What is Chamomile?
Hi, I’m Annie Barn, the editor of the first web site dedicated to chamomile and its many uses in our lives today. Whether you already experienced the soothing benefits of chamomile while drinking a cup of herbal tea or are interested in essential oils or tinctures, this plant has much to teach us.
Medicinal or herbal chamomile includes two similar plants with the common name chamomile. Both belong to the aster family, but they are two separate genus.
Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) is native to Northern Ireland and northwestern Europe, while German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is native to southern and eastern Europe. In addition, Roman chamomile is a perennial plant that returns each year, while German chamomile is an annual that dies off at the end of the season.
What is Chamomile Used For?
Chamomile has been used for medical, cosmetic and aesthetic reasons for thousands of years. The health benefits of chamomile have been revered since the ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians. The flower was used as an air freshener to mask odors or to perfume ceremonies and celebrations.
Chamomile essential oil is a staple in aromatherapy. It has also been used in the bath to add fragrance, soften skin and to reduce stress and induce relaxation. Infusions have been inhaled to clear sinuses and tea has been consumed for both its healing properties and for its flavor and aroma.
Chamomile tea has been used to treat female problems since ancient times and is thought to reduce menstrual cramps and regulate periods. It has antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties, making it suitable for treating skin problems, cuts, abrasion and wounds.
How Do You Use Chamomile?
Chamomile can be used in a variety of ways.
- Fresh or dried chamomile can be used to make herbal teas or added to the bath to promote rest and relaxation at the end of a stressful day.
- Chamomile tea can be consumed to boost the immune system (or because it tastes good), as a gargle to soothe sore throats or treat gingivitis, as a rinse to brighten or lighten blonde hair, or as a tonic for the face to reduce the appearance of dark circles under the eyes and even out skin tones.
- Poultices made from ground chamomile and water can be applied to wounds or achy joints to relieve pain and speed healing.
- Inhaling the fumes of chamomile is thought to clear sinuses and ease the pain of ear infections.
Check out our chamomile tea recipes for more ideas on how to prepare delicious, healing herbal teas.
Where Can I Find Chamomile?
You can find fresh chamomile at produce stands and farmer’s markets, or you can grow your own in the garden. Many health food stores sell dried chamomile flowers for making tea or for adding to the bath or making a poultice.
You can also find chamomile tincture and chamomile capsules at health food stores or in the pharmacy. An assortment of commercial cosmetics such as antiseptic cream, lotion, shampoo and gel that contain chamomile can be found in the personal hygiene aisle. Candles and air fresheners containing chamomile extract are also available.
How Much Chamomile Should I Use?
The dosage of chamomile you should use depends on the form you are using.
- Tea – Steep tea by adding 2 to 4 tablespoons of chamomile per 8 ounces of water. Drink 3 or 4 cups of chamomile tea per day.
- Capsules – 300 to 400mg taken three times a day
- Tincture – 30 to 60 drops three times a day
- Bath – ½ cup of dried flowers per bath or 5 to 10 drops of essential oil
- Inhalation – Add ¼ cup dried or fresh chamomile flowers to a bowl of hot water and inhale the fumes to clear sinuses.
- Tea Bags – Steep one tea bag per 8 ounces of water for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the tea bags and let them cool. Apply under the eyes to reduce the appearance of dark circles.
Is Chamomile Safe?
Chamomile is extremely safe with few known side effects, but like other herbal remedies there are some precautions you should observe.
- Do not take chamomile during pregnancy as it may increase the risk of miscarriage.
- Do not give chamomile to babies or children under 5 without consulting your doctor. Although it is reportedly effective for colic, check with your doctor, as babies require a small dosage.
- Avoid inhaling chamomile if you have asthma as it may make your symptoms worse.
- Always seek the advice of your doctor if you are currently taking medications for health issues.
- Stop taking chamomile two weeks before surgery.
Using Chamomile in Lawns and Garden
Chamomile is a versatile herb that can be enjoyed for its delicate flowers and fruity scent. When planted along walkways, this plant releases fragrance as the foliage is brushed, perfuming the air with its fresh apple scent.
It can even be planted in place of lawn and kept mowed short. Nowadays, chamomile lawns make an attractive alternative to regular grass lawns to save water and be more eco-friendly. It attracts butterflies and flying insects to the garden.
Does it Matter if I Buy (or Use) Roman or German Chamomile?
Both Roman and German chamomile are thought to contain healing properties and they are used in the same way to treat the same diseases. Although the plants are different, for the purpose of herbal remedies, essential oils, and tea, they can be used interchangeably. Unless you wish to grow chamomile in your garden, the differences between the two plants are minimal and of little consequence.
Gardeners, of course, may prefer one over the other due to the growing habits and appearance of the plants. Roman chamomile tends to form a low ground cover making it ideal for rock gardens, edgings or even between pavers or around the patio where it will return each year to add fragrance and visual interest to the landscape. German chamomile must be planted each year and grows taller than its Roman cousin. It is ideal for adding to containers or for tucking into empty nooks in the yard.
Related Resources on Chamomile
About the chamomile.online team
The talented team of chamomile-benefits.com has a keen interest in plants and holistic health. Together, we’ve created a site entirely dedicated to chamomile and its many benefits because we love this plant. The is the first in a series intended to promote the role of plants and herbal remedies, giving a new life to ancestral, natural ways.