EVERYTHING you didn’t Know about CHAMOMILE (Complete Guide)

You have probably heard of chamomile but you still have no idea what it is used for or what its benefits are. Well, don’t worry, in this blog you’ll learn all about this plant: what is chamomile, what types of chamomile there are, its benefits, where it originated, how it is cultivated, and what products are made from this plant.

What is chamomile? 

Family scientific nameAstaraceae
Species scientific nameMatricaria recutita l. Chamaemelum nobile l.
Common nameChamomile, camomile.
Place of OriginIt originated in southern and eastern Europe and northern and western Asia
HabitatTemperate to warm climates
DistributionIt is grown in Asia, Africa, America, Oceania and Europe

Chamomile’s name originated from the Latin word camomilla, which is derived from the Greek word for “apple”, and so it also began to be called chamomile. Below, you can find out more about this millenary plant.

What types of chamomile are there? 

Chamomile belongs to the Asteraceae family, whose species are characterized by being quite heterogeneous, which means that they don’t have many things in common, for example, this family includes shrubs, woody plants, trees, and herbs of small size, among others.

Believe it or not, chamomile has high variability, implying that it has several species; however, it is worth noting that there are 2 species of this plant that are the most marketed and best known. Next, let’s learn a little about each of them, especially their morphological characteristics. Let’s start!

German or common chamomile (Matricaria recutita l.)

The German or common chamomile is the best known. It is an annual herbaceous plant, and what does this mean? In botany they are classified as such because their entire life cycle is completed within one year, hence the derivation of its name.

This species of chamomile has a hairless stem that can reach up to half a meter in height approximately. In addition, it branches out from a short distance from the ground. Small flowers grow along the stem that is characterized by their yellow center, small yellow petals and more visible larger white petals. In addition, it has a unique aroma and when prepared, in the case of tea, it is not necessary to add sweeteners.

German or common chamomile has a higher amount of a component called “chamazulene”, and because of this, its essential oil is blue with intense tones.

Roman or English chamomile (Chamaemelum Nobile l.)

Unlike the German or common chamomile, the Roman chamomile is a perennial plant. In botany, this means that its life cycle lasts more than 2 years. It also differs from the first species mentioned above because it grows close to the ground and can spread up to 30 cm, which is why it is known as a substitute for grass in England. The flowers have the same characteristics as German chamomile, except that the scent is lighter, but with odors very similar to apples.

Another distinction is that the Roman or English chamomile has a smaller amount of the substance “chamazulene”; therefore, its essential oil is yellow and blue in a paler shade. It is worth noting that this species is much less cultivated than German chamomile.

What are the benefits of chamomile on health? 

Nutritional profile of chamomile 

The chamomile plant doesn’t have a high amount of calories, but we still want you to know its main components based on a nutritional table extracted from the United States Department of Agriculture (2019).

Nutritional information about chamomile infusion 
Serving: 6 ounces or 177 milliliters of chamomile infusion 
Water177 grams
Energy1,78 calories
Protein0 grams
Total lipids (fats)0 grams
Carbohydrates0,356 grams
Fiber0 grams
Calcium3,56 milligrams
Iron0,142 milligrams
Magnesium1,78 milligrams
Phosphorus0 milligrams
Potassium16 milligrams
Sodium1,78 milligrams
Zinc0,071 milligrams
Copper0,027 milligrams
Manganese0,078 milligrams
Selenium0 micrograms
Vitamin C0 milligrams
Thiamine0,018 milligrams
Riboflavin0,007 milligrams
Niacin0 milligrams
Pantothenic acid0,02 milligrams
Vitamin B60 milligrams
Folate1,78 micrograms
Vitamin B120 micrograms
Vitamin A1,78 micrograms
Retinol0 micrograms
Carotene, beta21,4 micrograms
Carotene, alfa0 micrograms
Lycopene0 micrograms
Cryptoxanthin, beta0 micrograms
Lutein + Zeaxanthin0 micrograms
Vitamin E0 milligrams
Vitamin D0 micrograms
Vitamin K0 micrograms
Total saturated fatty acids0,004 grams
Monounsaturated fatty acids0,002 grams
Polyunsaturated fatty acids0,009 grams
Total trans fatty acids0 grams
Cholesterol0 grams

5 properties of chamomile you must know about 

Chamomile is a plant that offers several benefits and it rarely produces side effects when consumed. Let us show you 5 properties and benefits of this plant that you should know.

1. It is antioxidant 

The scientific journal Life (2022) states that chamomile has a high antioxidant capacity that can be used to treat or prevent different diseases. Food with this property allows the body to counteract oxidative stress. Such a process is caused by the excessive production of free radicals. As you can see, free radicals are molecules that the body produces every day and sometimes they accumulate in cells and other molecules, causing damage to our organism.

2. It is antibacterial 

Chamomile has antibacterial properties. What does this mean? Foods with this ability fight against bacteria that grow in our bodies in order to avoid having a more serious illness or disease.

3. It protects you from fungi 

Several infections in the human body are caused by fungi, and chamomile is your best ally for this; it is a plant with antifungal properties, that is to say, it can fight fungi. The main reason is the different components it consists of, for example, ethanolic or hydroalcoholic extract can cause a reduction in the growth and survival of fungi.

4. It is anti-diabetic 

According to the World Health Organization, more than 422 million people have diabetes in the world. This disease either stops the pancreas from secreting enough insulin or makes it fail to effectively use the insulin it produces.  Chamomile is a plant that can help regulate the absorption of sugar in the blood and allows glycogen storage in the liver, which has a direct relationship with the concentration of glucose in the blood.

5. It is anti-inflammatory 

The scientific magazine Life (2022) mentions that in several studies the anti-inflammatory capacity of chamomile has been analyzed. In one of them, chamomile tea was tested and the results were highly positive since they found that it stabilizes the membrane of red blood cells in humans, providing it with anti-inflammatory properties. The journal also indicates that chamomile water and essential oil can reduce swelling.

Uses of chamomile in traditional medicine 

Since ancient times, different plants have been used to treat or prevent different diseases or ailments. Chamomile is no exception, so here are some of its traditional uses.

  • In Portugal, it is used to treat infections in different parts of the body such as the mouth, skin, ear, and throat, among others.
  • In Moroccan folk medicine, the flowers of chamomile are the main used. They prepare an infusion to treat diabetes, diarrhea, infections, menstrual pains, abscesses, and nervous disorders, among others.
  • In Turkey, they use it as a sedative or to treat colds and soothe cramps.
  • In Spain, it is also prepared by infusion and used to treat vaginal infections, kidney stones, and digestive disorders, among others.
  • In Greece, it is used to treat disorders of the digestive system or eye infections.
  • In Serbia, chamomile is used to strengthen the immune system, reduce inflammation of the skin, and treat burns, among others.
  • In Albania, they cure cough and diarrhea with chamomile.
  • In Italy, they use it to lighten hair color and soothe muscle pains and irritations, among others.

History and origin of chamomile 

Chamomile is a herbaceous plant that originated in southern and eastern Europe, and in northern and western Asia. For thousands of years, this plant has been highly prized by the Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans. For example, the Egyptians believed that chamomile was a sacred plant that had been gifted and bestowed by the Sun God to mankind. This relationship with divinity is also seen in the Saxons, an ancient Germanic tribe, who said that chamomile was one of the 9 sacred herbs.

This plant has been used since 500 B.C.; the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans used the plant to treat different ailments that were caused by very dry climates, such as xerosis (dry skin). Several scientists of the time, like Hippocrates or Pliny, studied the properties of chamomile and recorded their knowledge to be transmitted in the future.

In the Middle Ages, around the 16th and 17th centuries, chamomile became more popular. It would be used to treat fevers or even as an ingredient to add to beer to make it taste more bitter.

How is chamomile cultivated? 

Chamomile is an herb that you can easily grow at home, because of this, we want to share with you some of the main factors that should be taken into account for the cultivation of this plant. Let’s continue!


Chamomile grows in a great diversity of climates, but it can be said that its highest yield occurs in temperate to warm climates; the optimum temperature should be between 15 to 23 °C (59 to 73 °F). It also stands out for having a great capacity to resist cold, we are talking about temperatures down to 2 °C.


As for the soil, this plant is not demanding as it can grow in almost any type of soil, yet heavy and humid soils should be avoided at all costs. The recommendation for good growth and production is to plant it in loamy soils, either sandy or clayey. Another advantage is its high resistance to soil alkalinity, which means that it can withstand dense soils with a high pH.

Propagation of chamomile 

Usually, chamomile is propagated by using seeds, which are extremely tiny as 1000 seeds can weigh between 0.088 and 0.153 grams, incredible, isn’t it? To carry out the cultivation it should first be sown in a nursery with optimal conditions. The main thing is that they have a temperature of 10 to 20 °C and that the soil has a sufficient amount of organic matter. After 4 or 5 days of being sown, they begin to germinate and after 4 to 5 weeks they can be transplanted to the area destined for cultivation.

Harvesting chamomile 

There are 2 methods for harvesting chamomile:

  1. Manual harvesting: as its name suggests, here farmers cut the flower stalks manually, although it is not the most used because it requires a lot of time to complete the entire harvest.
  2. Mechanical harvesting: this method is the most used because of its speed. Machines are used to cut the flowers with their stems and they are stored in behavior inside the machine.

Generally, it is recommended to start harvesting 4 to 5 days after the plant starts flowering as it is said that this method generates more essential oil.

Post-harvest care of chamomile 

The care of chamomile after harvesting is very simple: first, they are sorted and cleaned to remove all impurities; and then, they are dried naturally or artificially.

By-products made from chamomile 

Handcrafted chamomile products 

The most artisanal product of chamomile is tea or infusion since it is very easy to prepare. If you wish to make it, you only have to boil water and add some chamomile, finally, you let it steep for a while, and then you can drink it.

Industrial chamomile products 

Now, thanks to all the new interest that people are having in more natural products, the industry is even more interested in chamomile. Some of the following products have been developed:  

  • Chamomile tea bags
  • Beverages
  • Fresh chamomile without any preparation
  • Dried chamomile
  • Olives with chamomile

Chamomile cosmetic products 

Thanks to its benefits, chamomile is a herb widely used in the cosmetic industry. For example, it reduces irritation or swelling, moisturizes, nourishes, stimulates wound healing, and is also used in many shampoos to give it an exquisite aroma and take advantage of its lightening properties. Some of the cosmetic products that are made from chamomile are:

  • Adult or baby shampoos
  • Masks
  • Face creams
  • Facial cleansers
  • Hair tonics
  • Hair lighteners
  • Body creams
  • Baby perfumes
  • Depilatory wax
  • Facial tonics
  • Essential facial and body oils
  • Conditioners, among others


Chamomile is a plant that has had thousands of uses since ancient times, there is no doubt about that. We hope this blog has helped you to solve all your queries and that it encourages you to include this plant in your diet or to try products made from it.