Chrysanthemum tea is a floral tea made using chrysanthemum flowers. The most popular species include Chrysanthemum morifolium and Chrysanthemum Indicum. Chrysanthemum tea is a delicious, caffeine-free drink with anti-inflammatory properties and a delicate sweetness that makes it a perfect drink to help you wind down before bed.
Chrysanthemum cultivation dates back as early as 1500 BCE in China. The flowers gained popularity as tea during the Song Dynasty. Chrysanthemum is one of China’s four “noble plants.” These four plants–chrysanthemums, orchids, bamboo, and plum blossoms–represent the human virtues of perseverance, purity, and humility in traditional Chinese culture.
In addition to their healing benefits, chrysanthemums were symbols. White chrysanthemums represent love and purity, and more vibrant colors may represent longevity or the fall.
Chrysanthemum tea blooms in the fall, making it a frequent drink of choice during the Mid-Autumn festival in traditional Chinese culture. Chrysanthemum tea paired with mooncakes is a popular festival treat.
Chrysanthemum has a long history in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a “cooling” flower that helped with inflammation. It served as a treatment for headaches, hypertension, and sore throats. In the energy practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine, chrysanthemums acted as a remedy to clear the energy channels to the lungs, liver, spleen, and kidneys.
Chrysanthemum is still a large part of Chinese tradition today, and many of Chinese descent sill incorporate chrysanthemums and chrysanthemum tea in their day-to-day lives. Chrysanthemum flowers are also eaten, in addition to drinking as an infusion. The flowers and stems are blanched or put raw in salads for a burst of floral sweetness.
There are countless varieties of chrysanthemum tea, all based on specific flower species. Most originate in China, but other varieties began in Korea and India. Here are some of the most popular kinds of chrysanthemum tea:
- Huángshān-gòngjú (黄山贡菊).
- Hángbáijú (杭白菊).
- Chújú (滁菊)
- Bójú (亳菊)
- Guk Hwacha (국화차; 菊花茶)
Chrysanthemum tea tastes very similar to chamomile tea. The flavor is delicate and mild, with a slight flowery sweetness. While it is generally very refreshing, it can become bitter if you add too many blossoms into the brew.
Because of the chrysanthemum’s mild flavor, it is a perfect choice for herbal tea blends. Pair chrysanthemum with honeysuckle, mint, mulberry leaf, or goji berries to create a flavorful and nutritious herbal blend.
Chrysanthemum and prunella are such a popular combination they can be easily found all over China in grocery and convenience stores.
High-quality chrysanthemums will be much richer in flavor,vitamins, and minerals. The best chrysanthemum tea is the kind you grow yourself, but if you don’t have the space or inclination for a chrysanthemum plant, find a source that’s fresh and clean.
When sourcing your dried flowers, make sure the brand is free of insects and pesticides. Go for organic brands.
Flowers that have been dried within the past year are best for both taste and nutrition. Avoid any brands that have flowers that look crumbled, gray, or dirty. Look for flowers that appear as fresh as possible. Freshly dried flowers will have bright colors and clean, fresh scents.
The time of harvest also effects the quality of the flowers. High-quality chrysanthemums should have buds that have opened slightly, with curled-up buds and only a few petals poking out. Flowers picked at this point, just before bloom, will give you the highest vitamin content and, therefore, the most potent flavor.
Enjoy chrysanthemum tea as a hot or cold beverage. For a hot infusion, use boiling, filtered water. Frequent tea drinkers recommend warming the teapot first with a little bit of hot water, first. This step keeps the water from dropping in temperature drastically and keeps your tea warmer for a longer period of time.
Use two to three tablespoons of blossoms for a pot of water. Brew for at least five minutes to get the flavor, but you’ll want to brew for closer to ten minutes if your goal is to get as many vitamins and minerals as you can out of the drink.
Chrysanthemum flowers will infuse up to three times. With each brew, you’ll want a longer brew time as the flowers will be a little less potent.
Chrysanthemum tea is a popular choice for an iced tea. It’s delicate and sweet, floral flavor is a perfect choice for a hot, summer day. Cold brewing for iced tea is a longer process. Pour cool or room-temperature filtered water into a pitcher with the chrysanthemums. Leave the tea in the refrigerator to steep for up to 24 hours.
Chrysanthemum tea’s long history with Traditional Chinese Medicine means the drink has always been known for its health benefits. Chrysanthemum had a cooling energy to counteract spicy or fried foods. It was a popular remedy for colds, headaches, hypertension, and energy balancing.
Nowadays, scientists back the theory that chrysanthemums reduces inflammation due to its high amounts of Vitamins A and C. Researchers also suspect that chrysanthemums may help regulate blood sugar and prevent bone loss.
Chrysanthemum tea is the most effective over a long period of time, so if you choose to implement this drink of its health benefits make sure to make it a long term habit. This floral tea is also caffeine free, making it a perfect drink anytime, without worrying about it keeping you up all night.
A word of caution for thos with allergies. Chrysanthemum is part of the ragweed family, so if you’re allergic to ragweed or daisies, skip out on this tea. Allergic reactions can include skin irritation and asthma.
Chrysanthemum tea is a floral infusion with a long history in Traditional Chinese Medicine. This “cooling” drink contains anti-inflammatory vitamins and minerals without caffeine, making it a perfect nighttime beverage for your evening routine. Its mild, floral sweetness tastes delicious hot or iced. Find some high-quality chrysanthemum tea, and indulge in this evening delight.