Chamomile is a medicinal plant widely used in natural medicine. Its active principles are alpha-bisabolol and chamazulene, present in the essential oil, with sedative and anti-inflammatory properties. In this article, we will explain different methods to know how to dry chamomile for tea.
The two most common varieties of chamomile are the following:
- Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
- German Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
Among its best-known uses is as a digestive anti-inflammatory (infusions), and in external use, as natural eye drops (compresses soaked in infusion – left to cool – on closed eyes).
Although the dried plant is sold for infusion in many herbalists and markets, the truth is that the process of collecting and drying it yourself is the best guarantee of obtaining a plant with excellent qualities. Read on to learn the different methods of drying chamomile for tea.
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Benefits of Chamomile
As previously said, chamomile is a well-known medicinal herb with a wide range of therapeutic and health effects.
Below, we highlight those that are most relevant:
- Helps for a good digestion
- Calms and reduces anxiety
- Reduces stress
- Helps control diabetes
- Strengthens the immune system
- Helps treat wounds and skin impurities
- Relieves menstrual cramps
A study conducted by the Imperial College of London revealed that the intake of chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) increases the production of glycine and hippurate, which act as nerve and muscle relaxants.
Therefore, it is not surprising that chamomile is widely used to combat stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms, whether it is consumed as an infusion or in aromatherapy.
You must dry the chamomile for its preservation, by drying it you will remove the humidity and the nutrients of the chamomile will be preserved correctly. Another advantage is that when you dry your chamomile, you will know how the drying process went and that there is nothing extra in the drying process.
How to Dry Chamomile for Tea
How to Dry Chamomile for Tea? First, you must harvest the chamomile flowers which is what will be used, unlike other herbs where almost the entire plant is used here only the flowers will be used.
Drying Chamomile in Dehydrator. Using the dehydrator is my preferred way to dry almost all my foods, and that is why I use it to dry chamomile for tea. Preheat the unit according to your dehydrator manual and place the chamomile flowers on the drying tray. Depending on the temperature you use your dehydrator, the chamomile flowers will dry in 2 to 4 hours.
Drying Chamomile in the Sun. This is the traditional, simple and economical way to dry chamomile for tea at home. Place the chamomile flowers on a paper or mesh screen. Do not crowd the flowers too much so that they can dry more easily. Leave the flowers outside or in a dry, well-ventilated place.
Drying Chamomile in the Oven. You should also use the oven to dry the chamomile. Be sure to use the minimum temperature of your gas or electric oven. Place the flowers in a single layer for proper drying and check the oven every 30 minutes.
Microwave Drying Chamomile. It is of course possible to dry chamomile for tea in the microwave. Place a handful of chamomile flowers on a paper napkin and cover them with another paper napkin. At the lowest power of the microwave dry the chamomile flowers for 30 seconds to 2 minutes, I advise checking every 30 seconds how the drying process is going. All microwave ovens have different power, and therefore I advise you to check every 30 seconds.
With any of these four methods of drying chamomile, you will be able to prepare a delicious tea.
How to Make Chamomile Tea
It is very simple to prepare chamomile tea with the flowers that you have previously dehydrated. Use one tablespoon of dehydrated chamomile per cup. Then let these flowers steep in the water for 5 minutes, and you will have your chamomile tea ready.
How to Store Dried Chamomile
Pack the dried chamomile in clean glass jars. Label the container with the date and contents.
Make sure that there is no humidity in the flowers, and that they are well dried. Do not squeeze the flowers during packaging, so they will keep better.
Chamomile lasts a long time, but since nature provides it to us annually, the rule should be that the dried plants in the pantry expire within a year, just at the time of storing the new harvest.
I never keep dried chamomile for more than a year, this way I make sure it has all its active properties.