Chrysanthemum spp.

Chrysanthemum spp. 

Other common names: Mums, chrysanths, golden flower, Yao Jiu Ha, Ye Ju Hua, florist’s chrysanthemum, garden mums.

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Family: Asteraceae.

Subfamily: Asteroideae

white chrysanthemum

Photo courtesy of MaxPixel/Creative Commons

Actions:

Insecticide, aromatic, increases sensitivity to insulin, detoxifier, circulatory stimulant, hypotensive (lowers blood pressure), diaphoretic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory.

Harvest: Harvest the flowers in late October (traditionally, the third week).

Part used: Leaves, flowers (medicinally, it is usually the flowers used). It is said that the species with white flowers are more potent medicinally, but the yellow flowered varieties have a higher content of carotenoids and therefore may be more useful if optic health is being addressed.

Constituents: Pyrethrins, flavones (esp. acacetin but also apigenin and luteolin), and essential oils (esp. sesquiterpenes but also borneol, camphor, and cineole).

Indications:

Type 2 diabetes (with the guidance of a doctor), high blood pressure, fever, swelling, infections (internal and external, including staphylococcus), eye conditions, poor circulation, skin conditions, detoxification, liver inflammation. It has also been known to assist in the treatment of prostate cancer, but I only recommend this alongside the advice of a treating physician and a herbal practitioner.

The yellow species in particular have been used to help with eye complaints, and may even be a preventative for those with diabetes-related vision loss (by inhibiting the enzyme aldose reductase and protecting the lens from further damage/deterioration). That being said, Chinese medicine favours white flowers almost exclusively, so it’s somewhat up for debate.

Medicinal preparations:

Internal

Chrysanthemum may be used in a tea form, or in culinary recipes (popular in Asian cuisine).

Japanese art

Image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net.

External

Chrysanthemum flowers can be used to make washes for irritated eyes, skin conditions and wounds. Be careful to test first, as some people can have a dermatitis reaction from this plant…test it elsewhere first before using it anywhere near your eyes…and make sure the wash is completely clean of plant matter and other debris.

Contraindications:

Do not take if pregnant or nursing. Chrysanthemum preparations may make you more sensitive to insulin, and may lower blood pressure (therefore it may interact with medication for diabetes or high blood pressure). Do not take this plant medicinally unless you have spoken with a healthcare practitioner – not all varieties are medicinal or safe for consumption – many are ornamental cultivars. Do not use if you are allergic to plants in the daisy family, or if you are pregnant/nursing.

I suggest consulting a pharmacist or physician before starting any herbal supplement if you are taking a prescription medication or have serious underlying health concerns.

Energetic/traditional use:

These plants have been used to make insecticides (the pyrethrins in the achenes have this property), and also to clean up environments where there has been pollution. A resinous incense was made and burned to repel insects.

In Chinese medicine, they are valued for their ability to calm the liver and reduce inflammation therein. They are used to treat “heat and wind” conditions.

In Italy, they represent death and were used as an offering at funerals.

In China and Japan, they were associated with royalty and nobility. Chinese folklore includes chrysanthemum as one of the four gentlemen (the others being plum, orchid

Chrysanthemums have a cool, bitter constitution.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended as general education on herbs and is not intended to take the place of medical care. Please consult a health care professional before embarking on any health regime.

 

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