A rainy evening after a long day – you change into your pajamas and begin boiling some water for tea. Rifling through your cupboard, you find your chamomile tea bags and brew yourself a cup. The citrusy scent envelopes your nose, warming you up as you drink the soothing beverage. When you reach into your cupboards, do you ever stop to think about why this is the beverage of choice for a cold evening?
Where does chamomile come from?
Chamomile pronounced ka – ma – mile or ka – ma – meel, has existed since the time of the Ancient Egyptians when many Egyptians worshipped the herb for its medicinal properties and its ability to support women’s health. Its scent and white petals have been used in a variety of cosmetics from the first century to the present. The chamomile flower is a member of the sunflower and daisy family, its name in Greek calling it “earth apple” or “ground apple” due to its sweet scent being similar to that of an apple.
A Variety of Uses
Not only is chamomile a warming and comforting drink on a cold day, but the chamomile flower is useful in a variety of ways. The chamomile flower can be used to make:
- Skincare products like lotions, lip balms, and soaps
- Calming bath products like bath bombs, salts, and soaks
- Infused alcohol
- Garnishes for salads and other dishes
- Desserts like cupcakes, frosting, and French toast
No matter what you use this versatile flower for, its honey-like flavor will be sure to add a slightly sweet tang to any dish. From soothing skincare to adding a unique flavor to your favorite dishes, anyone can find a use for these pretty little flowers. But you may be wondering, where can I source these little treats?
Drinking chamomile tea has a variety of health benefits for the body. Besides being a delicious and warm beverage, a cup of chamomile tea can:
- Help you sleep better. Chamomile tea has been known to increase sleep quality by relaxing the body and preparing it for sleep.
- Provide the body with antioxidants. Antioxidants provide helpful nutrients to the body to protect it from harmful viruses and other chemicals.
- Ease muscles. Drinking chamomile tea on your period can help to relax your muscles leading to reduced cramps.
- Calm tummy aches. The relaxing qualities found in chamomile can relax the digestive tract – allowing the muscles in the stomach to relax and loosen, easing symptoms of indigestion and stomach pain.
Now that we know what we can use chamomile for, you must want to know where you can source these gems from. Luckily, chamomile can easily be grown on your windowsill or in a little garden in your yard. This helpful herb can be grown from seeds sourced from your local grocery store or from cuttings of other plants.
Ideal Growing Conditions
Chamomile prefers to grow in dryer conditions, making it best to keep the plant’s soil nice and dry. When planting this helpful herb, find a place with part sun, part shade to make sure that your plants continue to thrive. Chamomile prefers little water, making it an ideal plant for drought conditions. Besides being a delicious cooking ingredient and a helpful skin treatment, the chamomile plant keeps pests away from your garden due to its strong scent. Plant this friendly herb in your garden to benefit both you and your other plants – your garden will thank you!
After growing your chamomile flower in your home garden, it’s time to harvest it and brew yourself a warm, calming cup of tea. But how do you brew yourself the perfect cup of chamomile?
- Boil water to 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius) – a full boil.
- Pour the boiling water into a teacup with about a tablespoon of dried chamomile flowers.
- Let the flowers and boiling water steep together for four to five minutes.
- Once the flowers have finished steeping in the water, strain out the flowers from the water.
- Add some honey or your favorite sweetener of choice to the chamomile tea and stir until it dissolves.
Carbs and Caffeine
Now we know about the relaxing health benefits of chamomile, but what about its caffeine content and nutrition? Luckily for those with sensitivities to caffeine, chamomile is naturally caffeine free. This makes chamomile the ideal beverage to drink before going to bed at night. It also only has 0.1g of carbs, making it a healthy choice for those watching their weight.
Brewing a perfect cup of chamomile is not only about the temperature of the water and the time spent steeping. Making a cup of this calming beverage can be improved with using a variety of sweeteners that enhance the taste and increase its calming qualities. The addition of honey to the boiling water while the tea is steeping sweetens the tea and increases the benefits of the tea because of the healthy and healing qualities of honey.
In addition to adding honey to your nighttime beverage, consider these helpful tips as well:
- Use filtered water rather than tap water to avoid contaminating your tea with any chemicals or the taste from the tap.
- Grow your own flowers or buy from a local tea shop that sells full flowers. Using full flowers rather than crushed up flowers will lead to a stronger taste and a more full-bodied taste.
- Place the lid on the teapot while your flowers are steeping. This will help the water stay hot while the tea is steeping.
- Steep the flowers for longer. Unlike other kinds of tea, like black tea, chamomile has no tannins that will cause the tea to become bitter from over-steeping. Try steeping the flowers for longer gain a deeper flavor more like a medicinal tincture.
Now that you know the variety of benefits from adding chamomile to your daily routine, what will you do first? Grow some flowers in your backyard garden, invest in a new teapot with a lid, or add in some honey to your favorite nighttime drink. Chamomile is the perfect beverage if you’re looking for something to calm your body at night, ease tension during your period, or simply to ease an upset stomach. Will you be drinking more chamomile tea now?