Chamomile Tea– we have a history, you and I. During those high school years when I’d stay up reading till 3-AM, you were my mother’s #1 weapon in her war on my insomnia. When I waited tables until well past 2 in the morning, you were the only thing to wind me down, allowing me to get to sleep sometime before dawn. And when full-blown panic-attacks strike in the middle of the night, you’re the best thing to get me back to bed.
I swear, chamomile has super-powers.
Chamomile- or camomile- actually refers to a variety of different daisy-like plants, which are a member of the Asteraceae family. Though there are several varieties, the two most common are German chamomile (Marticaria recutita) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). Most notably known as a sleep-aid, the herb actually has a number of health benefits. Recent and on-going research has confirmed the validity of many of the herb’s ancient uses- dating back as far as ancient Egypt and Greece. Some of the recently verified properties of chamomile include:
- muscle relaxant
According to HerbWisdom.com, “The plant’s healing properties come from its daisy-like flowers, which contain volatile oils (including bisabolol, bisabolol oxides A and B, and matricin) as well as flavonoids (particularly a compound called apigenin) and other therapeutic substances.”
Don’t have the yard space to grow your own Chamomile? Check out our Guide to Container Herb Gardening
As a tea, chamomile not only acts as a sleep-aid, relaxant, and anti-anxiety aid, but also promotes healthy digestion, alleviates symptoms of asthma, allergies, and colds, and combats nausea (including morning sickness in pregnancy). It can also help ease soreness, tension and cramping in muscles, including menstrual cramps. Got some extra tea? Let it cool, soak cotton rounds in the tea, and use it as a compress to soothe tired, irritated eyes.
Salves made of chamomile are excellent for use as a lip balm, for treating diaper rash on your little ones, or for healing dry, cracked cuticles. (Okay, now I have to make it- my cuticles are begging for it!) The mixture can also help speed the healing of wounds, skin ulcers, hemorrhoids, and burns. Check this amazing salve recipe from Marmee’s Pantry for overnight healing help!
Most mouthwashes are full of alcohol and flouride, and have that overwhelming minty taste. But a chamomile mouthwash is significantly milder, and skips all the chemicals! Make your own by steeping a chamomile tea-bag in a cup of boiling water for roughly five minutes. Add two teaspoons of vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, and let the mixture cool. Store in a sealing container, rinse as normal. This mix will give you the same fresh, clean feeling as store-bought mouthwashes, but with some added benefit- chamomile will reduce inflammation and pain, speed the healing of mouth sores, and help prevent gum disease!