All about Rhododendron:
The Himalayas are home to a spring of flora and fauna. While there are countless species found in the belt, one of the most striking ones while trekking in Nepal is that of Rhododendron. Varying in sizes and colors, over thirty species of these are found in the gorgeous Himalayan stretch. Rhododendron benefits are known to man for long now. Found in abundance in Asia and spread through Nepal, many trekkers must have seen Nepalese children munching on these flowers. This national flower of Nepal that is extensively found in the foothills of the Himalayas, contains bright flowers in full bloom from the end of winters to the onset of summers.
Taste: sour, sweet
Parts used: flowers, petals, leaves, bark
Uses: medicinal, cosmetic and other uses of this peculiar plant rich in antioxidants.
Have a fishbone stuck in your oesophagus? Rhododendron flowers to the rescue! There is more to it: the flowers of Rhododendron are packed with vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for the skin and helps in the growth and repair of body tissues. Furthermore, symptoms of scurvy, like bleeding gums, fatigue and anaemia in later stages, can be prevented. Rhododendron is helpful in maintaining the body’s levels of cholesterol. The flowers are high in poly fatty acid, thereby maintaining the ideal cholesterol level in the system. In case of anaemic patients, the rhododendron flowers can be given to make up for the lack of haemoglobin. They help in increasing the red blood cell count gradually and are overall good for the heart as well. Did we mention that they are helpful in relieving high blood pressure and bone pain as well? The flower is also used in some cosmetics along with aromatic oils and perfumes.
The value of the herb moves up a notch by putting its bark to good use. The juice of the bark helps patients with jaundice, liver issues, intestinal worms and diabetes to some extent. In fact, the snuff made out of its bark helps in relieving cold. Its bark and dry twigs help in lowering the temperature during chronic fever.
Why should the leaves be left behind? You heard that right. Rhododendron benefits are not limited to the flowers and bark alone. The leaves are churned into a paste and applied on the forehead to relieve a headache. The herb takes care of joint inflammation and muscle pain owing to its anti-inflammatory properties. Topical application of its paste helps in fighting infections because of its strong anti-bacterial properties.
Now here’s an interesting fact. The nectar of the flower is used in making wine. This special wine helps in soothing patients suffering from dysentery or diarrhoea. Its scent is used in aromatherapy. The smell induces a sense of calmness and helps in meditating better.
Monitor the dosage:
The key is to consume only a little at a time. Overconsumption could get intoxicating. Studies have been reported that excessive intake of this plant could be toxic and have hallucinogenic and effects and act as a mild laxative as well.