Floral tradition has often placed special meanings to certain flowers and other plants. Some of them have been of a romantic nature; others convey special sentiments that cannot always be expressed as well in mere words. If, as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, well, certainly a bouquet or other arrangement of blooms can be translated even more expressively.
Now, consider another side to the meaning of flowers: the healing aspects. Could it be that the romantic side of this form of communication is derived from the medicinal properties that belong to such plants? Again, at one time such qualities were well-known by many. Modern herbalists may be acquainted with the biological benefits of their subjects, but it would be helpful in many cases to also examine the emotional side, too. After all, in holistic medicine, the mind, heart and body are a combined unit, acting interdependently.
Aloe Vera: In floral language, it is meant to speak of healing and protection. This plant, while not normally known today for its flowers, is at the forefront of botanical healing. As treatment for burns, cuts and other minor wounds, as well as a mild sunblock, it is unsurpassed. Many other uses include colon cleansing, lowering blood sugar, and soothing of skin irritations. Aloe vera also works well to condition hair. Simply put, the traditional meaning and the herbal uses are quite well-synchronized.
Horehound: Flower language significance: health. In herbal medicine terms, this herb—also famous for its use in making candy—is a blessing for those with sore throats and coughs. In many instances horehound is also found in cough remedies, especially lozenges. It soothes the sore throat, and can help tame a cough. Many herbalists also recommend this herb for relief in cases of asthma (although not for emergency attacks; it is, however, beneficial in helping allay the irritation and inflammation associated with asthma).
Hyssop: This flower has long been associated with cleanliness—as in Ps. 51, where David prayed to be cleansed as with hyssop. In current herbal medicine, this plant is, indeed, used for cleansing. Internally, it helps as a febrifuge, to cleanse the body of fever. As an expectorant hyssop is good for reducing phlegm. It also increases blood circulation, which can remove impurities from the blood. Made into an infusion or poultice and administered externally hyssop is beneficial for reducing inflammation and to help heal bruises and relieve insect bites.
Rosemary: Flower language uses this plant to call forth remembrance. Rather than only being relegated to the kitchen today, however, herbal medicine does claim rosemary helps the memory. Additionally it has the ability to calm nerves, stimulate digestion and the nervous system in general. Rosemary also aids those suffering from insomnia, fatigue, and headaches including migraines.
Rue: In floral parlance this herb suggests clear vision, perhaps more along the lines of intuition or clarity of thought. In medicinal terms, the leaves, made into an infusion, can be applied externally as an eyewash. They are also used in this literal sense for tired eyes. Rue contains a substance called rutin, which is a circulatory stimulant; perhaps this is the ingredient responsible for both meanings.
Peony: This lovely blossom is meant to convey the sense of healing in the language of flowers. Certainly, in Traditional Chinese Medicine as well as in other cultures, the peony has been long well known in this way. Its purgative, and anti-spasmodic qualities are of great use in healing. In TCM it is often combined with licorice root for kidney and gallbladder health, and stones in those organs.