Medicinal benefits of some local Kerala flowers and Onam Flowers

Many colours which decorated our courtyards and fields have disappeared, and many of them are almost extinct. Apart from giving colours and joy to spectator’s eyes, most of them have medicinal values also, and this piece of information has been passed on to next generations by old generations. Let us preserve what’s left now, for our future generations.

There was a time when kids used to collect flowers from fields and courtyards to make colourful pookkalams during Onam season. Now everyone is interested in decorating courtyards with ‘foreign flowers’, brought from boundaries and transported to Kerala, and nobody is hesitated to buy a few spending some money. Through this column, let us go back to those glorious yesterdays, when attams were made used local flowers, and let me introduce you to a few.

Lucas flowers (Thumpa Poo)

Lucas flower owns a significant place in Keralities’ Pookkalams. Nowadays the purity of lucas flowers has already started disappearing from courtyards and fields. It’s easy to cultivate lucas and grow them in courtyards and gardens, and they spread through seeds. The flower has a lot of medicinal values.

1. To increase defense in kids, boil a few lucas flowers in milk and give it to them regularly. If Muthanga (Cyperus rotundus) is also added along with lucas flowers while boiling milk, it’s a good remedy for digestion problems in kids.

2. Juice extracted from lucas flowers have the power to retain natural colour of eyes.

3. To get rid of yellow colour of eyes following jaundice, lucas juice is a quick remedy.

4. Add a little honey to lucas flowers and serve for cough related conditions.

5. If a pregnant lady, from 8th month onwards serve lucas flowers along with cumin seeds in boiling milk, it’s good for delivery.

6. Kashayam made using lucas flowers and pepper is good for fever.    

Ixora flowers (Chetti Poo/Thechi Poo/Thetti Poo)

It’s a scrub that can be grown as a decorative plant and also for medicinal purposes. Though it’s grown in different colours, the local variety with blood colour is used for medicine. Ixora owns a distinct place in pookkalam during Onam celebrations, though it has lost its significance in the recent times. You can plant its stems to produce new plants. Here are a few medicinal values of ixora.

1. For kids with allergy and skin diseases, gave them juice extracted from ixora flowers continuously for some days.

2. If body oil is prepared using its flowers and coconut oil, it’s a good remedy for skin diseases.

3. If hair oil is prepared using pepper and ixora and applied on head, it’s a good remedy to cold, sinus and related symptoms.

4. Ixora flower can purify your blood if you serve it regularly.

5. Make a fine paste of ixora flowers and apply on face to get rid of pimples.

6. You can apply a fine paste of ixora flowers on your body and later wash it off. It improves skin complexion.

Cassia fistula (Konna Poo)

Konna Poo owns a distinct place in Kerala culture and tradition related to their harvest festival, Vishu in the month of April. Till now, this local flower has not lost its significant. It’s used for Vishu Kani; that may be the reason. Fistula plants are born from seeds. Here are a few medicinal values.

1. Take leaves of Aegle marmelos (Koovalam) and Cassia fistula flowers in equal amount and make a fine paste adding tender coconut water. Apply this paste on your body for a while before you bath. It’s a quick remedy to itching and skin related diseases.

2. Make a fine paste of equal quantity of fistula flowers and tender leaves, adding curd, it’s a quick remedy to Tinea versicolor (Chunang in Malayalam).

3. Make a fine paste of fistula flowers and give it as a medicine to kids those suffering from constipation.

Hibiscus/shoe flower (Chemparathi)

It’s one of the most commonly seen flowers in Kerala, used to prepare hair oils, worship and also for preparing floral decorations during Onam. It’s found in different varieties of many colours. Yet the local variety with 5 petals and red colour claims to have more medicinal values. It’s also used to prepare payasams, juices etc. Widely spread across the world, shoe flower has been chosen as the official flower of a few countries, and conserved well also. You can plant its stems to produce new plants. Here are some of its medicinal values.

1. Shoe flower kashayam is a good remedy for urine problems and bleeding, and it cools body too.

2. For body flexibility, massage body using hibiscus flower, eggs and sesame oil.

3. Add a few hibiscus flowers to lemon juice and keep it for 8 hours. Squeeze it and make a fine paste. Serve it along with sugar to get rid of anemia and paleness. It also improves skin complexion.

4. Make a fine paste of hibiscus flowers and apply on your face. It improves skin complexion and blocks pimples.

Asian pigeon wings (Shankhu Pushpam)

It’s a decorative plant with bright blue colour flowers, and often white flowers too. It’s also used for worship in temples. New plants are formed from seeds. Here are some medicinal values.

1. For cuts and wounds, crush a few flowers and place on the affected areas.

2. If the flowers are served with honey, it blocks excess vaginal bleeding (menorrhagia).

3. Its flowers can also be used for urinary bladder diseases.

4. Flowers are effective for cough and throat problems.

Local rose flowers

Rose is the queen of all flowers and lovely by all. Apart from decorative purposes, it’s used to prepare dishes and give as gifts. You can plant thick stems to produce new plants. Do you know rose flower has some medicinal values too? Local variety with red petals is used for this purpose. Here I list a few.

1. Dry a few petals and make a fine powder. Sprinkle on your body to get rid of bad adour due to sweating.

2. It’s a quick remedy to swelling of body parts. Apply paste of rose petals on affected areas.

3. Add a few rose petals to honey, and serve it regularly to get rid of body odour. It’s also good for health.

4. If rose flower is made a fine paste adding asparagus and served on regular basis, it’s a good remedy for vaginal discharge in ladies.

5. Make a kashayam using Ramacham, Muthanga, Parpadaka Pullu, Iruveli, Sandalwood and rose flowers, and serve. It blocks excess sweating of diabetic patients. They can also boil drinking water adding rose petals.

6. Make a fine paste of rose petals, milk membrane and Kerala banana (nentrapazham) and apply on your face at night. Wash it off after 1 hour in lukewarm water boiled adding rose petals. It makes skin soft and also protects your face from pimples and marks. You can also have a bath adding a few drops of rose water to bathing water.

Basil flowers (Tulsi)

This sacred plant grows in abundance in any climate. It’s an integral part of Indian traditions and Hindu culture. It’s used for worshipping all deities, except Ganesha.  New plants are born from seeds and also from stem. Among all varieties, Krishna Tulsi owns several medicinal values. Here I list a few medicinal values of tulsi. 

1. Place a few basil flowers in your head and beneath pillow cover to get rid of lice.

2. Squeeze juice from flowers and leaves and serve as a quick remedy for fever and cold.

3. Flowers of basil, if served as a kashayam is good for urinary bladder diseases.

4. Dry a few basil flowers and make fine powder. If it’s inhaled, it’s good for sinus related problems and mucus discharge.

Saraca asoca (Asoka Flowers)

A proverb goes – Asoka gets rid of soka (sorrow). An evergreen plant grown everywhere, it’s almost under life threat. New plants can be grown from seeds. Here are some of its medicinal values.

1. If flowers of Asoka are used to prepare body oil, it’s a quick remedy to skin diseases.

2. If you serve asoka flowers regularly, it helps in body growth and also strengthens bones and teeth.

Fire flame bush (Thathiri Poovu)

It’s widely used in Ayurveda to prepare Kashayam and fermenting Arishtam. It’s used for decorative purposes too. It spreads as a busy plant and new plants can be produced from stem. Flowers are dried and powdered, and used as a remedy to many ailments.

1. If the flowers are dried well and stored, it can be used as a medicine for burns adding a little oil. This powder can also be served by ladies as a remedy for vaginal discharge in ladies. Add a little powder to boiling milk and use.

2. The powder can be served along with honey as a remedy to ulcers and diarrhea. 

Pomegranate flowers (Mathala Poo)

Known as one of the best fruit plants, it’s used for decorative purposes apart from medicinal benefits. Normally new plants are produced from seeds. Know its benefits……

1. For nasal bleeding, apply a few drops of juice prepared by squeezing pomegranate flowers.

2. If flowers are served on daily basis, it improves sperm count in males.

3. Make a fine paste of flowers, and apply on swellings and inflammations. It is also a good remedy for poison.

Spanish Jasmine (Pichaka Poo/Pichi Poo)

This flowering plant with intense smell was quite common in gardens of Kerala. It’s used for worship and also decorating hair by ladies. It’s a climber, and thick stems are cut and planted to produce new plants. This jasmine too owns a few medicinal values.

1. If body oil is prepared adding jasmine flowers, it is a remedy to itching and similar skin diseases.

2. Dry jasmine flowers and powder it. Use this powder to prepare Kashayam and gargle your mouth to get rid of dental problems. You can also use this powder as tooth powder.

Lotus flower (Thamara poo)

National flower of India, it’s closely linked with Hindu mythology. It’s used for decorative purposes, worship, food and also medicines. New plants are born from tubers.

1. For vaginal bleeding, lotus flower kashayam serves as a good medicine. It’s a good remedy during pregnancy period too.

2. Lotus flower dried and powdered can be served by males to increase sperm count. It can also be added to boiling water.

3. Paste of lotus flower is used for head ache also. 

Image courtesy: Pixabay & Wikipedia

Go through the gallery to read a few more interesting articles on fun, recreation, myths and traditions associated with Onam season. Here is the page link. Click on the images to read.
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A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.

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