Sunflower Helianthus annuus
Medicinal Uses & Benefits of Sunflower
- Medicinal Uses: * Culinary/Kitchen
* Massage Oils
- Properties: * Diuretic * Emollient
- Parts Used: seeds, flowers
- Constituents: 1,8-cineole, alpha-amyrin,alpha-pinene,alpha-terpinene, alpha-terpineol,alpha-tocopherol,arginine,beta-carotene ,beta-sitosterol,calcium ,chlorogenic-acid,choline,cinnamic-acid,citric-acid, copper, magnesium
How to Use: Sunflower
Sunflower seeds, and the oil that is pressed from them are the part of the plant used most often for food and medicine. Sunflower seeds, often eaten raw or roasted, are a good source of protein and Vitamins D, E, K, and B. Like many other edible seeds they also contain the strong antioxidant melatonin. 1Sunflower oil is common in margarine, and provides a less expensive, but still healthy alternative to olive oil, but may break down when exposed to the high heat used in frying. 2 Sunflower oil is also used for skin care and as a carrier for aromatherapy essential oils.
Preparation Methods & Dosage :Good carrier oil for aromatherapy, sunflower oil is suitable for culinary, dietary and cosmetic use. Roasted seeds make a good snack, the dried sunflower petals can be taken in teas, added to the bath, or used to add color to cosmetics and crafts.
Ayurvedic Medicine Ayurvedic medicine uses sunflower oil to treat pitta ( conditions of excess heat) disorders.4
There are 67 species of sunflowers, annuals and perennials, some with small, daisy-like flowers, others are giant, with flowerheads up to 12 in. across. Sunflower seeds, numbering about 1,000 per head, are arranged in concentric spirals and are usually striped black and white. Sunflowers are heliotropic, over the course of the day they follow the sun from east to west, while at night they return to an eastward orientation.
History and Traditions & FolkloreThe sunflower and was an important icon of the indigenous cultures of the North American tribes, the Aztezs and the Incas of South America. Helianthus annus was grown by native peoples for over 3,000 years before it's introduction to Spain in 1514. 3
Manchester LC, Dun-Xian T, Reiter RJ, Park W, Monis K, Qi W. High levels of melatonin in the seeds of edible plants possible function in germ tissue protection Life Sciences. 2000;67:3023-3029..
American Botanical Council
Edible seeds of the following plants were examined: black mustard (Brassica nigra), white mustard (Sinapis alba), fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum), milk thistle (Silybum marianum), celery (Apium graveolens), alfalfa (Medicago sativa), coriander (Coriandrum sativum), green cardamon (Elettaria cardamomum), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), opium poppy (Papaver somniferum), anise (Pimpinella anisum), sunflower (Helianthus annuus), flax (Linum usitatissimum), almond (Prunus dulcis), and Lycium (Lycium barbarum).
- Michael T. Murray. "The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods" (2005)
Highly polyunsaturated oils, such as flaxseed, safflower, soy, and sunflower, are not recommended if they are going to be exposed to heat. Heat changes the chemical structures of the fatty acids and forms free radicals. These oils are best suited for salad dressings.
- Deni Brown HSA Encyclopedia of Herbs & Their Uses, Pub. Dorling Kindersley (1995)
- Marlene Ericksen Healing with Aromatherapy, (2000)