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The lovely sunflower is much underused.

So I've known that you can use the leaf of sunflower (and its relatives, like Jerusalem artichoke) as a nice mineral-rich tea.

But I happened to check out Cook's entry on sunflower (Helianthus annuus), and whoa, this is cool:

"A decoction of the bruised acheniae, (seeds and husks,) made by boiling an ounce in a quart of water to a pint, acts quite efficiently upon the kidneys--promoting the flow of urine, and soothing inflamed and irritable conditions both of the kidneys and bladder. They are suited for acute cases, and deserve more attention than they have received. It also acts well on irritable coughs. Used warm, this decoction gently promotes the action of the oil-glands upon the surface, perhaps more efficiently than is done by the seeds of the burdock; and this fact renders it useful in scarlet fever. A strong sirup may be used to advantage (in company with hepatic alterants) in such chaffy affections of the skin as tetter and lepra."

So good for the kidneys, good for urinary tract trouble, and better than burdock? Woot. Burdock seed is hard to pick in quantity, and they sell sunflowers (shelled, unshelled, take your pick) by the kilogram in most every supermarket ...

... I'll have to get some and make this ounce-to-a-pint tea.

Next, don't ingest a teaspoonful of sunflower oil in one sitting: according to King

"A teaspoonful of the oil taken at one dose, has produced active diuresis for four consecutive days, accompanied toward the termination with pain and debility in the lumbar region."

- heh. Dunno what caused that 4-day-long diuresis ... if that actually was caused by sunflower oil we'd see lots'n'lots of warning labels on the oil bottles.