Medicinal plants

Cornflower - application, effects and cultivation

Cornflower - application, effects and cultivation

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) used to be a field like cereals, and in summer the yellow of the grain mixed with the sky blue of the flowers. Herbicides have marginalized beauty, now it is recovering and is no longer on the list of endangered species. Centaurea is not only a beauty, but also a well-known medicinal plant.

Profile of the cornflower

  • Scientific name: Centaurea cyanus
  • Common names: Zyane, blue cap, hunger flower, blue fruit blossoms, rye flower, sickle flower, Tremse, Zacharias flower, billy goat, goat leg, weyd flower (willow flower).
  • family: Daisy family
  • distribution: Originally presumably the Mediterranean region, already in antiquity due to the cultivation of cereals in West Asia and Central Europe, open and nutrient-poor locations.
  • application areas: Inflammation of the skin and throat, digestive problems, urinary drive, bladder and kidney problems, wound healing, stomach problems.
  • Parts of plants used: Herb and flowers

The most important facts

  • Cornflower was ubiquitous in small-scale agriculture, but became rare due to herbicides and the destruction of hem biotopes. Today it is no longer considered endangered and can be seen more frequently in flower strips.
  • The blue flowers were an all-round remedy in folk medicine. In addition to medieval superstition, this was also because they were easy to collect - meanwhile, historical applications were also based on real active ingredients.
  • The blue flowers contain medically effective substances such as tannins, flavonoids, bitter and mucilages.
  • Cornflower extracts can inhibit inflammation and help with digestive problems. Anti-inflammatory substances make it a remedy for inflammation of the skin and throat.

Cornflower - ingredients

The flower, also known as the “carnation”, contains various substances that have a healing effect, including tannins, flavonoids, bitter and mucilaginous substances. Other substances that are used in therapies are:

  • Resins,
  • Wax,
  • Centaurocyanin,
  • Salicylic acid,
  • Flavone glycosides,
  • Anthocyanins,
  • and glycoside.


The parts of the plant above ground float water, alleviate flatulence, promote digestion (tannins), inhibit inflammation, counteract bacteria and support wound healing. The flowers contain polysaccharides and these inhibit inflammation. Quercetin in the flower also slows the production of stomach acid and is well suited to prevent stomach problems and to prevent or slow down the associated colic. A recent study suggests that cornflower extracts could help prevent breast cancer.

What is cornflower used for?

Active ingredients of the cornflower, tea from the flowers, tinctures and extracts are considered as remedies for:

  • Bladder disorders,
  • Kidney problems,
  • Indigestion,
  • less problems in the bile ducts,
  • To cough,
  • inner restlessness or nervousness,
  • Overactivity
  • and inflamed eyelids.

Medical history of the “corn nut”

The flower not only bore numerous names such as corn nut, grain eater, corn biter, blue cap, goat leg, sickle flower, hunger flower, rye or imperial flower - it was also considered an "all-round medicine" in the Middle Ages.

The focus was on the treatment of skin injuries: cornflower pads should alleviate bites from spiders, bites from scorpions, bees, wasps and hornets. The crushed seeds were considered a medicine against "red eyes" (presumably eye infections) and mouth rot (probably bacterial infections in the throat).

So our ancestors were less influenced by superstitions than by empirical values ​​in the cornflower: the imperial flower contains anti-inflammatory substances, which counteract “mouth rot” and alleviate the effects of insect bites and spider bites.

Cornflower as a home remedy

Tea from the flowers, envelopes with porridge and cornflower ointment are still home remedies for conjunctivitis and are said to alleviate bags under the eyes. A compress with cornflower tea is easy to make:

  1. Put two teaspoons of dried flowers in a cup of boiling water.
  2. Let everything steep for ten minutes.
  3. Then they soak a clean cloth with the slightly cooled liquid and put it on the eye area.

Dried flowers and leaves of the cornflower can be mixed with other medicinal herbs, for example with peppermint, yarrow and centaury. These then steep in hot to boiling water and serve as tea against digestive problems.

Cornflower blossoms are also extracted with the flowers of thyme, lavender, hyssop, Wegwarte and Borage in alcohol for three weeks. The tincture thus obtained is taken against stress and nervous conditions and is said to increase concentration. The recommended dose is a maximum of 15 drops up to three times a day.

Facial toner

To make facial tonic, three tablespoons of flowers are used for 250 milliliters of hot water. It is said to help against blemished and irritated skin.

Cornflower wine

They cook three to four tablespoons of cornflower petals in half a liter of wine and then strain them. The cooled wine is said to relieve fever and as an oral rinse to help with inflamed mucous membranes.

Cornflowers in the kitchen

Cornflower is not widely used as a dish today, but it used to be part of the rural kitchen. Today, the blue flowers are usually used as an ornament. The petals taste spicy and are good for salad or as a side dish. The goblets, on the other hand, contain many bitter substances and taste difficult to get used to. The leaves are not used in the kitchen. Although they are edible, their abundance of tannins and bitter substances make them hardly edible.

Plant cornflowers

Cornflowers were a character plant in small-scale agriculture and would be widespread if there were no herbicides. So they can be easily grown in the garden, are an ornament there and make ecological sense. In purchased mixtures with wildflower seeds, the cornflowers are often the only ones to grow, even on the first try.

Their spread on grain fields already shows that the flowers love it open and sunny. They hardly thrive in the shady forest garden. Cornflower likes plenty of humus, a well-drained and slightly chalky soil. It also copes well with nutrient-poor soil and also populates sandy areas. But it is not a friend of soils overloaded with mineral fertilizers. Nutrient salts in excess damage the roots. Not only the herbicides, but also over-fertilization is one reason why we find them so rarely in the fields today.


Cornflower sprouts in the cold. The best time for sowing is therefore in March and April. It is still possible to sow until the end of May, but the flowers will then remain significantly smaller. It is sown directly outdoors. The distance between the plants should be about 30 centimeters, because the blue flower is a light germ. Press the seeds into the soil at most one centimeter. The first germs form on the surface about two weeks after sowing.

Fertilize or not?

Cornflower does not need any additional fertilizer on common garden soils, too many nutrients even harm it. If the soil is poor in nutrients (which is rare in Germany, usually the opposite is the case), it helps to work a few shovels of cow manure or horse apples into the soil in late autumn before sowing in the spring. Please do not use mineral fertilizer - to enrich the soil, compost is ideal for corn and other field flowers.

Do you need to pour?

Centaurea cyanus can take drier places without problems. In extreme drought, however, you should water regularly, in the heat in the evening. Cornflower likes waterlogging far less than dryness - then the delicate roots rot. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Haratym, W. et al .: Microstructural and histochemical analysis of aboveground organs of Centaurea cyanus used in herbal medicine, in: Protoplasma, online publication September 2019, SpringerLink
  • Escher, Graziela Bragueto et al .: Chemical study, antioxidant, anti-hypertensive, and cytotoxic / cytoprotective activities of Centaurea cyanus L. petals aqueous extract, in: Food and Chemical Toxicology, 118: 439-453, August 2018, ScienceDirect
  • Al-Snafi, Ali Esmail: The pharmacological importance of Centaurea cyanus - A review, in: International Journal of Pharmacy Review & Research, 5/4: 379-384, January 2015, ResearchGate
  • Keyvanloo Shahrestanaki, M. et al .: Centaurea cyanus extracted 13-O-acetylsolstitialin A decrease Bax / Bcl-2 ratio and expression of cyclin D1 / Cdk-4 to induce apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in MCF-7 and MDA-MB- 231 breast cancer cell lines, in: Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, 120 (10): 18309-18319, October 2019, PubMed
  • Garbacki, Nancy et al .: Anti-inflammatory and immunological effects of Centaurea cyanus flower-heads, in: Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 68 / 1-3: 235-241, December 1999, ScienceDirect

Video: Planting Cornflower From Seed (November 2022).