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Edible and Fragrant Lilacs

One of the loveliest sights and scents of springtime is the lilac. In the language of flowers, lilacs symbolize wisdom, young love and remembrance. Lilac’s floral scent is used to promote harmony and increase mental abilities and invokes long forgotten emotions.

Lilac (Syringa species) is a member of the Oleaceae (Olive) Family. According to Greek mythology, a beautiful nymph named Syringa (lilac’s genus name) had captivated, Pan, the god of the forests and fields, with her beauty. Pan chased Syringa through the forest. Syringa escaped Pan’s attention by turning herself into a lilac bush with the assistance of some nearby nymphs. Pan realized he was holding reeds instead of Syringa. His sighs combined with the wind and reeds made harmonious sounds. Hermes (aka Mercury) suggested that, seven reeds of different lengths bound together could make pan pipes, which were called Syrinx in honor of the nymph. Syringa also means “Hollow tube; tubular shape, pertaining to the shape of the flowers”. Although not hollow, lilac twigs can be easily drilled out to make flutes and pipe stems. Vulgaris, the species name, means common.

Lilac blossoms are edible, though they smell better than they taste, so use in small amounts. A springtime delight is to make a lilac cold-water infusion. Simply fill a glass pitcher with fresh (unsprayed of course) lilac blossoms. Fill to the top with spring water. Allow to steep for an hour. Strain before serving in glasses. Drink in the beauty and aroma. Scatter a few lilac blossoms on fresh green salads. The blossoms can be candied and preserved to decorate desserts later in the year. The lilac shrub, native to Eurasia is deciduous, and incredibly cold hardy, long lived and bears many fragrant flowers, usually in May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by bees, moths and butterflies. Lilac thrives in most soils, including chalk, but dislikes acid soils. Its preference is a well-drained alkaline loam in a warm sunny position. It is usually found growing in hedges, woodlands, and in dappled shade.

Move a bench in a position where you can sit, relax and breathe in the sweet aroma. Though the perfumed flowers are short-lived, the shrub itself has outstanding longevity and known to outlive many a human, though not necessarily faerie.

 

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Brigitte Mars

Brigitte Mars, a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild, is a nutritional consultant who has been working with Natural Medicine for over 40 years. She teaches Herbal Medicine at Naropa University, Boulder College of Massage, and Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts and has a private practice. Brigitte is the author of 12 books, including Rawsome!. Find more healthy living articles, raw food recipes, videos, workshops, books, and more at brigittemars.com. Also check out her international model yogini daughter, Rainbeau at rainbeaumars.com.

200 comments

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12:47PM PDT on May 12, 2013

informative

11:17PM PDT on May 8, 2013

Nothing better than to smell lilacs! So relaxing! Plant one outside the window it will smell so good when the window is open! Bring some inside to put in a vase! Thank You

1:10PM PDT on Mar 10, 2013

Bzy pięknie pachną. Wolę wąchać niż jeść.

6:19AM PST on Jan 9, 2013

Thank you Brigitte, for Sharing this!

5:01PM PDT on Jul 15, 2012

Thanks.

4:45PM PDT on May 24, 2012

thanks

2:59PM PDT on Apr 7, 2012

Ooooh now eyeing up my lilac ..

11:08AM PDT on Apr 6, 2012

.Interesting, thank you for sharing

12:15PM PDT on Apr 3, 2012

Oh,lilacs...can't wait til they bloom...

10:52PM PDT on Oct 28, 2011

~I love lilacs, as in smelling~Don't think I'll eat any when they bloom next spring!~

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