Monday, March 2, 2009

Chrysanthemum tea

Chrysanthemum tea (c. tea) is actually a floral drink comprising of just dried chrysanthemums infused in hot water.  Sugar is sometimes added to sweetened the taste.  Some Chinese families also practice making c. tea by adding a handful of flowers in a kettle and boiling the tea.  The tea is drunk hot, cool or may be refrigerated as a cool beverage.  Wikipedia describes the tea as "Chrysanthemum tea has many purported medicinal uses, including an aid in recovery from influenza, acne and as a "cooling" herb. According to traditional Chinese medicine the tisane can aid in the prevention of sore throat and promote the reduction of fever. In Korea, it is known well for its medicinal use for making people more alert and is often used to waken themselves. In western herbal medicine, Chrysanthemum tea is drunk and used as a compress to treat circulatory disorders such as varicose veins and atherosclerosis.
In traditional Chinese medicine, chrysanthemum tea is also used to treat the eyes, and is said to clear the liver and the eyes. It is believed to be effective in treating eye pain associated with stress or yin/fluid deficiency. It is also used to treat blurring, spots in front of the eyes, diminished vision, and dizziness."

There are now commercial chrysanthemum teas sold in cans or tetra packs and are sold at supermarkets or grocery stores.  However, you may buy the dried chrysanthemums easily at chinese grocery shops.  There are different kinds of packaging but the traditional packing is that brown paper wrapping tied with a cotton twine string.  (see pix).  They usually comes in 500gm pack and a fresh good grade tea is identified by fresh looking whitish flowers with a strong floral fragrance.  When I opened the above pack for picture taking, the entire room was filled with the pleasant fragrance of the chrysanthemum flowers.  A pack of the c. tea costs about US$5.  Remember to store the tea in a dry box and refrigerate the box asap.

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