How To Use Fresh Chamomile - A Naturopath's Guide

All of us will have experienced chamomile in some way or form. A herbal tea, an infused drink, food, a tincture or topical oils and balms. It is used in so many products and in so many ways. Most of us would have had chamomile as a baby as it has been traditionally used to help settle stomachs and nervous systems for hundreds of years. This is because not only is it very safe it is very effective and covers a range of issues.

There are 2 types of most commonly used chamomile:
    • Matricaria chamomilla
    • Chamaemelum nobile
There is also ‘wild chamomile’ that is also known as pineapple weed, which you may have noticed in your lawn. This is not as therapeutic as Maticaria chamomilla but is great to play around with (it also does not have the beautiful flower we associate with chamomile).

Before we start discussing the great features of this amazing plant, just a wee note on potency. If you want the maximum potency to support your digestion, nervous system or sleep issues consider our award winning Rest and Calm. We harvest fresh organic chamomile locally from Mihiwaka and have designed this product to cover multiple issues. It is also portable and easy to use. We also have one for the small people - safe from new-born even! 


How To Identify Chamomile 

Chamomile can grow up to 60cm high, it spreads very easily, and has a daisy like white and yellow flower. Roman chamomile grows closer to the ground, and has no real flower. Both are very quick spreaders, in fact some people use them for a lawn which would be so lovely!

While chamomile has one of the highest safety profiles, please be aware that some people can be allergic to this plant. The allergy covers the Asteraceae family (the daisy family that chamomile is a part of). 

Chamomile has a daisy like flower but please be aware that you should not eat or make tinctures for internal use from flowers that you think are chamomiles. Daisies can look very similar but they are not meant for internal use (you can make a balm with daisy flowers for your skin though).


Benefits Of Fresh vs Dried Chamomile

We love using our plants in the freshest way possible, that means we pick our chamomile flowers and make them into tinctures and glycetracts within 24 hours. Utilising fresh plants in a medicinal way means that you can capture as many of the active constituents from the plant as possible. 

We acknowledge that not everyone can access fresh plants, and that is where some people wish to use dried flowers. Using dried flowers or plants is still a great way to make things and incorporate plants into your life, but in the process of drying a plant you can lose some of those active constituents that were present in the fresh form.


7 Ways To Use Fresh Chamomile

1 Use Chamomile As A Digestive Bitters

Chamomile has a bitter after taste. That bitterness is perfect to support your digestive system. We need bitters to help activate our bitter taste receptors which in turn supports our ability to digest our food properly. So, using the flowers is just one of the ways you can use fresh chamomile.
To make a digestive bitter with fresh chamomile:


  1. Pick about a handful of fresh chamomile flowers and place in a small glass jar (that holds about 200ml liquid).
  2. Top the flowers with alcohol about 40% strength (vodka would be perfect for this).
  3. Label with name - fresh chamomile bitters and date. On the back of the jar write what the date will be in 4 weeks so you know when to strain.
  4. After 4 weeks, strain the flowers out and bottle into dropper bottles.
  5. Start having your bitters before meals (about 1/2 tsp to start).

2 Fresh Chamomile Tea

If you're wondering how to use fresh chamomile, a herbal tea is probably one of the first things you think of trying. The best thing about making your own is that you can make it as strong or weak as you like. A general guide is about a tablespoon of fresh chamomile per cup (150ml) but you can use more if you want, just don’t over do it. One 1/4 cup of fresh chamomile in a small cup might be too much.

3 How To Use Fresh Chamomile To Infuse In Oil

If you are wondering how to use fresh chamomile for your skin then infusing an oil is a great idea. When you use fresh plants and oil please remember that the fresh plants have a higher water content than dried chamomile.

To make an infused oil, pick your fresh chamomile flowers, 
(you will need 1 cup of fresh flower) place them in a single layer on a paper towel and leave them to wilt over night. The next day you have two options - you could gently heat the chamomile in your 250ml base oil (almond/sunflower etc) on a double boiler for 20 minutes. Or you could place the flowers in your base oil and let it infuse over 3 weeks, then strain and label to use. This oil is great for irritated skin.

4 Make Into A Balm

Making a balm is another way to make the most of your fresh chamomile. Using your infused oil - in a double boiler add 5gm shea or coconut butter, 50gm beeswax and 250ml oil and gently heat until the beeswax was melted. Pour into a pyrex jug and then carefully pour into small jars. You can add essential oils if you want (e.g. lavender). This balm is a perfect lip balm, great for scratches or itchy skin.

5 Have A Herbal Bath

You can add fresh plants to your bath. Things like chamomile flowers, rose petals, calendula - there are so many beautiful plants you can use. Sometimes it can make your bath a bit messy so you could place in a muslin bag or an old (clean) sock so the flowers don’t go everywhere. Chamomile is incredibly calming so you could add some fresh flowers to a bath with rolled oats to really help calm irritated skin.

6 How To Use Fresh Chamomile For Sleep

Chamomile is amazing to help those that struggle with sleep. You can use your chamomile bitters to supercharge your chamomile tea to help with sleep. Or you could consider taking our Rest and Calm half an hour before bed! This saves you having to get up in the night if you have had too much tea!

7 Fresh Chamomile For Anxiety

Chamomile works by supporting your nervous system. It helps to support feelings of calm and may help reduce anxious feelings by working on GABA signals within the brain. Your fresh chamomile tea would be a lovely way to support your brain if you feel anxious.

Chamomile is much loved by many (even Peter Rabbit had chamomile tea before bed). It is one of the oldest known medicinal plants and is one of the most popular with an estimated one million cups of chamomile tea consumed daily! We really hope you give one of these ideas to utilise the beautiful fresh chamomile plant. Let us know if you do!

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