Chrysanthemum morifolium, commonly called Ju Hua in mandarin and Flos Chrysanthemi in Latin, is one of the best varieties for making chrysanthemum flower tea. In Chinese classical literature and culture, the chrysanthemum, the orchid, the plum blossom, and the bamboo are better known as the Four Noble Ones or The Four Gentlemen. This is simply because it symbolizes hermit, warrior, sentimentality, good fortune, longevity and virtuousness in the language of flowers. Actually chrysanthemum is a valuable ornamental flower that has been cultivated for more than 3,000 years. Now over 3,000 varieties have been found. During the late Ming and early Qing periods it was introduced into the Europe. Chinese people love this flower so much that nongovernmental chrysanthemum event has been held once a year since the Song Dynasty. Hence, there are a large number of ancient literary and artistic works on chrysanthemum and it seemed that poets and painter were so generous with kind words to this adorable flower. Nevertheless, beauty’s only skin deep and what is even more important is that it can heal.
Chrysanthemum morifolium botanical description
Medicinally it means the dried flower head of Dendranthema morifolium (Ramat.) Tzvel. (Chrysanthemum morifolium Ramat.), which is a plant in the family compositae. Other names of this plant include Chrysanthemum indicum (Ye Ju Hua herb), Hardy garden mum, Crisantemo, Florist’s daisy, Hang Bai Ju, and more. In China it is mainly produced in Zhejiang, Anhui, Henan, Sichuan, Hebei, Shandong and other provinces. Most of them are cultivated but there are some from the wild. And it is collected in batches between September and November, especially when flowers bloom. Next, it should be dried in the shade or by a fire or dried after it is smoked or steamed. Usually it is used raw. According to the places of origin and different processing methods, it is classified into Haoju, Chuju, Gongju, and Hangju. In addition, according color difference it is divided into yellow chrysanthemums and white chrysanthemums.
It is a perennial herb, 60 to 150cm high. Erect stems are pubescent and branched or unbranched. Alternate leaves are with a short handle; leaf blade is from ovate to lanceolate, 5 to 15cm long, pinnatilobate or pinnatifid, and with cuneate base. Capitulum is 2.5 to 20cm in diameter and in various sizes. Single or a few capitulums gather on the top of the stems. Bracts have multiple layers. The bar-type outer layer is green, pubescent outside, and with membranous margin. And ligulate flowers come in white, red, purple or yellow. Achenes are not developed. Flowering time is from September to November.
It contains volatile oil, in which main chemical constituents are borneol, camphor, chrysanthenone, cosmosiin, apigenin, etc. In addtion, it also contains chrysanthemin, adenine, choline, flavonoids, Stachydrine, trace of vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin E, amino acids, acacetin, and so on.
Chrysanthemum morifolium benefits
This flower is an edible medicinal herb. Its consumption history can be even dated back to as early as the Warring States period (about 475 BCE to 221 BCE). Records show that in Tang and Song dynasties some people took this aromatic flower for the sake of making the body send forth pleasant fragrance like chrysanthemum does. And in the “Shen Nong’s Herbal Classic”, it is classified as the top grade medicine that can activate qi and blood, lose weight, stay young, and prolong life if used in a daily basis. Medicinally it has a remarkable medicinal effect on headache, dizziness, red eyes, sore throat, common cold, cough, and other symptoms. Besides, it often combines with Sophora Japonica (Huai Hua Mi) to replace tea for lowering high blood pressure and with sugar to clear heat and remove toxicity. Thanks to the above-mentioned medicinal uses and health benefits, now it has been developed into many a popular products, like chrysanthemum morifolium supplement, tea, extract, etc. Is that too good to be true? Well, let’s compare it with the chrysanthemum morifolium description from its modern pharmacology.
Modern pharmacological actions of chrysanthemum flower
1. Its water extract or decoction has certain antibacterial effect on Staphylococcus aureus, a variety of pathogenic bacteria, and skin fungus;
2. It has inhibitory effect on influenza virus PR3 and leptospira;
3. Its preparations can dilate coronary arteries, increase coronary blood flow, and improve myocardial oxygen consumption;
4. Its preparations can also lower blood pressure, reduce blood clotting time, cool down, diminish inflammation, and help calm down.
Selected herbal remedies on flos chrysanthemi
As shown in the Chinese Materia Medica, it is sweet and bitter in taste and slightly cold in medicinal properties. In addition, it covers two meridians of lung and liver. Vital functions are to disperse wind for clear heat, calm the liver to improve eyesight, and remove toxicity for detumescence. Common chrysanthemum morifolium uses and indications include wind-heat common cold or initial stage of wind-warm syndrome, fever and headache, dizziness, red sore eyes, deep-rooted boil and pyogenic infections. Recommended dosage is from 10 to 15 grams in decoction, pills, powder, or tea.
1. San Ju Yin from Wen Bing Tiao Bian (Systemic Discourse on Warm Diseases). In this formula it works with Sang Ye (Folium Mori), Lian Qiao (Forsythia), Bo He (Mint), Jie Geng (Schizonepeta), etc. for curing anemopyretic cold or early stage of febrile disease.
2. Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang from Tong Su Shang Han Lun (Practical Treatise on Febrile Diseases). In this prescription, it combines with Ling Yang Jiao (Cornu Saigae Tataricae), Gou Teng (Cat’s Claw), Sang Ye (White Mulberry Leaf), etc. for upside liver fire induced dizziness and headache.
3. Qi Ju Di Huang Wan from Yi Ji Bao Jian (Precious Mirror of the Records of Medicine). In this recipe it joins hand with Gou Qi Zi (Goji Berry), Shu Di Huang (Rehmannia), Shan Zhu Yu (Fructus Corni), etc. for the clouded vision and dim vision due to the liver blood deficiency and then loss of the support.
4. Gan Ju Tang from Chuai Mo You De Ji (Gain Collection from Thinking). It is used with Jin Yin Hua (Honeysuckle Flower) and Gan Cao (Licorice Root) to treat boils and carbuncles.
6. Ju Hua San from Sheng Ji Zong Lu (Complete Record of Holy Benevolence). Here it is formulated with Pai Feng Zi (Fruit of Bittersweet) and Licorice Root to cure red eyes, head spinning, dim eyesight, and swollen face due to upside toxic heat.
Chrysanthemum morifolium side effects and contraindications
Chrysanthemum morifolium seems safe if taken properly. But stay away from it if you have got the light skin since it might tremendously increase the degree of sensitiveness of your skin to the sunlight. Similarly it should be avoided if you are allergic to chrysanthemum flower. Besides, Ben Cao Hui Yan (Treasury of Words on the Materia Medica) says that Ju Hua should be less used in those who have a weak digestive system or have diarrhea and shouldn’t be used in the cases of yang deficiency or headache accompanied with chills.