The sweet, apple-scented chamomile flower, or as the Greeks called it “The Ground Apple” has been a staple of medicine since the time of Hippocrates in 500 B.C. The Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians used chamomile for various reasons, many of which are still applicable today.
Today's post looks at German chamomile specifically, as that's what's sold at Matcha Alternatives.
If you missed it, read Part 1, comparing German vs Roman chamomile
Now time to dive in!
How is German Chamomile used?
When sipped hot, German chamomile relieves indigestion. It acts on the nervous system to soothe the gastrointestinal tract and reduce nervousness. Its mild sedative action makes it an excellent bedtime beverage.
Topically, chamomile can be applied for skin troubles and insect bites. It blends well with other herbs such as skullcap to create a sense of calm, and with valerian and hops to promote sleep.
German Chamomile tastes delicious: crisp, fruity like apples and mildly floral. Mmmm. For a delicious summer beverage, mix chamomile with cooling peppermint, tart hibiscus flower, or fragrant lavender.
Why is German Chamomile an Adaptogen? What's the nutritional & antioxidant value of chamomile?
German chamomile is considered an adaptogen due to its low toxicity and ability to help the body adapt to stress. It is considered a relaxing adaptogen, as it supports a healthy night’s rest and is useful for calming panic episodes.
As far as nutritional value goes, chamomile contains a myriad of micronutrients important for healthy functioning. Keep in mind that the following values can vary based on climate, harvest time, season, place of growth, and quality of the plants, of course!
One 8oz cup of chamomile contains:
- 47.4 IU of vitamin A
- 2.4 mcg of folate
- 0.9 mg of choline
- 2.4 mg of magnesium (though some sources have reported up to 7 mg)
- A whopping 21.3 mg of potassium!
This electrolyte content can support muscle and cardiac function, therefore making chamomile an excellent dietary supplement. Taking chamomile in combination with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help add to the daily intake of important nutrients.
Chamomile has an ORAC level of 1000, compared to matcha's antioxidant level of 1384 and green tea's ORAC of 1283. (ORAC is a measure of antioxidant levels that allows comparison between foods, teas, etc.) However, its anti-inflammatory and calming qualities, make it an alternative to matcha - especially for evening drinking as it is naturally decaf (unlike matcha).
Learn more about ORAC here in How Are Antioxidants Measured? ORAC Scores and How Much You Need Per Day (Antiox Part 3)
What is Egyptian Chamomile? Is it a different type of plant?
Let’s revisit! The belief that “Egyptian Chamomile” is a variety of chamomile is a misunderstanding. There is no such thing. Chamomile is simply cultivated in Egypt, and Egypt is one of the largest exports for chamomile world-wide. It's like saying Wisconsin cheddar or Vermont maple syrup.
As such, “Egyptian Chamomile” refers to German and Roman chamomile that have been grown in the Nile River Valley, resulting in blossoms that are exceedingly flavorful! Within that, German chamomile aids skin health, improves digestion, and helps with menstrual symptoms. Roman chamomile helps with mood swings, anger, irritation, and is useful for reducing soreness and headaches, as well as reducing nausea and vomiting.
Chamomile, as well as 2000+ other varieties of medicinal and aromatic plants, find optimal growing conditions in Egypt due to climate and environment. Fertile soils rich with nutrients from the Nile provide nourishing ground for medicinal plants, contributing to some of the highest quality herbs cultivated anywhere in the world.
Chamomile in shampoo
Cosmetically, chamomile is often used as a hair rinse to highlight hair. Chamomile contains components that interact synergistically to lighten hair and prevent melanin production. Be aware though, that this will not work on very dark shades of hair (they contain higher levels of melanin), but if you have a medium to light shade of hair, using chamomile as a rinse can definitely help add some highlights. But for those of us with dark hair, chamomile is not entirely pointless as a hair rinse: Consistent use can bring a lovely shine and fragrance to any color hair!
A Note From The Herbalist...
Chamomile is a gentle and unassuming little flower with a reputation to amaze. In addition to her delicate fruity and floral flavor, she has an arsenal of medicinal actions at her beck and call. Whether used alone or in combination with other herbs such as Lemon Balm, Lemongrass, and Moringa, she makes an excellent home remedy for pain, tension and difficulty sleeping.
I’ve personally used chamomile combined with all three herbs mentioned above (and sometimes with a touch of Passionflower) for pain. It’s one of the first herbs I reach for when I need some help sleeping. I hope you will find her company as delightful as I do!
Do be aware, if you are allergic to the ragweed family, you may wish to avoid both German and Roman chamomiles as cross-reactivity can occur.
Lastly, German chamomile is renowned as a great gripe water for infants. However, due to their under-developed immune systems loose leaf chamomile (as like with honey) should be avoided until the child is at least 1 year of age. The precautions are few, but we wanted to keep you informed!
Explore our Posts & Teas
Citrus Beauty Lemongrass Chamomile - Honey, lemon, a hint of orange and Chamomile flowers, perfect for fighting off nasty colds
Pretty in Purple Lavender Chamomile - French lavender combines with Egyptian chamomile flowers to relax into a sweet sleep
Ingredients: Egyptian Chamomile petals, French Lavender.
|Peppermint Stick Chamomile - The anti-inflammatory properties of Chamomile help calm and relax, and the peppermint helps calm any tummy upsets
Ingredients: Egyptian Chamomile petals, Peppermint leaves.
All of the information regarding the herbs, botanicals, minerals, vitamins, etc., is information drawn from traditional use data or academic research and should be regarded as such. If you, the reader, has a health or medical concern, please consult your healthcare professional. The information found here is not meant to diagnose, treat, prescribe or cure and has not been evaluated by the FDA. This information is for educational purposes only.
German Chamomile References and Further Reading
Int J Food Microbiol. 2008 Feb 10;121(3):357-60. Epub 2007 Nov 17. Presence of Clostridium botulinum spores in Matricaria chamomilla (chamomile) and its relationship with infant botulism. Bianco MI, Lúquez C, de Jong LI, Fernández RA.