Have you ever looked at a plant in your garden and wondered if it has a purpose apart from its beautiful flowers or attractive foliage?
A number of popular garden and potted plants have uses that most of us would never consider possible. Leaves can be made into string, rope and textiles, and certain parts such as flower buds, leaves and roots can be provide food. However, the most improbable use of some garden plants are their medicinal properties.
An example of a plant most of us would never consider using as medicine is the daylily. They are a common and beautiful addition to gardens where the climate allows them to grow.
Native to Eurasia the daylily (Hemerocallis) has been used in Chinese medicine for more than two thousand years to treat health conditions such as breast cancer, mastitis, urinary tract disorders, uterine bleeding and arsenic poisoning. The roots are diuretic, antibacterial and antiparasitic.
All parts of the daylily can be eaten: the white parts of the leaves can be chopped into salads, the roots cooked as a vegetable and the flower buds and flowers can be cooked or added to salads.
The daylilies in my garden are blooming at the moment and look so beautiful that I won’t be eating them or using them for medicine any time soon.
Caution: Make sure you identify the plant well before using it as food or medicine as some members of the lily family are poisonous. The plant has laxative properties so don’t consume too much at a time. Only consume plants that you know have been grown organically. Daylily is said to be toxic to cats, dogs and cows. Last, but by no means least, the plant can cause severe allergic reactions in some people.
Proprietor, author, and tutor of The Home Herbalist Online Course.