Through the ages, chamomile (tea) has been a vital ingredient in homoeopathic medicine. This amber-hued liquid is believed to aid in preventing a number of ailments and recently, more and more researchers are looking into the many health benefits of this herbal infusion. However, even though chamomile has become a household name in today’s day and age, not many people know too much about these tiny daisy-like flowers. Read all about this nutritious flower on our guide to chamomile tea.
What is Chamomile?
Chamomile is a herb from the Asteraceae family and has several flowers which resemble daisies. There are two main species of chamomile, German chamomile and Roman chamomile. While the two share certain similarities from appearance to uses and benefits, there are a few significant differences too.
Roman chamomile is perennial, meaning that it lasts for a long time as it’s continually recurring. German chamomile is annual and must be planted every year. Also, taste-wise, Roman chamomile tends to be a little bitter while German chamomile is slightly sweeter.
History of Chamomile
This hazel coloured liquid has been famed for its healing properties since the time of the ancient Egyptians and Romans. During ancient times, people used this ‘flower of wonders’ in teas, balms, creams, incenses, and other beverages, and now you can even get it in the form of a tablet. Roman chamomile was named after a 19th-century botanist who found this herb flourishing around the Colosseum.
Did you know?
Although the commonly used term is “chamomile tea”, this herbal brew is not a tea but an infusion. In reality, this herbal ‘tea’ does not have tea in it at all.
How Chamomile (Tea) is Made
Unlike black tea or green tea which is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, chamomile tea is made from the actual chamomile flower and the tea plant is not present in this brew. Once the flowers are plucked, they are then dried, which helps concentrate the flavour and change the white flowers to a mustard yellow like its centre. After the flowers are dried, they are then packed into tea bags or as loose chamomile (tea).
How to Brew Chamomile (Tea)
When brewing tea, it is always best to follow the brewing instructions given on the packaging. Here are a few instructions to follow when brewing your chamomile (tea).
- Boil 220 ml (one cup) of spring water to a temperature of 95℃ - 100℃.
- Add one tea bag or 2.5g chamomile flowers to the hot water. If you’re using loose chamomile flowers, you’ll need a tea strainer or infuser-- check out our blog for 5 things any tea lover must-have.
- Cover the teacup with a saucer and let it steep for 3-5 minutes, until the hot water turns amber.
- Serve and enjoy. If you need a bit of sweetness, a dash of honey or sugar can be added.
Health Benefits of Chamomile (Tea)
This unassuming flower has many health benefits, not only is it rich in antioxidants, but it is also caffeine-free, making it the perfect drink to help tackle insomnia. Here are more health benefits of chamomile (tea):
- Reduces menstrual pain
Drinking chamomile can also help reduce menstrual cramps. A study showed that drinking this herbal infusion regularly can reduce menstrual cramps.
- Treating diabetes and lower blood sugar
Although chamomile may not be a suitable substitute for diabetes medication, the herbal infusion can help lower blood sugar levels and can even reduce the long-term risk of diabetes.
- Reducing inflammation
Inflammation occurs due to an immune system reaction to fight infection and it can be quite painful. Chamomile contains chemical compounds which aid in reducing inflammation too.
- Treatment of mild skin conditions
Studies show that chamomile-extract helps in healing damaged skin. While topical creams with chamomile extract can also aid in reducing eczema, it should not be used as a medical alternative.
- Help induce sleep & reduce anxiety
It is widely believed that chamomile aids in tackling insomnia, a study showed that 10 out of 12 cardiovascular patients are said to have fallen asleep shortly after drinking chamomile tea.
Note - keep in mind that there are sufficient clinical studies conducted to evaluate the health benefits of chamomile (tea). While trials are still in the preliminary stages, the findings aren’t conclusive. It has been apparent that individuals who are allergic to other flowers and herbs from the Asteraceae family faced similar reactions drinking chamomile or applying it topically.
This herbal infusion is certainly a miracle elixir with many healing properties, but ultimately the best thing about chamomile (tea) is that it is a drink for any time of the day. For your own cup of liquid gold try Dilmah’s T-Series Pure Chamomile.