Chamomile, a common name for several daisy-like plants of the family Asteraceae, is not just your average wildflower. This seemingly unassuming blossom holds a wealth of benefits that might surprise you. Known for its calming properties when brewed as a tea, chamomile is a household name worldwide. But did you know it can do so much more?
From skincare to hair care, aromatherapy to digestive health, chamomile has been cherished for centuries due to its multitude of applications. In this article, we explore some surprising uses for chamomile so you can get the most from this helpful little herb.
The History and Origins of Chamomile
Chamomile is a delicate and aromatic herb that has been used for centuries for its therapeutic and calming properties. Its origins can be traced back to ancient Egypt, where it was considered a sacred herb and was often used in religious ceremonies. The herb was also used by the Romans for its soothing effects and was even used by soldiers to heal their wounds. Chamomile was also used in traditional medicine practices of Greece and Rome and was believed to have curative powers for a range of ailments, from digestive issues to anxiety.
Today, chamomile is still a popular herb that can be found in teas, aromatherapy products, and even skincare. Its history and origins have shaped its reputation as a powerful and natural remedy for overall health and well-being.
Types of Chamomile
There are various types of chamomile plants. Two of the most common types used today are German chamomile and Roman chamomile. German chamomile has a slightly bitter taste and is often used in teas, whilst Roman chamomile has a sweeter taste and is often used in aromatherapy and skin care products. Both types of chamomile are known for their soothing properties, although they each exhibit subtle therapeutic differences.
Chamomile as a Soothing Tea
Perhaps the best-known use for chamomile is as a soothing tea, with a pleasantly sweet, floral flavour. A popular choice for winding down before bed or during times of stress, chamomile tea is especially helpful in calming an upset stomach, easing menstrual cramps, and promoting relaxation.
This tea is made by infusing dried chamomile flowers in hot water, which releases the plant’s volatile oils and subtle flavours. So, whether you are looking for a bedtime ritual or a way to unwind, consider brewing a cup of chamomile tea.
Care for Sensitive Skin
Chamomile tea has amazing benefits for your skin too! This wonder herb is known for its calming effects, but did you know that it also has anti-inflammatory properties? Chamomile has been used for centuries to soothe irritated skin, reduce redness and promote healing, which explains why it is found in many skincare products.
Ideal for those with sensitive skin, chamomile can help reduce redness and puffiness, leaving you with a more even skin tone and a refreshed complexion. Make your own soothing chamomile toner by brewing some tea and letting it cool down. Then, apply the toner on your face with a cotton pad and let it dry.
Try incorporating chamomile into your skincare routine and see for yourself how it can benefit your skin’s health.
A Soothing Sleep Aid
As well as a soothing cup of bedtime tea, chamomile can be used as a sleep aid in other ways too.
Chamomile sleep pillows are stuffed with dried chamomile flowers and can be placed under your pillow or near your head to release their calming aroma. Made in much the same way as a lavender bag, simply stuff the dried flowers into a muslin bag (these are easy to get hold of already made for you) and place it inside your pillowcase.
Not only does chamomile have a soothing scent, but it also has natural relaxation properties that can help you feel more at ease as you try to sleep. Plus, with a chamomile sleep pillow, you don’t have to worry about any negative side effects as you might with sleeping pills.
Naturally Healthy Hair Care
Nature has always provided us with great alternatives to synthetic chemicals. And chamomile is one such ingredient that can work wonders for healthy hair. Natural anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, it can help prevent dandruff and other scalp-related issues. It is also known to soothe and condition hair, leaving it with a healthy shine.
Applying chamomile tea or oil to your hair can fortify it, making it less prone to breakage and split ends. Simply use cooled chamomile tea as a final rinse when washing your hair.
Using Chamomile in Your Cooking
The sweet floral flavour of chamomile goes a lot further than just tea, and it can be used in cooking in many interesting ways. With its slightly sweet and apple-like taste, it is a perfect addition to desserts like cakes and cookies. Use it to infuse oils, vinegar, and syrups. For savoury dishes, chamomile can also be added to marinades or used as a rub for meat or fish. With chamomile, the possibilities are endless. So next time you’re looking to enhance the flavour of a dish, consider reaching for this unexpected ingredient.
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