Monday, July 18, 2011

The Many Uses and Health Benefits of Chrysanthemum

What is a Chrysanthemum?
Chrysanthemums are plants with beautiful flowers. They are often called mums or chrysanths.  There are 30 known species of these perennial flowering plants. Chrysanthemums are native to Asia and parts of Europe.

The flower is called “gek huay” in Thai. In Tamil it is called “saamandhi”.

Culinary uses:
  • Yellow or White Chrysanthemum flowers of the species C. morifolium are boiled to make a sweet drink in some parts of Asia. This beverage is known simply as "Chrysanthemum tea".
  • In Korea, a rice wine flavored with chrysanthemum flowers is called gukhwaju.
  • Chrysanthemum leaves are steamed or boiled and used as greens, especially in Chinese cuisine.
  • Petals of chrysanthemum are use to mix with a thick snake meat soup in order to enhance the aroma.

Health Benefits:
  • Chrysanthemum tea has many medicinal uses, including an aid in recovery from influenza.

Insecticidal Use:
  • Pyrethrum (Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium) is economically important as a natural source of insecticide and is prepared by pulverizing the flowers and the active components called pyrethrins, contained in the seed cases, are extracted and sold in the form of an oleoresin. This is applied as a suspension in water or oil, or as a powder. It kills all insects.

Environmental Benefits:

Medicinal Benefits:
  • Extracts of Chrysanthemum’s stem and flower have been shown to have a wide variety of potential medicinal properties, including anti-HIV-1, antibacterial and antimycotic.
  • It helps in curing acne and aid in recovery from influenza serving as a "cooling" herb.
  • It helps in the prevention of sore throat and promotes the reduction of fever.
  • In Korea, it is often used to waken themselves and is known for making people more alert.
  • Chrysanthemum tea is drunk and used as a compress to treat circulatory disorders such as atherosclerosis and varicose veins.
  • Chrysanthemum tea is used to treat the eyes in China. It is said also to clear the liver and the eyes.
  • The Chinese also believed that Chrysanthemum is effective in treating eye pain associated with stress or yin/fluid deficiency.
  • It is also used to treat blurring, spots in front of the eyes, diminished vision, and dizziness.

How to Prepare Chrysanthemum Tea

  • Chrysanthemum dried flowers

  • Steeped in hot water (up to 95C° after cooling from a boil) in either a teapot, cup, or glass
  • Add rock sugar/and occasionally wolfberries
  • After a pot of chrysanthemum tea has been drunk add hot water again to the flowers in the pot to produce a tea that is slightly less strong. This process can be repeated many times.

Varieties of Chrysanthemum that can be used
  • Huangshan Gongju, also called simply Gongju; Hangbaiju, also called simply Hangju; Chúju and Boju,

Chrysanthemum tea is usually homemade but it is also available as a beverage in many Asian restaurants particularly in Chinese communities all throughout the world.  It is also available from various drinks outlets in East Asia as well as Asian grocery stores outside Asia in canned or packed form.

See also
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