The Green Parent

By The Green Parent

22nd September 2018

Rebecca Sullivan shares her favourite drinks infused with herbal notes - think floral chai and rose and turmeric latte...

The Green Parent

By The Green Parent

22nd September 2018

The Green Parent

By The Green Parent

22nd September 2018

Flowers remind me of my grandad. He was so very proud of his garden, and the smell of a rose conjures up many happy memories of my childhood. Not just roses either. In the peak of summer, whenever I see a honeysuckle creeping along someone’s fence I have to stop, pick a flower and eat its little sweet treat inside. For as long as I can remember, I have been rather obsessed with eating the pretty petals of any plant I can. Well, at least until I learned, by trial and error of the nasty kind, that not all pretty things can be eaten.

Flowers can make a dull dish beautiful in an instant with an array of colour, they can add flavour and texture, but some of them pack a powerful medicinal punch too.

It’s rather in vogue to eat flowers at the moment and has been a trend that has gone in and out of fashion for many a decade. If you think about it, flowers in food are all around us. We use hops for beer, chrysanthemums to make rice cakes, calendula for medicine and lavender covers the south of France to be used in many traditional dishes. Sure, growing perfectly perfumed roses and fields of lavender isn’t feasible for those of us without the land or green thumbs to do so, but a few planter boxes of nasturtiums, calendula and geranium on the balcony are doable. And if growing isn’t your thing, then make friends with your neighbours and swap a bunch of roses for a jar of pickled peonies.

Here are my favourite recipes for making nourishing drinks using the power of flowers.

Floral chai

I have forever loved chai and always wanted to create my own perfect flowery version, so I think this is wonderful. Apart from tasting gorgeous, the dry ingredients make a wonderful gift in a little jar with instructions on a label and a pretty ribbon.


  • 1 teaspoon dried chamomile flowers
  • 1 teaspoon dried rose petals
  • 1 teaspoon dried violets
  • ½ teaspoon dried culinary lavender
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • 3 cloves
  • pinch of ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 star anise
  • 4 teaspoons black tea
  • 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped out
  • 600ml whole milk or nut milk
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon rose water

You can either make the tea to store in a clean jar or for gifts by blending together all of the dried ingredients with the seeds of the vanilla pod until finely ground and combined. Just mix and keep in a sterilised jar in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months.

When you are ready to drink, simply add the tea mixture to the milk in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over a low–medium heat. Simmer for 5 minutes, then strain into mugs, stir in the honey and rose water and serve.

Rose and turmeric latte

Turmeric has been widely researched and the compound curcumin is believed to provide a plethora of health benefits. It also has an extremely safe profile so is a wonderful addition to anyone’s daily diet. Rose and turmeric are a match made in heaven in this latte.


  • 250ml almond or coconut milk
  • 3.5cm fresh turmeric root, peeled and chopped
  • seeds from 2 cardamom pods, crushed
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1–2 tablespoons rose water
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey or maple syrup, to taste
  • dried rose petals, to garnish

Place the almond or coconut milk in a blender with the turmeric, cardamom, pepper, rose water and coconut oil. Blend to combine. Warm in a small saucepan to a light simmer if drinking warm. Turn off the heat and sweeten with honey or maple syrup to taste. Drink cold or warm, garnished with rose petals. If you want to increase the quantities and make a large batch to drink throughout the week, it will keep in a covered jug in the fridge for 4–5 days.


Rose hips, which are the base of the flowers, can be used to manage arthritis, indigestion, fevers, constipation and urinary problems. Rose petals are rich in a number of vitamins, including vitamins A, E, C, D and B3. They are also full of antioxidants. Brewing the petals into tea has been reported to help people relax and relieve stress and headaches.


If you’ve ever sipped a cup of chamomile tea to relax or calm an upset stomach, you’re already aware of just how soothing this plant can be. Like dandelion, it’s a member of the daisy family, and the flower has a flavour that may remind you of apples. Some of its health benefits include relief from bloating, ADHD, insomnia and stomach ailments.


READ The Art of Edible Flowers by Rebecca Sullivan. Published by Kyle Books. Photography by Nassima Rothacker

FOLLOW Rebecca’s pioneering natural food revolution in Australia at