Ji Guan Hua

Botanical name: Celosiae cristata
Common name: Cockscomb flower
Literal name translation: chicken crown flower

Family: Amaranthaceae, amaranth family
Part used in Chinese medicine:  flower

Major Chinese medicine actions:
Restrains blood to stop bleeding, clears heat,
binds intestines to stop bleeding

Ji Guan Hua

Ji Guan Hua

Photo Credits: (top to bottom)
Photo 1: Celosiae cristata; 05/2005; author Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams; permission under GFDL
Photo 2: Celosiae cristata; 07/2005; author Fanghong; permission under GFDL

Comments:
Celosia cristata, commonly known as cockscomb is an annual plant cultivated around the world for its large, bright colored, cauliflower-shaped flowers, which resembles a velvety rooster’s comb. The flowers come in a wide variety of colors from purple, pinks and violet to orange, red and crimson. In Guangzhou, China, it is listed among the favorite plants grown in pots by people living in house boats and the bright red color of some plants makes it a common sight in Chinese new years celebrations.

A tropical native, cockscomb thrives in hot weather if planted in moist, well-drained soil and does well in containers or sunny borders. The plant grows up to 3 feet tall, with large flower stalks blooming from July to October. It is often grown in greenhouses and forced to bloom earlier for new years celebrations in spring. The plant is grown easily in average garden soil and does best in full sun or light shade, with adequate water and warmth.

Growing and Propagation

Seeds for propagation are taken from the middle part of the seed head. They can be sown directly into the ground in the spring after the last frost. Germination takes about 7 days at temperatures of 65-70 degrees F. Young plants require regular watering in order to grow well.

Harvesting and Preparation

Flowers are harvested from July to October and dried in the sun. For medicinal use, the best quality Ji Guan Hua consists of dried flowers that have a clear, fresh color. The dark pink to red flowers are considered superior for treating disorders of the blood, while white to yellow flowers are better for use in the treatment of qi disorders.