What Is Chamomile?

Woman holding cup with chamomile tea
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Chamomile (also spelled 'camomile') is a flowering herb. There are two main types of chamomile: Anthemis nobilis (Roman chamomile) and Matricaria chamomilia (German chamomile). Chamomile is best known for its flowers, which can be used in the dried form and in fresh form for various culinary and medicinal purposes.

Chamomile flower extracts, broken flowers, and whole flowers can be used for many purposes.

Common uses of chamomile include:

  • Ingestion as an "herbal tea" (a tisane) or tincture
  • Topical application as a lotion or oil
  • Inclusion as an ingredient in soaps, shampoos, etc.

Perhaps the most widespread use of chamomile is as a "tea." Culinarily, chamomile tea is popular in Greek cuisine and is one of the most popular teas for afternoon tea.

Chamomile Benefits

Although chamomile is a flavorful and aromatic herb, it is often sought out specifically for its health benefits. It has longstanding medicinal and spiritual uses, and is considered to be a Pagan magical herb, and thought to treat imbalances associated with the solar plexus chakra. Common health uses of chamomile include:

  • Chamomile for colic (Learn more about treatments for colic.)
  • Chamomile as alternative medicine
  • Chamomile for social anxiety disorder
  • Chamomile for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Chamomile as a bedtime bath treatment
  • Chamomile for canker sores

    Chamomile can also be used to help get rid of dark circles under your eyes with chamomile (video).

    Chamomile Precautions

    Despite its many health benefits, chamomile isn't for everyone. It is not recommended for women who are breastfeeding or pregnant, and it can cause allergic reactions in people with hay fever and some types of flower allergies.

    There are also chamomile drug interactions to consider, as chamomile can interact with Warafin and some other drugs.

    Growing & Harvesting Chamomile

    There are many herbs for herbal teas/tisanes you can grow at home. Get the basics on growing chamomile and learn how to grow and harvest German chamomile.

    If you enjoy gardening, you might also be glad to know that you can prevent seedlings from damping off with chamomile.

    Chamomile Recipes

    Chamomile can be used to make a range of foods and drinks. Here's a collection of chamomile food and drink recipes, including chamomile "tea," iced chamomile infusions, chamomile-glazed pie and chamomile-poached scallops. You also can use chamomile to make chamomile shampoo, relaxing essential oil blends and homemade soaps.