Have you ever wondered how chamomile tea is made? As in, how it’s collected and processed? The entire process of gathering those little chamomile flowers from the field (or the pot!) and drying them is quite interesting. I use chamomile for inhalations whenever I get a cold and I always make my chamomile tea from scratch. Today I want to show you how to dry chamomile for tea on your very own as well.
Benefits Of Chamomile:
Chamomile is one of the most ancient medicinal herbs in the world and it comes with many benefits (source):
- in many countries around the world, for over hundreds of years, chamomile’s been used to alleviate ailments like inflammation, muscle spasms, insomnia, ulcers, gastrointestinal disorders, and even hemorrhoids
- essential oils from chamomile are used in the cosmetic preparations and aromatherapy
- preparing a chamomile tea and inhaling the steam can also help relieve the symptoms of the common cold
- chamomile has also been shown in some studies to decrease blood pressure
Reasons to dry chamomile
The goal of drying your herbs and food, in general, is to remove the moisture from the plant, while preserving the nutrients. The antioxidants, the microelements, the flavor and the aroma – it all stays inside. You don’t want to dry your herbs just to prevent them from going bad, you want to maintain the nutrition and flavor of the fresh plant, even better – you want to condense it.
When drying your own herbs you get to control the ingredients and methods used and this leads to a better quality of the final product.
How To Dry Chamomile
The first step here is collecting your chamomile. Unlike other herbs, you’re not gonna look for the green parts of the flower (stems or leaves) – we’re going straight for the blossoms. Those contain the antioxidants, the beautiful calming aroma and are what makes the chamomile tea we know.
Ideally, you pick up only the blossoms, but if you get the stems – no big deal, you can remove them also after drying.
Wash the chamomile blossoms and dry well. Then spread out the blossoms, making sure each one has its own space to dry. You dry chamomile pretty much the same way you’d dry mint. For the drying process I use an old, but clean window screen. Any form of mesh that enables air circulation to allow proper and even drying can work. To save space you can DIY your own herb drying rack, as shown in this tutorial here.
Simply spread the chamomile flowers evenly, in a single layer over the net and keep in a dry, well-ventilated place with no direct sunlight.
How To Use For Tea
To make your own chamomile tea, use 1 tablespoon of dried chamomile per cup of boiling water and steep for 5-8 minutes.
HOW TO STORE DRIED chamomile
Once you’ve dried your chamomile, you can easily collect it in jar or an airtight container of your choice (I recommend glass or metal). Use your tea within one year and then do it again!