Monday, February 23, 2009

Chrysanthemum Tea




These days the weather temperature had gone up quite significantly. It is indeed nearly summer! (Summer in this country starts mid-March to May). However, with the changes in the weather, many children are getting sick - cough, colds and fever or flu.

My son has terrible cough and colds. He has enough thick mucus that blocks his nasal passageway. He has trouble sleeping at night and difficulty concentrating in school. And the syrups seem not to have any effect. What to do? I turn to the age-old remedy of Chinese medicine. Actually, I forgot all about this until mother-in-law reminded me. :)

Chrysanthemum flower tea is one very common type of Chinese tea. Drunk with meals it helps to aid digestion, especially of greasy foods. It is also commonly taken to help strengthen the lungs and relieve head congestion. It has cooling effect that is very appropriately taken during hot weather. According to my mother-in-law, it can help in the early stages of feverish type of flu. It may also help relieve certain types of headaches, blurred vision and dizziness. (But the effect on those symptoms will vary dependent on the underlying cause, of course.)

This tea is very easy to prepare. Take fresh yellow chrysanthemum flowers. Clean them well, and brew with hot boiling water. Since fresh flowers are not available here, what we have on hand are dried flowers. We usually have a supply since we really stock up on this flower tea when somebody goes to China. We can also brew the dried flowers. Boil a tablespoon or two of dried flowers for every cup of water, strain and drink. (In my photo above, I deliberately did not strain eveything so that you can see what the chrysanthemum flowers look like.) The resulting tea is yellowish in color with the fragrance of chrysanthemum flowers. This tea is very mild and safe, with no side effects, this can be taken regularly.

But for my son's aggravated condition, mother-in-law recommends the salt-infused chrysanthemum tea (Kiam Kak Hue in Fookien.) We also have this on hand, anytime in the refrigerator. When a batch of dried chrysanthemum flowers arrive from China, my mother-in-law would personally make the salt-infused chrysanthemum. She would take a lot of flowers, and sprinkle a handful of coarse sea salt. (Sorry, she also do not have accurate measurements. She simply says, the more salt, the better it would be.) Then she would fill up and pack a sterilized glass jar with this salted dried chysanthemum flowers. We keep this in the refrigerator and use it when needed. Like today.

This traditional Chinese tea should be brewed fresh everyday, and we should expect a relief from the colds symptoms in a few days. I certainly hope my son gets better soon. It is exams week next week!



Sharing this Chinese herbal flower tea with the Weekend Herb Blogging community, now headed by Haalo of Cook (Almost) Anything at Least Once. This week, the event is hosted by Laurie of Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska.

13 comments:

Wandering Chopsticks said...

Chrysanthemum tea is one of my favorites. I always order it with dim sum. For exactly what you say - to offset greasy food.

I hope your son gets better soon!

Galatians 5:22 said...

Since I was young, my parents and grandparents have also advised me to drink this. Now, I'm still drinking it! I do not get sick very often. :)

Ivy said...

This is new to me but I can't say that I drink tea often. I'll have my eyes open and if I see some in the supermarket I shall try it.

Anonymous said...

Hi. Just a piece of advice: when feeling the onset of colds and cough, the best thing to do is drink liquids, but DO NOT exceed/overdose on your Vitamin C. Why? Too much vit. C can harm the liver, but also, overdosing on vitamins triggers a reaction in the body: the blood flushes out the vitamins through sweat and urine, thus expelling most of that vitamin. In other words, you would end up losing more vitamins than what you take in.

The best thing to do is to make sure that the environment is clean (free of smoke, dust, fur, etc) and that you do NOT take irritating foods such as vinegar, pineapple juice, too much salt, chili, etc. Humidity is also ideal, so as not to irritate the throat by drying it.

I also find that once your throat starts to itch, drink chrysanthemum or mint, or take a lozenge such as strepsills, or gargle with antibacterial wash IMMEDIATELY. IMMEDIATELY stop it before it starts--this has worked for me many times; do not wait for the irritation to worsen.

Thanks!

mikky said...

how true... my mom always give this to us me when we were sick... i pray that your kid will get well soon... :)

chumpman said...

My friend's kid doesn't like chrysanthemum tea, I asked my friend to make it as jelly, kid kept asking for it, lol.

Soli Deo Gloria said...

Thanks for your well-wishes everyone, and specially to anonymous! Unfortunately, my son got worse, his cough and colds developed into fever, and my daughter also got sick soon after. I think they got the virus from school since a lot of the kids are getting sick nowadays.

Between my work and house chores and taking care of these two, I didn't have time to blog for a week. But the kids are well now, and they are back to school, doing their exams. and I'm back here... :)

oggi said...

I'll try the salted chrysanthemum when the H gets the sniffles. I don't get sick that often but he does. I used to drink chrysanthemum tea often in Hong Kong, it is an acquired taste, though.:)

Hope he's feeling better.

Soli Deo Gloria said...

Thanks, Oggi! I suppose chrysanthemum tea is different from other kinds of tea. That is why it is an acquired taste. But, we grew up with it, so it is something we took for granted :)

mario b said...

wow...chrysanthemum tea is one of my favorites back when i still livedin taiwan,theres even chrysantemun juice in pop up aluminum cans there and also in tetrapak.back here in the philippines its hard to find chrysanthemum tea.

Soli Deo Gloria said...

I agree, Mario, that it is hard to find real chrysanthemum tea here in Manila (though the tea bags are available in major supermarkets.) That is why we usually ask this as pasalubong from people going to China or Hong Kong :)

_ts of [eatingclub] vancouver said...

I really don't like the taste of chrysanthemum tea! Teehee. Unfortunately, I am too "yang" (dyet) and I need more "yin" (tsin) foods, but I don't like yin foods at all, most of the time. =D I didn't know about the salted version -- maybe I'll try it that way.

Rumela said...

Thank you for this Chrysanthemum flower tea recipe, I used it for a tea party. I am hosting this evening. I didn't have enough Chrysanthemum flower, so I just bought Chrysanthemum flower and I am planning on making them today evening. I will let you know! I love your website, and you inspire me. please keep on writing and sharing recipes..

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