Saturday, September 02, 2017 by Rhonda Johansson
When Raymond Chandler wrote his critically-acclaimed short story, The Simple Act of Murder, in 1950, he made mention of the distinctly beautiful begonia as a flower which evoked visions of the “classic English life” — one at par with Shakespeare and even worthy of the same level of prestige as King Arthur. The blossom, which is likened in beauty and luxury as the rose, is often used as a decorative plant and, indeed, is mostly featured in British homes. It is a stunning plant, with shades that are rich, warm, and feminine.
Begonias, however, are more than just beautiful. The flowering genus (which has more than 1,500 species) can also be used as an herbal remedy for various conditions. Each part of the flower can be used, with the most popular way of enjoying it as an edible snack. The Journal of Economic Botany praised begonia as a delicious flower, having a taste almost similar to a citrus fruit. When the review was published in the 1940s, doctors were told to recommend the flower as a preventive agent against scurvy, which is a deficiency of vitamin C.
Begonias are relatively good sources of vitamin C. They do pale in comparison to other citrus fruits, but those who are truly lacking in the essential vitamin can nibble on begonia leaves to alleviate acute symptoms. The nutritional profile of the begonia is sufficient enough to treat other common conditions such as cough, consumption, and fever. Folk medicine practitioners used begonias as emetics, purgatives, and cathartics as well.
Some healers believe that begonias can be used to treat an upset stomach and reduce swelling in the spleen caused by a bacterial infection.
The flower is used to support the entire body. Its main function is to boost the immune system by providing an ample amount of vitamin C.
Begonias can be eaten fresh and added to salads, soups, or sandwiches. As always, make sure to properly wash the plant before adding it, and as much as possible, source the plant from a store that does not use synthetic growth hormones. If you are able to grow your own begonia plant, all the better.
You can also use the leaves as a tea.
Begonias are not just ornamental plants, they can be used to treat vitamin C deficiencies too.
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