Friday, May 20, 2011

How to brew chrysanthemum tea

Hello everybody,

Today's blog is a tutorial on how to brew chrysanthemum tea. Chrysanthemum tea is not just a simple, tasty beverage. It also has medicinal benefits, as documented in Ben Chao Gang Mu, or Compendium of Materia Medica written by Lee Shi Zhen during the Ming Dynasty.  Ben Chao Gang Mu is like the first traditional Chinese medicine encyclopedia.

A copy of Ben Chao Gang Mu I bought during a trip to Shanghai, China.  Topped with Chrysanthemum flowers for photography.
The page which shows "Ju" or "Ju Hua"- Chrysanthemum flowers.  Lee Shi Zhen notated two types of chrysanthemum- normal, cultivated chrysanthemum and wild chrysanthemum.  They share many characteristics but are different for the purpose of Chinese medicine.
Traditional medicine lives on in the modern world.  In my own family, it seems like my grandmother and mom have an herbal remedy for everything.  There is a soup or drink to cure every symptom.  As for chrysanthemum tea, it is used when we are feeling a little under the weather, sluggish or have a mild fever. And, I can attest, whether it is really due to concoctions of herbs or, perhaps equally, just the act of love and show of concern, the herbal remedy works pretty well for mild ailments.

That is why even when I moved away from home, I still try to brew some simple stuff for myself whenever I feel like I need it.  But, my chrysanthemum tea never tasted like my mom's.  Instead of tasting light with a hint of flowers, it was usually slightly bitter and a little sour.  What I lacked in the "technical know how" I supplemented with efforts in the forms of extra heat and brew length.  I would bring the water up to a rolling boil, toss a huge handful of flowers in the water and pretty much let the flowers simmer this way for at least an hour.  I figured if it didn't taste right, at least I could still get the most potent tea in return for my efforts.

On a recent trip back to Singapore, I complained of headache due to jetlag.  And, of course, my mom brought out her chrysanthemum stash and started brewing the tea.  Below I have noted how she brewed a perfect pot of tea. 

Here is the correct way:

1/2 Cup of dried chrysanthemum tea
A pot of 2L of water
Sugar (Optional, adjusted to personal taste)


1) Boil a full pot of hot water in a kettle, about 2L of water in all.

2) Measure 1/2 cup of chrysanthemum flowers.  Put the flowers in the pitcher.
A pitcher and half a cup of packed chrysanthemum flowers
3) Then, carefully add a little hot, boiling water, enough to partially cover the flowers.  Stir with a stirring rod and empty out this water.  This process gets rid of any surface impurities and keeps the flavor of the tea pure.  Let it soak for 3 minutes and swish the flowers around before emptying the pitcher.
Flowers soaking in hot water
4) Then, add the rest of the hot water to the "cleaned" flowers and let the tea soak for 5-6 minutes before serving.

5) Pour into a cup and serve with sugar (to taste).

Thank you for reading.

Chrysanthemum Tea Flowers:

Full English Version of Compendium Materia Medica by Li Shi Zhen:


  1. Chrysanthemum tea is really very easy to made. chrysanthemum tea is prepare in only 10 minutes.Chrysanthemum tea is most popular herbal tea in china.
    herbal tea

  2. Thanks for your comment! We love herbal tea.

  3. Chrysanthemum Tea is very good tea. Its taste is very good . I like this tea. It takes less time in making. Good for health.

    add picture in picture in movies

  4. nice idea..thanks for sharing...


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