Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)
Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
Asteraceae (Family), bachelor's button, basket flower, bluebottle, bluebow, blue cap, blue cornflower, bluet (French), boutonniere flower, Centaurea cyanus, Centaurea montana, Centaurea scabopsa L., eau de Casselunettes (French), hurt sickle, hurtsickle, protocyanin, scaly cornflower.
Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) is native to Europe, where it is considered a weed in fields. However, it is also used as an ornamental flower because of its intense blue flowers, and has become naturalized in North America and Australia. Blue cornflower has been used to flavor teas and to reduce ocular inflammation. Some preliminary studies indicate that cornflower may have anti-inflammatory properties, and blue cornflower did reduce the recurrence of urinary tract stones in one clinical trial. However, high-quality clinical studies need to be conducted before blue cornflower can be recommended for any use.
In European phytotherapy, Centaurea cyanus flower heads are used to treat minor ocular (eye) inflammations.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Urolithiasis (urinary tract stones)
Cornflower flowers may be helpful in preventing the recurrence of urinary tract stones. However, more studies are needed in this area to confirm these results.
*Key to grades:A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
Anti-inflammatory, emmenagogue (promotes menstruation), eye disorders (inflammation), food uses, stimulant, tonic.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (18 years and older):
There is no safe or proven effective dose for cornflower.
Children (younger than 18 years):
There is no safe or proven effective dose for cornflower in children.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to cornflower (Centaurea cyanus), its constituents, or members of the Asteraceae/Compositae family, such as dandelion, goldenrod, ragweed, sunflower, and daisies.
Side Effects and Warnings
There is no safety information currently available for blue cornflower. Cornflower is likely safe when used as a flavoring or in traditional medicinal amounts.
Use cautiously in patients taking anti-inflammatory agents.
Use cautiously in patients in treatment for urinary tract stones.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Cornflower is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
Cornflower flowers may have anti-inflammatory properties and caution is advised when taking cornflower with other anti-inflammatory agents.
Flowers of the blue cornflower may prevent the recurrence of urolithiasis (urinary tract stones). Caution is advised when taking drugs used to treat urolithiasis.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Cornflower flowers may have anti-inflammatory properties and caution is advised when taking cornflower with other anti-inflammatory herbs or supplements.
Flowers of the blue cornflower may prevent the recurrence of urolithiasis (urinary tract stones). Caution is advised when taking other herbs and supplements used to treat urolithiasis.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Bablumian IuA. [Antirelapse action of the flowers of the blue cornflower in urolithiasis]. Zh.Eksp.Klin.Med. 1978;18(6):110-114. View Abstract
Garbacki N, Gloaguen V, Damas J, et al. Anti-inflammatory and immunological effects of Centaurea cyanus flower-heads. J Ethnopharmacol 12-15-1999;68(1-3):235-241. View Abstract
Sarker SD, Laird A, Nahar L, et al. Indole alkaloids from the seeds of Centaurea cyanus (Asteraceae). Phytochemistry 2001;57(8):1273-1276. View Abstract
Shiono M, Matsugaki N, Takeda K. Phytochemistry: structure of the blue cornflower pigment. Nature 8-11-2005;436(7052):791. View Abstract
Takeda K, Osakabe A, Saito S, et al. Components of protocyanin, a blue pigment from the blue flowers of Centaurea cyanus. Phytochemistry 2005;66(13):1607-1613. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.
March 22, 2017