Once a symbol of Japanese royalty, the chrysanthemum plant has been prized for its beautiful flowers for centuries. The oil of the chrysanthemum also has many uses. Essential oil extracted from the chrysanthemum plant has long been used as an all-natural organic pesticide and insect repellent. Chrysanthemum oil and extract have also been used in herbal medicine for their antibacterial and antibiotic properties. The oil of the chrysanthemum flower also has a pleasant scent.
Chrysanthemum oil contains a chemical called pyrethrum, which repels and kills insects, especially aphids. Unfortunately, it can also kill insects that are beneficial to plants, so care should be used when spraying insect repelling products with pyrethrum in gardens. Insect repellents for humans and pets also often contain pyrethrum. You can also make your own insect repellent by mixing chrysanthemum oil with other fragrant essential oils like rosemary, sage and thyme. However, allergies to chrysanthemum are common, so individuals should always test natural oil products before using on skin or internally.
Studies have shown that the active chemicals in chrysanthemum oil, including pinene and thujone, are effective against common bacteria that live in the mouth. Because of this, chrysanthemum oil can be a component of all-natural antibacterial mouthwashes or used to combat mouth infections. Some herbal medicine experts recommend the use of chrysanthemum oil for antibacterial and antibiotic use. Chrysanthemum tea has also been used for its antibiotic properties in Asia.
Scientists have studied how many herbs and flowers like chrysanthemum long used in Chinese medicine help with certain ailments like diabetes and gout. Studies showed that extract of the chrysanthemum plant, along with other herbs like cinnamon, are effective in treating gout. The active ingredients in chrysanthemum oil may inhibit an enzyme that contributes to gout. This does not mean that patients with gout should ingest chrysanthemum oil. All herbal remedies should be discussed with a doctor before being ingested.
Because of their pleasant fragrance, the dried petals of the chrysanthemum flower have been used in potpourri and to freshen linens for hundreds of years. Chrysanthemum oil can also be used in perfumes or scented candles. The scent is light and flowery without being heavy.
Because there are many different flowers and herb species under the Latin name chrysanthemum, the essential oil may be labeled as another plant. Herbalists and perfumers also call chrysanthemum tansy, costmary, feverfew chrysanthemum and balsamita. The essential oil of the chrysanthemum may be listed in herbal remedy books and stores under any of these names. Always check the Latin name of all plants before buying essential oils.
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- "Chrysanthemum Culture"; S.C. Dey; 2002
- "Journal of Bacteriology and Virology" Vol. 39, No. 2; Chemical Composition and Antimicrobial Activity of the Essential Oil of Chrysanthemum indicum Against Oral Bacteria; Eun-Kyung Jung; 2009
- "Journal Ethnopharmacol"; Inhibition of Xanthine Oxidase by Some Chinese Medicinal Plants Used to Treat Gout; Kong LD, et al; November 2000
- Plants for a Future; Dendranthema indicum (Chrysanthemum)
- "The New Perfume Handbook"; Nigel Groom; 1997