Chrysanthemum (chrysanthemum sinese and chrysanthemum indictum) are from the Asteraceae (compositae) family, and are related to marigolds, zinnias, dahlias and sunflowers. Originally cultivated in China, this remarkable flower is now grown all over the world. There are over 200 species in the genus. The name Chrysanthemum is derived from the Greek, (chyros), meaning “golden and anthos”, meaning “flower”. The flowers come in every color except blue, and are mainly used for ornamental purposes in the United States. They are, however, used as a food in salads, cooking, beverages, and can be found in many markets.

The Chinese use chrysanthemum as a cooling beverage to help alleviate headaches and fever, and also to remove toxins from the body. The flowers are also known to act as a blood purifier, counteracting inflammation, and relieving symptoms of vertigo (dizziness). Studies have shown that chrysanthemum flowers can improve vision and are used for a wide range of eye problems such as eye strain, night blindness, redness and eye soreness. Chrysanthemum also shows a potential for treating angina by dilating coronary arteries. It is also used as an anti-hypertensive (to lower high blood pressure).

Another remarkable study shows that chrysanthemum possesses strong activity against abnormal growths and is proving to be an antibiotic against a wide range of pathogens. There are at least fifteen compounds isolated from the edible flowers, all possessing potent inhibitory effects against abnormal cell division. The chemical constituents of Chrysanthemum include flavonoids, choline, vitamin B1, betaine and stachydrine.

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Author: Piyawut Sutthiruk

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