ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Sunny Flower

Updated on June 19, 2013

Do you Grow Sunflowers?

See results

Helianthus annus (common Sunflower)

There is no one in this world that can convince me that Sunflowers are not worth the time of day or the amount of love that I send their way. Have you seen those things? They are the epitome of summer! They come in all those beautiful sunny colors associated with fire and are just fantastic planted creatures.

With 38 varieties of these phyto-beasts, they are famous for those gorgeous faces they have, which look up and follow the sun along its path through the sky. One might think of sunflower seeds, those nutritious little nuggets encased in a black shell that baseball players chew on. Lesser thought of is sunflower oil as well which might have been inspired to have been brought to Europe around the 16th century.

Sunflowers are intriguing to the world for their beauty, their strange habit of tracking the sun across the sky (called heliotropism), their health benefits, their nutritional benefits, and even artists and mathematicians for their Fibonacci Spirals. Their tiny florets in the center range from a 1000-2000, spiraling at a near Golden Angle of 137.5°, the amount of spirals ranging from 34-89 spirals in one direction and 55-144 in the other depending on the flower head.


The History

It was domesticated in what is now Mexico nearly four thousand years ago, approximately 2600 BCE, and is native to general Central America, though they were not the only ones to have domesticated it. Evidence has shown some domesticated sunflowers in what is now Tennessee dating to about 2300 BCE.

They were seen as symbols of sun deities in various Native American societies including the Incas, Aztecs, and Hopi. Mascalaro, Chiricahua Apache, Hidatsa, Navajo, Paiute, and Pawnee cultivated the flower for food, medicine, to feed their horses, and coffee.

It was taken back to Spain about the 16th century after explorers made it to Central America quite possibly by Francisco Hernandez who claimed it to be an aphrodisiac, though the popularization of sunflower oil did not occur until the 18th century. Those of Russian Orthodox were particularly pleased with the oil as Lent did no prohibit it.


Medicinal Effects

The color itself inspires a smile, though for actual medicinal effect of the particular Helianthus annuus species of sunflower, so named after the Greek term helio anthos which means literally “sun flower”, there are plenty of uses.

It is quite often used for cuts and bruises, chest pains and bronchial troubles, though the Cherokee used it for afflictions of the kidneys. It has been used for dermatological complains such as general bug bites, itching, dryness and so on. Some tribes used it as stimulation on long hunts, much like the Peruvians used the Coca leaf. The Navajo used it as a disinfectant to prevent prenatal infections. It has been even used against rheumatism, most likely as a salve. As a poultice, the Pima would use the still warm ashes on the stomach for worms.

It is currently being studied for its effects of prolonging the spread of HIV cells, as well as its effects on cholesterol.


Beautifully Ingested

One might be surprised at all the wellness a good sunflower can induce. The most popular part to eat is the seeds. Of course when consuming raw products one is going to gain more nutritional benefits than a toasted on, so naturally raw is the best form to have a sunflower seed or hundred. Seeds are often a good source of protein, and sunflower seeds are no exception, having seven grams of protein in an ounce as well as contain four grams of fiber. There’s a healthy bit of calcium in an ounce, at 6 mg and it is one of the most vitamin E rich food with just over 14 IU per ounce. It also contains riboflavin, thiamin, niacin (vitamin B3), iron, folate, potassium, zinc and antioxidants.

Altering the sunflower seed into an unsalted sunflower seed butter, a peanut butter alternative, contains a good amount of vitamin A as well as plenty of B vitamins as well. As soon as the seed begins to sprout the nutrients can multiply from 300 to 1200%. When the seed sprouts have matured, they become a chlorophyll resource (the substance in plants which make them green. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, B12, B6, A and K, and will help to protect against cancer as well as some forms of radiation), thus a good food for liver and blood detox.

The seed has been said to be effective against depression and anxiety by increasing the level of serotonin (your “happy” chemical) in the brain. Bran and bananas have similar effect, so banana and sunflower seed bran muffins would be the curing treat to indulge in when the dark cloud begins to loom.

Homemade Sunflower Seed Butter


Crafting and So On!

The hulls of the seeds have long been used as a purple dye, and the yellow petals have been used to produce yellow dye by Native Americans, and the oil produced by the seeds have acted as lubrication for other forms of paint for ceremonial purposes.

The stocks of sunflowers are heavy, and when burned the ash makes for excellent gardening compost, full of nutrients. After seeds have been pressed, the cake that’s left behind is used to feed livestock. The hulls and the dried stocks can be used as fuel as well. Some countries such as China are using the stocks as fiber for fabric while others are investigating it as a use for paper.

This plant is still being experimented with and new uses are coming up frequently, whether it be medicinally for a possible treatment or preventative for HIV or the next biofuel. To some it just a beautiful towering flower, to some it is sacred, and to others it is Pandora’s Box of possibilities.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • ThompsonPen profile imageAUTHOR

      Nicola Thompson 

      8 years ago from Bellingham, WA

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment! It was the first thing I read when I woke up and it's started my day off right! Thank you!

    • epigramman profile image


      8 years ago

      WOW Nicola it's so nice to meet you and you have so many wonderful and awesome hubs to choose from. I love your hubber name too.

      I was just scrolling down your hubpage and popping in at some of your hub presentations and articles and you are truly a writer's writer with an eclectic choice of topics to choose from.

      I shall return and in the meantime I am sending to you my sincere warmest wishes and good energy from Colin, Little Miss Tiffy and Mister Gabriel at lake erie time ontario canada 9:29am on an early summer's morning

    • Anil and Honey profile image


      8 years ago from Kerala

      Sun flower is a beautiful flower now I can understands other its features from your hub. Thanks for sharing.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)