Cornflower – Centaurea cyanus

Cornflower or Bachelor's Buttons
Cornflower or Bachelor’s Buttons

The wintergreen, the juniper
The cornflower and the chicory
All the words you said to me
Still vibrating in the air


Centaurea, the genus for these flowers, was named for an ancient Greek centaur, Chiron. This centaur, according to myth, taught humans the healing power of plants and herbs. He showed them how to heal, by using them on battle wounds, including those he had acquired himself in battle.

Just as Chiron taught in antiquity, this herb is used to wash out wounds, heal mouth ulcers, for eye problems (such as corneal ulcers), conjunctivitis, and minor wounds! It also sooths inflamed and irritated skin. Internally it is used to improve digestion, improve the immune system, tone and regulate the gall bladder, liver, kidneys, and to treat menstrual disorders.

It is also used as a Flower Essence to encourage self knowledge and acceptance of the infinite differences among others. The intense blue color of the flower has been prized for centuries, used as an ink color when mixed with alum, it was often used in Books of Shadows, used to dye linen (but not permanent), and used in watercolor painting. The Minoans of the island of Crete (during the Bronze Age) used the flower petals to invent the blue on their ceramics for which they are so famous.

Cornflowers or Bachelor’s Buttons are used in tea, salads, and garnishes for entrees and drinks. Not only are the flowers edible, but so are the young shoots. And the dye obtained form the flowers is also safe to use in cooking.

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