Chamomile is an annual plant with white, daisy-like flowers, recognized worldwide for its calming, soothing benefits. Its name comes from the Greek chamomaela, or “ground apple,” as the plant is known to emit a light, apple-like scent.
There are two types of chamomile: German and Roman. German chamomile (Matricaria), is believed to have slightly stronger effects and is used commonly in teas, supplements and cosmetics. Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) is used for aromatherapy.
To prepare chamomile, the flower heads are cut from the stems and dried. Crushed, they can be used in teas or capsules. Steam distilled, they transform into a brilliant blue oil, which can be added to ointments, lotions and other topicals.
To experience the relaxing effects of chamomile, try the following:
Tea. Chamomile tea is popular in sleepy-tea formulas, but it can be sipped any time of day to promote calm. It may also support comfortable digestion, so try sipping a cup after meals. It’s especially good with a spoonful of honey.
Body and Hair. Chamomile soaps and shampoos are gentle on the skin and hair, providing soothing, non-drying benefits.
Aromatherapy. Use pure essential oil of chamomile in a room diffuser, or add a few drops to a sachet or small pillow. The scent may help you unwind at the end of a hectic day.
Supplements. Chamomile can be taken in capsule or liquid form. It may promote restful sleep and help ease stress or relieve occasional nervous tension.