As lovely as soft bits of fragile crinkled silk,
These rosy blossoms, clustered thick upon the heavy drooping boughs,
When shaken by a summer wind,
Drop down in swirling showers,
And drift awhile about the ground;
Then gathered into frothy heaps beneath the hedge,
They spread a frill of rosy lace around the green lawns edge.
This native of East Asia has become established as the Southern marker of the season. When few other bushes are in bloom, the Crape Myrtle is in full, glorious flower. All through the hottest part of the summer season (July through August) they shower us with refreshing beauty.
For many years this plant has been used in Filipino and Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of diabetes. One of the active chemicals is corosolic acid, which is believed to stimulate glucose uptake. It has also been shown to lower cholesterol level and moderation of liver lipid levels!
Crape myrtle has dietary fiber and minerals (zinc and magnesium) at high levels and due to its assistance with glucose uptake has shown a drop in weight and appetite! The leaves can be boiled and consumed as tea.
The ancient Jews believed that the eating of myrtle leaves conferred the power of detecting witches; and it was a superstition that if the leaves crackled in the hands the person beloved would prove faithful.