Chrysanthemum (Anacyclus pyrethrum)
Chrysanthemum is also known as pellitory, Mount Atlas daisy, pyrethrum and Spanish chamomile. This herb is native to North Africa, the Mediterranean region, the Himalayas, North India and the Arabian countries. The plant looks like chamomile with a daisy-like flower and deeply cut leaves. The root is cylindrical with a slight twist, tapering to a tip. It has black spots on the exterior of the root. The taste is pungent with a slight odor. To grow this plant, sow seed in February or March. Plant the seedlings in the garden in June. Established plants can be divided in March with a sharp spade. Cuttings can also be taken from young shoots at the base of the plant from October to May. Shorten the foliage to a length of about 3 inches. Plant firmly and keep the cutting in shade while rooting.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Chrysanthemum is used in Ayurvedic medicine as a tonic and to treat epilepsy and paralysis.
Externally Chrysanthemum is a rubefacient and irritant, and thus brings blood to the surface, creating a reddish tint to the skin. The tincture relieves toothache. When the root is chewed, it can help palsy of the tongue, and some rheumatic and neuralgic problems of the face and head. A gargle can relax the uvula. Lozenges made of chrysanthemum promote salivation to treat dry mouth. Powdered root is used as snuff to cure chronic catarrh of the head and nostrils. It clears the brain by causing a free flow of nasal mucous and tears.
Historically, Nicholas Culpepper, the famous English physician, states that this plant is "one of the best purges of the brain that grows" and is not only "good for ague and the falling sickness (epilepsy)" but it is also "an excellent approved remedy in lethargy." He also suggests making the root into an ointment with lard and applying it to bruises, gout and sciatica, although these uses are now only recorded as history.
Other Uses Chrysanthemum was used as an edible in medieval cookery. In the East Indies, the infusion of this herb is taken as a cordial.
Root The root of this plant is used medicinally.
This herb should not be used by children. The essential oil should not be used internally unless directed by a medical professional.
Preparation and Dosage
Chrysanthemum root is harvested in the fall. Essential oil is diluted from the root to be used in mouthwash and to treat toothaches. To take the tincture, the recommended dose is 20 to 30 drops per day.