Chamomile makes me happy. It’s cheerful, miniature, daisy-like flowers are dominating my garden this year, and I love it! It’s sweet apple scent mixes with my sweet pea and red clover and wafts in through my open kitchen window every morning as the dew effervesces and evaporates. Who doesn’t think of innate comfort and contentment when they think of chamomile?
There are two major types: German Chamomile, (Matricaria recutita) and Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis). I will focus mostly on German Chamomile since it is the more well-known, more used, and more studied.
Chamomile is an herb of all people and for every age. It is one of the most gentle herbs and yet it can pack a mighty punch. It is an herb that can be safely used with infants as young as 3 months but can also benefit a grown man in his prime, or a grandparent in their twilight years! What other flower or herb can safely claim such a wide variety of people and life situations?!
Chamomile is one of the most ancient and well-documented herbal remedies used by mankind (alongside aloe vera, yarrow, poppies, and others) dating back at least 5000 years. Traditionally, it has been used for almost any and every common ailment. A comprehensive list of all of German Chamomile’s uses would be extremely long. As it’s Genus name (Matricaria) indicates, chamomile has a comforting and “mothering” quality to it. Externally applied, it has an affinity for skin maladies such as eczema, bruises, burns, sores, and rashes of every kind. Taken internally, it can be used for inflammation, bacterial infections, rheumatism, gastrointestinal (GI) distress, anorexia, motion sickness, anxiety, and insomnia. This is most definitely an abbreviated list. I could write pages upon pages listing all the intricate ways that chamomile could be used.
Chamomile can be used in whole herb form in multiple preparations, and it can also be used as an Essential Oil.
Disclaimer: I am not a licensed medical professional and any and all information is strictly for educational purposes. Always check with your medical provider to be sure you won’t have any adverse reactions prior to using any herbs or supplements.
First of all… SAFETY (I gotta cover my bases, ya know?): May cause allergic reactions to those who are sensitive to plants in the Asteraceae family, but these reactions are very rare. Also check with your doctor and/or pharmacist, prior to using chamomile while on contraceptive drugs, estrogen pills, medications that pass through the liver, and any sedative medications. Chamomile can also accelerate the effect of blood thinners.
Actions: Anti-Depressant, Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-microbial, Anti-spasmodic, Anxiolytic, Bitter, Carminative, Nervine, Vulnerary
Taste: Mild Bitter, or Sweet (Depending on how it is prepared)
I LOVE herb infused oils, and Chamomile infused oil is a really great neutral smelling oil. An infused oil is one of the safest ways to incorporate herbs into your life. You can use it culinarily by making a vinaigrette with it or dipping some bread in it. Or, you can use it topically as a body or massage oil, which is my favorite way to use chamomile infused oil! The benefits of body oiling and massage are many and include increased lymph flow, increased circulation, muscle relaxation, strengthens the lipid barrier in your skin making it healthier, stronger, and more resistant to pathogens, softens the skin, and can even decrease the effects of aging!
How to make a Chamomile Infused Body Oil
Clean mason jar (preferably fresh from the dishwasher)
Dried German Chamomile Flowers
Organic Pure Olive Oil
Fine mesh strainer
- Fill your clean mason jar ½ to 2/3 full of dried German Chamomile Flowers
- Pour the Pure Organic Olive Oil into the jar and over the flowers almost to the top of the jar. Pour slowly and use a clean knife to coax any air bubbles to the top.
- Let the flowers infuse into the oil for 4-6 weeks so that all their beneficial properties have time to transfer to the oil.
- Shake the jar every day to evenly distribute the properties evenly.
- After 4-6 weeks, strain the flowers from the oil by placing the cheesecloth over the fine mesh strainer and pouring the oil infusion through to a liquid measuring cup.
- Bottle the Chamomile Infused Oil in a clean jar or lotion bottle for use!
- OPTIONAL: If you desire a stronger scent, use a couple drops of German Chamomile Essential oil (for safety sake, no more than 10 drops per ounce of Olive oil!).
How to Use:
After bathing or showering (and while your skin is still damp), apply a small amount of oil into your hands and gently massage into your skin, all over your body. Allow a couple minutes for the oil to soak into your skin, just as you would a high-quality lotion.
Note: If Olive oil is not your thing and you find it too heavy of an oil, try infusing a lighter oil like Grape seed oil, Almond Oil, or Avocado Oil. There are many fantastic vegetable oils that you can experiment with or blend together to form the PERFECT and Customized body oil for your skin.
Remember that Chamomile infused oil we made just now? Well, now we can use it to make a salve! A chamomile salve is a great all-purpose skin healer that can be used for everything from a scrape to an eczema patch or diaper rash to chapped lips!
To Make a Salve:
Chamomile Infused Oil
1 – 2 oz glass jar or tin
Wooden kabob stick, tooth pick, or Popsicle stick
Preheated oven to as low as it can go (mine goes to 170°F)
Process (For a two ounce jar simply double this recipe)
- In a 1 oz jar measure out 5 tsp of Chamomile infused Oil and 1 tsp of beeswax.
- Set the jar or tin onto the baking sheet and gently place into the warm oven.
- Let the Oil and Wax melt (this will only take a few minutes
- Once melted, remove from the oven and gently stir until the wax is completely distributed throughout the oil.
- OPTIONAL: you can add up to 10 drops of Essential Oils per ounce of salve for additional aromatic and skin healing properties
- Let the salve harden (you can gently place it into your refrigerator to speed up the process).
For a Calming Chest Rub (add to a melted salve prior to cooling, mix well)
4 drops German Chamomile
4 drops Mandarin
2 drops Sandalwood
Use this salve whenever your skin needs it!
A tincture can use Alcohol, Vinegar, or Vegetable Glycerin. Tinctures are meant to be taken internally but can occasionally be of use topically. A German chamomile tincture can be useful for nerves, anxiety, insomnia, gastrointestinal (GI) distress, muscle pain and so much more! According to Medical Herbalism, by David Hoffman, the standard dosage is 1 – 4 ml three times per day as needed.
(or Tisane, as this does not include any actual ‘tea leaves’.) A nice cup of herbal tea can be just the thing to help you detox from a long and stressful day. Drunk as a warm tea, German Chamomile can unwind the mind, relax the nerves, and promote a calm peacefulness that readies your body for a deep and restful sleep. Chamomile tea can be delicious and sweet, especially if you add a small drop of honey into it! However, if you let it steep too long, the tea can end up being a little bitter!
For a perfect cup of chamomile tea, steep 2 – 3 tsp or 1 – 2 tea bags in 8oz of boiling water. Cover and let it steep for no longer than 10 minutes, then remove the loose tea or tea bags and enjoy your perfect cup of chamomile tea!
Wildflower Tea Recipe
2 parts German Chamomile Flowers
2 parts red Clover
1 part rose petals
1 part hibiscus flowers
For a relaxing herbal bath (with minimal to no cleanup), You can use Chamomile Hydrosol, a prepared tea, or simply put some dried chamomile flowers into an clean sock (preferably one that hasn’t been dried with dryer sheets), and attach it to your faucet. Let the water pour through the sock and into your tub.
Another method, using German Chamomile essential oils, is to first mix the essential oils into some Epsom salts and then pour the Epsom salts into the warm water. Don’t ever put the drops of Essential oil straight into the water because everyone knows that oil and water don’t mix, and heated essential oils can cause adverse skin reactions.
There you have it! Five ways to incorporate German Chamomile into your life!
Here are some more great sites to check out for more information and ways to use Chamomile!
Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: the Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Healing Arts Press, 2003.
Gladstar, Rosemary. Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: a Beginner’s Guide. Storey Pub., 2012