As temperatures in Phoenix are beginning to climb into the triple digits, more and more people come into the store searching for herbs and teas to serve iced. While drinking an iced beverage is refreshing, certain herbs can actually have a cooling effect on your body. In China, one of those summer herbs is something you might have already heard of: chrysanthemum blossoms.
Chrysanthemum flowers come in many colors and varieties, but the flowers used for health purposes are the white and yellow varieties. These flowers have long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for a variety of conditions, including high blood pressure, colds, and eye problems. But for folks living in hotter climates, chrysanthemum is said to dispel heat from the body. Traditional Chinese wisdom states that too much excess heat in the body can lead to a host of physical ailments, and age the body prematurely. This makes chrysanthemum a valued herbal remedy, as well as being good on its own as a tea.
Chrysanthemum brews up into a light, floral, refreshing cup of tea. When you steep these flowers loose in a cup, they will rehydrate and fill out like a mini aquatic bouquet, which is why chrysanthemums are often used in flowering teas: artisanal bundles of whole green tea leaves sewn around whole dried flowers.
Although chrysanthemum is caffeine-free, you can get a morning perk by combining with green teas such as Sencha or Dragonwell, oolong tea, or even black tea. Just add a teaspoon of chrysanthemum blossoms per cup of tea. Two caffeine-free herbs that combine well with chrysanthemum that also have a cooling effect on the body are peppermint and jiao gu lan. Try mixing one tablespoon of peppermint with one tablespoon of chrysanthemum and one teaspoon of jiao gu lan, steep for approximately three minutes and pour over ice. This will make a lightly sweet, floral, minty, and refreshing beverage to help you beat the summer heat.