If you’re looking for a natural way to unwind and relax after a long day, chamomile tea is a great option. With its subtle sweetness and calming properties, chamomile tea has become a popular bedtime drink. It can be found in most households, providing a quick and easy way to slip into sweet relaxation.
Identifying the Best Chamomile Tea
While there are three main types of chamomile tea, they are often sold interchangeably. However, this doesn’t mean that all chamomile teas are created equal. If you want to reap all the health benefits of chamomile tea, it’s important to identify the best one.
What is Chamomile Tea?
Chamomile tea is an herbal tea that’s made from the flowers and buds of the chamomile plant, which belongs to the daisy family Asteraceae. It’s naturally caffeine-free, gluten-free, and has become a popular bedtime tea due to its soothing and calming properties. The tea is brewed by infusing pure chamomile flowers in hot water.
A Brief History of Chamomile Tea
The ancient Egyptians used chamomile tea to treat fever and as an ingredient in cosmetics, while the ancient Romans used it as a traditional medicinal to cure digestive and skin ailments. During medieval times, chamomile was used as a scenting agent during public ceremonies and as a flavoring agent for beer.
Flavor and Aroma
Chamomile tea has a unique flavor and aroma, offering herbal and fruity notes with a refreshing, smooth finish. It’s often described as having a taste similar to a crisp apple, which is why it derives its name from the Greek words “chamaimelon,” meaning ‘ground apple’ or ‘earth apple’. The tea has a light, airy taste with a sweet aromatic scent, and is light yellow in color.
Health Benefits of Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea is renowned for its calming properties, making it an excellent choice for people experiencing stress and anxiety. The tea increases serotonin and melatonin levels, two hormones that alleviate feelings of stress and promote relaxation.
Boosts Immune Health
The antibacterial properties of chamomile tea prevent pathogens from taking root and making you sick. Drinking the tea can also help clear congested sinuses and soothe sore throats.
Chamomile tea has long been used to treat digestive problems such as colic in children, relieve gas, and prevent stomach ulcers. The tea’s anti-inflammatory properties can also prevent diarrhea.
Good for Skin
Chamomile tea has natural polyphenols and phytochemicals that speed up scar healing, minimize wrinkles, and reduce breakouts. The tea’s antioxidant activity eliminates free radicals that cause oxidative stress.
Best Chamomile Tea Types
This type of chamomile is the highest quality grade of chamomile tea, and it is known for its earthy flavor with fruity undertones. The rich, fertile soil of the Nile valley makes Egyptian chamomile more full-bodied and smooth than other chamomile teas.
German chamomile flowers offer a subtle apple flavor that is suitable for most tastes. German chamomile plants contain higher concentrations of chamazulene and bisabolol, making it slightly healthier than its Roman alternative. German chamomile is often blended with green tea and other herbs due to its subtle flavor profile.
Roman chamomile is known for its bolder, slightly bitter taste than German chamomile. The plant has silver-white flowers, thicker leaves, and grows to about 12 inches high. It is best suited for stronger tea drinkers and more nuanced palettes.
Fresh Chamomile Tea
A freshly brewed cup of chamomile tea using organic chamomile flowers harvested from your own garden, purchased online, or found at a local farmer’s market is the best option. Always look for certified USDA organic flowers when brewing from scratch and avoid using chamomile flowers that grow near industrial businesses or along roadways.