It’s spring, and springtime means flowers, blossoms and blooms. Today we’ll devote this column to a beauty-and-health celebration of spring flora, with a sweet-scented selection of recipes with which to make yourself happier, healthier and more lovely.
White flowers are generally richly fragrant, with the jasmine, hyacinth, gardenia, lily of the valley, lilac, orange blossom and tuberose, among the delights in this category. Oh, and the white rose must not be forgotten. For a truly luscious evocation of spring that will intoxicate the air in your home, I suggest first of all a bouquet of white flowers, the more extravagant the better. If you do nothing more than this (well, maybe you might scatter a few petals in the bath and between fresh bedsheets, too) you will, I guarantee, be quickly enchanted. And when you’re enchanted, everyone knows that you become more beautiful, immune to tiredness and ill health and look at least 10 years younger too.
For a real treat, try a cup of lavender-blossom tea. Brewed from fresh or dried lavender, this tea will soothe a headache and calm the nerves. Make a whole pot of it, because you can save the leftover infusion for use on your skin. Used as a tonic lotion after washing, lavender water is said to encourage skin-cell replacement, soothe sensitive skin and help eliminate acne and other skin blemishes.
If you have roses at hand, you can make tea from the hips (full of vitamin C), use the petals to scent the bath, and even eat them in salad. The rose offers not only glorious fragrance, but gentle healing powers: It is considered a tonic, astringent and antiseptic. Rose-hip tea, left to cool and used as a facial rinse, will help repair sun damage, and rosewater or rose-petal infusion will delicately tone the complexion. The additional fact that the rose has been used for centuries as a love-spell is an added bonus.
You can make a gorgeous blue tea from blue malva flowers and a golden one from marigold petals, which, it is said, will eliminate evil and improve the eyesight as well. Fennel tea (not a flower, I know, but it is sweetly fragrant) will help to curb the appetite if you are trying to lose weight. Orange blossom tea will soothe you and encourage chastity, if you are trying to keep your mind on things other than the flesh. Camomile tea, of course, is the classic French remedy for keeping fair hair glimmering with pale highlights, and if you drink it as well, it will calm you down and ease stomach problems. This tea is good for restless babies.
For the face, a tea made from lime flowers will remove skin impurities and, if used regularly over time, will lighten the complexion. For either treatment, make rather strong tea and apply to the skin warm, with cotton. Allow the liquid to dry on the skin naturally, then finally splash with tepid water to rinse, and pat dry.
It seems fitting that all these spring flower recipes are delicate, soothing and calming in nature. Along with spring itself, they are exactly what the doctor ordered if you are someone who is stressed and needs to gently relax. Don’t forget to breathe deeply . . . to take in all those wondrous floral fragrances in the air.