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.
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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