The chrysanthemum gets its name from the Greek words for ‘gold’ and ‘flower’. Chrysanthemum has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Even though there is very little laboratory research has been conducted, it is known for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and fever-reducing properties. The plant also removes pollutants and impurities from the air. It is believed that the flower causes dilation of the coronary arteries, thus increasing blood flow to the heart. In India, the plant has been used for its various health benefits both by Ayurveda and Siddha practitioners.
Botanical name – Chrysanthemum indicum
Sanskrit – Sevanti
Common name – Wild Chrysanthemum
Tamil – Saamanthi/Sevvanthi
Hindi – Chandramallika
Chinese – Ye Ju Hua
Health Benefits of Chrysanthemums
The health benefits of chrysanthemum are many. It is used to treat chest pain, high blood pressure, diabetes, fever, cold, headache, dizziness, and swelling. It is also used to treat prostate cancer in combination with other herbs. Chrysanthemum is one of the ingredients in the herbal formula PC-SPES which was used against prostate cancer in clinical trials.
According to webmd.com, “Early research suggests that taking a specific product containing Chinese chrysanthemum and chromium by mouth three times daily for 6 months might lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.” The site also says that “Early research suggests that taking a combination of chrysanthemum, licorice, and Panax pseudoginseng (Hua-sheng-ping) might reverse the development of precancerous stomach sores in some people.”
According to the mskcc.org site, “In vitro and animal studies indicate cytotoxic, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, and neuroprotective properties. Chrysanthemum was also shown to reverse multidrug resistance in human breast cancer cells and topical application was found effective against atopic dermatitis in mice.” However, clinical trials have yet to be conducted to determine these effects in humans.
Health Benefits of Chrysanthemum Tea
The best way to consume chrysanthemum is in the form of tea. It makes a tasty beverage, and especially benefits the upper respiratory tissue. It also lowers fever and relieves headaches. The tea is a natural coolant and is used commonly in TCM. The chrysanthemum is a good source of beta carotene and vitamin A. The tea also addresses a number of skin disorders and helps boost the immune system. It also helps to eliminate age-related blurring of vision.
Chrysanthemum is used to treat angina, reduce fever, prevent colds and reduce blood pressure in TCM. It is also said to detoxify the liver and treat redness, dryness, and itchiness of the eyes. Other benefits include keeping one alert and focused, and treating circulatory disorders such as atherosclerosis and varicose veins. Chrysanthemum also helps to ease giddiness. It can be used as a drink or compress to reduce inflammation.
An in-vitro study on the effectiveness of chrysanthemum indicum extracts on bone health, demonstrated that Chrysanthemum indicum extract “regulates bone remodeling by inhibiting osteoclast differentiation and function and stimulating osteoblast function. This suggests the possibility for CIE as a novel dual-action therapeutic agent against osteoporosis and other bone diseases by regulating both bone resorption and formation.”
In Ayurveda, the juice or infusion of the flowers is used in vertigo, fever, headache, ophthalmia, xerophthalmia, hypertension, furunculosis, and phlegm. The paste of the flowers is applied on furunculosis ( repeated occurrence of boils on the skin.) and impetigo (a contagious bacterial skin infection). In Siddha medicine, the herb is used for amenorrhea, digestive disorders, fever, headaches, and as a laxative, stimulant, and tonic.
How to make chrysanthemum tea
Chrysanthemum tea is a herbal beverage prepared from the dried flowers of chrysanthemum. It has a clear yellow colour and a delicate floral aroma, with enormous nutritional value.
Chrysanthemum tea is very easy to make. Pluck the flowers, if you grow them, and leave them to dry for a few days. You can also buy dried chrysanthemum blooms or tea in a store.
Boil water and allow it to cool for about a minute or so. Then steep about 4-6 dried flowers in a cup of water for about five minutes. You can drink this hot or cold. You can rinse the flowers first. Do this by placing the flowers in a cup. Add hot water to it. Swirl the water around and pour the water out. Now add the hot water to the dried chrysanthemum flowers and make the tea as stated above. You can reuse the flowers several times by adding hot water to them after the first infusion.
While making chrysanthemum tea, make sure to use only flowers from plants that have not been sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals.
Caution: Do not ingest chrysanthemums if you are allergic to daisies or ragweed and if you are taking medication to lower your blood pressure. Chrysanthemum may cause increased sensitivity to light. If you’re pregnant or nursing, ask your doctor before drinking chrysanthemum tea.