Super Flowers of Iran; Going to great heights for spring flowers in Nahar Khoran, Golestan
I have introduced in some of my articles the many flowers that grow in Northern Islamic Republic of Iran often saying, I’ll get back to you and write on one flower, herb, or another…So here I am today, keeping my promise. I am writing about one spectacular hiking journey that introduced me to this beautiful, wild, early to blossom, spring primrose that turns out to be stacked with multi healing elements and health benefits.
My husband and I set off for one of our favorite little hikes in the mountains of Nahar Khoran ( Alborz) just after the last remnants of snow fall melted. Flowers were sprouting the week before; I took notice of these beautiful violets emerging through the thin layers of remaining snow sheets one day while we dined in the mountains. I begged him to take me up for hikes the following week. I had to get some of the early spring blossoms to grow at home and to collect for teas before they were gone, I explained; it did not take much to twist his arm!
As we hiked up the foothills of Nahar Khoran Mt. beautiful white primroses grew everywhere, some stood alone and some grew in large patches with several other patches close by. “Primula vulgaris (primrose, syn. P. acaulis (L.) Hill) is a species of flowering plant in the family Primulaceae, native to western and southern Europe (from the Faroe Islands and Norway south to Portugal, and east to Germany, Ukraine, the Crimea, and the Balkans), northwest Africa (Algeria), and southwest Asia (Turkey east to Iran). The common name is primrose, or occasionally common primrose or English primrose to distinguish it from other Primula species also called primroses.” The primroses were mostly white in color; few are yellow in these parts (I have since collected different colors of primroses from various regions of the Alborz; white ones tend to grow in Nahar Khoran, while yellow and even pink ones are more abundant in Ziarat.) These primroses love to grow at the banks of rivers and streams come early spring or before then. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primula_vulgaris )
My weary knees fell to the earth among the flowers, finding a secure spot to balance myself on and reach for a small bunch of primrose growing along a small stream rushing down the mountain. Just as I reached to pick the little beauty from it’s moist spot, a pleasant looking man approached my husband and I and said, if you pick this one, it may not grow back next spring. You must pick these differently he warned, politely.
In Farsi Mr. Bahrami (who we just met for the first time in this moment) explained the primrose in particular had to be picked a certain way-usually in a patch of several but never while it’s alone or else it will not grow back. He went on to tell my husband and I that he had been hiking in the mountains of northern Iran for over 25 years and studied flowers and herbs as well. He filled us with so much knowledge and advice, we are always so overjoyed to know people like him who know their stuff and we could also swap our own stories and knowledge with. We stood and spoke vegetation in the region for about fifteen minutes. We got into a deep conversation about the flowers and mushrooms we collected in Nahar Khoran; he opted to give us twice as much knowledge back, filling us in on and describing other useful flowers that grew nearby.
Time was fleeting however and all of us knew we could last chatting for hours but had to part. He had two large bags with him, one filled with Aly Zul, a popular wild onion grass (it taste just like scallions or green onions but grows like a patch of grass) another bursting with gole banafshe a popular violet used for colds and treating other ailments. He reached into his own bags and gave us several of his own picked flowers. He loaded us with the onion grass, as I call it, and the purple banafshe (violets). My husband and I were so grateful. He also invited us to visit him and his wife for chai, he lived in another region of the mountains. I hope to take this kind mind up on his offer, pay his village a visit and have chai with them, for I am sure I could learn so much more from an expert like him. We said our goodbyes and expressed our gratitude for the generous gifts and proceeded upwards. For the next several minutes we hiked looking for patches of the white flower to pick and bring home to study. We found little of what we were looking for.
We hiked up to our destination, as we often do we bottled several liters of fresh water that runs from a spring. We collected the healthy mountain water, filled our packs and on our way down found an abundance of white primroses that could be picked. We picked a little since it was our first time to experiment with these. I like to try the flowers and feel their effects before we pick several that we may not use.
We got our sample for chai and were satisfied with this trip. A pleasant walk home topped off our journey. While at home we followed up on researching the primrose. My husband and I uncovered so much information on the benefits that the primrose flower and it’s parts have to offer. It is said that women especially use primrose in a supplement, oil or chai for the following reasons; premenstrual syndrome (PMS), breast pain, skin conditions like acne, endometriosis, and symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes.
“It’s increasingly being researched throughout the planet as a remedy for aging problems, alcoholism, acne, heart disease, hyperactivity in kids, signs of menopause, multiple sclerosis, weight control, obesity, PMS, and schizophrenia. It has preventive and therapeutic characteristics that are so numerous that it has become a regular suggestion of quite a large number of herbalists for keeping one youthful and avoiding illness.” (I will list some of those links on this article as well.)
These days when I hike I always take a little primrose with me to make with smoked chai and pick a little more to bring home when it is around. My doses are small too, 1-3 flowers usually does the trick if you are eating whole or making a tea. I allow the primrose to simmer in a pot of black chair for ten minutes before consuming. This flower has been served nearly every day in my household since we began our collection, because the benefits seem endless. I even find that it gives me a burst of energy (although it reacts as a sedative for most people) and cures my nausea!
* Tip : Never eat flowers you do not know. There are many toxic ones as much as there are ones good for you. There are no known hazards of the primrose however they are not recommended for pregnant or nursing women. If you like this article next week I will be adding another soon on violets and yellow primroses where they grow and how they benefit you. Thanks for reading and enjoy the photos and additional links!