Best Tea for Sleep: Chamomile
Chamomile Tea for Sleep
The best tea that helps you fall asleep is chamomile tea.
Chamomile taken as a tea calms the nerves and helps reduce physical tension. Used as a mild sedative before bedtime, chamomile tea gently helps you drift off into a restful slumber.
While it is true there are other herbal sleep aids, drinking chamomile tea in the evening has a long cross-cultural history going back centuries.
A cup of chamomile tea before bedtime is a comforting nightly ritual enjoyed by people everywhere.
Making your cup of tea from loose tea instead of a tea bag is almost always worth the extra effort. The plant parts used in tea bags are usually of a lesser quality than what you get when you buy premium loose tea. Therefore, the healing qualities of loose tea are greater and the flavor is richer.
However, for the sake of convenience you may prefer to use tea bags. The important thing is to enjoy your tea experience,
Whichever you choose, be careful about the temperature of the water. Bring the water in your pot to a boil, then let it cool slightly before pouring it over your chamomile. In other words, you do not want the water to be actually boiling when you pour it. Excessive heat damages the therapeutic and medicinal qualities of any herb, and chamomile is no exception.
Start with one or two packed teaspoons of loose tea per eight ounces of water. Put the loose chamomile into into a strainer or tea infuser, then pour your water over it. Allow it to steep for two to three minutes, or longer if you want a stronger flavor. As you become more experienced with making tea, you will learn exactly how long to steep if for your own taste.
Another option is to place loose tea directly in a teapot that you serve from, pour the hot water into the pot, and let it steep. Then serve it by pouring it through a strainer over your teacup so the loose tea will be caught.
Chamomile tea is best sweetened with honey, which enhances the delicate apple flavor. Milk is generally not used with chamomile; really, all you need is a little honey.
Where to Buy Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea in teabags can now be bought in almost any grocery store. However, for the highest quality teabags, visit your local health food store, and look for organic chamomile tea.
Loose tea is not as easy to find. Some health food stores carry loose tea, but many do not. No doubt this depends on where you live. I was disappointed that the Whole Foods store in my area does not carry loose tea. However, some upscale malls have a Teavana retail store, which is a good (but expensive!) option.
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More Benefits of Chamomile Tea
For anyone wanting an all natural sleep aid, the most important benefit of chamomile tea is its sedative effect that makes falling asleep a little bit easier. But chamomile tea has other benefits, as well.
- helps fight colds and infections through its anti-bacterial properties,
- settles an upset stomach caused by indigestion,
- helps with arthritis and rheumatism due to its anti-inflammatory properties
- relaxes the muscles related to cramps, both stomach and menstrual cramps,
- reduces tension and irritability,
- can be added to bathwater for a soothing bath experience.
Falling Asleep Naturally
Drinking chamomile tea before bedtime helps you fall asleep naturally. Other tips on falling asleep include dealing with at least one thing that is weighing on your mind. Worries, even if they seem like little ones, are not good to take to bed with you. Get that "little worry" taken care of, then have a soothing cup of tea, and...drift off naturally to sleep.
Types of Chamomile
German chamomile and Roman chamomile are the two main types of this flowering herb. Both look similar to daisies, as you can see from the photos. The scientific names for German chamomile are Matricaria recutita or Matricaria chamomilla. Roman chamomile has the scientific name of Chamaemelum nobile.
Chamomile, whether German or Roman, has a taste that is reminiscent of apples. In fact, the word "chamomile" is from a Greek phrase meaning "ground apples."
German chamomile is an annual herb and is the one used for making tea, using the flowers and leaves. It has tall stems that can grow as tall as three feet. The yellow receptacle is dome shaped. If you break it open, it will be hollow inside.
Roman chamomile is a perennial that only grows up to a foot in length and is often used for ground cover. Its yellow receptacle is flat and inside it is solid.
Both types of chamomile have similar medicinal properties that overlap, such as properties that help with inflammation and muscular spasms, and both act as a sedative.
However, due to its more potent chemical make-up, German chamomile is considered the more powerful of the two, and is therefore more widely used in Europe and America for healing and relaxation. Only in the United Kingdom is the Roman variety the more popular type of chamomile.
How to Grow Chamomile
Growing chamomile is easy, compared to a lot of other plants. The German chamomile that's used for tea is can be started from seed or grown or purchased in flats to be transplanted in your garden. This is a tough, hardy plant that likes lots of sun, and will usually do fine in average or even poor soil that's well-drained. Let the soil get almost completely dry before thoroughly watering.
One important thing to know is that chamomile seeds need light, so after sowing them do not cover them with dirt! After 7 to 14 days, the seeds will germinate.
Chamomile Lavender Tea
Chamomile is sometimes laced with the herb lavender to make a slightly sweeter tea with a fragrantly floral taste and additional soothing properties. Look for chamomile lavender tea in teabags sold in your natural foods store. The taste is lovely, and the tea is so soothing!
Chamomile Tea - Natural Sleep Remedy
With home remedies for sleep, you don't have to worry about side effects as you do with the sleeping pills a doctor may give you. Unless you have a serious medical disorder, try the gifts of nature for falling asleep more easily. Tea made from the lovely flowering herb chamomile is such a gift!