Most Asians are familiar with chrysanthemum tea which is made from the dried chrysanthemum flowers. Many people who drink it just regard it as a beverage which is drunk hot or cold.
In Japan, it is the national flower. It is a symbol of joy, loyalty, long life and optimism. The flowers are daisy-like. The most popular colors of the blooms are white, orange, purple, red and yellow. Among botanists and gardeners, chrysanthemums are known as the golden flower, chrysanthemum morifolium, garden mums or just mums.
When it comes to giving flowers as a gift, red chrysanthemum symbolizes love, the white chrysanthemum represents loyalty and truth and the yellow chrysanthemum signifies unreciprocated love.
The crysanthemum flowers have been widely used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine. Researchers have made extensive studies on the healing properties of this flowering herb. They found that it contains ascorbic acid, beta carotene, camphor, calcium, choline, fiber, folacin, iron, magnesium, niacin, potassium, riboflavin and essential oils. The flowers have antibiotic, anti inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, antipyretic, antihypertensive and antiviral properties. The flowers also act as a detoxifying and relaxing agent.
Wild chrysanthemum is known as ye ju hua and tastes spicier than the rest. Yellow chrysanthemum is called ju hua. White chrysanthemum is known as bai ju hua and is the most popular chrysanthemum herbal tea. Pearl chrysanthemum flower tea is made from the unopened buds. The buds open up when they are infused in hot water.
To make chrysanthemum tea, steep the dried chrysanthemum flowers in hot water. If you choose to boil the herb do it for only 10 minutes. It is not advisable to boil the dried crysanthemum flowers for long because the heat will remove the chrysanthemum oil. You can add white rock sugar or rock candy to add flavor to its already sweet but also bitter taste.
The tisane is drunk and is also used externally. Besides the flowers, chrysanthemum leaves are also used when making a compressed, poultice or skin wash.
Chrysanthemum dried herbs and herbal extract are available as creams, lotions, tea, tinctures, whole dried flowers and powder form and also in capsules.