OUR Flores de Mayo celebration continues with our fourth flower for May. However, this week, the plant is what we often refer to as a “flower.” Thus, if you are very familiar with this flower, you will be surprised (unless you already knew) that it too can be, and is being used as a medicinal tea.
Yes, it is being used as tea... Yes, the part of the “flower” that is being used as tea is the flower itself.
The plant is Chrysanthemum morifolium. Obviously, we know it as the flower Chrysanthemum. This “flower” (or plant) is attractive for its simple rows of ray-shaped florets, usually in three-color varieties of red, white and yellow.
Chrysanthemum flowers can be brewed into tea. Yes, it is being done already for centuries oftentimes as a treatment for certain medical conditions, particularly in China and Japan.
The flowers contain four flavonoid glycosides: apigenin, eriodicyol, luteolin and naringenin. They also contain caffeoylquinic acid and chlorogenic acid.
Peng-Fei Yang and other eight researchers from Zhengzhou and Beijing reported in the journal Molecules (2019) that eriodictyol had protective actions against neurotoxicity developing from neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is a cancer that attacks the nerve tissue, mostly starting from the adrenal glands.
Meanwhile, Yanfang Li and colleagues from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University Institute of Food and Nutraceutical Science confirmed in an article in Food Chemistry (July 15, 2019) that apigenin and eriodicyol suppresses the inflammatory actions of interleukin-6, interleukin-1beta and cyclooxygenase-2 mRNA, while neutralizing the actions of free radicals. These substances can be found in the Chrysanthemum flowers when brewed into tea, even if no greening of the tea occurs.
If you have the curiosity I have, you can guess what I have in mind: Trying it myself. However, since we do not have Chrysanthemum in our pots, then I may start hunting for it so it can be grown in the yard. Once it brings forth flowers, a Chrysanthemum on my teacup may turn out to be something new for my taste.
Hurray! Chrysanthemum flowers for our Blessed Mother!