Harvest Box: Tea with Chamomile
On 24, Aug 2019 | In Recipes | By Jin
By Guilaine Boyce, Holistic Nutritionist
A member of the huge Asteraceae family, chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.) is highly prized in herbal medicine and a familiar flower found in many sleepy time tea formulations. Chamomile’s well-known relaxing effect on the nerves extends beyond banishing insomnia to the treatment anxiety. Clinical trials have demonstrated the efficacy of chamomile extract in reducing the symptoms of general anxiety disorder compared to a placebo therapy1,2 with an effect comparable to conventional anti-anxiety pharmaceuticals3.
In herbal medicine, the sedative, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and carminative properties of chamomile are specifically employed in the treatment of gastrointestinal (GI) disturbances related to nervous irritability like irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis and colic4,5. Moreover, the mild bitterness of chamomile helps to stimulate appetite and promote digestion5,6.
Chamomile is also a star in the cosmetic world and extensively used in topical applications5,7. Chamomile’s soothing anti-inflammatory and wound-healing attributes make this herb especially valuable in treating itchy, inflamed skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema5. Moreover, chamomile can help to stabilize histamine levels in allergies and relieve itchy skin8. This excellent, all-round herb is very safe to use in both adults and children4 except in cases of known allergies to the Asteraceae family.
Drying chamomile flowers:
- Spread the fresh chamomile flowers in an even single layer on clean paper or screen mesh and leave to dry in a cool, well-ventilated, non-humid spot away from direct sunlight.
- Your blossoms should take 4 -7 days to dry depending on their moisture content and drying environment. When the blossoms feel crunchy to the touch, they are fully dried.
Dehydrator: If available, a dehydrator can accelerate the drying process from days to hours.
- Spread the fresh chamomile flowers in an even single layer in the dehydrator and leave to dehydrate on the lowest setting. Feel the flowers for a dry, crunchy texture to gauge when they are done.
Brewing chamomile tea:
- For each cup of near-boiling (950C) water, use 4 tsp of fresh chamomile flowers or 2 tsp of dried flowers. You can always adjust the amount of flowers used to suit your personal taste.
- Cover your tea with a lid or saucer to prevent the escape of the chamomile volatile oils. Steep tea for 3-5 min and then remove used flowers.
- If desired, add honey to sweeten (start with 1 tsp).
- Your tea is ready to enjoy!
- Mao, J. J.et al. Long-term Chamomile (Matricaria chamomillaL.) treatment for generalized anxiety disorder: A randomized clinical trial. Phytomedicine 23, 1735–1742 (2016).
- Amsterdam, J. D.et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral Matricaria recutita (chamomile) extract therapy for generalized anxiety disorder. J Clin Psychopharmacol 29, 378–382 (2009).
- Keefe, J. R., Mao, J. J., Soeller, I., Li, Q. S. & Amsterdam, J. D. Short-term open-label Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.) therapy of moderate to severe generalized anxiety disorder.Phytomedicine 23, 1699–1705 (2016).
- Marciano, M. & Vizniak, N. A.Botanical Medicine. (Professional Health Systems, 2016).
- Srivastava, J. K., Shankar, E. & Gupta, S. Chamomile : A herbal medicine of the past with bright future.Mol Med Report. 3, 895–901 (2010).
- Valussi, M. Functional foods with digestion-enhancing properties.Int J Food Sci Nutr. 63:sup 1, 82–89 (2012).
- Singh, O., Khanam, Z., Misra, N. & Srivastava, M. K. Chamomile ( Matricaria chamomilla L .): An overview.Pharmacogn Rev. 5, 82–95 (2011).
- Chandrashekhar, V. M.et al. Anti-allergic activity of German chamomile ( Matricaria recutita L .) in mast cell mediated allergy model. J. Ethnopharmacol. 137, 336–340 (2011).