The chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum indicum) has been a popular herb in China for many centuries and is most commonly used as a sweet, healing tea called ju jua. Chrysanthemum is said to be a cooling herb in traditional Chinese medicine and it is said to calm the liver.
Background of Chinese Chrysanthemum
All chrysanthemums are not created equal. The genus chrysanthemum has many species, and the Chinese chrysanthemum is but one of these species. In 1999 the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature officially noted it as a separate species. Currently there are 33 recognized species of this flower.
The Chinese chrysanthemum was noted as being used as early as the 15th century BC. The city Ju-Xian is named after the chrysanthemum, literally meaning chrysanthemum city. The flowers that are harvested for their medicinal purposes are yellow in color. Each fall they are collected while they are in full bloom, and the heads of the flowers are made into various herbal remedies.
Uses of the Chrysanthemum Chinese Herb
Chrysanthemum indicum has many uses. The following indicate some of their uses and modes of treatment:
- Headaches and dizziness. Steep six to eight large or 15 to 20 small flower heads in boiling water for five to ten minutes. The flowers may be taken out of the water if desired, and the tea may be sweetened as desired with honey or sugar.
- Hypertension. Steep two grams of black tea and dried chrysanthemum flowers in boiling water for six minutes. Drink this tea after meals.
- Inflammation of the eyes. To treat inflammation of the eyes, dry eye, weeping eyes and blurred vision, a compress made of the heads of the flowers can be used. The flower heads are soaked in warm water and then applied to closed eyelids. Leave the flower compresses on until they have completely cooled. A tea made of the flower heads is also believed to help people suffering from poor eyesight.
- Colds, flu and coughs. The herb can be made into a tea and combined with honeysuckle. The tea can be sipped up to three times per day. One word of caution; the tea should be taken in limited quantities if the person is suffering from diarrhea.
- Hyperthyroidism. Boil 12 grams of chrysanthemum flowers in two and a half cups of water for six minutes. Add one gram of green tea and a teaspoon of honey to sweeten the tea. Sip the tea over several hours. Drink this tea on a daily basis.
- Sores and acne. A poultice made of chrysanthemum leaves and hot water. Cool the mixture down until it is warm and apply directly to the face; leave on until cooled completely. It is believed that the chrysanthemum flower has antiseptic properties.
Other Chrysanthemum Species
It is important to note that not all chrysanthemum flowers can be used as an herbal remedy. Some chrysanthemum flowers are even considered poisonous. The following chrysanthemum herbs are considered safe and are also used in herbal remedies:
- Feverfew or bachelor's buttons. This wild chrysanthemum is identified with a flat flower head, as opposed to the conical head of the chamomile flower for which it is sometimes misidentified as. The Latin name species is Chrysanthemum parthenium. It is used to treat depression, asthma, chest infections, colic, insect bites and flatulence.
- Ox-eye Daisy. The Latin name for this species is Chrysanthemum leucanthemum. It is used to treat night sweats, whooping cough, asthma, nervousness, and chronic coughs when used as a tonic. It also has topical applications when made into a salve for treating bruises, swelling and gout.
- Dalmatian pellitory. The Latin name for this species is Chrysanthemum cinerariafolium. When dried and ground into a powder it can be used as an insecticide in the garden, with no harmful effects to humans. It can also be made into a lotion and applied directly to the skin to deter insects. When the dried flowers are burned, they will repel insects.
Read all labels if you are buying the product on the Internet or in health food stores to be sure which species you are buying. If you are not sure of the species, don't buy the product! Some are poisonous. Please note that the FDA has not approved this herb for use. Please seek medical advice if your symptoms persist, and consult your doctor with any questions you may have about your health. Always tell your doctor about all herbs, supplements and vitamins you are taking.