Making Chamomile Tea
My mom will be happy to know that I finally broke out the nice tea set she gave me three years ago. I guess I was waiting for a special occasion: the making of my own, homemade chamomile tea.
These are the German Chamomile flowers I picked from my garden recently. I've been setting them out to dry on a sheet of wax paper. I think I finally have enough to fill the tea ball, just in time for Weekend Herb Blogging.
The blossoms have a wonderful light apple scent. The tea itself has a very delicate flavor, almost like it has a touch of honey.
Chamomile is renowned for its calming properties. It is said to help relieve insomnia and cure stomach ailments. In the New Book of Herbs, author Jekka McVicar mentions that chamomile is sometimes called the "Physician's Plant," because it helps revive sick plants that grow nearby.
When I lived in Ecuador as a student, my host family went to the garden every time I felt sick with a stomach bug. They went to get manzanilla (pronounced "mahn-zuh-KNEE-uh"). They used it to make a tea. I thought manzanilla was something unique to Ecuador -- an exotic herb cherished by the ancient Incas perhaps. When my host mom gave me the tea, I had no idea what I was drinking. But when in Ecuador, you do as the Ecuadorians do, and so I smiled politely, said muchas gracias and drank up. And wouldn't you know, the manzanilla always made my stomach feel better.
It was not until I returned to the States that I realized manzanilla was just plain old chamomile. So to this day, I still think of chamomile as the exotic manzanilla, and I enjoy it because it is just plain good.