“Chamomile tea is something I have great use for as a dancer.”
If that sentence describing chamomile as a “tea” raised a red flag for you, then you can count yourself as a well-versed tea drinker. There has been much discussion on this blog about the distinction between a tea and an herbal infusion, or tisane, and what is often marketed as chamomile “tea” is actually not a tea at all since it does not contain the tea leaf, Camellia Sinensis. So before I go any further, let me clarify. When I say chamomile tea, I am not talking about the pure chamomile infusion. Instead, I am talking about teas that contain some chamomile. Some examples might be a white tea with chamomile and peach, or a green tea with chamomile, lemongrass, and ginger. The reason for this is simple and purely a matter of personal preference: despite the fact that it is a favourite tisane for many, I do not love the taste of chamomile.
So then, why drink it at all? Well, while pure chamomile is a little overwhelming, I do enjoy the taste when paired with other flavours. But, more importantly, I am after some of the benefits that it can provide, namely its anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties. Translated into everyday language, this means that chamomile can help relieve muscle soreness and relax the body—something I definitely need after a particularly challenging day of rehearsing or performing. While it is not a magical cure-all, I find that a cup or two of tea containing chamomile is a helpful complement to the stretching I might do and the hot baths I might take to help relieve muscle soreness. And this is not just for dancers—anyone whose work involves physical exertion, or who has been lugging a heavy laptop around all day, or who put themselves through a particularly strenuous work out at the gym might find they can benefit from chamomile.
But where do I acquire all these delicious sounding teas with chamomile? I create them! I always keep a tin of pure chamomile flowers at home, to blend with other teas as I see fit. That way, I can cater to my tastes in the moment (white or oolong? Ginger or mint?), and adjust how much chamomile I am using depending on how sore I am. A white tea with chamomile is especially good at night because of the exceptionally low caffeine content, and so I will often opt for this at end of a physically demanding day. Rooibos, although also not technically a tea, also makes a nice base for chamomile infusions at night for the same reason. Of course, if you are looking for the most beneficial chamomile infusion, your best bet is to go with pure chamomile. But if, like me, you can never quite manage to enjoy that cup of pure chamomile, blending your own chamomile tea might be the solution to enjoying both the benefits and the taste of your chamomile tea.
Disclaimer: This is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your physician for your particular needs.
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