DIANTHUS: The Flower of The Gods

Family: Caryophyllaceae

Genus: Dianthus

Common Name: Dianthus, Sweet William, Carnations

 

Dianthus plants can be  annual, biennial or perennial, the name refers not to a single plant but a genus of approximate 300 species distributed in Asia, Europe and Africa. The most commonly found Dianthus varieties are Dianthus caryophyllus (carnation), , D. plumarius (pink), D. barbatus (sweet william), D.Chinensis. The plants are small and usually between 6 and 18 inches tall. Flowers are most often in pink, salmon, red and whitewith a slender foliage spread on thick stems.

Dianthus are one of the oldest cultivated flowers, treasured for centuries for their scent and their ease of cultivation, as they will thrive almost anywhere given an open site and decent drainage .Wild Dianthus are plants of mountainside and cliff, grasslands, mountain slopes, forest margins, and dry hillsides. They grow well in cool zones as well as warm areas with well-drained soil. The harder they are grown and the less they are fed, the better they will flower. Furthermore, these flowers can all be propagated easily from cuttings, taken at any time of the year. They are usually harvested in summer and autumn during flowering and fruiting time.

Dianthus flowers are edible and often used in cooking. Their fresh petals can be used to liven up salads, sandwiches and pies (petals should be removed from the calyx and their bitter white base should be removed). An essential oil is obtained from the flowers that is largely used in perfumery and is credited with providing many therapeutic benefits to the individual. These benefits include an anti-inflammatory effect, helping with hair loss, act as a muscle relaxant. Flower heads are dried and used in pot-pourri, scented sachets and other cosmetic application. the plant quite rich in saponins,  leaves can be simmered in water and this water can then be used then as a soap for cleaning the skin, hairs,clothes,…

MEDICAL USES: Dianthus is a key herb used in Chinese herbal medicine to treat urinary difficulties. In Western herbal Medicine, the entire plant is used as a bitter tonic herb that stimulates the urinary system, digestive system, and bowels. Dianthus chinesis is classified as antibacterial, anthelmintic, antiphlogistic, diuretic, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, and haemostatic. Externally a decoction is used to treat skin inflammations and swellings.

 

Plants, flowers and herbs have been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes with effective results. From petals to roots, offering a variety of components and ingredients that may provide relief from pain, swelling and infection.

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