Chamomile is a beloved aromatic herb perhaps most widely known for its ability to support a relaxed nervous system. While the benefits of chamomile extend well beyond helping maintain a mellow mood, the take home is generally always the same–it’s gently calming nature can be seen in all of the ways that this plant works to help maintain harmony in the body.
Along with being a classic nervous system ally, chamomile is commonly called upon to help maintain digestive and skin health, too. Its bitterness, which can range from slight to strong depending on its preparation, indicates the herb’s ability to promote various digestive secretions that tone and support digestion. This means that, when taken before food, your digestion is all primed and ready to properly breakdown and assimilate the nutrients from your food. Taken after meals, it can provide gentle relief from occasional heartburn and nausea. Chamomile’s aromatic attributes help soothe occasional gas and bloating so that you can enjoy your food even when it’s challenged your digestive system.
Chamomile is traditionally thought of as a cooling herb and one that supports a healthy inflammatory response when used topically. Like other bitter-tasting herbs, it also supports healthy liver function. The combination of these attributes makes it a trusted standby for helping maintain clear, healthy skin. Chamomile hydrosol, for example, works great as facial toner.
Most of us are familiar with the gut-brain relationship at this point. The brain and the digestive system are in constant communication via the vagus nerve and the state of one affects the state of the other. Occasional tension and anxiety can leave your stomach in knots, or a rumbly tummy every so often can leave you feeling like Oscar the Grouch. When keeping the gut-brain connection in mind, we think of chamomile as the perfect balancer because of it’s gentle effect on both the nervous system and digestion. With chamomile’s support, the lines of communication can be kept in healthy harmony.
In learning of this herb’s virtues, there are so many reasons to adore and admire it. If you’ve ever grown chamomile, the time and care it takes to harvest the newly opened flowers provides yet further justification of why it is so special. It takes commitment to gather an appreciable amount of this herb–which makes it hard to be taken for granted despite its widespread use. A daily pilgrimage to harvest in the chamomile patch is a favorite summertime ritual, though one that takes discipline to maintain when life gets busy.
The following are a few of our favorite chamomile recipes–simple, tried and true. We hope you have as much fun making and using these tiny flower concoctions as we do!
Cooling Cucumber Chamomile Spritzer
Club soda (lime flavored, if possible)
One dropperful of Urban Moonshine Chamomile Bitters (or 7 sprays)
Fresh chamomile flowers, if available
Combine all of the ingredients and sip leisurely when you’re looking for a way to cool down while supporting digestion.
Chamomile Infused Oil
Infused oils are a great way to make use of your favorite herbs in a topical application. Topically, chamomile is incredibly soothing to the skin and indicated for red, irritated skin issues. It’s great in an all purpose salve, or alone. The oil is also wonderful rubbed into children’s feet before bedtime to help them unwind and prepare for restful slumber. This oil’s sweet, comforting scent is so pleasing that you may be tempted to use it as a perfume!
What You’ll Need:
Clean jar, disinfected if possible to prevent spoilage
- Start by finding the right sized jar, keeping in mind that you will need room to cover the chamomile by at least 1 inch, with an additional ½-1 ½ inches of space from the top (this allows room for the dried herb to expand).
- Add chamomile to clean, dry jar.
- Pour olive oil over the chamomile, covering it by 1 inch or a little more.
- Place jar in warm, dark place for 4-6 weeks.
- Shake the jar when so inspired to encourage the extraction and pour positivity and good intention into the infusion. Many herbalists also sing to their herbs as they shake them. 🙂
- When it comes time to decant the oil, strain through a cheesecloth, taking the time to squeeze out every last drop you can–this is precious stuff! Pour into a clean jar/jars, label and store in a cool, dark place.
Happy Belly Tea Blend
Makes 1 quart of dried, loose tea
With a mix of anti-inflammatory, carminative and toning herbs, this blend is just the thing to support a chronically unhappy belly. Drink 2-4 cups daily for best results.
1 C Tulsi
¾ C Chamomile
¾ C Meadowsweet
¾ C Gotu Kola
½ C Marshmallow Leaf
¼ C Rose
Combine all herbs and store in a clean, dry quart jar in a dark place. Two prepare tea, use 1 Tbsp tea mixture for every cup of water. Pour hot water over the herbs, cover and steep for at least 10 minutes before straining. Longer brews will extract more constituents from the herbs but will result in a more bitter and less aromatic tea. May be served hot or iced.