Asteraceae – Asteraceae (Compositae).
Parts used: inflorescences, often only plucked marginal and inner flowers, rarely the entire above-ground part of the plant.
Pharmacy name: cornflower flowers – Cyani flos (formerly: Flores Cyani), cornflower herb – Cyani heiba (formerly: Herba Cyani).
Botanical description. Cornflower has an upright branched stem, reaching about 30-50 cm in height. At the woolly-pubescent ends of the stems are single baskets of sky-blue flowers. The inner flowers are tubular – fruiting, while the marginal ones are funnel-shaped, with a 7-8-lobed border – sterile. The lanceolate leaves are also felt-pubescent, pinnately dissected in the lower part of the plant, with petioles, and sessile and undissected in the upper part. Blooms from June to September. Not so long ago, this weed (its homeland is the Mediterranean) was found in abundance in any field with cereals. However, as a result of modern measures to combat weeds, its numbers have been greatly reduced, and it began to come across only in gravelly places, along roadsides and in dry meadows, together with chamomile and red poppy.
Collection and preparation. Cornflower is harvested during flowering; with all this, the entire aerial part of the plant is cut off. The material is bundled and hung out to dry in a ventilated place. This is the only way to preserve the sky-blue color of the flowers, which is very important.
Active ingredients: blue pigment, tannin, bitterness, mucus, wax.
Healing action and application. Cornflower has a slight diuretic effect, and due to the presence of tannin and bitterness, it is suitable for stomach and intestinal teas, although there are more suitable plants for this. I am inclined to join the opinion of Krebers, who believes that cornflower is only “a usable cosmetic additive to gastric, choleretic, liver, blood-purifying teas, as well as teas for diseases of the bladder and kidneys. And indeed, since it is not devoid of active substances and to In addition, the color of tea revives, it can be attributed to useful healing plants.
Application in folk medicine.Such a wonderful looking plant must be effective. So thought the ancient Greeks, the followers of Hippocrates, who already used the name Centaurea. Now we believe that this name is probably associated with the centaur Chiron, who, according to legend, perfectly mastered the gift of healing. The specific name cyanus is also of Greek origin and means “blue”. From Greek works, information about the healing effect of cornflower fell into medieval herbalists, and from there folk medicine drew its knowledge. At P.A. Matgiolus in the “New Herbalist” (Prague, 1563) we read: “It is believed that cornflowers counteract pestilence. If someone has fallen from a height and blood is flowing, he should be given an infusion of cornflower with plantain water to drink. Flowers and their seeds, infused on wine, it is good to drink from the poison of spiders and scorpions, they probably counteract other poisons as well. Blue cornflower is very good for inflamed red eyes and all other inflammations and bruises. In the crushed state, or in the form of juice made from it, or ground into powder, it serves for severe festering wounds and injuries. The juice is also good for festering in the mouth: the leaves relieve the mouth of this. “Modern folk medicine uses cornflower mainly as a remedy for eye diseases (since the doctrine of signatures), for headaches, diseases of the bladder and kidneys, jaundice, coughs and for blood purification.
Side effects are unknown.