In Romancing the Laird, my warrior-hero, Reid Douglas, enjoys a cup or two of chamomile tea every day to help him relax and recover from physical fatigue,. Which got me wondering about the history of chamomile tea. Here’s what I discovered.
The name chamomile comes from the Greek word meaning “ground apple.” Records of its use date back to the ancient Roman, Greeks and Egyptians who believed the flowers contained both magical and healing properties.
The ancient Romans battled many plagues, respiratory and other infectious diseases without the aid of modern medicine. This naturally led to using herbs as remedies for disease and to ease the symptoms of skin infections and respiratory diseases. Pliny, the noted physician of the time, is known to have used chamomile to ward off headaches and ease the liver and kidney inflammation. It is likely that chamomile was used for skin conditions and digestive disorders, too. Chamomile flowers were also scattered on the floors at banquets to perfume to the air or burned as incense during sacred rituals.
Like the Romans, the Greeks thought of chamomile as a medicinal herb with healing properties. The Greek physician and botanist Dioscorides used chamomile to heal intestinal, nervous, and liver disorders, and prescribed it for women’s ailments. The ancient Greeks also made garlands from chamomile to fragrance the air.
The ancient Egyptians so revered the chamomile plant that they associated it with their sun god Ra. Egyptians also used chamomile on the skin and probably used it in cosmetics and hair care products as well. It was used in rituals and ceremonies.
Chamomile was considered one of the nine sacred herbs of the Anglo-Saxon and was used ritually to ward off diseases and to promote health.
If you are like me, every spring I get a little congested from the extra pollen in the air. Sounds like I need to make myself a cup of chamomile tea. Will you join me in a cup?