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Chinese Custom--001: Chrysanthemum Traditional Medicine and Food
The chrysanthemum is one of the favorite flowers of the Chinese, not only for its beauty, but also for its function as a medicine and food. Since ancient China, people have been describing the chrysanthemum in poems and literary works for it is elegant and free from vulgarity. There are also many books which record its functions.

As a Chinese traditional medicine, the chrysanthemum is made into tea and food.

For example, in Naijing, people like to eat a chrysanthemum called Chrysanthemum Nankingense. They make it in a cold dish or soup. When they cook the cold dish, they put the Chrysanthemum Nankingense into boiling water and then take it out. Then, the add some white sugar, salt, monosodium glutamate and sesame oil. When they cook the soup, they put the Chrysanthemum Nankingense, egg, and/or bean curd into boiling water then add salt and cooked plant oil. Both of the two kinds of food are light green in color and are tasty and refreshing. They are used to treat some sicknesses, such as stomach heat, bitter taste, constipation, headache, red eyes and so on.

The chrysanthemum not only has a medicinal function, but it also can be restorative for the human body. For example, you could take some petals of white Chrysanthemum Indium, put them in the alum water for more than one minute, and then dry them. Then, put some fish, pieces of chicken, and the petals of Chrysanthemum Indium together, cook for five or six minutes, add condiments, and enjoy a delicious restorative meal. You could also take about 500g of Chrysanthemum Indium, add some salt, monosodium glutamate, and lard, saut辿 them and eat them. This formula can be helpful for headache, red eyes, dysentery and sore throat.

In China, people also use Chrysanthemum to make tea. The most famous is the Hang Chrysanthemum, which is planted in Hangzhou; the Huai Chrysanthemum, which is planted in Henai; the Chu Chrysanthemum, which is planted in Anhui. These kinds of Chrysanthemums could be used as tea - not only to satisfy your thirst, but also to help your liver and improve your eyesight.

Sometimes, people mix Chrysanthemums and another tea to make a drink at home. For example, you could take 10 grams of Hangzhou Chrysanthemum and 3 grams of oolong, put them into boiling water, then drink it instead of tea. It will help to add elasticity to your blood vessels and reduced cholesterol. It could also prevent the arteriosclerosis.

If you mix Hangzhou Chrysanthemum and sugar together instead of tea, it could treat a cold that just starts. It could also reduce the headache and fever. Take 30 grams of Hangzhou Chrysanthemum, put it into boiling water, add some white sugar, and drink it instead of tea. It is very simple and convenient.

Just like the other traditional Chinese medicines, Chrysanthemum tea and Chrysanthemum foods have no side effects and very convenient to use, so people in China of all of ages use them to cure common ailments.

There are many ways to cook and eat the Chrysanthemum. I introduced just a few of them here.

There are many different kinds of Chrysanthemum in the world, some of them should never be eaten, so you have to try so sure what kind of Chrysanthemum you would like to cook or eat.

I have taken some pictures of Chrysanthemum, hope you will like them.

I would like to thank Francisco Goenha, who is from Mozambique. His question about Chinese food and traditional medicine made me think of this week's topic. I also thank you for visiting the column. Any questions, comments and suggestions are welcomed.