Chrysanthemums have always been associated with East Asian culture. These beautiful plants can be seen in some of the Asian soap operas and movies. The Chinese movie, the Curse of the Golden Flower, which is one of the most expensive Chinese films that were ever produced, is a perfect example. In Japan, the Chrysanthemum is highly valued that one of the highest 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 15th Century BC. As an herb, this was used as a medicine and it was 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 (aster, daisy or sunflower family). These perennial herbs which are 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 characterized by its green alternate leaves and showy flowers. The flower, which is famous for its beauty, is a compound inflorescence which consists of individual flowers called florets. In the center, the florets are called disk florets which are considered perfect flowers because they possess both the stamen and pistil (the male and female reproductive organs of a flower). 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 good source of vitamins, minerals, and powerful antioxidants. These ornamental plants are not only valued for their beauty but also for their health benefits as well which include the following:
- They are rich in anthocyanins
Anthocyanins, the pigments that give purple, red, and blue plants their rich coloring, are very powerful antioxidants that can protect the body from different diseases. These flavonoids are anticancer, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-obesity. They also help prevent cardiovascular diseases. Thus, these phytochemicals are good for the heart as well.
- They are good for the eyes
Chrysanthemums are high in beta-carotene which improves eyesight and helps delay aging as it reduces 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 because they help delay the aging process. These substances disable free radicals that can cause damage to the cells. The bad effects of free radicals include wrinkles, aging, tissue damage, immune system damage, heart problems, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cell mutation, and cancer. Thus, drinking chrysanthemum tea does not only make one look younger, it can also help prolong one’s life as it maintains balance in the body by neutralizing free radicals.
- It may help treat anemia
Anemia is the condition wherein the level of red blood cells or hemoglobin is lower than normal. Thus, the body does not have enough oxygen. Although, anemia can have many causes, the most common cause is iron deficiency. Chrysanthemum may help anemic people because it has iron. 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 may help balance hormonal production by cleansing the liver and helping it improve its function. When liver function is better, the body is more able to cleanse the blood of toxins and harmful agents. Thus, an improved overall health can be experienced. 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.
Here at Tea Life, chrysanthemums are available in three tea variants. We have the regular chrysanthemum tea, the chrysanthemum blue tea which is made special by the inclusion of jasmine flower buds and blue pea flower, and the chrysanthemum golden flower tea which is a special high quality version of chrysanthemum.