Although Rosalee de la Forȇt has always loved natural health, it really changed her life when she was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Still's in her early 20's. By using alternative medicine, she has been able to be symptom-free for 10 years, and has become a herbalist to help others feel their best.
In her new book "Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients into Foods and Remedies That Heal", Rosalee shares simple recipes for treating calming ailments like headaches, stress, and insomnia with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen cupboard. In this post, Rosalee shares the benefits of chamomile as well as a recipe for Chamomile Tea with Roses and Vanilla you can make at home!
Chamomile is a gentle and powerful herb that is wonderful for children and adults. It seemingly does a thousand and one different things, from soothing the nervous system, relieving muscle tension, and addressing cold and flu symptoms, to promoting digestion and modulating inflammation.
Chamomile has been loved and revered by people for thousands of years…actually make that hundreds of thousands of years. Excavations at Jacob’s Bridge, an archeological site in Israel, reveal that Paleolithic humans were using chamomile as early as 800,000 years ago!1
Chamomile for Stress, Anxiety, Insomnia and Crankiness
Drinking a strong cup of chamomile tea is like getting a warm and reassuring embrace from a loved one. About halfway through a cup of chamomile tea, I notice my shoulders relaxing, my breath deepening, and my entire body unwinding. Move over apples; in today’s stress-filled world, a cup of chamomile tea a day could be what keeps the doctor away.
Researchers have taken an interest in chamomile and have conducted several human clinical trials to evaluate its ability to address both depression and anxiety. In an exploratory study, researchers found that chamomile, even at a relatively small dose (220 mg), was more effective than placebo in relieving both depression and anxiety.2 Another clinical study found that chamomile relieved mild to moderate anxiety in people diagnosed with general anxiety disorder.3
For Muscle Tension, Cramps and Pain
Chamomile is also relaxing to the musculature. I reach for it whenever there is muscle tension related to stress or simply muscle tension leading to pain. I’ve seen it relieve severe menstrual cramps, as well as headaches that are accompanied by excess tension in the upper back and neck. Since pain can often be accompanied by emotional distress, chamomile brings welcome relief on many levels.
In one clinical study, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) were compared with chamomile in women with PMS. After two months, those using chamomile had a reduction in pain similar to that of the women using the NSAIDs, and those using the chamomile also had significantly fewer emotional symptoms.4 Another study looked at topical chamomile for carpal tunnel syndrome pain. In this pilot study the researchers concluded that “Chamomile oil improved symptomatic and functional status of patients with severe carpal tunnel syndrome.”5
Chamomile Tea Blend with Roses and Vanilla
This is a soothing chamomile tea blend that is a delicious after-meal beverage.
Yield: 11/2 cups
1 tablespoon dried chamomile
11/2 teaspoons oatstraw (Avena sativa)
11/2 teaspoons rose petals
1 inch of vanilla bean, minced
honey to taste (optional)
1. Bring 11/2 cups of water to a boil. Steep the herbs, covered, in the just-boiled water for 15 minutes. Strain.
2. Add honey if desired.
1. Masé, Guido. "Science Update: Paleolithic Herbalism." Urban Moonshine. January 10, 2017. Accessed February 15, 2017. https://www.urbanmoonshine.com/blog/science-update-paleolithic-herbalism/.
2. Amsterdam, Jay D, Justine Shults, Irene Soeller, Jun James Mao, Kenneth Rockwell, and Andrew B Newberg. "Chamomile (Matricaria Recutita) May Provide Antidepressant Activity in Anxious, Depressed Humans: An Exploratory Study." Alternative therapies in health and medicine 18, no. 5 (2012): 44-9.
3. Amsterdam, Jay D, Yimei Li, Irene Soeller, Kenneth Rockwell, Jun James Mao, and Justine Shults. "A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Trial of Oral Matricaria Recutita (chamomile) Extract Therapy for Generalized Anxiety Disorder." Journal of clinical psychopharmacology 29, no. 4 (2009): doi:10.1097/JCP.0b013e3181ac935c.
4. Sharifi, Farangis, Masoumeh Simbar, Faraz Mojab, and Hamid Alavi Majd. "Comparison of the Effects of Matricaria Chamomila (Chamomile) Extract and Mefenamic Acid on the Intensity of Premenstrual Syndrome." Complementary therapies in clinical practice 20, no. 1 (2014): doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2013.09.002.
5. Hashempur, Mohammad Hashem, Zeinab Nasiri Lari, Parissa Sadat Ghoreishi, Babak Daneshfard, Mohammad Sadegh Ghasemi, Kaynoosh Homayouni, and Arman Zargaran. "A Pilot Randomized Double-blind Placebo-controlled Trial on Topical Chamomile (Matricaria Chamomilla L.) Oil for Severe Carpal Tunnel Syndrome." Complementary therapies in clinical practice 21, no. 4 (2015): doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2015.08.001.