Lilac (Yuan Hua)

Lilac (Yuan Hua)

Botanical Name: Western – Syringa vulgaris. Eastern – Flos daphnis genkwa.

Lilacs are edible. They symbolize first love and are said to drive away ghosts. They have long been used in both Eastern and Western healing traditions to fight fevers, treat coughs, and calm the stomach. Lilacs are also used by the cosmetic industry for their aromatic and calming effects.

Below is an overview of lilac, combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of lilac.

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Western Name: Lilac

Also Known As: Mountain Lilac, Redroot, Snowbush, Jersey Tea

Organs/Systems: Lymph, Lungs, Uterus

Key Actions: Root Bark – Antiperiodic, Febrifuge, Tonic, Anti-inflammatory, Astringing. Flower Bud – Anticoagulant, Antispetic, Antitussie, Antiviral, Diuretic, Purgative, Stomachic.

Medicinal Uses: Root Bark – Fevers, boost immune system, sprains, bruises. Flower Bud – Calming, coughs, prevent lung infections, edema, urinary retention, support digestion, treat malaria.


Pin Yin: Yuan Hua

Also Known As: Lilac Daphne, Genkwa

Meridians: Lungs, Spleen, Kidney

Key Actions: Flower Buds – Moves Blood and Qi, Resolves Phlegm, Clears Heat, Soothes the Stomach. Root Bark – Relieves Swelling, Moves Blood, Detoxes Blood.

Medicinal Uses: Flower Buds – Constipation, headaches, cramping, edemas, colds and flu, phlegmy coughs, stubborn coughs, bronchitis, itchy skin rashes, scabies, lung infections, nausea, full feeling, poor digestion, diarrhea, expels parasites. Root Bark – Relieves pain, acute mastitis, carbuncles, swollen boils, poison, lymph nodes, tuberculosis, ascites, rheumatism, toothaches, bruises, sprains, muscle aches, cleanse Blood.

Basic Habitat/Botany:

Lilacs are a member of the olive family. They are a deciduous shrub or multi-stemmed small tree (20-23 ft) with leaves that are oval to cordate, with pinnate leaf venation. The flowers have a tubular base to corolla 6-10 mm long with an open four-lobbed apex that is 8mm across. Typically, lilac flowers are mauve or white colored. Native to the Balkan Peninsula, Lilacs now grow in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. The California Lilac (Ceanothus leucodermis) grows only in California and Baja and is found in nearly all altitudes. The Lilac daphne of Asia prefers to grow in woodland gardens that are dappled with shade.

Lilac (Yuan Hua)Parts Most Frequently Used: Flower (edible), Root Bark, Leaf

Flavors/Temps: Flower – Bitter, Acrid, Cold, Toxic. Root Bark – Acrid, Bitter.

Caution: Do not use with other medicines that alter blood coagulation.  Lilac daphne: do not use with licorice during pregnancy. Bark can be poisonous, use with caution.

History/Folklore: Lilacs were used in Colonial America as a vermifuge (treat intestinal worms), to reduce fevers, and to treat malaria. Lilacs steeped in warm spring water for 30 minutes, strained, bottled, and refrigerated can be used on the face as a tonic and as a healing spritz for some facial afflictions.

The trees were respected by Orthodox Christians and the plant’s Greek name “pashalia” is derived from “pasha” which in Jewish means “passage” as they were considered to drive ghosts away instantly.  The lilac tree is also linked with reincarnation. One of the plant’s  secrets is that the flowers do not fade under hot water. Lilacs are said to remove ghosts, aid the exploration of past lives, and bless the passages of life, both birth and death. Purple lilacs are the symbol for the first emotions of love. If the blossoms are strewn about it is said they can ward off evil. Lilacs have a history of promoting clairvoyance, divination, peace, harmony and creativity. Lilac tonics were probably first introduced in Henry 8th time. They are called a harbinger of spring.  White lilacs are a symbol of innocence.

The lilac flower is edible and can also be crystallized and used as candy on cookies, cakes and pies, or simply be added to brown rice and salads. Sorbet can be made by mixing the flowers with sugar and water. Lilac oil is commonly used in commercial perfumes. You can simply add lilac blossoms to your bath for a soothing aromatherapy remedy for stress and anxiety.

Lilacs have been used to treat dyptheria (both internally and as a gargle). Lilac tea can be used as a hair tonic.  Michael Moore indicates that the California lilac is, “An excellent home remedy for menstrual cramps, nosebleeds, bleeding hemorrhoids, and old ulcers as well as capillary ruptures from coughing or vomiting.  California lilac roots are harvested in the late fall when the color is darkest or in early spring before the plants flower. The plants are tough and wiry, the roots even more so, so harvest them while the roots are fresh as after drying, you may need a jack hammer.”

Lilacs steeped in warm spring water for 30 minutes, strained, bottled and refrigerated can be used on the face as a tonic and as a healing spritz for some facial afflictions.

Lilac daphne has been used for over 3000 years. Commonly used in TCM, lilac is considered to be one of 50 fundamental herbs. The Chinese apply it externally to treat frostbite. The buds are harvested and dried in spring and used after they have been stored for several years. The root is considered an abortifacient, anticoagulant, purgative and visicant. A typical dose would be 1.5 – 3g vinegar of powdered Genkwa Flowers swallowed 0.6 to 0.9g per day.

Key Constituents:

Tannin, Paracoumaric acid, Essential oil, Cinnamic acid, Ethyl ester (Essoil).  The Root Bark: Integerrenine, Discarine B, Integerrine, Asparagine, Aspartic acid, Beta sitosterol, Butelinic acid, Ceanothenic acid, Glutamine, Bitter.
Did you know?

Good Luck

To find a Lilac blossom with five instead of four corolla lobes means good luck. Some say the purple color denotes sadness and mourning.

Plants Seed in Fall

Lilacs do not replant well from their roots, they do better with their seeds planted in the fall.
Fun fact!

Keep Flowers Fresh Longer

Keep flowers fresh longer: Cut and strip off the bark then bash in the bottom stalk (up to 1-2 inches) this opens up the woody structure enough for water to be more easily taken up and will help keep the flowers fresh for weeks.

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ATENCIÓN: Todo el material proporcionado en este sitio web es sólo con fines informativos o educativos. No es sustituto del consejo de su profesional de la salud o médico. Esté sano. Sea feliz. Siéntase completo. Sea libre.

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