Got an itchy scalp? What about an upset tummy? Looking for a unique, but flavoursome dessert?
Not just a centuries’ old herbal remedy, you might be surprised to find out just how versatile chamomile can be in cooking, healing and personal hygiene.
The most common uses for chamomile are in tea. You can use it to aid sleep, to calm the mind or an upset stomach, and even as a relief for colds and flu. But here are other ways in which the herb can be used:
Chamomile is good in other drinks too. You can add it to smoothies, blending the flowers with milk, yoghurt and fruits, or you can make a liqueur:
- 3 tablespoons of dried chamomile flowers
- 1 cup vodka
- 2 large strips of lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- Add all ingredients together and allow to infuse for a couple of weeks.
- Strain before drinking.
Natural first aid
Chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties, and works as a mild natural treatment for arthritis, sprains and swellings. You can use it as a tea or externally as a compress using freshly cut, crushed and blanched flowers.
If you have the time and inclination, you can press flowers with a citrus press and use the oil to soothe skin irritations, scrapes and rashes; and if you are particularly ‘crafty’ you can make a balm blending chamomile oil with melted beeswax and peppermint/spearmint oil that can be used for all purposes.
Eye and skin treatment
Because of its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory features, chamomile makes a soothing and refreshing natural skin-care treatment. If you’ve been given more than a ‘summer glow’ by the sun’s rays you can ease the sting with the following remedy:
- 1/2 cup of fresh chamomile flowers
- 1 cup boiling water
- Pour water over the flowers, allow to steep for 1 hour or more
- Strain chamomile and pour the liquid into a clean spray bottle
- Spray onto clean skin or apply with a cotton pad.
If you have puffy eyes, you can use a chamomile compress. Use the recipe above, substituting the fresh flowers for 1 tablespoon of dried chamomile flowers. Chill the liquid in the fridge and when needed, soak cotton pads in the herbal solution and place it over your eyes for five to 10 minutes.
Chamomile in cooking
Chamomile has a tender flavour and a sweet fruity scent. , While some people add it to salads, others use it in desserts. You might be surprised by just how many recipes you can use with chamomile. Check out this strawberries with chamomile cream recipe or seared scallops with chamomile beurre blanc.
Do you like chamomile? What do you use it for and how often? What is your best chamomile recipe or remedy?