She’s sweet, bright, and akin to sunshine in a cup! Since everyone from the Ancient Egyptians to Peter Rabbit has enjoyed this golden tisane, we think it’s time to dedicate an entire journal entry to chamomile tea.
In fact, you can find charming chamomile in three of our bestselling herbal blends: Relaxation, Tranquil Tummy, and Sweet Dreams tea. And while this flowery showstopper needs no favours from us, your tea-loving experts thought it would be fun to share with you our favourite facts about this wonderful tisane.
How do you like them (ground) apples?
Did you know that the etymology behind the word ‘chamomile’ translates to ‘ground apples’? This flower’s name comes from combining the old Greek words chamos (meaning ‘ground’ or ‘earth’) and melos (‘apple’ or ‘melon’).
This etymology is confusing to some. Does chamomile taste like apples? While some palates may detect light apple notes when sipping on chamomile, its name is a reference to the flower’s fragrance rather than taste! Chamomile flowers—especially when trod on—produce an unmistakable apple aroma.
An Egyptian brew
Given how often Westerners drink chamomile tea, it can be surprising to learn that chamomile is originally from Egypt! Furthermore, while chamomile is commercially grown all over the world, most bespoke tea retailers still purchase their chamomile from Egypt—including yours truly.
Were the Ancient Egyptians making chamomile tea, you ask? This is where the story becomes very interesting! Primary sources tell us that Ancient Egyptians would use chamomile essence to embalm Pharaohs. They would also incorporate the flowers in fever and malaria treatments.
Tea for the Gods
Speaking of Ancient Egyptians, the embalmers reserved chamomile oil just for Pharaohs for a reason. Specifically, the flower was thought to be a gift from the Sun God Ra. Therefore, embalming and fevers aside, the Egyptians would also make religious offerings of chamomile to their Gods.
They weren’t the only civilisation to consider chamomile holy either. Anglo-Saxons in the Middle Ages deemed chamomile one of their nine most sacred herbs. Along with the likes of fennel, nettle, and thyme, chamomile was drunk to repel evil and infuse one’s aura with happiness. As regular chamomile drinkers, we can attest to the the latter!
Looking to try multiple herbal teas for health at once? We would recommend ‘The Glow’ wooden tea box. It features our six best-selling tisanes, including chamomile!
The ultimate healer
Despite a lack of corroborative research around the health properties of chamomile tea, people have been using the herb as medicine for centuries. In fact, according to one report, chamomile has been a treatment for over 100 different ailments in the past!
No matter if we’re talking about problems as serious as respiratory issues or inconsequential as maintaining blonde hair. According to many different cultures over many different centuries, chamomile is the answer!
Moreover, did you know that chamomile plays physician for plants as well as people? If you have a plant that’s currently struggling in your garden, try planting chamomile next to it. Chamomile’s antifungal properties is thought to revive its neighbouring plants. This makes it the ideal companion plant for just about every herb and vegetable!
The talk of the town
Peter Rabbit-aside, chamomile has been a popular topic among many cultures, and even Shakespeare! One Slovakian idiom states, “one must bow to chamomile should they ever come across it in the wild”.
In one Peter Rabbit book, Beatrix Potter wrote, “Peter was not very well during the evening. His mother put him to bed and made some chamomile tea: ‘One tablespoon to be taken at bedtime.’”
Shakespeare also namedropped this bright yellow flower in his play, Henry IV. “Though the chamomile, the more it is trodden on the faster it grows, yet youth, the more it is wasted the sooner it wears.”
Redefining the nightcap!
Thought you could only enjoy chamomile as a tea? Think again! Historical record tells us that this bedtime brew gives the word ‘nightcap’ a whole new meaning. Chamomile can be a base ingredient not only for tea but beer and wine too.
The Spanish wine manzanilla is a type of traditional sherry that uses chamomile as a flavouring agent. Open a bottle of this fino and one is immediately hit with a whiff of pure apple fragrance!
Furthermore, English brewers would also use chamomile in the Middle Ages to ferment beers. While this brewing technique became rare once hops were discovered, some bespoke beer companies still use chamomile as a bitter agent to this day.
Whether you’re after a chamomile sleep tea, relaxation tea, digestion tea or all the herbal tea blends, The Tea Centre has you sorted! You can find our entire chamomile collection here.