Chamomile (American English) or camomile (British English; see spelling differences) (/ˈkæməˌmaɪl, -ˌmiːl/ KAM-ə-myl or KAM-ə-meel) is the common name for several daisy-like plants of the family Asteraceae. Two of the species are commonly used to make herb infusions thought to serve various medicinal purposes. Popular uses of chamomile preparations include treating hay fever, inflammation, muscle spasms, menstrual disorders, insomnia, ulcers, gastrointestinal disorders, and hemorrhoids. Chamomile is also thought to treat skin conditions such as eczema, chickenpox, and psoriasis.
The word “chamomile” derives, via French and Latin, from Greek χαμαίμηλον (khamaimēlon), i.e. “earth apple”, from χαμαί (khamai) “on the ground” and μῆλον (mēlon) “apple”. The more common British spelling “camomile,” is the older one in English, while the spelling “chamomile” corresponds to the Latin and Greek source. The spelling camomile is a derivation from the French.
Some commonly used species include:
- Matricaria chamomilla (also known as Water of Youth’), German chamomile or wild chamomile, the most commonly used species
- Chamaemelum nobile, Roman, English or garden chamomile, also frequently used, (C. nobile ‘Treneague’ is normally used to create a chamomile lawn).
A number of other species’ common names include the word “chamomile”. This does not mean they are used in the same manner as the species used in the herbal tea known as “chamomile.” Plants including the common name “chamomile,” of the family Asteraceae.
Chamomile tea is an herbal infusion made from dried chamomile flowers and hot water. Two types of chamomile used: German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). One recipe calls for 2 to 3 heaped teaspoons of the flowers, steeped for 10-20 minutes and then strained.
In the Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (in 1902), she refers to chamomile tea given to Peter after being chased by Mr. McGregor. In Norway, the tea is used to treat the common cold.
Chamomile is under preliminary research for its potential anti-anxiety properties. Chamomile tea may be a relaxant. Chemical compounds present within chamomile include numerous polyphenols which have unknown effects in humans.