Chamomile tea is one of the oldest and most calming herbal tea drinks in the world today. Its natural flowery taste makes for a lovely tasteful beverage. It has also been long used as a remedy for certain ailments, and as a natural stress reliever.
In this article, we’ll share with you everything there is to know about chamomile tea. What it is, how to make one, what are its uses, benefits, and possible side effects. There’s a lot to know about one of the most popular herbal teas. So, let’s dive right into it!
What Is Chamomile Tea?
Chamomile tea is a type of herbal tea or tisane. Contrary to its name, chamomile tea (like all herbal tea drinks) aren’t made using tea leaves. Instead, they’re made by infusing hot water with dried chamomile flowers.
Chamomile, or camomile, are common names for the Asteraceae plants which look a lot like daisy flowers. Chamomile plants are closely related to other daisy-like flowers, as well as sunflowers and marigolds. The word “chamomile” actually comes from the Greek word “khamaimēlon”. This roughly translates to “earth apple”, which may be due to the plant’s apple-like smell and (albeit slight) taste.
Aside from herbal teas, many use chamomile to give all kinds of food and products a distinct flavor and fragrance. In terms of taste, chamomile is very light, floral, and natural. And true to the origins of its name, you can taste hints of apple and a mellow sweetness. Its smell, on the other hand, is also sweet with a herb-like scent.
However, chamomile tea’s flavor and aroma aren’t the only things it’s good for. Originally, this herbal drink was drunk for its calming and relaxing effects, as well as its potential health benefits.
The Origins Of Chamomile Tea
Many trace chamomile tea’s origins to both Ancient Egypt and Rome. Ancient Egyptians, Romans, and even Greeks used the plant for medicinal purposes, like as a topical or tonic remedy. Romans even used it for incense.
However, even way back then its most common use was as a herbal drink. Ancient Egyptians drank chamomile tea to help combat the cold, and for its soothing effects. The ancient Egyptians even thought of chamomile as something sacred, and considered it a gift from their gods.
German Chamomile and Roman Chamomile
The most commonly used species of this plant are the German chamomile and Roman chamomile (or English and garden). These are also the two main types and are the ones used to make the herbal drink, chamomile tea.
Roman chamomile was given its name by a botanist who found it growing near the Roman Coliseum. It’s native to Europe, North Africa, and some parts of Asia. This species of chamomile is generally harder to find than the German kind. So, it’s not used as much compared to its German counterpart.
Although the two are totally different plant species, both Roman and German chamomile look almost the same! They also give similar benefits when consumed. Although, one way to tell the two apart is by their taste and smell.
German chamomile has a very strong smell, while the Roman kind is sweeter and more fruity. On the other hand, Roman chamomile can have a bitter taste when used in tea. Meanwhile, German chamomile would give you a sweeter flavor.
Roman chamomile is a perennial plant, while its German counterpart is an annual. Perennial plants can live for more than 2 years, while annual plants complete their life cycle in just 1 year.
If you want to plant your own chamomile flowers however, we suggest you pick the German variety. They’re not only more common, but also easy to maintain. Moreover, you only need to plant them in the garden once since they are self-seeding.
And since they are annual plants, they bloom well until winter. On the other hand, the Roman chamomile only blooms for a limited amount of time, around 2 to 6 weeks tops. But with German chamomile, you can make yourself a warm cup of herbal tea almost anytime you wish.
How To Make Chamomile Tea and Suggested Recipes
Making chamomile tea is simple. It doesn’t matter whether you use Roman or German chamomile. The method of making the herbal tea drink remains the same. As mentioned before, this tea drink is made by infusing hot water with chamomile flowers. This is known as infusion or steeping. It’s also the most common way of making herbal drinks.
Some herbal tea recipes require a long time of steeping, usually a range of 12 to 15 minutes. However, chamomile drinks don’t need as long; you can steep it for only 3 to 10 minutes at most. Once that’s done, you just need to strain the tea into your cups, and voila! The drinks are ready to serve.
Here are some of the different chamomile recipes you can try:
Chamomile Tea Recipe With Fresh Flowers
If you have some fresh chamomile flowers at hand, then this easy recipe is perfect for you.
- Prepare the pot you’ll be using to make your tea. You may use an infuser teapot, a makeshift tea bag, or a heat-safe bowl or cup.
- Get fresh chamomile flowers. It’s best to use the flowers on the same day as you picked them as they are rather delicate. However, if you want to store them for later, placing them in the fridge can extend their shelf-life for a few days. Just put the flowers inside a plastic bag along with a damp paper towel.
- Prepare the fresh chamomile flowers. Remove the flower’s head from the stem.
- Fill your tea kettle with 8 ounces of water and heat until boiling. Place 3 to 4 tablespoons of flowers into the teapot, makeshift tea bag, bowl, or cup.
- Pour the hot water over the chamomile flowers and steep for 5 minutes, and serve.
Chamomile Tea Recipe With Dried Flowers
If you don’t have any fresh flowers, then dried chamomile flowers will do. The steps are basically the same.
- Boil hot water in your tea kettle.
- Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of dried chamomile flowers in your teapot, tea bag, bowl, or cup.
- Pour the boiling water over the dried flowers and steep for 2 to 5 minutes.
- If using a bowl or cup, pour the tea into your teacup and filter using a strainer, then serve!
Chamomile Tea Recipe With Spices
If you’re looking to try an easy but incredibly flavorful drink, then this Chamomile Spiced Tea Recipe is perfect. It’s infused with lemon balm, mint, and cinnamon for an invigorating beverage. The steps are more or less like the ones mentioned above. The only difference is that you’re adding all kinds of wonderful spices to your herbal drink.
15 Health Benefits of Chamomile Tea
The herbal drink that is chamomile tea has so plenty of promised health benefits. This is all thanks to its key oils, flavonoids (natural substances found in plants), and other therapeutic substances. All these components each have their own properties, which are, in turn, beneficial to one’s health. And now, we’re listing 15 health benefits of drinking chamomile tea that can help you live a better life!
Anti-anxiety and Calming Effect
Chamomile tea is a natural stress reliever. This is thanks to its two major key substances: apigenin and chrysin.
Apigenin is a flavonoid, a natural element found in plants. They have a handful of beneficial properties, one of which is their ability to lessen feelings of anxiety. Chrysin, a flavone (a type of flavonoid) commonly found in honey and flowers, can also help reduce feelings of anxiety. Thanks to these two ingredients, drinking this herbal tea can also be beneficial for those diagnosed with anxiety disorders.
Combining chamomile with other soothing herbs and plants, like lavender, rosemary, and Valerian root can better help achieve a calm state. This recipe for Lavender and Chamomile Herb Tea makes for the ultimate soothing herbal drink.
Induces Sleep and Helps Combat Insomnia
The best tea for sleep is chamomile tea! That’s because it’s not only a natural stress reliever一it’s also an effective natural sedative. The very substances that can help calm and relax its drinkers can also aid sleeping problems. These include the likes of insomnia and sleep apnea, as well as those who generally feel restless.
Drinking chamomile can help induce sleep faster and provide a better quality of rest. And like all herbal tea drinks, chamomile contains 0% caffeine. So, you won’t need to worry about staying up late at night.
One of the most useful health benefits of drinking chamomile is its ability to boost immunity. The chamomile flower has antibacterial properties that can protect you against harmful bacteria and viruses that target your immune system.
Chamomile has natural anti-inflammatory properties that can help with all kinds of inflammation. And since it works to boost one’s immune system, chamomile can also lessen inflammation experienced by the body. After all, inflammation is directly related to the immune system. It occurs as a natural reaction of the body towards something invasive, be it viruses, bacteria, or even allergens.
A study has found chamomile to contain anti-allergic properties that can help the immune system deal with intrusive allergens. This study found chamomile to act as a sort of antihistamine, reducing otherwise terrible allergic reactions.
However, a word of caution for those drinking this herbal drink! People with severe allergies (especially to pollen) should avoid chamomile tea as it can contain said allergens.
Helps Lessen Cold Symptoms
By boosting one’s immune system, chamomile tea can help lessen cold symptoms, from sore throats to clogged sinuses.
While this may be the most popular reason for drinking chamomile, it shouldn’t be used as a replacement for proper medical care. If your cold symptoms worsen, seeking the advice of health professionals should be your priority!
Reduces Pain, like Menstrual Pain
Chamomile contains anti-inflammatory properties that can help lessen muscle pain and menstrual cramps. A study found the chamomile plant to contain antioxidants and chemical compounds that can help open up blood vessels, reducing inflammation. This can help alleviate the pain caused by inflamed muscles.
Helpful for Diabetics, Lowers Blood Sugar
Chamomile has also been shown to help lower blood sugar, making it a great beverage for diabetics. One study showed it to stop rat subjects’ blood sugar levels from increasing. With that said, it’s by no means a cure for the disease. Although, it can definitely help diabetics in the long term.
Can Help Prevent Osteoporosis
Some studies have also shown chamomile to help prevent the development of osteoporosis, a bone disease. It does this by encouraging the growth of osteoblasts, the cells that build bones. Drinking chamomile can then increase bone density and reduce the worsening of osteoporosis.
Helps Treat and Prevent Cancer
It’s known that the chamomile plant has anti-carcinogenic properties that help prevent the growth of cancer. Some studies suggest that chamomile can help stop cancer cells from even forming in the first place. Moreover, drinking chamomile tea can help relieve symptoms of certain cancers, such as pain.
Promotes Healthy Skin
Chamomile’s antioxidant properties work together to give its drinkers a healthy and glowing skin. Throughout history, many used the plant to treat certain skin diseases and conditions. Ancient societies even used it to promote wound healing, hence their use of it in topical balms and salves.
While you can apply chamomile directly on the skin, drinking it can help relieve skin irritations from within. It can also heal scars and decrease wrinkles and breakouts from forming.
Aids In Digestion
Chamomile tea was also widely used for its ability to aid in digestion and regulate the digestive system. It can help with digestive problems, like irritable bowel syndrome, and can also help release gas. It’s also known to prevent acid refluxes and stomach ulcers from forming. This is due to the plant’s antioxidants limiting the amount of acid released by the stomach.
Eases Stomach Aches
Chamomile tea can also help soothe all kinds of stomach aches. It can help treat upset stomachs and relieve abdominal pain. One study found chamomile’s antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties to prevent diarrhea in animal subjects.
Great for Hair and Helps Treat Dandruff
Chamomile’s benefits towards skin health are also effective in treating dandruff and improving quality of hair. Its anti-inflammatory compounds can relieve the itchiness caused by dandruff. Applying the brew to your hair can also give it a shinier and healthier complexion.
Healthy For The Heart
Last but not least is chamomile’s ability to promote heart health. Its many flavonoids showed promise in lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease. The plant can also help lower bad cholesterol levels that, if too high, can lead to the development of heart diseases. Interested in knowing more about the effects of bad cholesterol? Check out our article on 10 Healthy Recipes For A Low Cholesterol Diet.
What Are The Side Effects of Chamomile Tea and Who Should Avoid Drinking It?
We’re now aware of the many health benefits that this herbal tea can bring us. But what are some of its side effects?
When drinking chamomile tea, it’s important to take note of the unwanted side effects that may negatively affect its consumers. So, who should avoid drinking chamomile tea?
- People with heavy allergies – As previously mentioned, those with heavy allergies should avoid drinking chamomile tea as it can cause allergic reactions. Specifically, those with hay fever and flower allergies should steer clear of this herbal drink. If you’re allergic to flowers from the daisy family, skip this tisane. Of course, those who are allergic to chamomile products should also refrain from drinking this tea.
- People who are currently taking medication – Chamomile can interact negatively with other medications because of certain properties it contains. Consult with your doctor first before drinking this tea, or any herbal tea drink for the matter.
- Pregnant women and those breastfeeding – It’s generally recommended to avoid drinking chamomile tea while pregnant or breastfeeding. It has been shown to cause contractions, and its anti-inflammatory properties can be harmful to those who are pregnant.
- Those with scheduled surgeries – Chamomile has low amounts of a blood thinner called coumarin, which can affect those with plans of having surgery. But rest assured, it’s only harmful when consumed in large doses. Still, it’s advised to avoid drinking the herbal tea altogether before having surgery. Doing so also prevents any negative interactions with medication or drugs you may need before or after an operation.
To Sum It Up
Chamomile tea is an incredible herbal drink with a long history and lots of promised health benefits. It was used for medicinal purposes by both Ancient Egyptians and Romans and continues to be a popular drink until today. The plant used contains essential substances and compounds that can help promote and boost skin, heart, digestive health, and more. It’s also a natural stress reliever and can help relieve symptoms of colds.
Although its benefits can’t be denied, this herbal drink is by no means a cure for any illness. Yes, it can help provide temporary relief for sore throats, congested sinuses, and muscle pains. However, it’s not a replacement for proper medical care. Make sure you’re not one of the people who should avoid drinking the tea to prevent any negative side effects.
But if you’re done for the day and just want to relax, then have yourself a warm cup of chamomile tea.