Every year I have enjoyed seeing lilacs bloom in May and love to see them blooming all around Riga, Latvia but I never thought to think if there were health benefits. So I went and did some research and discovered that not only do lilacs provide beauty and fragrance they also have a healthy side to them. Now that I have moved back to the U.S. I miss my garden full of lilacs in pink, white, and purple.
In flower language lilacs symbolize young love, wisdom and remembrance. Their wonderful scent is known to promote harmony and can increase your mental abilities and it also invokes emotions which have been long forgotten.
The story tells of a beautiful nymph who was named Syringa (this is the genus name of lilacs). With her loveliness she had captured the attention of Pan, the god of fields and forests. So it happened that Pan became so enamored of her that he chased her through the forest. Syringa was able to escape him by turning herself into a lilac bush with the help of some other nymphs.
It was then that Pan came to realize that he was not holding Syringa, but some reeds. In sadness, he sighed and his sighs mixed with the wind and the reeds produced most harmonious sounds. Hermes who was aka Mercury made the suggestion that perhaps if seven reeds of different lengths could be bound together they would make pan pipes. These pan pipes were then called Syrinx to honor the lovely nymph. In reference to flowers, Syringa means “hollow tube, tubular shape”. Even though they are not hollow, it is possible to drill out lilac twigs to create flutes and pipe stems.
The Edible Lilac
The blossoms of the lilac are edible even though they smell better than they taste, so use them only in small amounts. One fantastic thing to do in the spring is to make a lilac cold-water infusion. All you need to do is to fill a glass pitcher with fresh lilac blossoms. Make sure that the lilac blossom have not been sprayed with anything. Then fill the pitcher to the top with spring water and let it seep for an hour. Before pouring into glasses, strain the water. Now you are ready to drink in the beauty and aroma. You can scatter some lilac blossoms on fresh green salads. It is also possible to candy the blossom and preserve them for later use with which to decorate desserts.
There is additional information that lilacs have astringent and healing properties. The infusion of lilac blossoms can also be used as a toner for the skin. The very best news for me is that now I can use the blossoms and not just have to see them wilt away. In this link, there is also a great recipe for a way to make lilac honey where once the honey is ready it has picked up the properties of the lilac blossoms and you can use the honey and eat these blossoms. If you like you can even prepare a Lilac Honey Cake.