Natural Healing

Could a cup of daisy tea a day keep the doctor away?

By Sari Huhtala

Aside from being a good source of vitamin C, that humble daisy popping up randomly in your yard is more than just a pretty face. In fact, she has over 300 individual compounds and bioactivities that scientists have concluded have the potential as medicine for everything from cancer to high blood pressure.

The common wild daisy has been long used in traditional medicine, and scientific studies over the past 25 years have shown the plant has anticancerogenic, antimicrobial, antidepressive, anti-anxiety, cholesterol-lowering and antioxidant properties.

“The latest results have shown that the plant has antioxidative, antimicrobial, anticancerogenic, wound healing, antidepressive, anxiolytic, nephroprotective, and insulin mimetic effects, as well as an effect on lipid metabolism,” according to a review, Bioactive Compounds in Daisy Flower, which appeared in the journal Molecules.

In examining the plant’s anti-arthritic and anti-inflammatory properties, scientists found alpha-linolenic (ALA) and linoleic acid were the main compounds in the plant. ALA is an essential omega-3 fatty acid, which is found in nuts and seeds, like flaxseeds and walnuts. ALA is anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective, and may reduce the risk of stroke and lower the prevalence of plaque on the arteries, according to a 2015 study in Biomed Research International peer-reviewed journal.

Scientists also tested daisy root extract, and its isolated saponins, to examine its anticancer properties. They used chemotherapy drug cisplatin as a positive control in their study, and found all substances reduced cancer cell growth, and noted bellissaponin isolate in the plant produced “strong cytotoxicity.”

Saponins protect the body against cancers, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Researchers compared extracts from different plants to determine their antitumor activity and discovered the extract from aerial parts of the common daisy had the highest antitumor activity of all plants. The phytochemicals they identified in the daisy extract included gallic acid, caffeic acid, kaempferol, rutin, quercetin, myricetin and apigenen.

Considering the fact that spinach, kale and dark leafy greens are good sources of kaempferol and fruits like blueberries are top sources of quercetin, the common wild daisy packs an impressive phytochemical profile.

The takeaway? Maybe a cup of daisy tea a day keeps the doctor away?

Make daisy tea

Add a handful of fresh daisy flowers and leaves to a mug or small teapot. Pour boiling water over the flowers and steep for about 10 minutes.

You can also dry daisies during the summer months by tying in a bundle and hanging upside down in your kitchen until completely dry, then placing into a sealed jar for later use. Avoid drying herbs during hot, humid days as they tend not to dry very well. If picking herbs, aim to gather herbs during the morning hours before the heat of the sun evaporates the plant’s natural oils.

Note: if you are allergic to plants in the Asteraceae family, which includes plants like chamomile, then avoid daisies.

(This information is not intended to replace medical advice and treatment from a health care practitioner).

Sari Huhtala is the creator, publisher and editor of Alive and Fit Magazine, which was created in 2007.  She has over 25 years of experience in journalism and over 15 years of experience as a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor, and is a holistic chef, offering holistic cooking and edible wilds workshops. She is an organic farmer, wild-crafter and grandmother, who has spent over 20 years navigating a holistic, healthy path for her family. Reach her at friends@thelaughingforest.ca 

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