Ju Hua : Chrysanthemum

Ju Hua : Chrysanthemum


Ju Hua, which is also known as Flos Chrysanthemi  or simply as chrysanthemum flower, is one of Traditional Chinese Medicine’s herbs to “release the exterior.” In the ancient natural medicine of China, diseases were thought of as energies that attacked the exterior of the body and worked their way inside. Sometimes the body could trap these “evil” energies in its outer layers so that they could only cause “outer” symptoms, like headache, neck ache, sore throat, or runny nose. Chrysanthemum flower was one of the herbs used to let a “wind evil” or “pernicious cold” go on its way back into nature so the body could be free of its symptoms.


Not surprisingly, there are many ways in which the scientifically documented actions of chrysanthemum flower illustrate its symbolic uses in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Here are just a few.

  • Ju Hua is mildly anesthetic. A chemical called N-isobutyl-6-(2-thienyl)-2E,4E-hexadienamide extracted from a species of chrysanthemum called  Chrysanthemum morifolium has relieves mild pain.[1]
  • Ju Hua is strongly antibacterial. The flowers and other above-ground parts of a species of chrysanthemum known as Chrysanthemum viscidehirtum contains a variety of essential oils that kill 21 kinds of bacteria, including Salmonella and Proteus, which cause food poisoning and persistent skin infections, respectively. [2]The important thing to understand about these essential oils is that they evaporate if the tea made with chrysanthemum is boiled. It has to be steeped in hot water, not in boiling water, and it’s best brewed in a pot, not in a cup.
  • Ju Hua is antiviral. A variety of compounds extracted from Chrysanthemum morifoliumare strongly active against HIV (and these compounds survive heating the herb in boiling water).[3] For other kinds of viral infections, including the viruses that cause herpes, chicken pox, and shingles, chrysanthemum flower is anti-inflammatory, fighting the effects of the virus if not the virus itself.[4]
  • Ju Hua is It does not stimulate the beta cells of the pancreas to release insulin.[5] Instead, plant chemicals in the herb make the muscles and liver more sensitive to insulin.[6] Both actions lower blood sugar levels, but increasing insulin sensitivity avoids the long-term problem of “burn out” of the insulin-making cells of the pancreas and also reduces weight gain.
  • Ju Hua fights gout. It contains chemicals that interfere with the enzyme xanthine oxidase,[7] which is involved in the production of the uric acid crystals that accumulate in joints and cause pain.
  • Ju Hua is part of an excellent natural mosquito repellant. It is the only natural product that is very nearly as effective as the commercial product DEET. In a field test in Ethiopia, a chrysanthemum flower extract repelled 96.0% of mosquitoes, compared to 97.9% for DEET.[8]


ju hua

Most Chinese herbs have to be consumed as teas along with other herbs prescribed by a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Ju Hua can be consumed beneficially all by itself as a refreshing tea. The key to making a healing herbal tea of Ju Hua is steeping the herb in hot water that is not yet boiling. Many of the essential oils that have healing properties are volatile and escape the tea if it is made with boiling water. It’s also best to make the tea in a teapot, not in a cup (unless you brew the tea with a plate over the top of the cup). Ju Hua tea can be enjoyed hot, warm, or iced. It is safe with any prescription drugs you make take and it does not react with any food.





[1] Shahat, A. A., Apers, S., Pieters, L., and Vlietinck, A. J. Isolation and complete NMR assignment of the numbing principle from Chrysanthemum morifolium. Fitoterapia 2001;72(1):89-91.

[2] Wang, H., Ye, X. Y., and Ng, T. B. Purification of chrysancorin, a novel antifungal protein with mitogenic activity from garland chrysanthemum seeds. Biol.Chem. 2001;382(6):947-951.

[3] Wang, H., Ye, X. Y., and Ng, T. B. Purification of chrysancorin, a novel antifungal protein with mitogenic activity from garland chrysanthemum seeds. Biol.Chem. 2001;382(6):947-951.

[4] Huang, C. J. and Wu, M. C. Differential effects of foods traditionally regarded as ‘heating’ and ‘cooling’ on prostaglandin E(2) production by a macrophage cell line. J Biomed Sci 2002;9(6 Pt 2):596-606.

[5] Hussain Z, Waheed A, Qureshi RA, et al. The effect of medicinal plants of Islamabad and Murree region of Pakistan on insulin secretion from INS-1 cells. Phytother Res 2004;18:73-7.

[6] Chen, S. H., Sun, Y. P., and Chen, X. S. [Effect of jiangtangkang on blood glucose, sensitivity of insulin and blood viscosity in non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus]. Zhongguo Zhong.Xi.Yi.Jie.He.Za Zhi. 1997;17(11):666-668.

[7] Kong LD, Cai Y, Huang WW, et al. Inhibition of xanthine oxidase by some Chinese medicinal plants used to treat gout. J Ethnopharmacol 2000;73:199-207.

[8] Hadis M, Lulu M, Mekonnen Y, Asfaw T. Field trials on the repellent activity of four plant products against mainly Mansonia population in western Ethiopia. Phytother Res 2003;17:202-5.



The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.

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Sydney Acupuncture & Sydney Chinese Herbal Medicine