The chrysanthemum has long been revered in traditional Chinese medicine and has even been praised in classical Taoist poetry. This golden flower is native to countries like China and Japan but now grows around the world. In fact, one of the reasons for the herb’s popularity is its ability to grow just about anywhere. And of course, it’s also known for its multitude of health benefits. Keep reading to learn five reasons why you should start drinking chrysanthemum tea.
But first, a little about the chrysanthemum.
What are Chrysanthemums?
Chrysanthemums are part of the Asteraceae family of flowers. The flower grows in a wide variety of colors, such as white, pink, purple and gold. While the flower looks pretty in all its different forms, Its gold variety in particular is recognized for its detoxifying and anti-inflammatory properties. The name ‘chrysanthemum,’ in fact, is derived from the Ancient Greek words for “gold” and “flower.” (1)
As mentioned, chrysanthemum tea has been commonly brewed in Asia for centuries. Out of dozens of different varieties of the flower, which commonly blooms in autumn, the two types used for tea are ‘Chrysanthemum indicum’ and ‘Chrysanthemum morifolium. (2)
It should be noted that like with many other herbs revered by traditional Chinese medicine, chrysanthemum tea should be consumed over a long period of time to see substantial results. If you’re like me and love the flavor, though, that shouldn’t be too difficult a task. One problem might be getting ahold of the flower petals in the first place, depending on where you live, but there’s more info on where to find chrysanthemums down below.
Now let’s look at the main reasons to start drinking this delicious tea on a regular basis.
The Top 5 Chrysanthemum Tea Benefits
1. Chrysanthemum Tea Helps Detoxify the Body
Drinking chrysanthemum tea on a regular basis is a great way to prevent toxic buildup in the body. One of the reasons why chrysanthemum tea is so beneficial is because it’s chock full of vitamin C, vitamin B and beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A. (2)
Regarding minerals, the chrysanthemum flower is packed with calcium, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus. Magnesium is especially good for detoxification due to its role in maintaining healthy levels a Glutathione, a power antioxidant produced by the body.
The Chinese have long considered drinking chrysanthemum tea as an effective way to soothe an overactive liver. The liver, of course, is one of the main organs responsible for expelling toxins from the body. Too many imbalances in one’s system can overwhelm the liver, preventing it from properly doing its job.
In Chinese medicinal or Taoist terms, chrysanthemum tea can help soothe the “yang” of the liver. Yang can be broadly described as the active or fiery aspect of something. Chrysanthemum tea is also considered to have a cooling, calming effect on the body’s organs overall, which can also help explain why it’s so good at fighting inflammation. (3)
2. Chrysanthemum Tea is Good for the Skin
Chrysanthemum tea is good for the skin due to the high amount of beta-carotene it contains. Beta-carotene is common among yellow or orange fruits and vegetables, so it’s natural that its also found in abundance in the gold-colored chrysanthemum.
Beta-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A, and this conversion process takes place in the liver. Vitamin A is known for a wide range of skin benefits. It can help reduce wrinkles, repair the epidermis, heal wounds and reduce rosacea by normalizing blood flow. (4)
In regards to vitamin A, there are a lot of mixed opinions on taking it in supplement form. Some studies have even suggested that taking vitamin A supplements could potentially worsen cancer or heart disease in those already suffering from them. Therefore, consuming beta-carotene from a natural source and allowing your body to make its own vitamin A is considered a much better alternative.
3. Chrysanthemum Tea Helps Relieve Arthritis
Chrysanthemum tea can help relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis thanks to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. In a study conducted on rats using Chrysanthemum indicum extract (CIE), injections were given to 40 rats. About half of the rats were suffering from arthritis and hypertension. The study concluded that chrysanthemum extract does indeed help alleviate the symptoms of arthritis, as well as delay its onset time. (5)
Aside from consuming chrysanthemum regularly in tea form, there are also methods for applying chrysanthemum externally. One idea is to combine a handful of flower petals with a teaspoon of olive oil. After applying the mixture on the affected area, take a plastic wrap and wrap it around wherever you just put the mixture, securing it with a bandage. Then, leave it on overnight before removing it the next day. (6)
4. Drinking Chrysanthemum Tea Can Improve Eyesight
Spending a lot of time every week on the computer, my eyes and eyesight have been gradually suffering as a result. And in our current era of smartphones, laptops, and all sorts of other portable devices, I’m sure I’m not the only staring at a bright screen for a little longer than they should. The good news is that chrysanthemum tea is also great for the eyes.
Drinking the tea over a period of time is said to protect the eyes against things like retinal neuropathy and cataracts. This is likely due to the flower’s high vitamin A content and antioxidant properties. (7)
While you likely won’t revert back to 20/20 vision overnight, chrysanthemum leaves can also be used as a quick refresher for red or sore eyes. First you’ll want to brew a cup of chrysanthemum tea using either 1 teaspoon of dried leaves or 2 teaspoons of fresh leaves in a cup of water. Soak some squares of gauze in your tea and after they cool down a little bit, place them over your eyelids for about 10 minutes. (8)
5. Chrysanthemum Tea Helps Boost Longevity
This benefit of longevity, obviously, is not going to be noticeable right away. But for many years, the Taoists of China have touted chrysanthemum tea as one of the secrets to living a longer, fuller life.
According to one legend, the residents of a village called Yeohyeon were known for their unusually high life expectancy. A group of Taoists on the hunt for new ‘elixirs of life’ visited the town to see why this might be. They noticed chrysanthemum flowers growing alongside a local stream which the villagers used as their main water source. The Taoists concluded that the water must be absorbing the flowers’ properties and that the chrysanthemum should be considered as a way to boost one’s longevity. (8)
By looking at the other health benefits of chrysanthemum tea outlined above, there are plenty of reasons for why this might be true. The flower’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, high vitamin and mineral content, and its soothing and cooling effects, are all things which would could lead to a longer, healthier life.
How to Make Chrysanthemum Tea
An herbal tea, or infusion, can simply be made by boiling a cup of water and then placing either 1 teaspoon of dried or 2 teaspoons of fresh chrysanthemum flowers in it. The flower petals should steep in the hot water for about 10 minutes before consumption. It’s up to you whether or not to drink the herbal tea with or without the flower petals still in it.
You should generally drink your chrysanthemum tea infusion within a day of making it to gain the most healing benefits from the flower petals. If you’re going to put it in the refrigerator overnight, be sure to keep the container covered.
The web site Vision Times recommends an additional method. You can simply add 5 to 7 flower heads to a cup of boiling water. After waiting for it to cool down, drink it as it is. After finishing, you can add more hot water and keeping the same flower petals in there should be good enough for several more cups. (9)
Getting Started With Herbal Teas
I can’t remember the exact brand of the teapot I use to make herbal teas, as I threw away the box a long time ago. However, it looks and works a lot like this.
I generally prefer to drink herbal teas without flower petals or leaves still floating around in them. If you’re like me, this type of teapot is great because you can simply take out the basket which contained the flower petals and the tea will be smooth.
Where to Buy Chrysanthemum Tea
Many other tea-drinking regions of the world are now using chrysanthemum tea as one of their standard flavors for pre-packaged teas sold at convenience stores or in vending machines. As tasty as these are, it’s possible that they might contain added sugar, artificial sweeteners or preservatives.
That’s why it’s better to brew some chrysanthemum tea yourself whenever possible. If you want to make it sweeter, try adding a little bit of raw honey.
But where to buy chrysanthemum flowers? If you have an Asian market or grocery store in your area, you might want to go check it out and see if they have any chrysanthemums available.
Don’t have any an Asian market nearby? Fortunately, there are also plenty of places to buy loose chrysanthemum tea online.
Potential Side Effects
There aren’t too many serious side effects or potential drug interactions to worry about when drinking chrysanthemum tea. According to WebMD, however, the tea might increase one’s sensitivity to insulin as well as the amount of blood that flows to the heart. If you have any concerns or notice any adverse reactions, be sure to contact a physician. (10)
It should also be noted the chrysanthemums are naturally caffeine free, so the tea is a great choice for those with adverse reactions to caffeine.
The chrysanthemum is truly a special flower. Not only is it nice to look at, but it comes with a wide array of powerful health benefits, too. But how much chrysanthemum tea should you be drinking, exactly? There’s no way to say for sure, but a few times a week over a long period of time is generally thought of as enough to experience some of the benefits listed above. Fortunately, chrysanthemum tea is very tasty as far as herbal teas go. Drinking this golden ‘elixir of life’ shouldn’t be too difficult to integrate into your normal routine.
(8) “The Essential Herbs Handbook” by Lesley Bremness