The benefits of chamomile are soothing, calming and may support a variety of needs. Want to try it for yourself? Find out about its risks, benefits and how to choose a brand that’s right for you. From dried or fresh flowers to a simple teabag from the store, get all the details here.Jump to Recipe
I’ve been growing my own chamomile for a while and one thing is sure: The real dried version is delicious. Bright with natural perfumes and oils, I’d argue it’s as good to just sit and smell as it is to drink.
But if you don’t grow your own, worry not. You can still get lots of benefits from this small but mighty flower in a store bought version.
What is chamomile?
Ahhh Chamomile. Mom gave it to you when you were sick. Maybe you reached for a cup when you were having a hard time sleeping. Maybe a friend recommended its use to soothe a rash.
What’s the story behind this calming plant?
Chamomile is a daisy-like flower that has been known by mankind for over 5,000 years for its healing properties. It is native to Europe, India, and Asia, but can be found in abundance in the United States…and really anywhere it can get enough direct sun exposure, a bit of water (not too much), and some well-draining soil.
There are many varieties, all with unique characteristics, uses, and origins. Two stand out most boldly for their health benefits; German Chamomile and Roman Chamomile, also known as English Chamomile.
Both render the healing compound chamazulene, with German Chamomile boasting a bit more.
What are the benefits of chamomile?
Chamomile has numerous health benefits. It has been used for thousands of years to mitigate digestive maladies as well as discomforts caused by inflammation.
Chamomile is thought to be useful in inducing sleepiness, managing diabetes, and promoting heart health. In addition, chamomile can serve as an antioxidant, aiding the body in cleansing itself of harmful agents.
It even does its part in adding beneficial goodies to the body with its trace amounts of calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, cadmium, and vitamin A.
Who should not drink chamomile
While chamomile has some awesome healing properties when consumed properly and not in excess, it is important to note that those with allergies to the daisy family or severe ragweed allergies should steer clear.
In addition, it is not recommended to use chamomile while pregnant or breastfeeding, nor is it safe for consumption by those taking blood thinning medication or medications that have blood thinning side effects, such as ibuprofen.
Curious about whether or not chamomile is safe for you? Ask your doctor!
How much is safe to drink?
“Everything in moderation”, they say. Including chamomile. It is not recommended to drink more than 4 cups of chamomile per day in tea form nor above 1200mg per day in capsule form.
Overuse can cause vomiting and other nasty side effects.
Does chamomile make you sleepy?
Chamomile promotes sleepiness and can be a great tool in fighting insomnia! It contains a chemical compound called apigenin that works wonders on a sleepless mind.
Where to buy chamomile tea
As with any substance you are putting into your body, especially for healing purposes, it is important to prioritize quality. When selecting your chamomile tea, aim for organic and check that it has been tested for metals and pesticides.
You also want to choose a brand that doesn’t use microplastics in their tea bags.
How to grow your own
As noted above, chamomile is highly adaptable and will take over wherever it gets a chance. Many even refer to it as a weed! With this being the case, it is not a tricky plant to grow yourself. Head on over to your local nursery and grab a pouch of seeds!
German chamomile is the classic plant grown for tea, so make sure to check the label carefully. You can also find seeds online. We recommend Eden Brothers.
Once you have procured your seeds, put on your gardening gloves and get to planting! Here is an awesome guide for growing chamomile. More of a visual person? This guide includes a video! Happy gardening!
How to dry flowers
Chamomile flowering? Ready to make tea!? You are welcome to do so with fresh flowers, but many prefer to dry their chamomile.
Simply lay your flowers on a piece of clean paper and place them in a warm, dry place until “crispy”. Once dried completely, store in an airtight container, such as a mason jar. You can also use a dehydrator or an oven to dry your chamomile more quickly. Gardening Know How provides great instructions here.
- 2 tbsp dried chamomile flowers (1 tea bag or 4 tbsp fresh chamomile flowers)
- 1 quart almost boiling water
- 1 teaspoon raw honey optional for sweetness
- Pour over flowers and let steep to desired strength; 5-10 minutes
- Flavor with honey or maple syrup if desired