After three days of having super healthy and visually opulent food at Atmantan, a holistic wellness retreat on the banks of river Mulshi, I come back home transformed. Here’s why …

Before I start, a disclaimer: I love flowers. I love luxury. I love all things pretty. I am not a vegan, but I like healthy meals made with the freshest produce. I have been a beauty editor for years, and it’s my personal belief that beauty is skin deep. Not that I love my skin care or make-up essentials any lesser, but I feel that every meal that leaves you feeling soulfully satiated does its bit in making you look better. And our relationship with food like with everything else begins first with sight, then smell and finally the taste. A dish that’s beautifully presented wins half my soul purely by sight. I am not talking about elaborate “MasterChef” presentation, but I am referring to the beauty of simplicity.


Much like my earlier visit to wellness resort Atmantan, near Pune in Maharashtra, even this time I was on a floral trail. It started with the food on my table. I loved how pretty is seamlessly juxtaposed with healthy. Salads and desserts, garnished with edible flowers! A general chat with the chef, and later with the resident Ayurvedic physician, revealed how the petals are not just meant to pretty up the plate but also pack in antioxidants and phytochemicals. I was intrigued, and so, besides just posing with the flowers, I made it a point to take down notes on their wellness benefits. Shankar, one of the horticulturists at the retreat, took me on a tour of edible flowers. Here’s a peek at my notebook…

1. Lantana Camara

This wildflower and its leaves possess antimicrobial, fungicidal and healing properties. These flowers have tiny petals that cluster together. The flowers, leaves and even the roots are used to make potent herbal potions. A word of caution: avoid the green berries on them as they could be toxic.

 2. Jasmine

The juice of these insanely fragrant white flowers has a place not just in your fragrant closet but also on your table. It improves immune system and strengthens the body to fight against ailments such as flu and cold.

3. Marigold

The flower ubiquitous at weddings and puja is a wonder skin-ingredient. The flowers are used in many beauty creams and lotions due to their anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. They can soothe sunburnt skin, and heal breakouts and blisters. You can clean the petals and sprinkle some in your salads or place them in a cup with hot water for a fresh floral brew. It is supposed to provide relief from menstrual cramps.

4. Wedelia

These dainty yellow flowers are anti-inflammatory.  A paste of the plant (flowers and leaves) when applied on wounds promotes healing. Fresh, washed petals are also aesthetic additions to salads or rice.

5. Ground orchid

Purple orchid, that grows wild in many parts of China and South East Asia, can brighten up any dish especially cakes and puddings. If had as a medicinal potion, it’s again a wonderful cure for menstrual irregularities and uterus problems.

6. Honeysuckle



Delicate, white and yellow, the petals of honeysuckle delight by their shape, texture and smell. Traditionally the flower is used for its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and calming properties.

7. Desi Gulab

The Indian rose or desi gulab, though not as fine-looking as the English rose, is the indisputable queen when it comes to scent and taste. Its velvety-soft and tiny petals are famed to cool the body as well as the mind. I loved the way chefs at Atmantan used these in salads and desserts.

 P.S: If you are inspired to add petals on your plate, make sure that they are adequately clear of pollens, and check the source. Go for ones organically grown!


  • Aparrna Gupta

    Transitioning from crafting stories for The Asian Age and Bombay Times to setting beauty trends in Verve, Aparrna Gupta’s journey has always revolved around resonant storytelling. Her prowess in content creation is unparalleled, with articles featured in renowned publications like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel India, Lifestyle Asia, Elle, and Femina. She also excels in content ideation, trend identification, mood board creation, and product styling. Her expertise has proven invaluable to homegrown brands, enabling them to authentically connect with their audience.

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