Flower power

As the weather starts to heat up, a tea to drink to cool you down is chrysanthemum. I’m not a big herbal tea drinker, but I really like chrysanthemum and don’t know why it’s not more popular. I mix it with Japanese sencha for a grassy and refreshing beverage. I buy the better quality chrysanthemum: small, tight whole flowers. The taste is more delicate than the larger flowers stuck together.  You can also add goji berries, boosting the tea’s eye cooling properties.

TCM tonic

Chrysanthemum is an important herb in Chinese medicine. It’s used to treat fevers and is usually a component of medicines to treat Corona virus. It clears Heat and helps with what Chinese medicine terms Liver ailments, such as headaches and red, sore eyes. If taken regularly, it is said to have anti aging properties. One of the earliest books on Chinese Medicine, the Divine Husbandman’s Classic of Materia Medica, says longterm consumption “will facilitate the qi and blood, lighten the body, and prevent aging”. The 18th century Daoist painter and poet Zheng Ban Qiao wrote:

Tasting chrysanthemum tea of old – this flower of longevity!

A man of eighty years picks and sips, assiduous;

Teaching his frosty beard to turn raven black.

Information comes from Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica. Bensky & Clavey (2018)