In Ayurveda spas around the country, aromatic flowers such as plumeria, lotus, and jasmine are used in sedative baths. Dried flowers are being introduced to the production of herbal pillows, prescribed for the treatment of headaches, insomnia, and stress. Dried flowers are zipped into tea bags. There has been a growing revival of interest in Sri Lanka’s healing flowers.
Asoka (Saraca indica) - Asoka trees, when in flower mode, are a glorious sight. Asoka flowers perfume at night. It is also known as the “sorrowless tree,” derived from the Sanskrit word for Asoka which means “No grief.”
Asoka is used as an astringent, especially for uterine haemorrhage. A fluid extracted from the flowers is given for haemorrhagic dysentery. Dried, Asoka flowers are given for diabetes.
Sepalika Flowers (Nyctanthes Arbor-tristis) - Some people use dried Sepalika flowers for herbal pillows to aid sound sleep. Sepalika is also useful in constipation of children and also used to treat bilious and rheumatism.
Ratmal (Ixora Coccinea) - Ratmal is also known as “Flame of the Woods,” or “Jungle Flame.” It is used to treat infants’ diseases.
Shoe Flowers (Hibiscus rosa sinensis) - Some Ayurvedic physicians prescribe shoe flowers are fried in ghee for excessive menstruation. The buds are used to treat children’s diseases. It is also used to treat premature loss of hair and to make the hair look glossy. A stimulant is prepared by mixing the juice of the fresh petals and olive oil in equal portions and boiling it till all the water has evaporated. This mixture is then applied to the scalp. Some villagers make a delicious shoe flower drink.
Nil Mahanel (Nymphese stelleta) - Nil Mahanel is the national flower of Sri Lanka. It is a favorite offering at many Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka. A bouquet of Nil Mahanel is prescribed by psychiatrists for individuals experiencing states of trauma. The Nil Mahanel is also used in Ayurevda herbal baths in luxury resorts throughout Sri Lanka.