Sunflower seeds as medicine in phytotherapy

The sunflower seed is used as a phytotherapeutic medicine. Sunflower seeds are a valuable daily enrichment of the meal. Just a few tablespoons of these seeds added to lettuce, muesli or rice dishes are enough to enjoy the broad medicinal spectrum of this culinary delicacy. Sunflower seeds are not alone in their medicinal use in phytotherapy. Dozens of seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables have medicinal properties. Sunflower seeds are particularly good for rheumatism and arteriosclerosis. NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.

Painting by Van Gogh with 12 sunflowers, each in a different phase / Source: Vincent van Gogh, Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)

Contents:

  • Sunflower naming
  • Active substances
  • Snack tip: sunflower seeds
  • Sunflower seeds for rheumatism
  • Sunflower seeds for arteriosclerosis
  • Use it cold
  • Sunflower oil, good for your teeth
  • Other medicinal effects of sunflower seeds
  • Dose and safety

Sunflower naming

The Latin name of sunflower is Helianthus annuus . The first part of this name consists of two Latin words: helios, which means sun and anthos, which means flower. Linnaeus gave the plant the name annuus because this means: annual. Of course, the sunflower is an annual plant. In most languages this plant means sunflower, in English it is sunflower and in German it is called a Sonnenblume.

Active substances

Sunflower seeds consist of 30 to 50% fatty oil. Another 55 to 70% of this is the polyunsaturated fatty acid omega 6. Around 14 to 35% consists of the monounsaturated fatty acid omega 9. The percentage depends on the hybrid species used to extract the seeds. The sunflower seed also contains vitamins A, D, E, and B1. It contains the following minerals: calcium, zinc, potassium, iron, selenium and phosphorus. It also contains lecithins and the phytosterols betasitosterol, stigmasterol and evenasterol. It also has access to proteins, carbohydrates and dietary fiber.

Snack tip: sunflower seeds

You can serve a bowl of sunflower seeds with a spoon on the table in the evening as a filling and healthy evening snack. Teach your guests to empty a spoonful of seeds into their hands and then bring their hand to their mouth and deposit the sunflower seeds in it. That is more civilized than digging through a container with nuts or seeds. The seeds are an excellent source of protein; they have all vegetable proteins except lysine. Furthermore, the essential fatty acids in particular are super healthy, although some experts point out that we consume too much omega 6 and too little omega 3. But that is no reason to avoid sunflower seeds.

Sunflower seeds for rheumatism

Sunflower seeds have anti-inflammatory properties. This is mainly due to methionine and SAM or S-AdenomylMethionine. Because they contain phenylanine, the sunflower seeds even have a mild analgesic effect. The anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect make the sunflower seed ideal for a diet against rheumatism. Another part of such a diet is cinnamon.

The amino acid arginine, like zinc, is important for sperm production. Sunflower seeds contain a lot of arginine. Therefore, these seeds are good for the production of male sperm.

Sunflower seeds for arteriosclerosis

Unrefined sunflower oil obtained from first cold pressing, extra virgin sunflower oil, acts as an atherogen; a remedy that prevents the development of arteriosclerosis

Spent sunflowers / Source: Unknown, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-2.5)

puts a stop to it. The unsaturated oleic acid contained in the seeds is mainly responsible for this effect. Free radicals cannot easily oxidize oleic acid. For this reason, extra virgin sunflower oil is a must for anyone who suffers from cardiovascular disease or wants to prevent heart problems.

Unrefined sunflower oil can help with multiple sclerosis.

Use it cold

You can fry in sunflower oil, but then the number of phytonutrients is significantly reduced. Cold use of sunflower oil guarantees the preservation of vitamins, lecithins, phytosterols and all kinds of other nutrients. When the oil is heated, fewer healthy fatty acids are produced, but you could use it instead of margarine, because it only contains bad fats. A better cooking agent than sunflower oil is coconut fat or coconut oil.

Sunflower oil, good for your teeth

Sunflower oil is good for your teeth. In Ayurveda, Indian traditional medicine, oil pulling is a well-known technique, not only to clean the teeth but to detoxify the entire body. It works as follows: if you show a tablespoon of oil to all corners of your mouth for 20 minutes, the enzymes will be activated to absorb toxins from the body into the oil. After 20 minutes, spit it out. It then turns out that the initially clear oil has become completely cloudy. Oil pulling is a method that has been proven to work well for the teeth, but the detox effect has not been fully proven. Some claim that in addition to white teeth, it gives you clearer skin.

Other medicinal effects of sunflower seeds

  • Sunflower oil has diuretic properties; toxins leave the body faster.
  • It promotes the dissolution of mucus, which makes coughing up easier; it is recommended in a diet for a patient with respiratory diseases.
  • Unrefined sunflower oil has a soothing effect on the skin. In addition, it hydrates the skin.
  • It is a good oil to treat bruises and sprains. You can possibly mix it with an essential oil from a plant that also works well for bruises and sprains, such as calendula or comfrey.
  • Sunflower oil is a good base oil for external diseases such as hemorrhoids, acne and oily skin. For hemorrhoids you could mix yarrow essential oil with sunflower oil. For the last two you could mix it with borage oil or perilla oil.

Source: Zaka, Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)

Dose and safety

  • A few tablespoons to a handful of sunflower seeds per day.
  • Two tablespoons of sunflower oil per day.

Sunflower seeds are a common food product. It has few dangers. The only danger you could run into is eating too much of it and thus consuming too many omega-6 fatty acids. This fatty acid is very good, but you must take it in the right ratio with omega 3. To overcome this problem, you could choose to alternate sunflower oil with the even healthier but 10 times more expensive hemp oil.