So a tea that is comforting, delicious, calming, caffeine-free, AND good for you? Say no more!!
Truly a tisane that warms your soul and treats the eyes, the admired Chamomile is everything you need and more. But the humble Matricaria chamomilla doesn’t stop at merely teleporting you to a parallel dimension where everything is calm, serene, and tranquil, it is packed with an abundance of health benefits that we simply cannot stop talking about! So if you’re a Chamomile junkie yourself, stick around for some fascinating unsung health benefits it offers and if you’re a newbie then jump on the bandwagon ‘cause you’re in for a tea-t (sorry).
WHAT EVEN IS CHAMOMILE TEA?
Dated back to the 11th century, the Chamomile plant has only grown in popularity over the hundreds of decades that followed. This exquisite plant has been trusted and used as a medicinal product ever since and never really went out of style. With a striking yellow disc surrounded by dense ivory-colored rays, the Chamomile flowers itself look like little daisies and happen to be widely available today in two variants – Roman and German Chamomile. Roman type of Chamomile has a characteristic long stem and a peculiar well-rounded, apple liquor while the German variety grows closer to the ground and adorns a sweet taste. Between the two, it is commonplace for Roman Chamomile to be found easily year-round and that’s what people predominantly consume.
With slight variation between the two types, the overall health benefits of Chamomile tea in terms of what Roman, German versions offer to us remain the same. While most of the plant can be safely devoured and enjoyed, the alluring, picturesque flower is where all the magic lies. The flowers are plucked and then dried in a moisture-free, dark environment for about 2 weeks before making delectable infusions. Even among the other phenomenal herbs such as peppermint, lavender, and Jasmine, Chamomile has always been a big hit when it comes to taste, aroma as well as the array of medicinal properties it carries. We can certainly testify that because no joke, Chamomile tea is in a league of its own and we just can’t seem to get enough of it!
From physical relief to mental stability, the health benefits of Chamomile tea are innumerable. Thousands years of using Chamomile and ten thousand research papers later, here are some solid evidence-based health benefits of Chamomile tea.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF CHAMOMILE TEA
Improves sleep quality
For eons and eons, Chamomile tea has been synonymous with sleep whether we’re talking prompting sleep, bettering the quality of sleep, or curing insomnia. Needless to say, extensive research and studies have been done and proved the same based on randomized group experiments, human trials etc. It is said that the antioxidants in Chamomile (apigenin in this case), binds to receptors in the brain thus inducing sleep. The majority of the studies have been done as randomized controlled trials and while keeping other factors as consistent as possible, those that consumed Chamomile tea at least 45 minutes before snoozing slept better. Although more studies should prove the effectiveness of these facts, the already existing research is fool-proof. The fact that this herb is 100% caffeine-free also of course helps a lot!
Contains antioxidants that help reduce the risk of cancer
The importance of antioxidants is well known and although our body internally produces them to combat and neutralize cell-damaging free radicals, the intake of antioxidants through our food becomes very essential. Primarily, high oxidative stress levels in the body due to certain types of food cause a significant influx in such free radicals. Chamomile tea happens to be absolutely loaded with such antioxidants and terpenoids particularly apigenin, quercetin, patuletin, and luteolin. Several studies have shown a substantial impact of these compounds on the health of individuals. Cancer-causing cells and mutations in DNA are a result of an influx of free radicals in the body. At a point where the innately produced antioxidants aren’t enough to stop cell damage, ingestion from other sources becomes crucial. When the external source is as harmless as Chamomile tea, it’s certainly a win-win. Many extensive studies have shown that drinking a few cups of Chamomile a day may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer such as thyroid cancer, breast cancer, liver cancer etc. Most definitely not a cure for cancer, but including Chamomile in your diet may help combat the occurrence of the same.
Helps control diabetes
In diabetic patients, maintaining and controlling glycemic index is vital to keep blood sugar in check. In addition to this, oxidative stress caused by certain foods, obesity, smoking, alcohol etc. is a simple juncture to Type-2 diabetes. Consuming Chamomile tea has been shown to reduce levels of glycosylated hemoglobin and insulin. Even a short term intake of this tea helped improve glycemic control and reduced oxidative stress notably.
The anti-inflammatory properties of flavonoids present in Chamomile tea also help avoid damage to the pancreatic cells. According to many evidence-based studies, apigenin shows anti-inflammatory properties giving Chamomile a serious edge in health aid.
Helps with anxiety and depression
Many studies have shown the effects of Chamomile tea on anxiety and depressing stating that this herb helps control the intensity of these disorders. Although inconclusive, some randomized trials have shown promise and evidence of the same.
Helps with digestion
Owing to the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties of Chamomile, studies indicated the effect of this herb concerning stomach ulcers, nausea and digestion. Most studies have been positive in this regard.
Helps with oral health
Terpenoids and flavonoids present in Chamomile have been shown to have antimicrobial, antibacterial properties. Based on this evidence, research has been done and shown a positive effect of Chamomile on oral health and especially in the treatment of oral mucosal lesions.
PREPARATION AND STORAGE OF CHAMOMILE TEA
As modest as this beautiful herb is, that simple is its preparation and storage. The Roman Chamomile grows abundantly and can certainly be a fun addition to your home garden. A plant that gives you multiple harvests a year, these flowers are easy to pick and very low maintenance making them an ideal choice.
Chamomile flowers are harvested when the climate is cool and dry to avoid any moisture and dew that could mess with the drying process. Although the stems of the flower are certainly usable, they tend to not have a ton of liquor and certainly none as compared to the burst of flavors and versatility that the flowers offer. Once harvested, the flowers are spread out and left in the sun for an hour so bugs and other small insects crawl out leaving behind the tender, beautiful flowers. These flowers are then placed in an airing cupboard for about 2 weeks during which the flowers dry out completely and release a pleasant but prominent dried apple smell. That’s when we know, it’s time!!
At this point, we can hardly contain our excitement so we’re all set with our favorite tea setup ready to devour this goodness! A single glance, a small whiff, and a nice sip later, we’re amazed…again! Truly a magic portion, we can think of no reason why you should miss out on an experience so Calm-omiling!
Here’s a quick recipe to prepare traditional Chamomile tea
- Heat about 1 cup of water. Turn off your kettle just before the water begins to boil.
- Use 1 teaspoon of either self-harvested or store-bought Chamomile flowers and add them to your infuser.
- Pour your hot water and let the flowers infuse for about 10 minutes.
- All ready. Slurp away!
Other ways to enjoy Chamomile tea
Even though this one is best enjoyed plain, go to town with add-ins and substitutions. We’d recommend a teaspoon of honey, a dash of vanilla essence, a squeeze of lemon or even a small handful of dried herbs. If you fancy a refreshing, cooling drink, you can also add some ice to your infusion and enjoy it cold because why not!
Kombucha is a miraculous preparation with so many health benefits. Although predominantly prepared using tea, it can be prepared with herbs as well. Tried and tested, Herbucha (we love that name!) is delicious and Chamomile flowers happen to be a brilliant choice to make it.
Chamomile bubble tea is a thing and believe it or not, it tastes superb! Given the soft subtle notes that Chamomile offers, adding in milk, condensed milk and some tapioca pearls give so much character to this herbal infusion.
No matter how you choose to enjoy the glorious Chamomile tea, you can’t miss the sweet, subtle taste that lingers wonderfully on your palate. An enticing, ideal option for any time of day, if you tried it once, Chamomile will undoubtedly become a pantry staple. Seriously, we can vouch for that!
Therein lies the beauty of Chamomile, perfectly justifying its ever-growing popularity and relevance. Absolutely everything about this tea screams calmness, serenity and health making it a favorite among tea enthusiasts. Although certainly not a substitute for medication when it comes to severe insomnia, anxiety and inflammation, the health benefits of Chamomile tea are very prominent. We’d suggest you allow this prodigious herb to make its way through your day! One of those rare teas that offer a wholesome experience in every sense of the word, wind down and cease your day the right way or should we say the ‘Chamomile way’!