The common garden "mum" or chrysanthemum flower has been used in China for centuries for its curative properties as well as an energy tisane, or infusion, to stimulate the blood, according to Herbs2000. As with many herbs employed in Asian medicine, chrysanthemum has many medicinal uses; among its various properties, chrysanthemum is used to treat infections, for eye problems, to lower high blood pressure, for headaches and colds. Chrysanthemum can cause side effects, so consult your doctor before using it.
A warm infusion of chrysanthemum flowers may be helpful in relieving eyestrain, blurry vision and dry eyes, according to Clayton College. In addition, it is thought to help prevent and possibly reverse cataracts, according to the "The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook." You can drink the tea or apply hot compresses for relief from aching, tired eyes. If you have the actual chrysanthemum blossoms, soak them in hot water for a few minutes and make a poultice by placing them between two pieces of gauze. Place a poultice on each eyelid and relax for 10 minutes for relief from eye pain. Speak to your herbalist or practitioner before using chrysanthemum for eye treatments. If you develop any unusual symptoms, stop using the herb and seek medical advice.
Cleansing the Blood
Chrysanthemum flower tea is used by the Chinese to relieve the body of excess build-up of toxins in the blood, according to the City University of New York. Drinking the tea is thought not only to purify the blood, but to provide relaxation of mind and body. Drink a cup of tea for relief from insomnia. Chrysanthemum flowers are often combined in a mixture with honeysuckle, cinnamon, licorice and ginseng to produce a tonic that balances the cooling and warming principle in the body, according to studies in Chinese medicine. Check with your doctor before using chrysanthemum to be sure it is the right herb for your condition.
Chrysanthemum tea is often used to relieve mild fevers and headaches that might arise from excess toxins in the blood, writes Herbs2000. Conditions such as acne and boils may benefit from chrysanthemum's antiseptic properties by application of a poultice of chrysanthemum flowers to the inflamed lesions.
Blood Pressure and Cardiac Conditions
Certain herbal tonics made from chrysanthemum are used to relieve hypertension, writes Herbs2000. The tea is also used in Asia to treat concomitant symptoms such as dizziness, light-headedness, tinnitis or ringing in the ears, and headaches associated with changes in blood pressure. In addition, chrysanthemum may be helpful in reducing attacks of angina, artherosclerosis and related cardiac problems, adds Herbs2000. Although there is no scientific research for these claims, anecdotal evidence from hundreds of years of use in China indicates that chrysanthemum may be helpful for those conditions. Always talk to your physician before using herbs for serious conditions, especially if you take conventional medications. Do not stop taking your medications or start taking herbs without the supervision of your doctor.
Chrysanthemum flowers have been found to have antibiotic properties under laboratory conditions, leading researchers to think this herb may be effective in the treatment of both staphylococcus and streptococcus bacteria strains, notes Herbs2000. More research is necessary.
Chrysanthemum flowers contain alkaloids and volatile oils that may produce side effects or allergic reactions in some people, notes the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences North Carolina State University. Handling the flowers or drinking the tea may cause skin rashes or stomach upset; however, most people do not react to chrysanthemum. Consult your doctor before using any product with chrysanthemum.
- Clayton College: Celebrating Hot Tea and Promoting Eye Health
- "The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook: Your Everyday Reference to the Best Herbs for Healing"; James Duke; 2002
- Herbs2000: Chrysanthemum
- City University of New York at Brooklyn: Chinese Herbs
- Department of Horticultural Science College of Agriculture & Life Sciences North Carolina State University: Edible Flowers