Fresh Chamomile Tea

>> 4.25.2010

When my husband came home with our Abundant Harvest box this week, I never thought it would be such a learning experience for me.  As soon as I walked by it and smelled the sweet scent, I was taken back to my childhood in an instant.  Have you ever had that happen to you?  I couldn't remember the exact time, but that scent was so familiar, and one that I had not enjoyed for so long.  It was chamomile. 


I immediately grabbed my very helpful abundant harvest newsletter, which usually contains tips and recipes for unfamiliar produce.  (I am constantly surprised by how many unfamiliar produce items I encounter.)  All it gave was a small snippet about the stress relieving powers of chamomile, and a recipe for chamomile tea.  I was intrigued, because I have never enjoyed store bought chamomile tea.  It has an unpleasant flavor and smell, and really doesn't deliver what it says it will.  From my box: "DID YOU KNOW? An single cup of  (trademarked brand) tea has been known to have the same effect as sitting for 45 minutes in a mountain meadow on a sunny day with your shoes off."  Really?  As a mother of 5 I rarely get a chance to sit in a sunny meadow with my shoes off for an uninterrupted 45 minutes.  As that would probably rank in my top 3 things to do with my spare time, I had high hopes for my boxed chamomile tea.  However, it was more like taking medicine~ just drink it as fast as possible in hopes that it will at least deliver on the stress relieving properties and not leave as strange an aftertaste as I think it probably will.  Disappointed again.  Not that I expect a cup of tea to take away all of the stress from my day, that is what the word of God is for.  Still, it would be nice to know that they are somewhat accountable to what they say on the package.  I know, I know:  too high of standards.  Well, I did a little digging and found out that chamomile does in fact have many uses.  It may not deliver in the very small proportions(and probably somewhat altered states) you find at the grocery store, but it does, historically, have a record of doing a lot of good. 

If you google chamomile, you will find all sorts of wonderful things that it can be used for.  I will not try to cover all of the medicinal purposes here, but I would encourage you to look into it, it is well worth your time! Just a little teaser for you: chamomile is used medicinally to treat sore stomach, irritable bowel syndrome, and as a gentle sleep aid. It is also used as a mild laxative and is anti-inflammatory and bactericidal.  Source  If you do get your hands on some fresh chamomile, it would be well worth looking into all of the other things you could do with it, besides tea.   Although I have to say that the tea I made with the fresh flowers was exceptional, and something that I am going to start doing a lot more often.  Here is the tea recipe that I used, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Things You'll Need:

*chamomile flowers

*a tea pot

*water

*strainer

*a tea cup

Pick the amount of flowers you will need to make your tea and wash thoroughly.  Discard the stems, only use the actual flowers.  (You will need approximately 1 TBS flowers for ever cup of tea.)

Bring the water to a boil.  After the water is boiling, add the flowers and turn off the heat.  Let steep for about 15 minutes.

When your tea is finished, strain the flowers out with a mesh strainer and add honey or lemon if desired.  Enjoy with a good book.  (TIP: wrap the flowers you have strained into some cloth and use on burns, bruises, or insect bites)  Source   I've also learned that chamomile can make a mean, muscle relaxing, stress relieving bath.  I'm excited to try that next! 




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