While you might think of cooking herbs like rosemary and thyme when you hear about herbal medicine, Chinese herbal medicine actually refers to a wide range of substances that come from nature. These could be plant parts such as leaves, stems, roots and flowers, as well as minerals and animal substances.

In Chinese, hua means flower, and many flowers have been used for thousands of years for their medicinal qualities. The active ingredients in these flowers are typically extracted by boiling the plant material in water and drinking the liquid, a process know as decoction. While these flowers can be decocted alone or drunk as a tea, they are more typically used in combination with other herbal substances in a formula. Modern preparation methods concentrate these medicinal liquids into pills or powder to make them easier to consume.

While there are dozens of flowers used in Chinese medicine, here are 9 of the most common ones you might be familiar with:

Image via @starseed.sprouting on Instagram
Image via @starseed.sprouting on Instagram

Ji Guan Hua
Latin: Celosiae cristatae Flos
English: coxcomb flower

Action: stops bleeding
Treats: bleeding disorders such as hemorrhoids, coughing of blood, and vaginal discharge

Image via @grandprismaticseed on Instagram
Image via @grandprismaticseed on Instagram

Hong Hua
Latin: Carthami Flos
English: safflower

Action: invigorates the blood and induces menstruation
Treats: pain, unresolved rashes, dryness

Image via @jakoba.errekondo on Instagram
Image via @jakoba.errekondo on Instagram

Jin Yin Hua
Latin: Lonicerae Flos
English: honeysuckle flower

Action: clears heat and resolves toxicity
Treats: chills and fever, swelling, itchy skin rashes

Image via @indokitchina on Instagram
Image via @indokitchina on Instagram

Huai (Hua) Mi
Latin: Sophorae Flos immaturus
English: sophora bud or pagoda tree bud

Action: cools the blood and stops bleeding
Treats: hemorrhoids, nosebleed, irregular uterine bleeding, redness and swelling of the eyes, high blood pressure

Image via @enchanteas on Instagram
Image via @enchanteas on Instagram

Mei Gui Hua
Latin: Rosae rugosae Flos
English: rosebud

Action: moves qi and relieves constraint
Treats: gas, belching, poor appetite, irregular menstruation, breast tenderness

Image via @scarlet_suomi on Instagram
Image via @scarlet_suomi on Instagram

Zi Hua Di Ding*
Latin: Violae Herba
English: violet leaves

Action: clears heat and resolves toxicity
Treats: red, swollen eyes, swollen, painful throat and ears, mumps, snakebite

*Technically this herb isn't a flower, but the leaves from the violet plant. I included it on this list because they are so pretty and many people are familiar with this plant.

Image via @nordlie_floral_detroit on Instagram
Image via @nordlie_floral_detroit on Instagram

Ju Hua
Latin: Chrysanthemi Flos
English: chrysanthemum flower

Action: clears heat and releases the exterior
Treats: common cold, red eyes, fever, headache

Known for its pleasant flavor, this tea is famed for promoting healthy aging and longevity

Image via @sbkroll_photography on Instagram
Image via @sbkroll_photography on Instagram

Xin Yi Hua
Latin: Magnoliae Flos
English: magnolia flower (furry unopened bud)

Action: expels cold and unblocks nasal passages
Treats: congestion, sinus problems, lack of smell, headache

Image via @tikagoo on Instagram
Image via @tikagoo on Instagram

He Huan Hua
Latin: Albiziae Flos
English: silktree flowers, mimosa flowers

Action: calms the spirit
Treats: insomnia, forgetfulness, and irritability due to constrained emotions

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