal Wisdom (North Atlantic Books, 1997), recommends that a tincture of the flower or a flower essence may be taken in three-drop increments, two to three times per day. He suggests that this remedy shows a very quick result and provides supreme cleansing of the reproductive system.

This year, we all might look a little differently at lilies. If you’ve received one for Easter, take one of the blooms and try making a flower essence for yourself. Flower essences can be made at home quite easily by floating the flower on the surface of pure spring water in a crystal bowl. Place the bowl in the sunshine and leave it alone for a few hours. When the essence is collected, it is combined with a small amount of alcohol for preservation and then taken by the drop several times a day. After the blooms are gone you can plant it in your garden. In the colder regions of the country, a little extra mulch will help it overwinter and give you blooms for years to come.

Learn more about healing plants from The Prescription Gardener:

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Healing Power of the Easter Lily (and How to Make Your Own Flower Essences)

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Reader Comments
Jennifer, or anyone else, why is valerian harmful?
Wendy, Round Rock, TX
Posted: 4/4/2015 9:46:21 AM
Hi Jennifer,

Flower essences have been studied in a clinical environment for over 35 years by the Flower Essence Society. We have extensive data on their use with human clients as well as animal friends. These are not tinctures in the way I think you mean. If you are interested in the many scientific studies being done from a botanical and "in-practice with human subjects" standpoint on various herbs I would point you to the American Herbalist Guild and the American Botanical Council. Many, many studies have been done on echinacea. Almost all of them, including the sensationalized press release in 1999, agree that it is effective in treating the common cold. There has been controversy about its ability to prevent, though the largest study on echinacea to date was done in 2012 and demonstrated that it was indeed effective in prevention. As far as valerian, I'm not sure where you may have heard that it can be harmful. The literature and its long history of use without adverse effects simply don't support that. Jiaogulan appears to be rather interesting but all I have been able to find on it is that it has traditionally been used as a folk remedy in China. I would love to see studies on it as none of the scientific journals I usually do literature searches in have any reference to it being researched.
Dawn Combs, Marysville, OH
Posted: 4/25/2014 6:29:27 AM
Is there scientific proof of the benefits of the tincture? Some herbal recommendations are actually harmful (like valerian), some inconclusive (like echinacea), and some proven (like jiaogulan).
Jennifer, Berkeley, CA
Posted: 4/24/2014 8:35:40 AM
randy, van buren, AR
Posted: 4/24/2014 6:28:13 AM
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