Edible flowers are exactly what they sound like—certain plants whose flowers are safe to eat and healthy for you.
Several of the molecular compounds that make flowers colorful also confer health benefits, and using edible flowers as a garnish, dish decoration, or herbal supplement source is a great way to take advantage of these benefits.
Many herbs you’ll see in medicinal preparations, like lavender, chamomile, coriander, and dandelion, are in fact edible flowers which can be consumed whole.
Edible flowers deliver essential minerals, antioxidants, and can be used as herbal treatments for everything from weight loss to water retention.
Here are the best sources of edible flowers, plus an in-depth look at some of the benefits and side effects of edible flowers.
1. Feel Good Organics Lavender Flowers
For a high-quality organically certified edible flower with strong health benefits, look no further than Feel Good Organics Lavender Flowers.
These lavender flower petals are carefully dried, and their organic certification means you don’t have to worry about any pesticide or synthetic herbicide residue on the plant material.
Lavender adds a distinctive scent and flavor to any dish or tea, and on top of that, is replete with health benefits. Among the single-source edible flowers, Feel Good Organics Lavender Flowers is the best.
2. bMAKER Bulk Botanical Flowers
bMAKER Bulk Botanical Flowers is a great choice if you want access to a wide range of edible flowers.
This kit contains dried flowers from jasmine, rosebud, lavender, marigold, chamomile, and pink rose bud, as well as a small vial of rose essential oil.
These edible flower are perfect for garnishes and hand-blended tea, and with such a wide range of ingredients, you have access to a huge variety of colors, scents, flavors, and nutrients.
Moreover, since each type of flower comes individually packaged, you don’t have to use a homogenous mix for everything.
3. Nature’s Blossom Sow & Grow
If you want edible flowers that are as fresh as possible, you’ve only got one option: grow them yourself. Nature’s Blossom Sow & Grow is the best kit for growing your own edible flowers from seeds.
This kit comes with seeds for daisy, cornflower, and viola tricolor, all of which produce flowers that are both healthy and aesthetically beautiful.
Growing your own edible flowers also ensures that you have total control over the fertilizers and other compounds applied (or not) to the plants.
4. Feel Good Organics Hibiscus Flowers
Hibiscus is an edible flower that can range from pale pink to deep red, and Feel Good Organics sells the best dried hibiscus petals.
It’s a popular ingredient in both teas and herbal preparations, and thanks to the organic certification, you can be confident that there are no toxic contaminants in the dried flower material.
5. Bluechai Spring Flower Blend
Bluechai Spring Flower Blend contains a mixture of rose, marigold, and cornflower petals. The result is a confetti-like mixture of reds, oranges, and blues that are great for a garnish or making your own tea, though the herbal benefits of these ingredients aren’t quite as strong as some of the other options on the market. That being said, the mixture of colors is quite visually appealing.
6. bMAKER Dried Rose Buds and Petals
In addition to its bulk botanical flower package, bMAKER also sells rose petals and buds by themselves. If you are focused on making rose-oriented foods, teas, or herbal preparations, it’s a solid choice.
You’ll also get a sample vial of rose essential oil, which is a great addition to desserts, cosmetics, and herbal preparations.
7. Teabloom Flowering Tea
For edible flowers specifically designed for brewing tea, Teabloom Flowering Tea is the way to go.
This variety pack includes a huge range of tea flowers in 12 different blends that bloom and expand in hot water, creating a tea that’s both beautiful to look at and healthy to drink.
While these edible flowers have limited versatility, as they aren’t designed for other uses, they’re the best pick when it comes to edible flowers for making tea.
8. Wild Hibiscus Flower Company Flowers in Syrup
Wild Hibiscus Flower Company Flowers in Syrup are exactly what they sound like: hibiscus flowers, preserved in a concentrated sugar solution.
The syrup prevents any bacteria from growing, and the hibiscus flowers themselves are wild-grown. The sugar content may not thrill everyone, but it does mean the flowers do not need to be dried, so more of their biologically active compounds are preserved.
9. Oameusa Dried Flowers
Oameusa Dried Flowers give you the greatest amount of variety in edible flowers—you get nine different types of edible flowers, each packaged individually.
However, the flowers that are used aren’t the most colorful or flavorful, so while these edible flowers are all right for decorative purposes, they aren’t the strongest choice when it comes to herbal preparations or health benefits.
10. Plant Theatre Gourmet Flower Kit
Plant Theatre makes a flower growing kit specifically for edible flower enthusiasts. This kit comes with seeds to grow marigold, cornflower, calendula, dianthus, nasturtium jewel, and pansy flowers, giving it a broader variety than some other edible flower growing kits.
The primary downside is that some of these seed are tricky to grow, so you may not be able to get usable flowers from all six different kinds of flowers in the kit.
Edible flower benefits and side effects
Only a small subset of plants have flowers that are actually edible. However, these edible flowers are both visually appealing and healthy, thanks to the presence of strong antioxidants in the compounds that give these flowers their vibrant colors.
Additionally, many familiar herbs, like coriander and lavender, are actually just edible flowers. These edible flowers have medicinal and herbal properties as well.
Edible flowers can be used to make tea, garnish desserts and other dishes, or as ingredients in body washes and other cosmetic materials or herbal preparations.
Edible flowers of lavender could be used to reduce levels of anxiety. Lavender is known to contain the compound linalool, which has been investigated for possible anxiety-reducing effects.
A review study published in 2010 in the Nutrition Journal examined a range of herbal compounds used to treat anxiety, and noted that some preliminary work had been conducted on lavender (1).
While preliminary results were promising, the researchers noted that these studies had not been done in a controlled way, so the evidence is not as strong as that for other supplemental treatments.
Some research in rats does support the notion that lavender contains compounds which could ameliorate the effects of anxiety.
A paper published by a team at William Beaumont Army Medical Center examined how a lavender extract changed the behavior of anxious rats in a maze, and concluded that the lavender compounds may have created changes in motor movement and locomotion (2)—perhaps leading to less anxious and erratic movements.
Edible flowers of dandelion could help reduce gastrointestinal problems and to induce water loss. Dandelion root is a popular herbal supplement in its own right, but the entire plant (flower included) is edible and contains many of the same compounds.
Dandelion flowers can be used to make tea, steamed or roasted, dried, or even eaten raw. Dandelion can also be used as a diuretic to reduce bloating and water retention.
A group of participants had a baseline measurement of their water excretion in urine, then took a dandelion supplement and had their urine output monitored over the following 24 hours.
The results showed that the dandelion extract substantially increased urine output, suggesting that edible dandelion flowers could also be used to encourage water loss and reduce bloating.
Hibiscus flowers may help reduce weight gain. Research conducted in Mexico has investigated hibiscus as a possible anti-obesity agent, and indeed, hibiscus has a long history as an herbal medicine in Mexico.
A research paper published in 2007 in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology studied the effects of a hibiscus extract in a group of obesity-prone mice (4).
The researchers were able to demonstrate that mice fed the hibiscus flower extract gained less weight and had several favorable metabolic changes, whereas had they not been fed the hibiscus extract, they presumably would have gained additional weight.
It’s hard to extrapolate these results to humans, because the doses are not directly translatable, but the potential for hibiscus to act as a weight loss agent is promising.
Edible flowers are rich in antioxidants and minerals. As is often the case with antioxidants, the compounds that give edible flowers their vibrant colors are also powerful scavengers of free radicals.
A research paper published in 2012 in the journal Molecules examined the antioxidant and mineral content of several different edible flowers, with the goal of characterizing whether they could be a useful source of human nutrition (5).
The researchers found that several minerals, including potassium, are contained at high enough concentrations in edible flowers to provide a significant dietary source of these minerals.
Moreover, edible flowers are rich in antioxidants, and deliver free radical scavenging capabilities similar to that of several grams of vitamin C.
As with other herbal preparations made from plant material, the primary concern and side effect worry is the risk of an allergic reaction.
These tend to be less common with more widely used edible flowers, though it’s possible to have a negative allergic reaction to any type of raw plant material, due to proteins, pollen, and other potential allergens contained in plants.
Additionally, using blends of edible flowers with multiple ingredients has an increased chance of causing an allergic reaction, just because of the increase in the number of potential allergens you are exposed to.
If you develop a rash, swelling, or irritation in your mouth, these are all signs that the edible flowers you are consuming could be causing an allergic reaction, If this is the case, you should stop using them.
It’s also possible to experience interactions between herbal compounds and synthetic pharmaceutical drugs, according to a scientific research article published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (6).
For people taking prescription medication, it’s always wise to talk to your doctor before adding a new herbal compound to your routine, and this includes the herbal compounds in edible flowers.
Edible flowers comprise the set of plants that produce flowers which can be safely eaten. Often, these flowers contain strong antioxidants or biologically active herbal compounds that have a range of health benefits.
Lavender, for example, could be useful for reducing anxiety, while dandelion might help improve gastrointestinal disturbances, increase water loss, and reduce bloating thanks to its diuretic effects.
All edible flowers deliver strong antioxidant compounds and can supply you with essential minerals like potassium. The only major side effects to be aware of are the possibility of an allergic reaction, which is something that accompanies any type of herbal supplement, as well as the possibility of interactions with prescription drugs.
As is always the case, products with a greater number of different plants that are sourced for material increase the risk of an allergic reaction to edible flowers, though the absolute risk is still quite low. Talking with your doctor is a smart idea if you have prescription medications that you take, especially if you take several.
Edible flowers can be used as a garnish or decoration on other dishes, like desserts, or they can be used to make tea or other herbal preparations to take full advantage of the biologically active compounds contained in the edible flower materials.