The healing properties of the day lily are not the first thing that strikes us about this beautiful flower.
Upon looking at a day lily it seemingly draws us in to its centre and then bursts us back out again with aplomb, with its bold curved petals and prominent floating stamen, dramatic colours and overwhelming presence.
Their perfume is distinctive and commands a presence that is unmistakable.
MS Guardio is writing a series of short articles about the healing properties some plants, flowers and foods at this time of pandemic and national crisis.
The day lily is not just a treat for our eyes and senses but also for our health and wellbeing. The use of the day lily as a herb and as a healing medicine can be traced back to east Asia and was thought to have been introduced into Europe in 1500 A.D. It comes as no surprise then that the entire flower is edible and contains more vitamin c and protein than most other vegetables we eat.
The healing properties of the day lily
The healing properties of the day lily are wide ranging. This stunning flower has been used by people for centuries before us and is used to many benefits today. Indeed, there is a plethora of applications. Most significantly the day lily has antioxidant and detoxifying properties. It is also strongly associated with helping with regulating heart rate therefore promoting a healthy heart. An extract of the root can be use as a blood purifier.
Used as a herbal infusion to cure insomnia, the day lily has been proven to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety and stress. In some cases, drinking this infusion can treat coughs and fevers. Drinking the fresh juice of the day lily’s bulb can help to alleviate oedema, a swelling in the body, very naturally. This can also be taken in a powder form as an alternative and should be taken with a meal.
In aromatherapy, its essential oils have been used to beneficial effect in helping people with depression. The smell promotes a feeling of happiness and tranquillity and a sense of general well-being.
As an ointment, it can be used to treat burns and scars by simply being applied directly to the skin.
Eating and cooking with the Day Lily
To enjoy the day lily in its simplest form is easy and a beautiful delight. Best enjoyed in the summer months pick a flower, from its stalk, that has bloomed for the whole day. You can enjoy this simple pleasure at just before dusk, when the flower is still in bloom, feel the grass beneath your feet and enjoy a delicious treat. The petals are thick and crunchy. Don’t forget the bulb at the base of the flower which has a sweet note produced by the nectar. Take the time to savour each bite and enjoy the freshness and pureness.
You can carry on the alfresco feeling by adding the flower to your favourite salads, adding a pop of extra colour to your plate. Or if you prefer, fry the buds with a little garlic, butter and a sprinkling of salt and use as a delicious alternative side dish to a summer barbeque or lunch with friends. If a stir fry is your signature dish, all you need to do is chop the flowers and throw into your wok for a delightful twist to the traditional recipe.
How to grow Day Lily’s in your own back garden or balcony
You may think that the day lily is a tricky customer but there is no need to worry, its easy to grow and look after. Once established, the day lily is self-sufficient and needs only a little amount of attention to gain maximum effect. There’s even more great news, Day lilies thrive in borders and containers alike so no matter whether you have a huge garden or little balcony you can enjoy these blooms.
Whilst it is important to understand that the lily likes soil that is well drained and a sunny position, it is also highly adaptable and can put up with a little shade and slightly damper ground. You can plant in Autumn or Spring, but Autumn is best if you want to produce a plethora of flowers in the summer months.
Why not take a trip to your local garden centre, they are sure to have a wide range of established plants ready to pop outside. Or if you’re feeling particularly green fingered, grab a bag of bare root, drop into a terracotta pot filled with soil and keep in a greenhouse or on a bright window sill and wait for the magic to happen!
Carefully goes it!
It would do to take care though when using the day lily, especially its leaves, as ingesting too much is known to have an hallucinogenic effect. It is prudent to eat a small bite to ascertain if it agrees with you.
Certainly, care should also be taken when identifying the hemerkallos as newer hybrids of this day lily can be toxic if ingested. It is also wise to be aware of any allergies to the nutrients that the day lily contains and a doctor’s opinion should be sought in regard to this.
Enjoy the healing properties of the day lily
Perhaps most important is to just enjoy this gorgeous flower. Drink it in with all your senses and revel in the healing properties of the day lily wholeheartedly.
Within the garden’s peaceful scene
Appeared two lovely foes,
Aspiring to the rank of queen,
The Lily and the Rose.
The Rose soon reddened into rage,
And swelling with disdain,
Appealed to many a poet’s page
To prove her right to reign.
The Lily’s height bespoke command,
A fair imperial flower,
She seemed designed for Flora’s hand,
The sceptre of her power.
Some foods are natural antiviral agents
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