Chrysanthemums have long been associated with East Asian culture. These beautiful plants can be seen in some Asian soap operas and movies. The Chinese film, the Curse of the Golden Flower, which is one of the most expensive Chinese films ever produced, is a perfect example.
In Japan, the Chrysanthemum is so highly valued that one of the greatest honors a person can receive is the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum which is awarded by the Emperor himself.
Gukhwaju, a Korean rice wine, is made special because of the chrysanthemum flowers which serve as its flavoring. Its strong association with Asian culture is no accident. The Chinese were the first to cultivate Chrysanthemums as flowering herbs in the 15th Century BC. The herb was used as a medicine and believed to have the power of life.
The chrysanthemum was introduced to the Western world in the 17th century. Whilst in China, it was associated with life. In the West, it became a symbol of death, as chrysanthemums were often placed on gravestones.
Characteristics of the Chrysanthemum Flower
Chrysanthemums, also known as mums or chrysanths, are flowering plants that belong to the family Asteraceae – shared with aster, daisies and sunflowers. These perennial herbs, often depicted in East Asian art, have stems that can reach 2 to 6 inches in height.
Although the traditional colors of a chrysanthemum plant are yellow, red, white, and purple, some varieties can be pink, lavender or multicolored. The chrysanthemum is generally characterised by its green alternate leaves and showy flowers. The flower, which is famous for its beauty, is a compound inflorescence (meaning: complete with stems, stalks, bracts, and flowers) which consists of individual flowers called florets. The centre florets are referred to as ‘disk florets’ and are considered perfect flowers because they possess both the stamen and pistil (the male and female reproductive organs).
On the other hand, the ray florets which surround the center are called imperfect flowers, because they possess only the pistil or the female reproductive organ.
Modern Medicinal Value
Chrysanthemums are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and powerful antioxidants. These ornamental plants are not only valued for their beauty but also for their health benefits, which include the following:
They are rich in anthocyanins
Anthocyanins, the pigments that give purple, red, and blue plants their rich coloring, are powerful antioxidants that may protect the body from diseases. These flavonoids are anticancer, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-obesity. They might also help prevent cardiovascular diseases. Thus, these phytochemicals are good for the heart as well.
They are supposed to be good for the eyes
Chrysanthemums are high in beta-carotene which improves eyesight and helps delay aging by reducing oxidative stress in the eye. Once processed by the body, beta-carotene turns into vitamin A, an essential nutrient for healthy vision, teeth, skin, and skeletal tissue.
Chrysanthemum tea can help delay the signs of aging
As previously mentioned, Chrysanthemum is rich in antioxidants which can help humans age gracefully. These substances disable free radicals (oxygen molecules containing an uneven number of electrons) that can cause damage to the cells.
The negative effects of free radicals include wrinkles, aging, tissue damage, immune system damage, heart problems, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cell mutation, and cancer. So, in short, drinking chrysanthemum tea does not only make you look younger, it can also help prolong your life, by maintaining the balance of particles in your body.
It may help treat anemia
Anemia is the condition wherein the level of red blood cells or hemoglobin is lower than normal. In other words, the body does not have enough oxygen. Although anemia can have many causes, the most common cause is iron deficiency. Chrysanthemum may be a game changer for anemic people. In fact, a cup of this herb contains 21% of the required daily iron intake, making it a good alternative to iron supplements.
It may help detoxify the liver
As a refreshing herbal tea, chrysanthemum might help balance hormonal production by cleansing the liver and improving its function. When liver function is better, the body is able to cleanse the blood of toxins and harmful agents more effectively. The result? An improved overall health. The detoxifying effect of this herb is beneficial for the kidneys as well, because it helps flush out bacteria and toxins which can lead to infections.
- Bring water to boil, and place around 3-4 buds within strainer
- Steep for 3-4 minutes
- Grab the nearest blanket and prepare to get seriously cosy.
Where to buy dried chrysanthemum tea
Here at Tea Life, chrysanthemums are available in three soothing strains. We supply dried chrysanthemum tea, featuring an aromatic mix of floral and honey notes.
Or are you looking for something a little bit out of the box?
Chrysanthemum blue tea is a delightful blend of jasmine flower buds and blue pea flower, and chrysanthemum golden flower tea, is a rare, high-quality version of chrysanthemum, as rich in flavour as it is powerful.