I spent last weekend in Seattle and made a trip to the herb store. Our pantry has been thinning out in terms of our medicinal herbs and I couldn't help but stock up while I had the chance! See all the wonderful goodies I managed to get my hands on? Yum! Amongst them are comfrey root powder, nettles, lemon balm, foti, elderberries, damiana, oatstraw and a few others. Mmmmmm. I was in some serious heaven and probably went a little overboard!
As I perused the shelves I caught a glimpse of a jar of Chrysanthemums. I instantly went into my past and couldn't resist buying a small bag full. I haven't had this tea since I was a young girl. My parents used to take my brother and I to a Burmese Restaurant in downtown Oakland and along with my noodle soup, I would gulp down several glasses of Chrysanthemum tea. Not only do I remember it being a delicious, but also a very pretty to look at--the white flowers expand in the water and stay floating on the top. I could see making this tea for a small group of people and putting it in a glass kettle/tea strainer for all to admire. It really is pretty.
Of course, after being out and about, the first thing I did when I got home was put the kettle on. I was eager drink some tea! I quickly realized that it doesn't take much to flavor the water and you only need a 3-4 flowers per cup--not a dozen, or so, like I did, see below. I think I just got over excited (and greedy)! While the cup looked pretty, it did taste a bit on the bitter side.
In terms of medicinal properties, Chrysanthemums are anti-inflammitory and cooling. The tea is great to drink during the summer and particularly if you suffer from heat stroke. You can also use it to bring down a fever or reduce symptoms of cold and flu. It's bitter qualities make it great for helping with digestion too. The flowers themselves are rich in vitamin B and also have tons of calcium and phosphorus. You can even soak some cloth in the tea to chill it to make a refreshing eye compress for the end of the day!