Wednesday What Herb Is This – Sunflower

July 15, 2009 at 11:00 am (Associations, Herbs, Lammas, Lore, Lughnasadh, Magic, pagan, Sunflower, Wednesday, Witch)

Sunflower

Francisco Pizarro was the first European to encounter the sunflower in Tahuantinsuyo, Peru, where the natives Incas venerated the sunflower as an image of their Sun God. The Aztecs put gold sunflowers (called xochitl, still used as a girl’s name among Aztec descendants) in their temples and priestesses wore them as headdresses and adorned themselves with sunflower-decorated jewelry The Spaniards brought sunflower seeds back to Europe with them in the 1500s, and since then sunflowers have spread all over the world. At the beginning of the 16th century, gold figures of this flower as well as its seeds were brought to Europe.

During the 18th Century, the use of sunflower oil became very popular in Europe, particularly with members of the Russian Orthodox Church because sunflower oil was one of the few oils that was not prohibited during Lent. Sunflower oil, extracted from the seeds, is used for cooking, as a carrier oil and to produce margarine and biodiesel, as it is cheaper than olive oil. A range of sunflower varieties exist with differing fatty acid compositions; some ‘high oleic’ types contain a higher level of healthy monounsaturated fats in their oil than even olive oil.

The seeds have diuretic and expectorant properties and have been employed with success in the treatment of bronchial, laryngeal and pulmonary affections, coughs and colds, also in whooping cough. In the Caucasus the inhabitants employ the Sunflower in malarial fever. The leaves are spread upon a bed covered with a cloth, moistened with warm milk and then the patient is wrapped up in it. Perspiration is produced and this process is repeated every day until the fever has ceased.

Because of its strong Sun aspect, this plant is good for building a healthy ego. It is also associated with fertility on account of its numerous, prominent seeds; it is said that women who wish to conceive should eat them. Sometimes considered a haughty flower due to its height, the sunflower is also thought to exemplify loyalty or adoration, because of how it follows the Sun’s path. Like all Sun herbs, the sunflower is great for rituals for acquiring wealth and for creating a relaxed, comfortable happiness-the same sort you feel on a warm, sunny day. Sunflower combats depression or grief and protects from the negative. It is connected to solar festivals and solar gods like Apollo and to the sign of Leo. The petals are a nice addition to a bath, especially a ritual bath to attract happiness.

The Sunflower essence helps support strong upright people who are responsible for themselves, accept their personalities as they are and follow their own life purpose. a catalyst for developing personal identity in relation to the larger spiritual Self. Sunflowers are helpful for those whose sense of self is weak by helping to develop confidence. Sunflower seems to help bring about a mature self-worth, in which we appreciate our own gifts and contributions while giving equal recognition to the gifts and contributions of others around us. We come to feel good about ourselves without conceit or an excessive need for attention, and we can also accept our flaws without shame.

Sunflower aligns the super-conscious mind’s spiritual values with the heart chakra. Balances yin and yang energies. When people are having trouble with their intuition and want to know if their perception is correct, the Sunflower essence will resolve the problem. Used for spells & rituals performed to assist with centering, fertility, charms, money, protection, honoring Apollo, the Sun energy, protection, power, wisdom, and wishes.

The sunflower is native to the Americas and the Native Americans used the sunflower for food and medicine for 8,000 years. Traditionally, several Native American groups planted sunflowers on the north edges of their gardens as a "fourth sister" to the better known three sisters combination of corn, beans, and squash. The native peoples made the petals into a dye and used the bloom time as a guide for hunting. In Hungary, a folk violin called the kóróhegedü was made from a hollowed-out sunflower stalk. Its strings and bow-hair were made of the fibers from inside the stalks.

Sunflowers can make a nice "house"-just plant them in a circle or square with space for a "door." Some people intersperse them with morning glories, which will climb the sunflowers to make walls.

When the sunflower nods, it will rain.

Sources:

Botanical.com

The Magickal Cat

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