What is Chamomile? The flowers of the daisy-like chamomile plant are commonly used in a variety of preparations, including skin-care products, oral supplements, and, of course, as a beverage. While infusions of chamomile are often called “chamomile tea“, chamomile is not a true tea, and so is more properly known as a tisane.
What does it Taste Like?: A good chamomile should taste buttery, sweet, and floral. Harsh, “rancid butter” and bitter notes are marks of a bad chamomile.
How To Prepare a Chamomile Tisane: Chamomile is a tough herb so don’t be afraid to use boiling water, which will extract the flavor nicely. I like a rich chamomile infusion, so I might add as much as one tablespoon of dried chamomile to eight ounces of water. Allow to steep from five to eight minutes.
Use of Chamomile in Blends: Chamomile is used in a lot of tea and tisane blends, particularly “nighttime” herbal infusions. Because of its buttery quality, it adds richness to tea-less herbal blends and keeps them from tasting too watery. Chamomile is a great matchup with blends that include sweet spices, and is particularly delicious when paired with vanilla, citrus, and/or mint.
Cautions: Serious allergic reactions have been reported by people using chamomile products. If you are allergic to ragweed or other similar herbs and plants, be careful in your use of chamomile. Chamomile can also contribute to drowsiness, particularly if you are using medications that have a similar affect. For a complete listing of possible chamomile interactions and side-effects, visit its page on Medline.
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