Chrysanthemum, Júhuā, 菊花, Herb of Classical Chinese Medicine
This week for herbs of classical Chinese medicine, along with the online participants, I did a plant meditation with my family, including my father and daughter. This plant was really beautiful. I always like to know the emotions, energetic shifts, and thoughts/memories that come up. I enjoyed this special way of connecting with my father and daughter. Here is a picture of us from a few years ago:
Overall themes: the value of third eye opening, release of fear, positive emotional support
My father: “The experience started with a sudden urge to pee, I repressed it. Most of it was silence. Then the qi was at the 6th chakra for about 4-5 minutes. Then I took the last couple of swallows. I thought about a cat. A mature cat sat next to me. Just sat for about 5 minutes. My breathing was okay. The energy was lively.”
Me: The infusion has a straw taste. It feels dry and has a complete mouth sensation--rather than resting in one area or flavor space. The infusion color is a pretty, light yellow, on the chartreuse side. After setting my intention, I felt my nose as if meditating with a technique like vipassana where that is the focus. The energy moved up to my left forehead/frontal lobe area. The plant says, “I have half a mind to tell you.” I reflect on an intense conversation I had a few days earlier. The plant points out, the right side of my head was injured (coup), but you are having problems with the left (contrecoup). I think of what happened as partly deferred/misdirected anger, in a similar way that one part of my head was hit, but the other side felt the impact too. The energy moves to the right side. “It’s going to start here (right frontal) and go to here (3rd eye).” I feel the energy shift. “Then you’re not going to like me.” The plant corrects this notion, stating “you have nothing to fear.” The plant tells me what to do for the class I am having trouble with so that my post-concussion visual issues will be better. I felt good. I understood I would heal.
My daughter: "It tastes like artichoke. During the first minute, I kept seeing sunshine and rolling hills with Cutie running across the hills. Then I thought, “OMG, is Cutie going to die.” Then there was a big X across the vision. Then is showed Cutie having perfect white teeth. It is good for Cutie’s teeth (our dog). The rest of 9 minutes I was bored.” We take a break to discuss whether she has to do the second ten minute meditation. We settle on five minutes. “At first I see more rolling hills and Cutie. Then I see black like the inside of my eyelids. I see through my eyelids to my hands. Then I see through my hands to my knees. Then I see through my knees, into the basement.”
I am glad she did the second meditation! Something new always comes out. Taking the time for the second meditation is an important step to understanding the plant’s medicine. Here is a picture of the herb steeping. It is so pretty and fragrant.
Spiritual: Each of us had a third eye focus to our energy and a focused, uneventful but positive meditation. Seeing through objects is a third eye experience. Third eye function is related both to fears and vision in general. The third eye is the energy center nearest the eyes (and brain!) so if it is stronger, the organs nearby should also be working better. This is similar to other energy centers in the body and nearby organs. The third eye is related to fear in that fear is the greatest obstacle to opening the third eye is fear of what you see. We may not want to see truths about ourselves, or the world around us…we have faults and the pain of the world is difficult to see. Easing fear allows us to deal with reality as it is and to enjoy our time on Earth. In this way, this herb can ease anxiety.
Emotional: I do think this herb is helpful for depression and anxiety. It is brightening and calming. It may not be enough by itself to move emotional mountains, but it is sunny in its support. Each of us had a fear eased. Cats: My father is very afraid of cats, due to severe allergies, and even during the meditation with the cat vision was concerned about his breathing. He was relieved and peaceful with the cat. Recovery: I have a fear that people will not like me when my brain changes from before or after a concussion (I have had many and they come with some variation in how I interact with others). It is a pretty big fear because my worst concussion ended my marriage. I also have had some fear lately that the concussion won’t fully resolve. This experience gave me confidence it will. It was nice to know it was going to be okay! Fear of loss: My daughter was worried about Cutie dying. Our primary way to extend his life is tooth care. This plant does have a reputation for being good for teeth! This came up in other meditations too :). Apparently, chrysanthemum is considered toxic to dogs by some, so I am assuming (for now) that this is just one tooth specialist herb, letting my daughter know that our oral hygiene program is helping Cutie. We currently use plantain and bentonite clay.
Physical: The meditation experiences in my family session and by other meditators may confirm help with “inflammation”. The issues from the concussion I am recovering from are neurological, related to vision, which this herb has a reputation for helping. The plant helped with this, advising me on how to manage my class. I have noticed some improvements since working with the plant.
Documented Chinese Medicine Use:
Calms shen, purifies the mind, and supports the liver and kidneys. This herb treats a variety of problems associated with the head: Painful or red eyes (the infusion makes a great eye compress), visual disturbances, seizures, vertigo, tinnitus, acne, mouth sores, anxiety, strengthens teeth (and bones, see also Hawthorn plant meditation), upper respiratory flu with headache, fever, sore throat. Also useful for cleansing the liver and kidneys. Clears heat, it is cooling to drink in the Summer. Mild yin tonic. Here is an entry on Chrysanthemum, Júhuā, 菊花 from the Bencao yuanshi (Origins of Materia Medica) by Li Zhongli, first published in 1612.
Opening the Conversation:
To those who have posted, I love hearing your experiences! If you haven't posted, or have more to share now that you know the herb, what are your experiences either personally or with clients? If you have used it for physical health issues, have you noticed emotional or spiritual shifts too?