Pinks – Dianthus chinensis

Pinks
Pinks

Flowers blossoming
in autumn fields –
when I count them on my fingers
they then number seven
The flowers of bush clover,
eulalia, arrowroot,
pink, patrinia,
also, mistflower
and morning faces flower.

Yamanoue Okura (C. 660 – 733)

 

This native biennial is grows in a variety of habitats in the Far East, from Mongolia to northern China, to Korea and southeast Russia. In the Far East it has been used for thousands of years in Chinese Tradition Medicine. This small flower resembles the carnation of florist fame, and in fact they are cousins, often being used in similar ways.

 

In herbal medicine the whole plant is considered a bitter and used to aid digestion and the urinary tract system. It has been used internally for the treatment of acute urinary tract infections (especially cystitis), urinary stones, constipation, and failure to menstruate. Externally a decoction is used to treat skin inflammations and swellings.

 

Some of the Dianthus species are edible, but no specific references for this variety can be found at this time. The fact that it has been used in China for medicine probably gives credence to the relative safety of the flowers. If the petals are eaten in excess they can cause some skin irritation issues!

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