Latin: Dendranthema grandiflorum, Chrysanthemum parthenium, C. morifolium
Chinese: Ju hua
WHAT IT DOES: Chrysanthemum flower is sweet and slightly bitter in taste, and slightly cold in action. It reduces heat and congestion in the liver, lungs and eyes, eases coughs and colds, fights viral illness and infection.
RATING: yellow, due to minor limitations in usage.
SAFETY ISSUES: Some scientists voice concerns about potential allergic reactions or cross-reactivity with blood thinning agents such as Warfarin and Ticlopidine (Barsby et al., 1993, DeSmet, 1993).
• Tea: drink freely
• Fresh leaves: one to three per day
• Concentrated powder: one to three grams per day
Chrysanthemum flowers are used extensively in TCM formulas to treat upper respiratory infections, allergies, headaches, red eyes and hypertension. It effectively reduces irritation and inflammation in the lungs, nasal passageways and throat, and scientific studies have shown it to be anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral (reported in Yeung, 1983). It also has a calming anti-hypertensive effect. The Chinese use it for the same purposes echinacea is used in the West, and it is commonly found in various cold and sinus remedies such as the famous Yin Chiao, available in many Chinese grocery stores.
TCM doctors rate chrysanthemum according to its colors and place of origin. White chrysanthemum (bai ju hua) is considered slightly superior to other forms for nourishing the liver, and so is used to treat diminished vision. Yellow chrysanthemum (huang ju hua) has a greater wind- and heat-clearing activity, and is used most often to treat eye redness and headache. The best-quality yellow chrysanthemum (hang ju hua) comes from the Chinese city of Hangzhou. This type, in addition to its other uses, is strong enough to reduce dizziness caused by elevated blood pressure.