Posted by: HortAlaska | November 10, 2020

Edible flowers as Phytonutrients

This paper highlights the use of flowers as a source of healthy phytonutrients. The review from the University of Warmia and Mazury, Poland is an extensive literature search of >100 species species that have been harvested for culinary and medicinal purposes. The list is amazing and includes traditional standards such as saffron, violets, calendula and dandelions. Buried in the middle is the peony, Paeonia lactiflora that is a source of the phytonutrients, gallic acid, quercetin, epicatechin, chlorogenic acid, ferric acid, ruin, dihydrokaempferol, apigenin and kaempferol. Considering the content of edible flowers is 70 – 95% water, imagine how many flowers would have to be harvested to get usable quantities of these chemicals for use in teas, tinctures, medicines and more for a world market. On a local scale, with small manufacturing companies, it might just be a niche market for all those too-open blooms in the cut flower peony field.

 Skrajda-Brdak,M., G. Dąbrowski, I Konopka. 2020. Edible flowers, a source of valuable phytonutrients and their pro-healthy effects – a review. Trends in Food Science and Technology. 103(2020):179-199.

 A B S T R A C T Background: Edible flowers have been used for their therapeutic properties for ancient times. Many sources indicate, that edible flowers have many beneficial activities like anti-anxiety, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, diuretic, anthelmintic, immunomodulatory and anti-microbial. People use it also in culinary applications, because they improve the aesthetic value, taste, flavour and appearance of dishes. Scope and Approach: This study expands knowledge on the content and composition of low molecular phytochemicals of edible flowers and the pro-healthy activities of their extracts or preparations. It is focused on showing flowers which are the best sources of individual compounds and on recent findings with the use of flower extracts or preparations in various cell-lines, animal and human models. Key findings and Conclusion: Performed comparison of composition includes simple phenolic acids, flavonols, flavanols, flavons, anthocyanidins, carotenoids and tocols. Species with the highest content of selected compounds are highlighted. Unique components of some flowers such as crocin, nimbolide, oleanic and ursolic acids, and acteoside are also mentioned. The potential activity of edible flowers for human health was analysed based on in vitro models with the use of various cell-lines and in vivo models with animal (mostly mice and rat) and human trials. The majority of the reviewed studies confirm the pro-healthy activity of edible flowers or their extracts. 


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