10 Edible Chinese Flowers That Work As Well As Any Other Antioxidant
    By News Staff | April 21st 2014 11:08 AM | Print | E-mail | Track Comments

    The latest fad in implied health benefits that can slip under the regulatory radar are edible flowers from China. 

    Why implied? Because they are rich in phenolics and have good antioxidant capacity.  What will that do? No one knows. Antioxidants haven't been shown to help anyone at all and phenolics claims were how the rationalization that organic food was healthier arose - and then debunked. To maintain a level of credibility the key phrase "may be partly responsible" is liberally applied.

    Some edible flowers, which have been used as ingredients, seasoning and garnish in Chinese food for centuries, contain phenolics that 
    may be partly responsible
     anti-inflammatory activity and may be partly responsible
    for a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.

    A new paper claims that these common edible flowers have the potential to be used as an additive in food to prevent chronic disease by helping to prevent food oxidization.  Paeonia suffruticosa and Flos lonicerae showed the highest total phenolic content, which may be partly responsible for antioxidant capacity.

    Is there any evidence for an actual health benefit? This paper is instead evidence-adjacent, they catalog phenolic compounds, and say they simply believe that the antioxidant mechanisms, anti-tumor, anti-inflammation and anti-aging activity of edible flower extracts should be studied to help promote sales of antioxidants. That kind of reasoning may work with the the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, but it won't work in real medicine.

    Citation: Jiang, Baiyi Lu, Yinzhou Hu, Fei Zhou, Shuqin Mao and Canxi Shen, 'Phenolic Compounds and Antioxidant Capacities of 10 Common Edible Flowers from China', Journal of Food Science  Volume 79, Issue 4, April 2014, Pages C517–C525 DOI: 10.1111/1750-3841.12404