Chinese medicine has always taken a holistic approach to healing. The chrysanthemum has been used for centuries in China to both treat and prevent diseases. Like many herbal remedies, the medicinal properties of this tea are being recognized as scientists examine the nutrients contained in the lovely flower.
Cholesterol and Hypertension
It is believed that two flavonoids in the chrysanthemum, apigenin and luteolin, may affect the oxidation of LDL, or bad cholesterol, inhibiting the formation of fatty deposits on artery walls. There is insufficient data from clinical studies at this time to support the benefits of the tea in the treatment or prevention of high cholesterol. While it is unclear if the tea alone reduces blood pressure, it does interact with blood pressure medications enhancing their effect.
Fever Reducer and Cold Remedy
Clinical studies performed on animals supports the use of a tisane made from chrysanthemums as a fever reducer, but there is no data available at this time of its effect on humans. Nutrients contained in the flower are known to have anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. It is used as an herbal medicine in China to treat upper respiratory infections and sinusitis. Since the tea is high in vitamin C, it may help in boosting the immune response to respiratory viruses, much like many Western OTC remedies.
While the Chinese use this tea to treat neurological disorders, there is no clinical evidence that tea is effective in treating nerve diseases like Parkinson's. Lead author on a study of the tea in neurology, I.S. Kim, notes that the tea has potent neuroprotective properties which mean that it protects neurons from degeneration and injury. The full study was published in the “Journal of Ethnopharmacology” but at this time, no clinical trials are planned for the study of the tea in the treatment of neurological diseases.
Protection for Eyes
The yellow parts of the chrysanthemum flower head and the fruit of the flower are high in B carotene which the human liver converts to vitamin A. The flower is also high in lutein which is a nutrient that is used in the treatment of macular degeneration, a leading cause of age related blindness. The Chinese use the tea to treat other eye diseases including conjunctivitis (pink eye) which is usually caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Based on the nutrients known to be contained in the tea, it may be beneficial for the prevention of age related eye disorders.
Chrysanthemums are a good source of antioxidants which are nutrients that promote healthy cell reproduction and protect human cells from the effects of environmental pollutants. The tea has often been promoted as a remedy for the effects of aging and antioxidants are known to help prevent some of the degenerative changes in cell reproduction that can occur in older people. There is evidence that individuals whose diet is high in antioxidant foods have a lower risk of diseases, like cancer, which involve the reproduction of abnormal cells.
Anyone taking prescribed medication should check with their doctor before using herbal remedies since many herbs can interact with medications causing adverse side effects. Those who are allergic to ragweed should not drink this tea because there is the possibility of a severe allergic reaction.