Named after its beautiful pink-tipped white flower buds that resemble seashells, this member of the ginger family is grown as much for its ornamental appeal as it is for its healing properties. Each part of the plant is aromatic, adding another dimension to its popularity as a greenhouse and garden favorite.
WHAT DOES IT DO?
Shell flower contains the chemicals kavain and dihydrokavain, which contribute to the kava plant's renown as an effective sedative. As such, the ground leaves of shell flower are marketed as anti-hypertension and anti-stress medicines. Brazilian herbalists use this botanical for its diuretic properties, as well as in cases involving intestinal or cardiovascular diseases. Its leaves are rendered into a decoction that is used as a bath or wash in feverish conditions. Shell flower provides a muscle relaxant, as well as antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic comforts. Its leaves and rhizomes have been proven as effective against a pair of HIV enzymes.
ABOUT THE HERB
Also known as shell ginger, this evergreen perennial is native to the tropical areas of eastern Asia. Its eye appeal has become this herb's ticket to other lands, where it thrives in showy gardens from Hawaii to South America. Growing in clumps, shell flower reaches heights of 8 to 10 feet. Its shell-like buds open to reveal a breathtaking funnel-shaped flower boasting vivid reds and yellows.
Follow the directions on commercial preparations of shell flower for best results. Because this herb can cause uterine contractions, it should be avoided during pregnancy.
The opinions expressed are solely the writer's. NOTE: Visit herbalastrology.com to read Ted PanDeva Zagar's other articles and columns that discuss the benefits of herbs and natural foods. DISCLAIMER: The author's comments are not intended to serve as medical advice, and he urges his readers to seek qualified wellness professionals to resolve matters of health.