How To Make Chamomile Tea?
Whether you are looking forward to a relaxing cup of chamomile tea to ease away the frustrations of your day, or want to use it to brighten your hair or to treat dark circles under the eyes, knowing how to harvest, dry and prepare the tea is important.
How to Make Chamomile Tea From Flowers
Fresh chamomile flowers can be used right from the garden to make a quick, organic herbal tea. It can be served either hot or iced and flavored with a little honey or other sweetener. Add mint or a touch of lemon for added flavor.
- Pick the flowers early in the morning when the oils are the strongest.
- Soak the fresh flowers in a bowl of cold water for several minutes to remove debris or insects.
- Scoop away any plant debris that floats to the top of the bowl and rinse the flowers under running water.
- Heat a pot of water to boiling and then let it cool for a few minutes. Chamomile releases the best flavor in hot – but not boiling – water.
- Pour the water into a container and add 4 tablespoons of fresh chamomile flowers per 8 ounces of water.
- Allow the flowers to steep in the hot water for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Strain the flowers and discard.
- Flavor your tea with a touch of honey. Add lemon or mint if desired.
Drying Chamomile Flowers for Tea
To preserve your chamomile flowers for making tea in the winter, you will need to dry the flowers. You can do this by either air drying or using your oven as a dehydrator. Here’s what you need to know.
Air Drying Instructions – Air drying your chamomile is a simple process.
- Pick the flowers in the morning after the dew has dried.
- Cut the stems to a length of 4 to 6 inches, depending on the size of your plants. The stems must be long enough to make a bouquet of flowers.
- Gather the stems together in small bundles of 4 to 8 stems and tie them with twine or wrap them with an elastic.
- Hang the bundles upside down in a dry, well-ventilated area to dry. It may take your chamomile several weeks to dry thoroughly, depending on the size of your bundles and the humidity level.
- Check the bundles frequently and turn them so that all sides dry completely. The flowers should be brittle when completely dry.
- Remove the flower heads from the stems and store them in an airtight container.
- Place them in a cool, dark area.
Oven Drying Instructions – Oven drying is a quicker method and works well with small batches of chamomile flowers.
- Pick the flower heads in the morning after the dew has dried on the plants.
- Clean the flowers, removing any insects or plant debris.
- Spread the flowers out on a baking sheet, allowing space between flowers.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven.
- Turn off the oven and leave the door cracked to allow excess heat and moisture to escape.
- Check the flowers frequently and stir them with a wooden spoon so that they dry evenly.
- Remove the dried flowers from the oven and allow them to cool.
- Store the flowers in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
Making Chamomile Tea from Dried Flowers or Tea Bags
Making tea from dried chamomile flowers (or tea bags) differs slightly from making chamomile tea from fresh flowers. Follow these steps.
- Bring a kettle of water to a boil and let it cool slightly.
- Add 2 tablespoons of dried chamomile flowers (or one tea bag) to each 8 ounces of water. You may wish to use a diffuser, but you can steep loose chamomile in the water and strain it before serving, if you don’t have a diffuser.
- Allow the tea to steep for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove the diffuser or tea bags. Strain the dried flowers, if you used loose tea without a diffuser.
- Serve with sweetener or flavoring for your favorite recipe for herbal tea.
Other Uses for Chamomile Tea
If you want to use your chamomile tea to lighten or brighten you hair, or to smooth out skin tones, follow the directions for steeping the tea and allow it to cool. Do not add sweeteners. Use the tea as a rinse on you hair or soak a soft cloth in the tea and use it as a compress to soothe tired eyes and even out skin tones.