Herb: Chrysanthemum

Latin name: Dendranthema x grandiflorum

Synonyms: Chrysanthemum sinense, Chrysanthemum x morifolium, Dendranthema x morifolium

Family: Compositae

Medicinal use of Chrysanthemum:

Chrysanthemum flowers, known in China as Ju Hua, are a bitter aromatic herb that has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine. The flower heads are drunk as a refreshing tisane and are used to improve vision, soothe sore eyes, relieve headaches, counter infections etc. They are antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, carminative, depurative, diaphoretic, febrifuge, ophthalmic, refrigerant and sedative. Taken internally they dilate the coronary artery, thus increasing the flow of blood to the heart, and so are used in the treatment of hypertension, coronary heart diseases and angina. The flowers are harvested when fully open in the autumn and are dried for later use. In China they are steamed before being dried to make them less bitter. The leaf juice is smeared onto wounds.

Description of the plant:


150 cm
(5 feet)

August to

Habitat of the herb:

Not known in a truly wild situation.

Edible parts of Chrysanthemum:

The flower heads or petals are parboiled and served as a salad with tofu and seasoned with vinegar or soya sauce. They can also be prepared as tempura, pickled, dried or added to soups. The petals contain about 1.9% protein, 0.9% fat, 5.3% carbohydrate, 0.7% ash. Leaves - cooked. Used as fritters, they are aromatic. Some varieties have been selected for their low bitterness. An aromatic tea is made from the leaves. A tangy aromatic tea is made from the flowers or flower petals. For a sweeter tea only the petals are used.

Other uses of the herb:

Plants have been grown indoors in pots in order to help remove toxins from the atmosphere. It is especially good at removing chemical vapours, especially formaldehyde, benzene and ammonia.

Propagation of Chrysanthemum:

Seed - sow spring to early summer in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. It usually germinates in 10 - 18 days at 15C but if it does not germinate within 4 weeks then try chilling the seed for 3 weeks in the salad compartment of a fridge. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. This is a hybrid species and so will not breed true from seed. Division in spring. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Not known in a truly wild situation.

Known hazards of Dendranthema x grandiflorum:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.