Ingredient Spotlight: Chamomile
Posted by Paloma Pechenik on Aug 25th 2020
Ingredient Spotlight: Chamomile
What's not to love about chamomile? It's an adorable, fluffy little flower bud with a sweet smell and an equally sweet honey flavor.
In a fast-paced world of traffic jams, political turmoil, and overstimulation, nature's calming flower can help us slow our roll. Chamomile calms the mind and eases anxiety. This natural herbal tea uplifts without a prescription or side effects.
Bright yellow and white, it depicts lightness and sunshine. But, chamomile is more than just a pretty face.
Chamomile has been used since ancient times to treat a variety of ailments. Modern scientific research confirms that oils, flavonoids, and phytochemicals in chamomile have benefits.
Bisabolol reduces inflammation caused by lipopolysaccharides. Chamazulene and matricine are anti-inflammatory and as effective as fully synthetic medications.
- Reduces depression and anxiety naturally without side effects
- Increases milk production in nursing mothers and stimulates lactation
- Helps reduce inflammation and damage from stomach ulcers
- Protects and strengthens the kidneys
- Natural treatment for insomnia
- Relaxes muscles and relieves spasms
Chamomile treats mental and physical ailments. It has a calming effect, settling the mind and allowing you to relax. It also relaxes the muscles, relieving stress-related tension in the body. Drink chamomile to reduce anxiety and soften your body.
The calming effect of chamomile tea works topically -- soothing irritation and inflammation. Chamomile flowers applied to the skin can reduce redness.
Drinking chamomile tea can ease IBS symptoms, bloating, and digestive discomfort. Drinking chamomile after a meal can also aid the digestive process.
The dainty chamomile flower has a rich history. Depictions of chamomile flowers adorn hieroglyphics from ancient Egypt. Nobles crushed chamomile for cosmetics.
Chamomile was a significant ingredient in the embalming fluid for mummifying pharaohs. The bright flower was associated with Ra, the sun god, and the creator.
The etymology of the name "chamomile" traces back to the Ancient Greek "chamomaela" or "ground apple." The sweet smell and taste of chamomile probably awarded it such a name.
Dioscorides, a prominent physician during the reign of Nero, is said to have used chamomile as a treatment for digestive, nervous, and liver diseases.
In ancient Rome, Pliny found similar medicinal uses for the herb; he used it to treat liver and kidney inflammation. In the Anglo-Saxon settlements of ancient England, chamomile was held in very high esteem and dubbed one of the nine sacred herbs.
How It Grows
Chamomile is a hearty herb that grows well in many different climates. It is native to Eastern Europe. However, chamomile is now cultivated globally. Hungary and India are the significant chamomile producers today.
How To Drink
Choose high-quality organic leaves when selecting chamomile tea for medicinal properties. Whole leaf, organic chamomile is the most potent availability of flavonoids and volatile oils. Loose leaf chamomile tea will provide more nutrients than crushed flowers available in bag form.
A filter that provides space for the leaves to become fully immersed will help to extract the most out of the leaves. The recommended brewing temperature is boiling, or 212 degrees. Steep from 5 to 7 minutes.
Brewed chamomile also has aromatherapeutic benefits. Chamomile scent is calming and relaxing.
Chamomile has a natural sweetness. Honey or raw sugar can enhance the sweetness already present in the brew. It also tastes quite nice with a splash of milk or cream and takes on a light, refreshing flavor -- like milk and honey!
If you use chamomile for its sleep-inducing and calming properties, be wary of adding too much sweetener, as sugar has a stimulating effect.
List of Contraindications and Side Effects
Studies have proven chamomile to be a safe treatment for babies. There is a lot of conflicting information regarding the safety of consuming chamomile tea while pregnant. For this, it is best to consult with your doctor.
Chamomile is in the daisy family, and individuals allergic to ragweed or pollen may also be allergic to chamomile.
Chamomile tea can cause a multiplier effect when taken with anxiolytics (prescription anxiety medications), specifically benzodiazepines. Chamomile can also increase the effects of anticoagulant medications. For safety, consult your doctor if taking these prescription medications.
A Cup Of Calm
Brewing up a cup of chamomile can be a soothing experience. Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties make it a healthy drink that can benefit everything from digestion to the skin! It will soothe you if you're stressed at work or can't fall asleep at home.
Being well-rested and calm eases the mind and body, leading to overall well-being. Why not steep a hot mug of chamomile and simmer down?